February 18, 2011 12 Comments
This is my first introduction to the music of Mercy’s Well. Consisting of Tenor – Brad Strider, Lead – Kyle King, and Baritone – Greg Gainer, this CD is an indy CD produced by Donna Beauvais that rivals any major label CD in production and quality. The album is currently available on iTunes or can be ordered from the group’s website.
- Power Prelude – The CD starts with a short, upbeat chorus of “Power In The Blood” that is in the same key and transitions smoothly into…
- Big Praise – …an uptempo P&W style song from the collective pens of Sue Smith, Lee Black, and Kenna Turner West. The song starts with some nice unison from the group on the first line before splitting into trio harmony. The track features some nice brass accents to a guitar and organ driven track. The first line of the second verse is a solo while the rest alternates between unison and trio harmony. It’s an infectious tune that can get stuck in your head. Smooth vocals. 8.5/10
- Faith Looks Up – Written by Marty Funderburk and Donna Brooks, this is a modern country flavored tune with a neat lyric that contrasts looking up in faith to looking down in fear or around in worry. The verses are done solo, with some nice smooth harmonies from the guys on the chorus. Solid song. 6.5/10
- Even In The Sorrow – Lee Black and Kenna Turner West contribute this country tinged ballad. It features some great singing from the group and really features the smooth blend that these three possess. This is one of my favorite songs on the CD. Great message and a great performance. 9/10
- Carry That Load – This is another uptempo country tune contributed by Joel Lindsey and Lee Black. Kyle King and Greg Gainer trade off solo lines on the first verse, along with some unison and trio harmony interspersed. Once again, the main focus on this song is on the blend between the three voices. This song sounds like something you’d heard on country radio. 7/10
- More Like Jesus, Less Like Me – This midtempo Dianne Wilkinson tune is given a bouncy country pop feel. This catchy tune sounds like something you would hear from the Gatlin Brothers. Another good, solid, smooth song. 7.5/10
- Anything – Written by Donna Beauvais and Matt Toth, this is a more traditional or pop sounding ballad. The chord progression at the end of the chorus is especially interesting. This is another one of my picks of the project: a great lyric, nice arrangement, smooth harmonies, and a great all around performance. 9/10
- What You See – Written by the team of Sue Smith, Lee Black, and Kenna West, this is an uptempo tune that walks the line between country and pop. There’s a snippet of the Praise and Worship song “Open The Eyes Of My Heart” in the tag of the song that really fits the overall theme. Solid tune. 6.5/10
- The Ifs In Life – An interesting title leads to an interesting lyric on this song from writers Donna Beauvais, Chris Binion, and Don West. Stylistically it’s a midtempo modern country song with the trademark smooth harmonies from the group. Another solid cut. 7.5/10
- On My Cross – Written by Jeromy Diebler, this is a cover of a song by the CCM group FFH. I’ve always liked FFH’s material, and this is one of their better songs. This is a tender ballad with a track primarily driven by acoustic guitar on the first verse with some light percussion, and more instrumentation added on the chorus and going forward. I really like the key change and repeat chorus at the end of the song. It gives the song just the right amount of build in intensity. This is a great lyric and a very good performance. 9.5/10
- Saved – Donna Beauvais, Brad Strider, and Matthew Garinger contributed this “new-grass” feeling uptempo tune. There’s an interesting flip in the melody of the chorus where the melody changes hands from the baritone part to the tenor in the middle of the chorus, it occurs seamlessly in the line “Got hope for each tomorrow, cause Heaven knows my name.” It’s a nice little musical touch that adds a lot to the song. 8/10
- The Power – Twila LaBar and Joel Lindsey collaborated on this ballad that is the debut single from the project. It’s written in a flowing, 3/4 feel. It’s a really nice, reassuring lyric, that is performed very well by the group. This is probably the most traditional SG sounding song on the disc, and will probably do well on radio. Solid song. 8/10
Overall: 8 As I stated in the beginning of this review, this was my first exposure to Mercy’s Well, and I came away really impressed by the smoothness that these three guys have in their ensemble sound. I’m not a country music fan at all, but this CD, while decidedly more country than what I typically listen to, provides a very enjoyable, easy listen. Their cover of FFH’s “On My Cross” is fantastic, and there are several cuts on the disc that I would have no trouble imagining hearing on either SG or Country radio. Brad, Kyle, and Greg, along with producer Donna Beauvais, have put together a really strong CD. Before I wrap this up, there is something else that is noteworthy. This is by all indications an independent release, but you would never know it. The CD comes with a full, high quality booklet with photos, lyrics, credits, and group “thank you”s; the CD has simple but nice graphic work on it, and the production quality in both vocals and tracks rival anything you’d hear from the major labels. It obvious that there were no punches pulled for this release, and the group is absolutely to be commended for that. Here’s to hope that this project lands them a major label deal, because this CD stands up against anything from the “big guns.” If you’re a fan of the more progressive/modern country side of SG, or a fan of trios like the Booth Brothers or Paid In Full, you’ll DEFINITELY want to pick up this album. Congratulations to Mercy’s Well on a job well done.