There is no doubt that Triumphant is one of Southern Gospel’s most prolific artists. They have become a main stay in the industry, and have been voted by the fans as their Favorite Quartet. Last year saw the group deal with their first personnel change, a remarkable feat when you consider they have been together for 13 years! Even with the departure of group pianist/arranger/producer Jeff Stice, the group has kept the vocal core together. Living In Harmony is the group’s first project to be released without Stice’s touch, and produced by Wayne Haun, who has produced numerous projects for Triumphant (Everyday, Love Came Calling).
The project kicks off with the title cut, Living In Harmony, which is one of two songs on the project written by baritone Scotty Inman. This is one of the most catchy songs to come along in recent years, with a real country flair to it, reminiscent of The Oak Ridge Boys. The pace changes a bit for Jesus Must Have Been Here, which also features Scotty. Scotty has long been one of the finest singers in the industry, but he really takes a step forward on this project. Amazing God is the third cut on the project, and features tenor David Sutton. This song is a bit of a departure from what fans have come to expect from Sutton, with a country sound. Yet it is excellent lyrically and David and the group deliver a great vocal.
Next up is a cut that’s a page out of the history of Southern Gospel. I was excited to find out the guys brought back The Singing Americans Black And White. Both lead singer Clayton Inman and Sutton are SA alumni, and the group brought the song back in grand style, putting their own stamp on the arrangement. It’s one of my favorite cuts on the cd and a is sure to be a real crowd pleaser live. Speaking of Clayton, he steps out for his first feature on the classic When He Reached Down His Hand For Me.
The second half of the project kicks off with Living In The Promised Land, which features Scotty. The song has a driving feel that reminds me a bit of Almost Home. Next up is a light hearted tune, Made For Gold, that features Clayton. Although Clayton does a good job on it, this song was not one of my favorites. I definitely think of this as more of an Ernie Haase & Signature Sound type song. I Belong To Jesus is a great ballad, another song written by Scotty, that features bass singer Eric Bennett. The guys also brought back an old Phillips, Craig & Dean song, A Friend Called Grace, which features Scotty. The project comes to a close with Has There Ever Been, which features Clayton. Although its a good song with a great lyric, the chorus seems a bit too wordy. I would have liked to have heard this song slowed down just a couple clicks.
RATING: 4 out 5 Stars
I have read a few reviews already that have hailed this as Triumphant’s best recording to date, even so far as to call this the best project of the year. While I did enjoy the first half of the cd immensely (title cut, Jesus Must Have Been Here, Awesome God, Black And White, and Living In The Promised Land), Made For Gold and Has There Ever Been didn’t make the same impression on me. Another aspect I noticed on this project was a more predominant country sound, which is nothing new when you listen to some of the groups past recordings, but it seems to be more apparent on this project. There’s no doubt that Living In Harmony is a good cd, but I do not believe it is their best work (I believe that to be Love Came Calling). While the group’s many fans are sure to love this project, I personally would like to see Triumphant move away from the country sound and venture back towards a more progressive yet traditional quartet sound.
You can pick up your copy of Living In Harmony at retail and digital outlets everywhere.
Review copy provided.