Album Review: “Joy Awaits” by The Gospel Harmony Boys

With their smooth four part harmony and unique vocal arrangements, West Virginia’s own Gospel Harmony Boys have been delighting Gospel Music fans since 1952. Their membership roster has included some of Gospel Music’s finest talents, such as Harold Lane, Harold Patrick, Roger Horne, Greg Tingler are just a few names that come to mind. The current lineup is carrying on that tradition in grand style, anchored by the groups long time tenor vocalist Dr. Clacy Williams. Lead singer Scott Brooks, baritone Scott Adams and bass singer Brandon Stone round out the current GHB lineup. Their latest recording, Joy Awaits, was just released last week and is the first recording with this lineup of personnel. The project was produced and arranged by John Darin Rowsey  (The Guardians, Karen Peck & New River) and a GHB alumnus, James Rainey (Singing Americans, Greenes)

13092005_1065474756851443_1552174179884593527_nThe project kicks off with the title cut, “Joy Awaits”, which is a classic sounding quartet song featuring  Brooks. I simply have not been able to stop listening to this song, it’s a quartet lover’s dream come true. In fact, its hard to not hit the repeat button on this one! The second song, “Heaven Is The Place Where Dreams Come True”, is one of two songs you’ll find written by the great Dianne Wilkinson. It’s another great quartet song that showcases the smooth, four part harmony that has been the group’s trademark down through the years. The third track. “Yes He Can”, showcases the group’s two newest members, baritone Scott Adams and bass vocalist on Brandon Stone, on both the first and second verses respectively. Brooks steps up for the feature on “Grace Has A Face”. This has been a popular Christmas song, but it’s appropriate for any time of season and Brooks does a fantastic job on it. The pace picks back up with a great quartet song, “Walking In The Light Of His Love”.

The second half of the project kicks off with a great song, “In The Arms of Jesus”, featuring Brooks. This song was originally recorded by Terry Blackwood during his tenure with Friends IV back in the 90’s. Many lead singers would not be able to pull this song off, but those lead singers are not Scott Brooks. If you’ve never heard this gentleman sing, you owe it to yourself to pick up this project! There’s no doubt in my mind that Mr. Brooks is one of the finest lead singers in Gospel Music today and this song is evidence to that fact. He absolutely hits this one out of the park, and the group’s backing vocals behind him are excellent. Not too many groups on the road today could do a song of this caliber, but the GHB nailed it!

The next track is another one from the pen of Dianne Wilkinson, “The Good News Is”, which features Clacy (It also has a cool introduction from Paul Heil of The Gospel Greats) For nearly 40 years, Williams has consistently been one of the finest tenors in our industry and he is still getting the job done! The other Scott, baritone Adams, takes the feature on a great song, “Thank You For The Sunshine”. Its a slower pace, acoustic song that Adams does a great job on. You can tell a lot about a quartet by their baritone and Adams is a rich voice that is very enjoyable to listen to. Next up is another great quartet song, “Just Think Heaven”. The GHB actually recorded this song back in 1978 and brought it back for this recording. The song has some great harmony that features Clacy on the chorus after the first verse and Brandon on the chorus after the second verse. For a 19 year old bass singer, Stone is doing a great job. I appreciate the fact that he is singing bass in his range, not trying to rattle the subwoofers at every opportunity, yet still singing some low bass. In a day when many young bass singers are trying to sound like George, JD, or Tim Riley, its refreshing to hear a young bass singer just sing.  The project comes to a close with a medley of He Touched Me/How Great Thou Art, featuring Adams on the verses and both Stone and Brooks on the trumpet.

Joy Awaits has been an absolute joy to listen to! In fact, it has not left my cd player at all this week, as I’ve listened through it several times. In my opinion, The Gospel Harmony Boys have one of the best blends they’ve had in recent years. If you’re unfamiliar with this great quartet, now would be a great time to check them out. Joy Awaits is without a doubt a quartet lover’s dream and one of the Top 5 Best CD’s released this year, I highly recommend picking up this cd, you will not regret it!

You can order a physical copy today from the guys here or purchase a digital copy for immediate download here. Be sure to checkout the GHB on Facebook and social media, as well as their website.

Rating – 5 Stars out of 5 Stars

Brian’s Favorites – Joy Awaits, Heaven Is The Place Where Dreams Come True, In The Arms of Jesus, The Good News Is, Just Think Heaven.

 

Jamie Caldwell Joins The Gospel Harmony Boys

IMG_0001AThe Gospel Harmony Boys have announced that Jamie Caldwell has joined the group as their new baritone vocalist. Caldwell, a native West Virginian,  is best known for his years with the Dixie Melody Boys & Weatherfords. The group has issued the following press release.

“The Gospel Harmony Boys are pleased to announce that Dr. Jamie Caldwell has become part of our 60 year old ministry.  Jamie came on board April 1st to sing baritone and to be used of God in whatever manner He leads.  Jamie is an extraordinary talent who has dedicated himself to His Lord, His music and His ministry. Mountaineers by birth, Jamie and his beautiful wife Deana have recently returned to West Virginia, from Dallas, Texas where he served on staff at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary as the Director of Recruitment and Minister of Worship. 

Jamie is a lifelong musician and song writer whose desire is to follow Jesus and serve the church as he continues to develop his craft.  His music has carried him all over the world and onto numerous well known stages like Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and live performances on the BBC in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  His path has led him to serve with Gospel Music legends like Ed O’Neal and the Dixie Melody Boys as well as one of our very favorites, Lily Fern & The Weatherfords.  Jamie’s recognitions are many, but being the recipient of a Platinum Album Award from the Recording Industry Association of America rests among his favorites.

 In addition to his extraordinary experiences in the music industry, Jamie has also experienced God’s call to the pastorate having served churches in Ohio, Indiana, Virginia and West Virginia for over 25 years.  His experiences include First Baptist in Newark, OH and early in his career, he traveled with noted evangelist B.R. Lakin.

 In his personal life, Jamie is a collector of hobbies and motorized toys, but his passion is reserved for his family – especially his grandkids.

 We are excited that Jamie and Deana have returned to their home in West IMG_210BVirginia and we are delighted that God’s timing has brought his talent and testimony to the ministry that is The Gospel Harmony Boys.”

I am intrigued to hear how Caldwell will blend with the group, he was a powerful lead with the DMB, having the tall task of replacing McCray Dove when he left the group. For those of you who may not have heard Jamie, heres a clip of him taken from a Gaither video. If the Gospel Harmony Boys are in your area, make sure you go hear this great group. Check out their website here.