Prime Cuts: I Count My Blessings, Don't Give Up on Us, In the Time You Gave Me (with Joey Feek)
Bradley Walker is a storyteller par excellence. When he sings a story song, he gets into the skin of his protagonists and gives each character a three dimensional persona. He has a way of making each scene of the story happen before our eyes. Not only are we given front row seats to the reeling of these stories but we get to feel every emotion expressed through its characters. As a result, there are so many tear-inducing stories on this record that one would do well to have a box of Kleenexes nearby. "Call Me Old Fashioned," Walker's sophomore album, is also his first for Gaither Music. What makes this album extra noteworthy is that this is the first music project of the record's producer Rory Feek since the passing of his wife Joey in March early this year.
Speaking of Joey Feek, it was this Christian country singer who made a final (and life changing) request that Walker performed "Leave It There" at her funeral. Wowing everyone with his tear stained performance, Walker was noticed by Gospel music veteran Bill Gaither who was also at the funeral. This quickly ensued into a record deal and "Call Me Old-Fashioned" is the outcome. A listen to this record becomes apparent why Gaither and Feek were both enamoured by Walker. Considering that Walker himself is confined to a wheelchair suffering from muscular dystrophy, the ballad "I Count My Blessings" is a tug to the heart.
Autobiographical also is the poignant ballad "I Feel Sorry for Them." Co-written by Rory Feek and the late Tim Johnson, the first verse of the song is just transparently arresting: "From the day that I was born I've learned to live with how things are. I'll never step up to the microphone or strum my own guitar. For over 30 years now, I've been sitting in this chair. When people stop and ask me if I think life's been unfair, I say... I feel sorry for the hard-working mother raising children on her own. And I feel sorry for the one who has to call cold underpass his home. And all the lonely people out there who cannot find a friend, I feel sorry for them."
"In the Time You Gave Me" is particularly precious because this is the first posthumously released song by Joey Feek. Adding her crystalline vocals to Walker's sturdy tenor, "In the Time You Gave Me" hauntingly transports us back to Joey's final days and how she found purpose in her sufferings. For those who of us who have faltered in our walk with the Lord will feel like Walker has read our blogs with "Don't Give Up on Us." Sung as a prayer to God, "Don't Give Up On Us" is perspicuous, honest, and bears so much affinity with our souls. The title cut, "Call Me Old-Fashioned," co-written by Dave Turnbull and Jerry Salley, not only bemoans the passing of old-fashioned morals in our society, but the song has such a stellar melody that calls to mind country music in its tuneful best.
It's hard to fault this record; it has perfect written all across it. In this day and age where laziness has prevent many songwriters to work diligently on timeless melodies and lyrics that go beyond the hip factor, "Call Me Old-Fashioned" is a rare find.