New Music Reviews: Late-February Releases

New Music Reviews: Late-February Releases

Members of The Crabb Family stay very busy with their other endeavors, but occasionally reunite to make new music together. 20/20 is their first CD since 2012’s Together Again. The title takes on a double meaning given that the year of release is 2020 while the slash between the two 20s appears to be a reference to the standard measurement for ideal human vision.

Long-time Crabb Family fans should enjoy the remake of “Mountaintop For Me” that originally appeared on the 1999 Crabb Family album Pray. I particularly like a line in “Walk On Water” (Sonya Isaacs/Jimmy Yeary) which states, “You don’t have to walk on water. You just have to know someone Who can.” “My King Is Known By Love” has “hit” written all over it. I like the string intro which sets a tone of expectation. “Never Been” is another solid ballad, and putting the three guys in unison drenched in reverb on the first verse of “Keep Me” is a nice touch.

If 20/20 has a fault, it’s that too many slow songs are strung together in the second half of the CD. That being said, those are the strongest songs on 20/20. It’s not a big deal to hear a few slower songs if they’re all great. It also helps that The Crabb Family saves a healthy dose of energy for the final track, “Sister, Play That Tambourine.”

Producers: Jason Crabb and Scott Godsey
Label: Daywind Records
Song Titles: I See Revival; Stones; Mountaintop For Me; Walk On Water; My King Is Known By Love; The Altar Still Calls; Never Been; Keep Me; If God Is For Me; Sister Play That Tambourine
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars (scale of 1-5 stars)

Click HERE to hear the entire album on YouTube Music.

The Taylors deliver their strongest recording to date with Salvation’s Song. Producer Wayne Haun has created a series of pop/rock settings that pair well with this sibling trio’s vocal strengths.

The title track has a driving rock guitar-driven rhythm while “You Restore” is more light-hearted. If Haun has one fault, it’s that he will sometimes add orchestration to a song that was doing just fine without it. “I’ll Never Know” is one example.

The piano patterns under the verses of “The Same” help set it apart and some horn parts add dynamic contrast later. It’s just a fun, fun song that wouldn’t be as strong without those extra little touches. “House Of God” has a fun groove with vocals flipping between unison and harmony. Vocally, this was probably the most challenging song for the trio to execute in the studio, but after staging it for a year or so, they should be comfortable the next time they’re in the studio and asked to slide from note to note in a similar style. “I Choose Joy” is one of the simpler songs on Salvation’s Song. Like “You Restore,” “Love Really Changed The World” is a light-hearted pop arrangement.

Producer: Wayne Haun
Label: StowTown Records
Song Titles: Salvation’s Song; You Restore; I’ll Never Know; The Same; House Of God; I Choose Joy; Love Really Changed the World
Rating: 4 1/2 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)

Click HERE to hear the entire album on YouTube Music.

Matt Fouch has recorded a different sort of hymns collection titled The Story & The Song: Hymns Of Our Faith.

It begins with a cinematic “Intro” where our attention is initially drawn to the orchestration. This eventually yields to Fouch narrating Psalm 148. Then, before each of the nine hymns are sung, the story behind how each song was written is shared by various artists including Fouch himself, Kim Collingsworth, Gerald Wolfe, Ernie Haase, Scott Fowler, Ronnie Booth, and Connie Hopper.

Despite being convincingly narrated by Collingsworth, the story behind how the “The Love Of God” came to be written sadly contains a number of factual errors. (For context, you can click HERE and listen to track #4 first, then come back to read the rest of this review).

Because this happens to be my favorite hymn of all time, I’ve made the effort in the past to research the story of how it came to be written. I did so again to be certain when I heard several things in this version that didn’t sound at all like I remembered. I was able to verify that the composer Frederick Lehman himself wrote a pamphlet some 30 years after it was published explaining the circumstances.

According to Lehman himself, he wrote the first two verses and the chorus AFTER discovering the insane asylum poem, not because he already had two verses and needed a third to represent the Holy Trinity. Also, there is nothing to indicate Lehman and his daughter took an excursion to Germany and there found the inscription in the insane asylum where the interpretation of the Jewish poem Hadamut was written. The song was first published in 1917. If they had traveled to Germany while writing the song, they would have likely been traveling when the United States and Germany were on opposing sides in the middle of World War I! Furthermore, the version Fouch presents puts forth the notion that the insane asylum patient who translated the poem was later executed. While that’s possible, I’ve been unable to find any sort of proof of that claim. Lehman said the words were discovered after the patient had been “carried to his grave,” but not that the patient was murdered first.

Thankfully, I didn’t notice any glaring errors in the other stories. (To be honest, I didn’t look too hard!) The story behind “It Is Well With My Soul” is particularly touching and sounds accurate based on accounts I’ve heard before. Be sure to check that out (track #8) if you haven’t heard it before.

The recording itself is otherwise excellent as is the concept to include the origin stories and have them read by familiar voices. Trey Ivey’s orchestrations and arrangements are also great as are Fouch’s vocal performances.

Producer: Trey Ivey
Song Titles: Intro; All Creatures Of Our God And King; The Love Of God; Crown Him With Many Crowns (featuring Legacy Five); It Is Well With My Soul; Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus; All Glory, Laud, And Honor; Be Thou My Vision (featuring Candice Fouch); All Hail The Power Of Jesus’ Name; I Have Decided To Follow Jesus
Rating: 4 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)

Click HERE to hear the entire album on YouTube Music.

Crabb Family
4.5 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Average rating for all three albums!


4.33 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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