Prime Cuts: Have You Ever, Stay, How Great the Debt
Named after the words derived from Jeremiah 6:16, Old Paths have made it their mantle to walk in the good path, the straight and narrow highway paved only by the Lord. And as a quintet, they have never allow their feet to slip when it comes time to their choice of songs. Regardless of trends or the pressures from commercialism, the Old Paths have always been faithful in their proclamation of the Gospel through music. Songs such as "We Hold These Truths," "He's the Foundation," "Battle Ground" and many others are testimonies of how theologically sound and yet sonically engaging they are. "Stay," the follow-up to last year's mammoth 19-song collection "Decade," doesn't disappoint.
On this new Sonlite Records, they have taken some of the major themes of Scripture, namely the resurrection ("Out of the Grave"), redemption ("How Great the Debt"), and heaven ("Have You Ever") and set them to music that will get our feet tapping and our voices soaring. Produced by Danny Crawford and Jeremy B. Peace, "Stay" comprises of 10 new cuts, with entries coming from Southern Gospel's most respected writers including Dianne Wilkinson, Rebecca Peck, Rodney Birch, Karen Gillespie and many others.
The album starts off on a high note. The jazzy lounge piano of "Have You Ever" is a sonic elevator that gets us all the way up to heaven as we are reminded again of our Blessed Hope in Christ Jesus. With the country steel-drenched ballad "You Never Cease to Amaze Me" we can't help but appreciate how the array of their layered harmonies can effervesce so gorgeously. One listen to "Ordinary People" and it becomes apparent why Sonlite has lifted this Rodney Birch composition as the album's lead single. Encouraging in its message with a flowing melodic hook, "Ordinary People" definitely is no ordinary song.
Always keeping the majors major, the Cross of Jesus gets a wonderfully exposition in the power ballad "How Great a Debt." One must also give the thumbs up to producers Crawford and Peace for seamlessly interweaving the hymn "Jesus Paid It All" into this track. "Stay" is a Biblical narrative of Jesus' interaction with his disciples at his final meal set to music. Thanks to songwriter Ray Scarbrough, "Stay" will get you glued to its narrative unfolding. Not quite as scintillating though is the bluesy "Oh What a Happy Morning" and "What Did They Call Him."
"Stay," as a whole, doesn't disappoint. Keeping the major themes of Scripture at the album's core, this is an album that lives up to the Scripture-saturated and Christ-exalting legacy the Old Paths have always been treading.
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