The Kingsmen are one of the most iconic quartet’s in Gospel Music. Throughout their rich history, the group from Asheville, North Carolina have recorded some of the finest albums in Gospel Music history. In 2014, they released one of their most important and heralded project’s in recent years, Battle Cry. It was universally praised by many critics, including this blogger, and quite popular with their fans. But as is a certainly in life, the group has dealt with changes in the last year. Fan favorite tenor Chris Jenkins departed the group. The group found a new tenor in Joshua Horrell, formerly of Declaration & Adoration Quartet. They Don’t Know is Horrell’s first recording with the group and a mainline release on Crossroads Horizon label. It will be released April 14th, so this is a pre-release review!
The project kicks off with the title track, “They Don’t Know (What The Lord Can Do) features baritone Randy Crawford. It’s a driving song, with some nice horns thrown in (arranged by former Kingsmen Cody McVey) that reminds me alot of something Brian Free & Assurance would cut. A great song nonetheless. “Keep The Lions Hungry“, written by Regina Walden (who had her first chart topping single with “Oh Yes I Am” from Battle Cry“, is the first feature for lead singer Bob Sellers. This is one of my favorite songs on the project. “God Calls It Grace” is the first feature for Horrell, and I must say I was very impressed with Horrell’s vocals on this song. He has really matured vocally since joining the group and this song is a prime example of that.
“Hear The Word of the Lord” is another great uptempo song that features Sellers, this was another one of my favorites. Things slow down a bit for “The Evidence I Need” which features Crawford. Its got a really progressive, comtemporary sound and its very well done. “I’ll Sail Away Yonder” is a great straight ahead quartet song, that features Horrell and gives us our only Ray Reese feature on a stepout line on the chorus. Next up is another ballad, “The Cost of The Cross‘, that features Sellers. “Let Go & Hold Fast” is another great uptempo number featuring Horrell and another one of my favorites on the project.
Horrell is also featured on the next song, “Fade To Black“, written by Crawford. Crawford then takes the lead on the next song, “Don’t Underestimate God’s Grace“. The album comes to a close with another great song, “Legacy‘ that features Sellers. Bob’s features on They Don’t Know are all fantastic, showcasing his growth, range and versatility as a lead singer. This song in particular is definitely a must hear; a challenge to the believer to “leave a legacy of faith pointing the way to Jesus Christ“. I hope this will be a single send to radio, it most certainly is a message that the church needs to here.
I really loved Battle Cry and still believe it’s the best project the group has released in nearly 20 years. However, the guys did a great job on They Don’t Know and I believe the blend on this project is as good, possibly even better than on Battle Cry. Although I really would have liked to have heard a Ray Reese feature on this project (it seems crazy to me that the group couldn’t find a song to feature him on), the song selection, arrangements, and vocals are all top notch. The Kingsmen are keeping the momentum rolling, and its something to be excited about. I definitely recommend you pick up a copy of They Don’t Know so you’ll know just how this cd is!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Favorite Songs: Keep The Lions Hungry, God Calls It Grace, Hear The Word of the Lord, Fade To Black, I’ll Sail Away Yonder, Legacy
Review copy courtesy of Crossroads Music.