Prime Cuts: We Welcome Your Spirit, I Know Him, The Cross is All the Proof I Need
Overall Grade: 4/5
"Thankful" is an appropriate titular for Triumphant's latest offering. Celebrating 15 years since the quartet came into existence, this brand new StowTown Records release is filled with tunes of gratitude as well as "Thankful, So Thankful" and "Happy Man." Then there are also songs where the band looks back to their roots. Thus, you will find them offering their renditions of Fairfield Four's "My God Called Me This Morning." But this disc is far from being a nostalgic fest. Navigating new adventurous and virgin grounds, Triumphant even offers a refreshing take of Zach Williams' current smash "Chain Breaker." In short, this is an atemporal visionary-rich record finding the foursome opening themselves to both the past and the future.
Consisting of David Sutton (tenor), Clayton Inman (lead), Scott Inman (baritone), and Eric Bennett (bass), Triumphant are known for being the only established full-time Southern Gospel quartet to never change membership among the vocalists. Their songs, "I Bring You Forgiveness," "Don't Let the Sandals Fool Ya," "Hey, Jonah," and many others have allowed them to be recipients of countless Singing News Fan Awards. The group was bestowed the honor of the "Favorite Traditional Male Quartet" award by the magazine's readers from 2009-2014.
Whilst many Southern Gospel quartet albums often begin with an angular horns blaring uptempo blazer, Triumphant begins with the softer but melodious "We Welcome Your Spirit." By tagging Doris Akers' "Sweet, Sweet Spirit" to the song's tail end, they give the listeners a nice touch of singalong and familiarity. Then they transition into their take of Zach Williams' #1 Christian hit "Chain Breaker." Granted that it is common practice for many acts to record another song from any sub-genre or genre, the point is not always clear. With Zach Williams already associating his name strongly with the song, one is not sure how Triumphant can make it their own. Nevertheless, it's a powerful worship song that liberates our soul to Jesus.
With "The Cross is All the Proof I Need" and "God Will Always be God," producer Wayne Haun puts his mettle with soothing strings and grand orchestration to great use. Especially in the case of the latter, Haun elevates this Gospel-centered ballad to its heavenly majestic heights. A must-hear is the ballad "I Know Him." In times when you have doubts about God's love, "I Know Him" is the type of songs you ought to put on a short playlist to bolster your faith. If faith comes from hearing, this song certainly has the ability to cause faith to grow exponentially.
The banjo licks and tongue twisting lyrics make the bluegrassy "Thankful, So Thankful" irresistible. While the 90s-sounding country "Never Assume" offers some invaluable advice on evangelism. However, the album peters out a bit with the old fashioned sounding "Grace and Mercy" and the predictably-sounding "Bottom of the Barrel." "Thankful" is by no means perfect, but it's promising. It shows that the quartet is not only grateful for the past, but they are also not pigeonholed to the bygone years. Their energy, vision, passion, and ingenuity shine brightly right throughout this album.