Must Buy Or Not reviews ask at least two of MusicScribe’s writers to consider whether a particular new release is one they’d want to purchase for themselves.
Guy Penrod’s Blessed Assurance features a collection of mostly familiar hymns. Kyle Boreing and David Bruce Murray have listened carefully and considered the highest and lowest aspects of this release. Read on to see if Kyle and David believe this recording qualifies as a “Must Buy.”
Label: Servant Records
*Producer: Guy Penrod
Song Titles: Blessed Assurance; Before The Throne Of God Above; There Is Power In The Blood; The Love Of God; In The Sweet By And By; Standing In The Need Of Prayer; I Surrender All; My Jesus, I Love Thee; In The Garden; Draw Me Nearer; Day By Day; I Will Sing Of My Redeemer
Rating: 3.5 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)
Release Date: February 23, 2018
Product Version Reviewed: Stream (Spotify)
*Credits based on Spotify’s credits listing
- It’s been done quite a bit, but I really liked this particular bluegrass arrangement of “In The Sweet By And By.”
- “Before The Throne Of God Above” stands out as an under-utilized hymn with some cool musical lines, especially in the second half with the drum line.
- “Standing In The Need Of Prayer” faked me out with the verses; it’s actually a hybrid of the old hymn with a new chorus and bridge. I probably would’ve combined the verses a bit, though, especially since the song clocks in over 4 minutes and starts to feel repetitive.
David Bruce Murray:
- As Kyle mentioned, “Before The Throne Of God Above” stands out mainly because it’s not immediately familiar.
- “Power In The Blood” caught my attention with its up-tempo steel guitar licks.
- I wish more songs had been creatively re-arranged like “Standing In The Need Of Prayer.” The fresh lyrics and the fun groove make it my favorite song on Blessed Assurance.
- “I Will Sing Of My Redeemer” is a rather standard arrangement, but the country guitar licks are perfectly suited to Penrod’s vocal style.
- It takes a song and a half for the album to “wake up,” so to speak, with the least bit of energy. The majority of the album consists of slow-to-mid-tempo numbers, and after a while, they tend to run together. Even the up-tempo numbers fail to really grab the listener.
- Some of these songs have been done to death, and while some effort has been made to give a few updates, the majority of them are standard fare.
- The sky-rocketing vocals that put Guy on the map are few and far between on this album. In fact, there were times where he sounded a bit strained.
David Bruce Murray:
- Blessed Assurance extends Penrod’s tradition of very basic recordings of classic songs. The production value is good enough and there’s one surprise, but Penrod’s will to give listeners something truly fresh vanished after his first solo CD release eight years ago.
- I agree with Kyle that this recording could have used a couple more upbeat tracks.
- To me, Penrod’s pose on the cover implies something along the lines of “I apologize.” (Of course, I realize this interpretation is a projection of my own feelings about this recording.)
Kyle Boreing: No – This album can best be described as Hymns Volume II, as it’s basically a follow-up to his highly-successfull Hymns album. There are some decent cuts here, but not enough to really make the whole album worth a purchase. I’d go with some songs ala carte or stick with streaming.
David Bruce Murray: No – Until Penrod chooses to record some brand new songs or at least reinvent a set of standards, I won’t have a desire to part with any $$$ for his music.