New Music Reviews – February 2019 Releases

New Music Reviews – February 2019 Releases

February 1 – The Singing Contractors – Working On A Building: Hymns & Gospel Classics (CD/DVD)

The Singing Contractors captured the imagination of music fans after Aaron Gray and Josh Arnett recorded a series of handheld camera videos at their various job sites and uploaded the results to YouTube. Fast-forward five years, and they have released their first DVD/CD on the Gaither Gospel Series appropriately titled Working On A Building. This review is based on the streaming version from YouTube Music which includes the music footage from the DVD on all songs except the title track and “Because He Lives.” Those two, I presume, are pulled from the CD.

The setting for the video emphasizes the novelty of how the group came to be with an array of power tools on display. As with most Gaither Gospel Series releases, almost all of the songs are familiar standards. It’s just someone new singing them. Two songs that may not be instantly recognized are “He’ll Take Care Of You” and “Wine Into Water,” both of which were recorded previously by T. Graham Brown. Long-time fans of the Cathedral Quartet should remember “He Saw What I Could Be,” even though it’s not among the most popular songs that group ever recorded.

Both Gray and Arnett are strong singers who are capable of effectively communicating a lyric. It is especially refreshing to hear true duet arrangements without a third vocal part prominent in the background. The only element that is really lacking here is originality in song selection.

Release Date: February 1, 2019
Song Titles: Working On A Building; Life’s Railway To Heaven; There’s Power In The Blood; Amazing Grace; God Bless America; Because He Lives; He’ll Take Care Of You; Why Me featuring Bill Gaither; Wine Into Water; It Is No Secret; He Saw What I Could Be; In The Garden; There’s Always A Place At The Table; Mary, Did You Know?; Through The Fire; How Great Thou Art
Rating: 4 Stars (scale of 1-5)

Listen to the entire album on YouTube Music.

February 22 – Various Artists – NQC Live Volume 18 (CD)

NQC Live: Volume 18 features performances recorded during the 2018 National Quartet Convention. Proceeds from this recording will benefit the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall Of Fame. There are 18 tracks on the CD. YouTube Music adds 3 more bonus songs. The DVD includes all of that, plus footage from the 2018 SGMA Hall Of Fame induction ceremony and a segment featuring comedian Dennis Swanberg. Unlike the Singing Contractors product reviewed above, the YouTube Music version of NQC Live: Volume 18 is audio only.

This collection is an accurate representation of the variety of music fans can experience annually during the National Quartet Convention in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Although this series has always been billed as “live,” the fact is that Second Half Quartet has the only authentically live performance. Their version of “Wedding Music” using just piano, bass guitar, and voices to create everything you hear is refreshing amid the sea of backing tracks.

Now, in fairness, the backing tracks are generally fine EXCEPT when they include an abundance of stacked voices. Thankfully, this is only a glaring issue on a few songs. I can’t fault this piece of product given this is the way the vast majority of groups in the genre choose to present their music.

The quantity of songs included combined with the fact that rights owners are donating profits to help sustain the SGMA Hall Of Fame are also positive marks.

Song Titles: Clear Skies – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound; I Know – Mark Trammell Quartet; He’s Never Moved – Whisnants; Cost of the Cross – Kingsmen; There Is Jesus – McKameys; Wedding Music – Second Half Quartet; This Flight That Is Leaving Soon – Jeff & Sheri Easter; Testimony Time – Down East Boys; After the Storm – Erwins; Thankful, So Thankful – Triumphant Quartet; Old Church Choir – Ball Brothers; He Welcomes the Beggar – 11th Hour; I’ll Trust You With Tomorrow – Kingdom Heirs; Like Jesus Did – Three Bridges; Those Same Hands – Gold City; God Fights on My Side – Guardians; After All This Time – Talleys; Moses and Elijah – Perrys; You Better Get Right (Or Ya Gonna Get Left) – Jordan Family Band; Begin With You – Wisecarvers; It’s His Story – Endless Highway
Rating: 4 Stars (scale of 1-5)

Listen to the entire album on YouTube Music.

Singing Contractors
4 out of 5
NQC Live
4 out of 5

Average rating for all February releases


4 out of 5

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Category CD Reviews, Reviews

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both and David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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