Prime Cuts: The King and I, A Place Called Grace, Every Hallelujah
Some albums are just pure entertaining to listen to. Others are so theologically profound pregnant with so much Biblical truths that you find yourself returning to again and again. But few albums can be both popularly accessible as well as Biblically erudite. Canton Junction's "Every Hallelujah" is an exception. This is an album that sets into music over 13 newly recorded songs how we can count it all joy in every trials. Utilizing poignantly crafted stories with well-developed narrative plotlines and three dimensional relatable characters, these songs provide for us real-life scenarios of how we can always shout "hallelujah" even in the most adverse circumstances. And as an added bonus, these stories are brought to live with well-structured melodic pieces that thrive on the country and Southern Gospel side of Christian music.
The origins of Canton Junction go way back to 2011 when founding members Matthew Hagee, Michael Sykes and Aaron Crabb were asked to sing "At the Cross" during a church service, after a last-minute cancellation. The harmony was so effortless, they knew this was no accident. Shortly thereafter, bass singer Tim Duncan joined and a group name was chosen: Canton Junction, which means "when good things come together." Since their official debut in 2012, the Texas-based quartet has thrilled audiences across the U.S., Canada, Scotland and Israel with their inspiring message and high-energy performances. With the release of "Every Hallelujah," the quartet also sees the addition of new members Ryan Seaton (baritone) and Casey Rivers (lead), joining Hagee and Duncan.
"Tumbling Down," a rustic fiddle and banjo country fest, captures the heartbeat of the record. Wrapped around the context of the story of Paul and Silas prison experience from Scripture, "Tumbling Down" speaks of a profound trust in the sovereignty of Jesus despite our circumstances. Continuing on this theme of faith but this time told within the story of Noah is "It Wasn't Raining." Tim Duncan shows his mettle of what a fine bass singer he is as he takes the lead on this bouncy number. "Weep No More," which is also the album's lead single from this album as well as the soundtrack "Four Blood Moons," isn't the strikingly first single material with its somehow nebulous melodic line.
In a much better position to showcase the album as a potential single is the title cut "Every Hallelujah." A crescendo soaring worship piece that boasts the seamless harmony of the foursome, "Every Hallelujah" has "classic" stamped all across it. Written by Sue C. Smith and Kenna West, the string-laden "A Place Called Grace" really hits home with searching lines that says, "You came to me when the sun was shining bright/It's just so easy to ignore You when all's well in my life." As far as the best cover songs goes, "The King and I" wins the vote. With its sweeping orchestrated backings that recall some of Legacy Five's finest efforts, the boys have made our blessed relationship with Jesus so gloriously sweet.
Yes, few indeed are albums these days that can be both a blessing to the ears and heart. And Canton Junction's "Every Hallelujah" is one of them.