New Music Reviews – Early-October Releases

New Music Reviews – Early-October Releases

The Lore Family’s Hidden Blessings features eleven new songs. Members of this group include Darren & Sandy Lore along with their children, Fayth and Samuel.

Pros: Hidden Blessings features strong songwriting and some ambitious arrangements. I enjoyed the light-hearted “I’ve Got A Really Good Feeling” (featuring Fayth), the reflective “In His Presence” (featuring Samuel), and “The Blood Flows From Calvary Still (featuring Sandy) which starts softly then builds to a big finish.

Cons: The vocal blend is generally OK, but it could be better in spots. Tracks that are mixed with one singer out front general sound better than those mixed with all four vocals nearly equal.

Producer: Wayne Haun
Label: Horizon Records
Song Titles: Didn’t He Promise; That Same Power; His Cross Is Now Empty; In His Presence; The Rock That Never Ages; Hidden Blessings; I’ve Got A Really Good Feeling; You Can Trust Him With Your Pain; Ready To Know; Keep Praying; The Blood Flows From Calvary Still
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)
Release Date: October 11, 2019
Version Reviewed: YouTube Music

Click HERE to stream the entire album on YouTube Music.

It’s been three years since The Carolina Boys Quartet last released a CD. Whether by design due to the duration between releases or not, Take A Stand exceeds the industry standard of 10 songs with a total of 13 tracks. “Let It Be The Cross” is the first single being released to radio.

Pros: There’s a healthy variety of song types and the album as a whole skews to quicker tempos. “Dig A Well” and “I’m Traveling On” are my two favorite tracks. Another highlight is the mid-tempo, soulful title track. The arrangement choice to drop back to just a piano for a moment toward the end of “The Hand Of The Lord” before building up to a big finish is excellent.

Cons: Some songs would have sounded better pitched a half or maybe even a whole step higher. The melody on the two verses drops low enough that it effects the singer’s tone on “To Save My Life,” for example. Bass singer Stephen Jewell is pushing near his bottom limit on a few songs as well, but tenor singer Mark Wyatt sounds very comfortable throughout Take A Stand. Wyatt could probably go a bit higher without altering his tone.

Producer: Jeff Collins
Label: Skyland Records
Song Titles: I’m Traveling On; What You’re Going To Do; The Hand of the Lord; One Step At A Time; Claim the Promises; Take A Stand; Let It Be The Cross; They Never Were The Same; To Save My Life; Dig A Well; Somebody Somewhere; You’ve Already Forgotten; Faith Works
Rating: 4 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)
Release Date: October 11, 2019
Version Reviewed: CD

Rescue Story is the second full-length album from Zach Williams whose 2016, Grammy/Dove-winning Chain Breaker included the successful title track, “Old Church Choir,” and “Fear Is A Liar.” Rescue Story includes 10 tracks, and the title track is also the first single released.

Pros: Williams’ relatable, working-man vocals are paired with uplifting themes of redemption, praise, and revealing the true Light to a dark world. Top tracks on Rescue Story include “Rescue Me,” “Under My Feet,” “Baptized,” and my personal favorite, “Less Like Me.”

Production is sometimes very simple. “Face To Face” just features piano, choir, and a bit of organ. Production can also be rather complex. “Slave To Nothing” stacks up layers as the song progresses, and these demand just as much attention from the listener as the lyrics by the end.

Cons: “There Was Jesus” is billed as a duet, but Dolly Parton is more of a featured background vocalist with just a few step out lines.

Producer: Jonathan Smith
Label: Essential Records
Song Titles: Walk With Me; Less Like Me; Rescue Story; Stand Up; Slave To Nothing; Under My Feet; There Was Jesus (duet with Dolly Parton); Heaven Help Me; Baptized; Face To Face
Rating: 5 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)
Release Date: October 4, 2019
Version Reviewed: YouTube Music

Click HERE to stream the entire album on YouTube Music.

Lore Family
3.5 out of 5
Carolina Boys Quartet
4 out of 5
Zach Williams
5 out of 5

Average rating for all three albums reviewed:


4.17 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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