Prime Cuts: A New Look, Power in the Bones, Chain Gang
"Just take a new look at an old book/And see the things you might've missed so long ago," so sing Kingdom Heirs. "A New Look" isn't just another Southern Gospel album to litter the already saturating market. Rather, what Kingdom Heirs seek to accomplish via their latest Crossroads album is to enable us to see truths from passages in God's word that we often missed. Like a seasoned preacher who has so immersed himself with God's word, Kingdom Heirs are able to articulare piquant observations that are not only scintillating but palatable to our own personal walk with Christ. For instance, when was the last time you have heard a song or even a sermon about how Elisha's bones revive a dead soldier in 2 Kings 13? Yet, on "Power of the Bones," Kingdom Heirs take this obscure passage and transforms it into truths for today over a gorgeous and memorable tune.
Starting in 1981, this septet began singing in churches. Later in 1981 they began singing at the Silver Dollar City theme park, which is now Dollywood. In 1986 when the theme park took on their new name, The Kingdom Heirs were asked to become the resident gospel group and now this year, both The Kingdom Heirs and Dollywood will be celebrating 28 years. The Kingdom Heirs have been nominated many times for industry awards such as The SGMA Awards, Dove Awards and The Singing News Fan Awards. Winning Newcomer Group of the Year in 1989, the group has been a constant favorite. The latest award is 2014 Band of the Year, which the band also won in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2013. They have also had many top ten songs, and currently have had 38 top 5 songs in a row and 11 number 1s.
Vis-à-vis their prodigious musical outputs, "A New Look" is the septet richest record in terms of its lyrical content. But it's not just the words to bounce off at us with great affection, the tunes are just as impacting. Capitalizing on one of the sonic pillars of Southern Gospel music is the proliferation of country swing tunes. The title cut "A New Look" is fest for the ear with its delightful swinging fiddles and strings. Likewise, featuring lots of jazzy-piano riffs over a marching beat is "More Like Jesus." Label mate Mark Bishop is to be congratulated for penning what is the buzz song of the record. "Chain Gang" is a fascinating bluesy narrative song that give exposition to one of the most neglected teachings of Scripture: how sin enslaves us.
Dennis Murphy's "Pieces" showcases Kingdom Heir's mettle for churning out heart-tugging ballads. Quipped with lots of brassy punctuations and organ shimmers, "Pieces" speaks of how the Gospel brings wholeness to our lives. Kenna T. West, Sue C. Smith, and Lee Black's "Never Made a Promise" may not charter new lyrical ground, but it showcases how seamless and affecting the guys' harmonies are. If you love the big and bombastic sound a la their "The Borrowed Tomb," "The Church Will Overcome" will knock our socks off again especially with their crescendo-building blasts.
Thus, "A New Look" not only will open our minds to understand God's Word afresh, but the album continues in the traditional sounds of the team that we have come to appreciate and love.