I want to take a moment to apologize to those of you who have been reading this blog. Sometimes, life gets in the way and we get a little occupied. Nevertheless, I am still here and I have an overwhelming stack of music that I’ve been meaning to post about so without any further delay, let’s get to it.
Still is the first Booth Brothers recording in almost 13 years that will not include Jim Brady. The album was originally recorded and mixed with Brady. But in the fall of 2014, both Brady and The Booth’s announced that Jim would be leaving the group to form a new ministry with his wife, Melissa. You can read all about that here. Filling Jim’s shoes is one of Brady’s best friends and a fine singer in his own right, Paul Lancaster. Paul went right into the studio and added his vocals to make Still his first project as a member of The Booth Brothers.
The project kicks off with Faith Keeps Walking On, which features Lancaster on the verses. Next up is a swinging, big band cover of Happy Rhythm. The Booths have always had a knack for taking standards and arranging them in such a way to fit them. Happy Rhythm is pure genius! The title cut, Still, is the project’s third track. The group had been staging the song for quite some time, with Brady on the lead throughout the song. The group employed a different strategy on the recording, with both Michael & Ronnie singing the verses, and Paul taking over the lead on the chorus and bridge. Still is one of the most powerful songs the group has ever recorded and is a fitting song for the change that the group has endured, assuring that listeners that no matter the situation, God is still in control.
Dirt On My Hands is a great song with a country twang, that features Ronnie. The lyric is a challenge to believers, “to go the extra mile, doing all that I can. Helping my fellow man, even if I have to get a little dirt on my hands“. The first half of the project closes with a take on a Couriers classic, “I Am The Word“. The original cut of this song is one of my all time favorite Couriers songs, but the Booths have put their own creative arrangement, with orchestration by the late Lari Goss, and have knocked it out of the park! Ronnie is featured on the verses, and takes the lead into a chord change, where Michael takes over. Definitely a must hear track.
The second half of the project opens up with a fantastic ballad, Touch Of The Master’s Hand, that features Paul. This song is sure to be a favorite among fans. The song is actually a companion to a poem of the same name, that many will remember as a recitation that was often used by the late great J.D. Sumner. Paul Lancaster absolutely sings the fire out of this song, one of my favorite songs on the cd. Next up is another blast from the past, Whenever I Speak His Name. Originally cut by The Imperials way back in 1979 on their Heed The Call album, Ronnie is featured and sings one of the finest vocals I have heard from him. The orchestration and the groove of this song are absolutely fantastic. Next up is another song featuring Ronnie, Down By The River. This one is a foot stomping, hand clapping, song. There’s some cool vocal overdubs between the chorus and bridge, definitely not the normal from the Booths.
Wildflower (Vicki’s Song) is a tender ballad featuring Michael, that was written by Rebekah Peck especially for Michael’s wife, Vicki. A beautiful picture of how the Lord raises up beautiful wildflowers, and how he has created them to be special. Closing out the project is the anthem, Jesus Saves, that features Paul. This song was Paul’s introduction to many fans at last years NQC in Pigeon Forge. The song is the second on the project that was arranged by Goss, and also features backing vocals from The Collingsworth Family. Arranged to perfection, and performed flawlessly, the Booths & Collingsworths close out Still with a powerful exclamation point!
If there is anything that I appreciate about The Booth Brothers, it’s their ambition to be creative and not sound like everyone else. Both Happy Rhythm & I Am The Word are prime examples of this, and reason enough to love this project. But you also have powerful anthems, heartfelt ballads, and toe tapping numbers that fans have come to love from the group. From top to bottom, Still is a great cd and although the project was originally arranged and recorded with Brady in the group, showcases how wonderfully Paul Lancaster fits into the group. It only wets the appetites of fans for the next project, which will include songs arranged for the group with Paul in mind. I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Still and see for yourself!
Review copy NOT Provided.