It has been announced that Taranda Kiser Greene has officially launched her solo ministry, and in the process she re-branded herself as just Taranda (Daniel Mount has a great take on the re-branding part). I personally hope she is very successful in her ministry, and that she does not get lost in the shuffle of the many Southern Gospel soloists that are out there. With a voice as stunningly beautiful and powerful as hers, she should do just fine; Though it seems that having a great voice/voices and/or stage presence, does not always translate to chart topping success, as Doug Harrison (AveryFineLine) points out in his entry about Sisters (The Ruppes). Be in prayer for her, and her family as she take this next step in her career.
The Dixie Echoes announced today that bass singer Trent Adams is departing the group. I personally really liked what Trent brought to the table for the Dixie Echoes. A good replacement in my mind would be Brandon Barry of the Old Paths; he may not want to leave them though since they are starting to really make some waves in the Southern Gospel world…
The Dixie Echoes are currently looking for a replacement, and interested parties should contact Stewart Varnado at email@example.com.
The Kingdom Heirs have been around for twenty five years and have had many excellent albums,and member lineups in that time. The latest addition to their discography could possibly go down as one of their very best. This Kingdom Heirs CD marks the first one with Jerry Martin manning the tenor position; he is a terrific addition to this powerhouse group. Below I will list each song individually, along with my thoughts on each one. Lets get started shall we?
1. I’m Not Worried About Forever- This mid tempo song is a little different approach to an opening number on a CD. I personally love this type of song on down the list rather than at the beginning; but I digress. As for the song itself lyrically it is solid and is a very encouraging song for the believer. The tag instead of being hard driving (like most KH songs) is relatively light which fits with the whole feel of the song. Overall this is a very lovely song. 9/10
2. Tell Me Why- I like this hard driving song that actually in my opinion would have been a great opener. The song is a mid to uptempo song that is right in the Kingdom Heirs wheelhouse. They have always excelled in this style. Jerry Martins voice comes out a little more on this one, as they hand off the melody to him towards the end. He and Arthur Rice may be one of the best tenor/lead combos out there already… I honestly love this song both lyrically and musically. 10/10
3. I’m A Brand New Man- I have always loved songs about Zacchaeus. , and this one is no exception. This one was penned by Joseph Habedank and Dianne Wilkinson; they are without a doubt a brilliant writing team. As for the song, as I mentioned it is about Zacchaeus, Jeff Chapman gets the lead on the verses, and man does he do a excellent job. Chapman is one of the best bass singers out there, and this song (among others) shows why. 8/10
4. If You Give The Devil An Inch- This song penned by Dianne Wilkinson (she wrote ten out of the twelve on this project) is an interesting lyrical piece about how if you give the Devil an inch he will become your ruler. Which is a little different from the normal “if you give someone an inch they will take a mile”. Musically this song has a nice jazzy track that is accompanied by some great harmonies from the guys. 8/10
5. Heaven Is My Goal- This is favorite of mine from this project and is another mid to uptempo song that will have you singing along fairly quickly. Jerry Martin truly stands out in a big way on this track; he is one of the best tenors in the business, and he certainly showed that on this particular song. I truly love the built in turnaround at the end that will have you tapping your foot and loving every second of it. I really want to see this one performed in a live setting! 10/10
6. It’s Real- This song written by Squire Parsons is a terrific uptempo convention style song that features some extremely neat vocal arrangements, especially at the end. I would have loved to see a turnaround on this; but I suppose you can not always turnaround a song no matter how much the listener wants to hear more. 10/10
7. When Heaven’s Gates Swing Open Wide- This song sounds like it was written about 70 years ago; but Dianne Wilkinson just wrote it recently and the Kingdom Heirs recorded for this album. As for the song it is an older sounding convention song featuring Jerry Martin turning in a exceptionally strong performance. He is a tenor that can sing in varying styles, and that is what makes him one of the best out there. I really like this song. 9/10
8. I’m Gonna Hit The Ground Running- This song is a excellent follow-up to the latter song. Jeff Chapman gets the feature on this 1950′s style Southern Gospel song. Chapman pounds out some powerful low notes on this number, the rest of the guys provide some very enjoyable harmonies in the background. This is another song that I would like to see done live. 9/10
9. No Bones About It- I personally believe this is one the stronger songs on this project. This song like many of the ones before it fits the Kingdom Heirs sound extremely well. It is reminiscent of a previous song that they recorded called “Good News From The Graveyard”. Jeff Chapman scrapes the bottom of the barrel with his low notes on the chorus. I love this song, and it gets repeated quite a bit when I am listening to this CD. 10/10
10. Where’s John- This is a unique and somewhat spooky song (in a good way) written by Dianne Wilkinson. It is written in a first-person view from a man that is experiencing the aftermath of the rapture. He is talking about open graves everywhere and how his brother is missing who had always warned that this day was coming. Jeff Chapman gets the feature and turns in what may be his best all time performance of any song; he shows some nice upper range, and the rest of the group does a splendid job with the backing vocals. This would be an eerie song to see performed live in a darkened auditorium! 10/10
11. Just Preach Jesus- This song featuring Arthur Rice should be another bona fide Kingdom Heirs song. This song just that “it” factor that should make it a number one radio hit. It has a simple yet powerful message to it; that everyone should take to heart whether you are a preacher or a layman. Arthur Rice turns in a truly impressive performance on this stellar song! 10/10
12. We Will Stand Our Ground- I have heard different people say different things about this song; some say that it could become the Kingdom Heirs “signature song” and others say that it is not all that thrilling I for one feel it very well may go down as the Kingdom Heirs signature song. This stirring anthem is just what the church needs to hear, it is also a song that other southern gospel groups need to hear so they can be encouraged to “Stand Their Ground” I truly love this song and everything about it, the lyrics are powerful and moving and the vocals from the Kingdom Heirs are fantastic. This song alone makes the purchase of the entire CD totally worth it! 10/10
Overall rating: I am giving this album a perfect 10/10.
Summary: The Kingdom Heirs have recorded many good to great albums; but this one exceeds all previous efforts in my opinion. The production was top notch the vocals unsurpassed; and the lyrical content is pure gold… I highly recommend this CD to anyone and everyone that loves Southern Gospel music. The addition of Jerry Martin to this group was a great personnel move that will and already has paid considerable dividends for the Kingdom Heirs. If this album is any indication to what the next 25 years holds for the Kingdom Heirs, then watch out they are a going to continue to be one of the top quartets out there. You can pick this project up here or here.
There is a new Southern Gospel blogger in the cyber world; he or she goes by the pseudonym fridaynightrevial. FNR has a terrific first post up about the legacy of Lari Goss, and some insightful comments about Lari’s most recent work. Check the blog out here.