Prime Cuts: The God I Know, Come Sunday Morning, i Need Jesus to Walk on Water
Overall Grade: 4/5
The Old Paths do not need to convince us whether or not they are real. Their composite passion undergirding each syllable, their love for Christ-centered songs coined with poignant applicability, and their sincere positioning of their vocals all testify to their authentic love for Jesus. In this regard, "It's Real," the quartet's first album after a hiatus from the road, doesn't disappoint. With a rejuvenated energy, this 7-track record thumps along with lots of upbeat expositions of what real Christianity looks, rooted in personal experiences. Consisting of founding members Tim Rackley and Douglas Roark, longtime bass singer Daniel Ashmore and tenor Steve Ladd, the Old Paths are back on a good note.
The EP starts off with the brassy harmony-layered "i Need Jesus to Walk on Water." The pride of this track is in the brilliance of how the Old Paths take a Biblical account (in this case of Jesus walking on water) and apply it to our everyday lives. Such a hermeneutical move itself is worth the price of the record. "The God I Know" is another lodestar. Written by Lee Black and Jerry Salley, this is a heart-wrenching power ballad that gives comfort to how God still is sovereign even when our circumstances prove otherwise. Never tired of singing about the resurrection, the boys give a jazzy (with first-class piano frills) rendition of the Easter account on "Come Sunday Morning."
Moving a tad away from their nostalgic quartet sound is the delightful Beatles-esque title track "It's Real." Yet, the EP is not without its weaknesses: though there's a power packed chorus by the team, "Lord Knows" is melodically pedestrian. One would have traded the nondescript thumping "The Truth come Shinning Through" for another power ballad. And with too many trusting in Jesus songs, "When It Comes to Jesus" sounds a tad redundant. With only 7 cuts, it's already too minimalistic for this record to be stock with fillers.
Yet, despite a few missteps, "It's Real" is a most-welcoming return for the Old Paths. Authentic, engaging, and most importantly, this is an album soaked in Jesus and how he works today in our lives.