By Randall Hamm
Friends, May has arrived and those showers have now brought May flowers. And some new CDs have bloomed, and here they are. I have reviewed new CD releases from Levi Bowman, Brian Free and the Ministers Quartet. I hope that you’ll enjoy the reviews and get a copy of these CDs to add to your collection.
As always … pick up a copy of these CDs wherever you get good Gospel Music.
Please send your latest releases for review to Randall Hamm, c/o Q-100 WFLQ-FM, P.O. Box 100, French Lick, IN 47432.
So with that, let the Reviews begin…
Songs: Money Can’t Buy (Levi Bowman-Jimmy Yeary-Sonya Isaacs Yeary BMI); Only Jesus Could Love You More (Sonya Isaacs Yeary-Jimmy Yeary-Brice Long BMI); Back Home Again (John Denver); The Kitchen Table (Jimmy Yeary-Adam Scott Browder-Andrew M Dorff BMI); Leave It Behind (Jimmy Yeary-Ben Hayslip-Nicole Galyon BMI); Castle In The Sand (Levi Bowman-Sonya Isaacs Yeary-Rebecca Isaacs Bowman BMI); You Just Do It (Jimmy Yeary-Ben Hayslip-Tim James ASCAP); Try A Little Kindness (Bobby Austin-Curt Sapaugh); Find Yourself (Brad Paisley); Walking Down The Road (David Johnson BMI)
A chip off the old Isaacs, John and Becky Isaac Bowman’s son Levi has officially released his first solo CD, “Find Yourself.” Levi has been performing almost all of his life joining the group for specials, beginning as a little youngster until today. He serves as a full-fledged member of the Isaacs’ band. Levi has put together a 10-track CD that will please any Isaacs fan as well as those fans of Country Gospel. He had plenty of help putting together the CD, calling on guest vocalists Vince Gill, Jimmy Fortune, Autumn Nelon Clark, and the Isaacs as well. A who’s who of musicians joined Levi, including Gordon Mote, Aubrie Haynie and the Isaacs’ band, among others. Producer of the Year award winner Ben Isaacs along with Troy Engle and Levi – in addition to the Isaacs’ sound engineer, Mark Capps – have crafted a CD that belongs in anyone’s collection.
The first track kicks off with the current single, “Money Can’t Buy.” There are some things money can’t buy … peace, love, happiness and family to name a few. “Only Jesus Could Love You More” could be a possible crossover cut. A great love song of a young man telling his love, only Jesus could love you more than I do. “Back Home Again” is a cut Levi has been doing for a number of years in concert, and folks continue to request it. “The Kitchen Table” is where all family functions occur. We fed our bodies and our souls at “The Kitchen Table.” “Leave It Behind” … you can leave it, but you leave it all behind you. We all have things in our past, but some stuff you just can’t leave all behind. “Castle In The Sand” speaks of how love will make you do things you won’t understand. Love will make you feel as helpless as a “Castle In The Sand.” “You Just Do It” is a song about a mother who died too soon at a young age and a father who has to step up and take care of the family. How do you do it? “You Just Do It.” “Try A Little Kindness” is a remake of the 1960s song that many have recorded over the years. How can you go wrong with this classic.
A Brad Paisley-written song “Find Yourself” that was featured on the “Cars” soundtrack has never sounded better than with Levi’s vocals. Levi doesn’t stray far from Paisley’s arrangement or vocal style. The CD closes with a new arrangement of a former Isaacs song, “Walking Down The Road.” It includes great backup vocals from Vince Gill and Levi’s aunt, Sonya. Need I say more? Overall, it’s a great first release from Levi, a CD that should be in your collection.
Strongest cuts: “Money Can’t Buy,” “The Kitchen Table,” “You Just Do It”
Brian Free and Assurance
Unashamed (Ricky Free-Sue C Smith); I Believe (Lee Black-Kenna Turner West); He Still Saves (Marty Funderburk-Steve Marshall); There’ll Come A Day (Jeff Steele-Chris Ballard); I Want To Be That Man (Lee Black-Ricky Free); He Will Carry You (Lee Black-Gina Boe); For God So Loved (Terry Franklin-Barbi Franklin); Only God Knows (Sheldon Mencer); Die Another Day (Marty Funderburk-John Lemonis-Roy Smith); Calvary’s Cry (Jason Cox-Sue Smith-Kenna Turner West); Stand Among The Millions (Jim Brady-Barry Weeks-Tony Wood) ; Never Walk Alone (Jeremy Johnson-J.J. Williams)
Twenty-three years ago, Brian Free left one of the top groups in the industry to form his own group, Assurance. Over that time period, Brian Free remains one of the top tenors in the industry, and his group remains one of the top groups as well. Over those 23 years, Brian and his group – first as trio, then a quartet and now back to a trio – has given us many top songs such as “Where Would You Be,” “Live Like We’re Redeemed,” “For God So Loved” and many others. Assurance has been known for their ballads, so Daywind has released Brian Free and Assurance’s Signature Ballads, 12 top songs from their 23-year history. All of the songs are original cuts featuring the great lineups of Brian Free and Assurance over the years. From “For God So Loved” to the latest “He Will Carry You,” you will hear 23 great years of signature ballads from Brian Free and Assurance. To get a copy of “Signature Ballads,” visit www.brianfreeandassurance.com/shop-2/.
2017 Church House/Chapel Valley; Producer: Shane Roark
Songs: Ain’t That What It’s All About (Kenny Hinson BMI); When He Was On The Cross (Mike Payne-Ronny Hinson BMI); Homeland (Dianne Wilkinson BMI); Puddle of Blood (Michael Sandefur-Terry Russell); He’s Still In The Fire (Tim Hill BMI); Jesus Is coming Soon (RE Winsett SESAC); He’s All I Need (Sammy Easom BMI); I Have An Anchor (Jim Brady BMI); I Remember The Day (Mary Spencer ASCAP); I Want You To Know (Dianne Wilkinson BMI)
The Ministers Quartet, based out of Muncie, Ind., has just released a new album entitled “Homeland,” on the Church House division of Chapel Valley Records. The Ministers Quartet have developed a following wherever they minister in song. Current members include lead singer Michael Sandefur, baritone Rex Crockett, tenor Scott Evans and bass Ron Pence. One new song, “Puddle of Blood” (written by Sandefur), and nine classic songs in Southern Gospel comprise their latest release.
The CD kicks off with “Ain’t That What It’s All About,” a classic Hinsons song. It’s a great choice for a kickoff tune that gets you singing along immediately. “When He Was On The Cross” and “Homeland” follow, but the true gem and the only new song on Homeland is an original song by Sandefur, “Puddle of Blood.” This is the CD’s leadoff single. It is about the crucifixion story and all that was left on the hill was a cross on a hill and a “Puddle of Blood.” Vocally, the Ministers have never sounded better, and the Chapel Valley band once again does their great job backing up their artists. It’s another great CD produced by Shane Roark. Overall, if you’re looking for a new artist to listen to or a new artist to break at your station, may I recommend the Ministers Quartet? You can contact Ron Pence at 765-570-8177. To get a copy of this CD, visit www.ministersquartet.com/each-album.
Strongest Songs: “Puddle of Blood,” “Ain’t That What It’s All About,” “I Have An Anchor”
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