Prime Cuts: Look for Me, Who Am I, Sweet, Sweet Spirit
Some songs have an immortal quality to them. Despite the passing of time, trends, hypes, fads, and styles, they linger. They have such a strong hold in our psyche and spirits that they are ones we think of when we are surrounded by stress and despair. And they are the ones we hum to consciously or not when we are met with joy. These 11 newly recorded songs serve the same functions for the Kramers. "Revive Us Again," to the Southern Gospel trio, is more than just another album. Rather, this is a collection of songs that are cardinal to the lives of the Kramers and their fans. They are ones that are often requested by fans whenever the Kramers are on the road. And they are the ones that have done the work of revival of faith in the lives of many of their concert-goers. Thus, "Revive Us Again" in short, is collection of the church's most cherished hymns and Southern Gospel offerings re-imagined by the Kramers in their patented stylings.
The Kramers consist of D. Scott Kramer (vocals, guitar, keyboards) Rachel West Kramer (vocals) and Maria Kramer (19 year-old daughter - vocals, ukulele, mandolin, piano, guitar). They are recording artists with Electric Station Records label group. They have shared the concert platform with several Gaither Homecoming artists including Larry Gatlin, Russ Taff, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Palmetto State Quartet, and the Oak Ridge Boys. They've been invited to share at the Gaither Fall Festival and the National Quartet Convention. Rachel West Kramer sang at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. with President George W. Bush and First Lady, Laura Bush in attendance. Scott also produces and co-hosts the Good News Music Radio Program & Concert Series with Gaither Homecoming Artist, Woody Wright - which is currently airing in 32 states and 11 countries.
"Revive Us Again" is the family first recorded project and it opens with two familiar hymns of the church the title cut "Revive Us Again" and "I Stand Amazed in the Presence." Gorgeously nested in some majestically sounding strings, Rachel and Maria's seamless harmonies effortlessly draw us into the awe of worship. These two worship pieces climaxes with the family's take of African American Doris Mae Akers' "Sweet, Sweet Spirit." One of the most endearing "modern" hymns of the American church from last century, "Sweet, Sweet Spirit" reminds us of how much we need to pray for the empowerment of the Spirit. Then the Kramers segues into yet another American classic, Bill and Gloria Gaithers' "Because He Lives."
Though Whitney Houston still has the definitive take of Dottie Rambo's "I Go to the Rock," the Kramers' rendition trails not that far behind. Nevertheless, the album's highlight is their take of Rusty Goodman's "Who I Am" (formerly recorded by Elvis Presley amongst others). Featuring Rusty's daughter Tanya Goodman Skyes on accompanying vocals, "Who I Am" has some of the most piercing lyrics as far as the cross is concerned. Equally beautiful is the other Rusty Goodman contribution "Look for Me." The Kramers have nailed this moving ballad by infusing each note with just the right emotions bringing out a fresh nuance to the song that is pulverising. They closed off the set with another Gaither tune "I Believe in a Hill Called Calvary." Here they leave us with a bang showcasing what stellar voices they have with those high and long holding Everest notes.
"Revive Us Again" is more than just a covers album. Rather, with each sonic chestnut, the Kramers have invested each note with their life experiences, faith, and creativity. Add to this their first class backing and superb production. The Kramers not only make these songs theirs, but they provide us with a sublime record that is going to be as immortal as these songs are.
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