August 14, 2009 Leave a comment
This is the latest release from the Dove Brothers. Personnel on this recording remains Jerry Martin – Tenor, McCray Dove – Lead, Eric Dove – Baritone, David Hester – Bass, and Jerry Kelso – Piano. This lineup has been consistent for several years now, and the consistency shows through on the group’s recordings.
- Hold On – The recording opens up with the title track, a midtempo, heavily country influenced number penned by McCray Dove. McCray sings the verses and shows off some impressive lower register that David Murray rightly compares to Randy Travis and George Jones. David loves it. Me, not so much, but that’s because I’m not a big country music fan. McCray does a great job in singing that particular style, however, and those of you who, like DBM, enjoy the country sound will LOVE this song. The chorus features some nice harmonies from the group, and the tag lets Jerry Martin reach toward the rafters. Even though I’m not big on this style, it is a very catchy song. 5/10
- I’m Gonna Rise, I’m Gonna Fly – Now this is more my style. This is a fairly traditional quartet styled song that is very reminiscent of the quartet’s early days and comes from the pen of Larry Collie. The first verse is done by the entire quartet. The second verse is done by each member of the quartet in turn singing solo lines. After another chorus they change keys, sing the chorus straight, then repeat it inverting the harmonies up a bit and adding some modern harmony. The tag has some great harmony to it. 7.5/10
- Leaving On My Mind – This is a great cover of the Rusty Goodman classic. David Hester sings the verses and does a fantastic job. Hester is really an overlooked bass singer, but he’s as solid as they come. Martin and Hester trade off on the melody on the chorus with Hester singing some lines solo, then Martin carrying the melody on the lines with group harmonies. Hester smacks a nice low note on the tag. Not much else to say about a great cover of one of our true classics. 10/10
- When I Wake Up In The Morning – Written by Mark Mathes, this song starts of with a nice acappella line full of modern harmony, then the track kicks in with a mid to uptempo convention style. Jerry Martin has the melody and shows why he is easily one of the best tenors in Southern Gospel. This song is actually fairly reminiscent of what Martin did with the Kingsmen. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place on one of the Kingsmen CDs of the era. These guys sing the fire out of this song. Incredibly enjoyable. 9.5/10
- He’s Gonna Smile On Me – This is a classic from the Oak Ridge Boys famous “half Joe Bonsall-half Wilile Wynn” self titled album from 1974. Eric Dove tackles Duane Allen’s lead vocals on this song and does a fine job. The track keeps a 70s sounding rock organ in the mix, but has been updated quite nicely. There’s some nice smooth harmony in the chorus. I loved the Oak Ridge Boys version of this song, and I love the Doves take on it as well. 10/10
- A Little Good News – This is the first single from the project. Jerry Martin sings this country flavored ballad contributed by Charlie Black, Rory Bourke, and Thomas Rocco. Martin shines on his vocals here. This cut features some nice vocals from the group, and the lyrics talk about the constant bad news we see in this country. Much like Gold City’s “What Children Believe”, this more of a country song, though on the tag, the guys point out that the Gospel is the source of good news that we need. Good song, and an interesting choice for the first single. 8.5/10
- Back To Egypt – Sandy Knight contributes this mid to uptempo traditional quartet song. McCray steps back up for the first verse, then after the chorus Eric Dove takes the second verse. This song serves well to show that the Dove Brothers are still a top notch SG quartet after the more progressive/country sounds of the previous tune. Solid song here. 7/10
- Little David – Another classic is given a good dust off here. This time it’s Sandy Knight’s midtempo classic. It’s a fairly straightforward rendition with David Hester singing the verses. After the second verse, the key changes and Hester sings the third verse with the rhythm becoming a bit more syncopated instead of the smooth rhythm that has been present up to this point. The song smooths back out for the subsequent chorus. Nice version of the classic. 8/10
- Jesus, He’s Everything To Me – This song comes from McCray Dove’s pen. The intro to this song is VERY similar to what Won By One used for their version of “King Jesus” back in the 90′s, and initially sets you up for a cajun feel, but the song comes a bit back toward a traditional quartet. Hester again steps up for the verses. After the second verse, the key changes and Jerry Martin takes the lead. Another solid song. 8/10
- He’s Sending Miracles – Another Sandy Knight classic is given the Dove Brothers treatment. Originally recorded by Karen Peck and New River, it’s an out of the box choice for a quartet song. It’s given a country ballad feel, with McCray Dove singing lead. Again, the track is just a bit too country for my taste, but the performance is very good, and the song itself is excellent. 7/10
Overall: 8 This is a very solid recording by the Dove Brothers. There are quite a few covers on this project, but they are all done well by the group. Fans of both traditional quartet music and more country gospel type styles will both find plenty to like on this album. There isn’t a huge hit like “I Can Pray” on here to my ears, but there’s also nothing on here that you’d want to skip over either. Jerry Martin continues to show that he is in the upper echelon of tenors in the industry, and David Hester is a great bass singer, who is far too overlooked in my opinion. The Doves in the middle turn in their typical high quality performances as well. McCray also contributes some fine songs as a writer. Eric does a great job filling in the harmony parts, and his wide range, particularly on the upper end really gives the group a lot of flexibility in their arrangements. Producer Danny Crawford and the Dove Brothers have assembled a project that is an easy listen, and one fans of the group will definitely want to add to their collection. This is a fine recording by all involved.