I first heard Master’s Voice several years ago at a convention in Michigan. The group was a trio at the time and I was very impressed by their sound. Shortly after hearing them, the group had a change in personnel and added lead vocalist Justin Morphis, formerly of 11th Hour. Last year, after baritone Joey Johnson departed, the group made the transition to a quartet with the addition of baritone Stan Watson (Paul’s Journey), and bass singer Jerry Pilgrim (Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet). Undivided is their first mainline release as a quartet and the first quartet release of 2016. I’ve asked my friend Brandon Coomer of Coomer’s Cove to share with us his thoughts on this new project. Check it out!
Master’s Voice has been together over a decade but their latest recording effort is their best to date. They could not have picked a better time to up their game, as this is their first recording on a national label. Undivided is outstanding from beginning to end, and that is being conservative.
Lead singer Justin Morphis gets the majority of features and his huge voice is definitely the standout. He is featured on everything from a big ballad (“This Same Jesus”) to a fun, catchy, bluesy song (“Goodbye To Goodbye”) and he shines on them all. Justin has a powerful voice, and at times, I worried he would over sing a lyric, but that never happened on this recording. One of his features, “Here I Am Again,” is one of the best cuts on the project.
Owner and tenor Ricky Capps only gets a couple of features but one of those (“Somebody Is Me”) is my favorite up tempo song on the project. The chorus tells of several things somebody should do in a church service (shed a tear, say amen, raise their hand, etc.) but turns it around at the end and says, “I pray today Somebody Is Me.” As mentioned, it is a fast song, but that is a great message. How often in or around church do we hear, “Someone needs to do that. Let’s pray the Lord will send someone,” instead of doing something ourselves?
The group has two relatively new members in baritone Stan Watson and bass Jerry Pilgrim. Both made their debut with the group on a Hymns project late last year. Pilgrim is the first bass singer in the group’s history, as they transitioned from a trio to a quartet last year. Both have multiple strong features.
Stan is featured on the second verse of the project’s opening song, “I Can Hardly Wait to Fly,” the first radio single. The song is a safe choice to introduce the group to new fans on the radio. However, several other songs are stronger, including the Rachel McCutcheon penned “Ain’t It Good”, which features Stan on the first verse and Justin on the second.
Jerry’s bass voice is a tremendous addition to the group. He is featured one of the project’s strongest songs, “Lord Of Mercy.” That would have been my pick for the first radio single. I love the mix on this song as it leaves Jerry’s vocal hot coming out of the verses and really grabs you. Jerry and Justin split the verses on the project’s final song, “Everything The Blood Touches Lives.” The song is slow and uses “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power” as a bridge, but still feels too short.
My one question concerning Undivided is if the second week of the year is too soon to declare a CD the best of the year?
EDITORS NOTE: Like Brandon, I really enjoyed Undivided and I highly recommend this project. From start to finish, this project has something for everyone. This recording was my introduction to Jerry Pilgrim and let me tell you, I was impressed. “Lord Of Mercy” is a song I put on repeat a lot, I also enjoyed Jerry’s other features on “I Know What He Did For Me” and “Everything The Blood Touches Lives“. I also loved “This Same Jesus” and “Send Somebody”, which feature Justin.
With the recent disbandment of quartet’s like The Old Paths
, Driven Quartet
, and Brian Free & Assurance
‘s transition to a trio, Master’s Voice
is a great quartet to step up and fill this void. These guys are worth hearing and Undivided is a great introduction to them. To order your copy of Undivided, you can purchase it from Master’s Voice web store
or download it on iTunes
Review copy provided by Crossroads Label Group.