The Old Paths are one of the top young quartets in the industry today, their recent dominance on the radio charts and energetic concerts have made them a hit with Gospel Music fans all across the country. Stay is the groups latest recording, featuring 10 brand new songs. For this review, I’ve asked my friend Brandon Coomer of Coomer’s Cove to weigh in with his thoughts. Hope you enjoy reading this!
The project starts out with “Have You Ever“, a great old-timey quartet song featuring lead singer Tim Rackley. It’s also the first of many songs on the project written by Rebecca Peck & Dianne Wilkinson, The group slows it down a bit with “You Never Cease To Amaze Me”, a soulful song featuring tenor vocalist Jeremy Peace. This song is a little bit of a departure from what fans of The Old Paths have come to expect from Jeremy, who tends to sing more of the slow ballads. The song is very soulful, and Peace knocks it out of the park! The pace picks up a bit with “What Did They Call Him”, a rolling and rocking song featuring Rackley, that takes the listener on a journey from Jesus birth, life, and ministry, to his resurrection and ascension into Heaven.
Baritone Douglas Roark steps up for his lone feature on the recording, “I Just Can’t Get Over”, A great song about salvation and the change that it brings in our lives. Closing out the first half of project is “Washed In The Blood”, the first feature for bass vocalist Daniel Ashmore. A bouncy song with a rocking groove, that Ashmore sings to perfection. Daniel is one of the most talented young bass singers in the industry, whose continual growth on each project has been quite impressive and tremendous. The trend continues on Stay.
The second half of the project opens with a great ballad on the crucifixion, “How Great The Debt”, that features Rackley. This is one of my absolute favorite songs on Stay, showcasing a great lyric from Dianne Willkinson & Rebecca Peck and a flawless vocal from Tim. Next up is another Rackley feature, which also happens to be the projects first radio single, “Ordinary People”. Written by Rodney Birch, writer of the groups previous radio hits “Battle Stand” and “Love Them To Jesus“, this song showcases what is becoming a signature sound for the group. Tim is also featured on the next cut, the title track “Stay”. The song offers a unique perspective, that of John the Beloved as he was leaning on the breast of Christ. “O What A Happy Morning” is a bouncy fun song, featuring Ashmore. The project comes to a close with a power ballad, “Out Of The Grave”, a fantastic song on the resurrection that features Peace. As the intensity dials up, The guys absolutely knock this song out of the park!
“How Great The Debt” – It is daunting task for a group to follow up a huge song like “Long Live The King,” but this is a great effort and my favorite song on the project. Tim Rackley is still one of southern gospel’s most under-appreciated lead singers, even after being featured on multiple number one songs. The only way to improve on this song to my ears would have been to have gone with a smoother ending. The tag here is a little choppy.
“Out Of The Grave” & “You Never Cease To Amaze Me” – Jeremy Peace’s features are two of the stronger tracks on the Stay project. Both of these songs are a little different musically than what you would expect from the Old Paths. As Brian pointed out, “You Never Cease To Amaze Me” has a soulful feel while “Out Of The Grave” features an almost soft rock ballad sound.
“Ordinary People” – While the two songs mentioned above are a new sound from The Old Paths, the project’s first single is in line with what was heard on the group’s previous chart topping songs from the pen of the same writer, Rodney Birch. With the group’s sound evolving, I was almost disappointed by this song when I first heard it. However, after repeated listens, this track has become one of my favorites on the project and will do really well for the group on the radio.
“Washed In The Blood” & “O What A Happy Morning” – Brian touched on this, but Daniel’s continued growth from project to project, and even concert to concert, is worth reiterating.
BC: Stay shows the group is willing to expand the musical ground they cover (shown on Jeremy’s features) while staying true to the style and sound that people expect to hear on radio and in concert (“Ordinary People”). This gives their third mainline release from Crossroads a fresh sound. I loved their previous release (These Truths), but the evolving sound found here makes Stay a better (if only slightly) and more enjoyable project than their earlier recordings. BF: As if we needed any further proof, Stay is an overwhelming exclamation point that The Old Paths are here to stay! They have crafted a project that stays true to the traditional sounds that fans have come to expect from them, but also pushed the envelope stylistically to keep their sound fresh. When I first heard Right Now, I didn’t think they could top it, and I thought the same thing when I heard These Truths, but Stay is just as good as, even slightly better, than These Truths. The last three recordings The Old Paths have released some of the best projects in Southern Gospel, their song selection, vocal arrangements, and overall performances are among the best I have heard by ANY group at ANYTIME in the industry.
If you don’t believe us, check out Stay for yourself! Stay is now available at your local Christian bookstore and available through all digital outlets.
Review copy provided,