New Music Reviews – June 2019

by | Jul 6, 2019 | Uncategorized

Jeff Stice – Bridge

Pros: Jeff Stice moves effortlessly through styles ranging from cinematic (“Praise The Lord”/”Down From His Glory”) to pop (“That’s What Friends Are For”) to meditative (“It Is Well With My Soul”). Most arrangements on Bridge are jazz with the romp through “First Day In Heaven” being the most entertaining. (Listen closely, and you’ll hear a brief reference to “Pop Goes The Weasel.”)

Cons: “Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho” is the same recording released in 2004 when Stice was a member of Triumphant on the group’s album Home Free. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it leads me to wonder how much (if any) of Bridge is new. Bits of “It Is Well With My Soul,” particularly near the beginning, sound out of tune, leading me to believe that perhaps it’s also an old recycled track.

Song Titles: Praise The Lord; Love Lifted Me; Down From His Glory; Wayfaring Stranger; It Is Well With My Soul; First Day In Heaven; He’s Worthy; Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho; That’s What Friends Are For; ‘Til The Storm Passes By
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (1-5 Stars)
Release Date: June 7, 2019
Version Reviewed: YouTube Music

Click HERE to enjoy the entire album on YouTube Music.


Gloria Gaynor – Testimony

Pros: The Queen Of Disco (“I Will Survive”) is still a vocal powerhouse at 71 years young. Testimony is her first gospel recording, but it’s not a collection of standards like we’ve seen many pop artists record late in their careers. “Amazing Grace” sets the bar high. It’s not the classic hymn (as one People magazine reviewer who didn’t know the difference indicated), but a new song that includes only a few occasional phrases from John Newton’s lyric. Several singers have been brought in to share Gaynor’s spotlight including Jason Crabb, Bart Millard, and Yolanda Adams. Her cover of Bob Dylan’s “Man Of Peace” (a duet with Mike Farris) is rather unique. The best track, “Day One”, is saved for last, a vulnerable lyric that points back to the album title.

Cons: Yolanda Adams’ vocal embellishments are rather extreme on “Talkin’ ‘Bout Jesus”; she does not understand the distinction between a solo feature and a collaborative duet. Gaynor wisely holds back to keep it from being a complete disaster.

Producers: Chris Stevens/Reid Shippen
Song Titles: Amazing Grace; Back On Top; He Won’t Let Go (featuring Bart Millard); Joy Comes In The Morning; Only You Can Do; Singin’ Over Me (featuring Jason Crabb); Talkin’ Bout Jesus (featuring Yolanda Adams); Precious Lord (featuring Jason Crabb, Mike Farris, Bart Millard); Man Of Peace (featuring Mike Farris); Day One
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars (1-5 Stars)
Release Date: June 7, 2019
Version Reviewed: YouTube Music

Click HERE to enjoy the entire album on YouTube Music.


The Kingsmen – Victory Shout

Pros: Tenor Chris Jenkins is always impressive, and the title track is an excellent showcase for his unique skills. The addition of a choir is a nice touch. Iconic bass singer Ray Dean Reese was almost written out of the last release by The Kingsmen, They Don’t Know (2017), so I’m pleased to report that Reese gets a few moments to shine on Victory Shout. The production of this recording was already underway when lead Chris Bryant or Alan Kendall joined the group, and both men have done well singing material that may not have been selected with them in mind.

Cons: For a song about our final destination, “That’s Where You’ll Find Me” takes us on quite a journey through an array of chords before ever settling on tonic. Also, the mix on the vocals throughout is a bit harsh.

Producer: Jeff Collins
Song Titles: Running To Win; Just Climb; I’ve Ever Been Glad; Victory Shout; Dear John; It Still Changes Me; King Of Kings; Prodigal Son; You’ll Move Mountains For Me; That’s Where You’ll Find Me
Rating: 4 Stars (1-5 Stars)
Release Date: June 7, 2019
Version Reviewed: CD
Previous Review: Kyle wrote a more extensive review of Victory Shout a few weeks ago. Click HERE to check it out.

Click HERE to enjoy the entire album on YouTube Music.

David Bruce Murray

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 SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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