Prime Cuts: I'm Not Gonna Leave, Angels Sing My Victory Song, Just Before the Dawn
Overall Grade: 5/5
The success of an album ultimately rests on the song choices. Albums can temporarily surge in popularity with the hype artists can build around it or with the star power of artists guesting on the tracks. But at the end of the day, the longevity of an album still resides in the songs. Whether an album makes it or not still has to be judged by whether the songs have something to say and whether they are said in a memorable and engaging way. Sunday Drive understands this point well. In making this record, their followup to 2016's "Special Edition," the trio have searched far and wide for these 10 new songs. And proud to say, all the 10 songs are superb. Essentially, there are no sub-par fillers here; each of these 10 songs has a voice that needs to be heard.
Sunday Drive comprises of Jeff, Misty and Dusty Meece. Together, they have been honored to receive over 20 Entertainer and Vocal Group of the Year awards combined with multiple #1 songs. They have had the privilege to perform at prestigious venues such at The Grand Ole Opry, Silver Dollar City, Dollywood and The National Quartet Convention. They have also shared the stage with The Oak Ridge Boys, The Gaithers, Big Daddy Weave, David Crowder Band, The McKameys and many more.
"A Million Miles" finds Sunday Drive cruising the same country route set by their preceding record. Calling to mind country music of the 90s when flowing melodies accompanied by the rustic sounds of soft acoustic guitar strums and fiddling, "Right Where You Want Me to Be" is the perfect album opener. "Born Again" is to be commended on two premises. First, the song itself is an ingenious way of bringing to life John 3. Second, Misty who takes the lead here has such a rich alto that one can't help but hear traces of the late Karen Carpenter in her nuances. Written by label mate Mark Bishop, the wistful-sounding title track "A Million Miles" packs so much truth, nostalgia, and faith.
Just as with their previous effort, the ballads are way beyond excellent. Misty again has outdone herself with "I'm Not Gonna Leave." Putting herself into the shoes of various Bible characters such as Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus, Misty reflects upon the those precious moments when we get to linger with Jesus. The song itself is so moving you may want to have your Kleenex nearby. More heart-tugging moments come with the piano-led "Angels Sing My Victory Song" and hope overflowing "Just Before the Dawn."
If catchiness is the gauge for what gets to be released to radio, "He Set Me Free" is a strong contender to be the album's sophomore single after "Living in the Middle of His Will" has run its course. One distinguishing earmark of Sunday Drive is their love also for lighthearted comedy. This time they have included the hilarious "It's All About Me" to end the record on a funny note. All in all, this is a rock solid effort; easily, this is a strong contender for our "Album of the Year" accolade.