Prime Cuts: The God I Know, Faithful Once Again, The Journey
Overall Grade: 3.5/5
The Steeles receive the Midas touch with their StowTown Records debut "A Song to Remind You." Producer and label co-owner Wayne Haun has given this seven-song record an engaging sound, making this one of their best offering in their canon. In contrast to some of their earlier independent releases, "A Song to Remind You" doesn't suffer from those "demo" like feel. Rather, with lush strings, top-notched musicians, and crystal clear backings, these songs allow the Steeles to shine with their gorgeous stacked harmonies. And the songs run the gamut, from bouncy Gospel toe-tappers to big soaring ballads to jazzy country thumpers.
Instead of revving up the velocity and starting off with a lightning speed burner like most Southern Gospel albums do, the Steeles.start off the proceedings with the mid-tempo shuffler "Glory." Written by Jeff Steele, Brad Steele and Wayne Haun, "Glory" is a well-paced song of praise to Jesus for all that he has done for us. Members of the Steeles, in their various configurations, do have a hand in writing with all the cuts here. Most poignant is the Jeff and Brad Steele composition "What If Jesus." -- which challenges us not to settle for a caricature of who Jesus is. In terms of the backing, words and melody, "This is the Church" finds the team hitting all the right buttons, but the song just doesn't have the hook to make it a stand out.
Much better is Brad Steele's "Faithful All the Way." The clever turn of words and the melodic progression make this cut shine. Though the bluesy piano riffs of the title cut "A Song to Remind You" starts the song off well, the repetitious chorus tilts it to the nagging side. Not to be missed is the power ballad "The God I Know." Framed from a first personal perspective, this is one of the finest testimonies of God's faithfulness set to music. Also packed with lots of verve is the pop-centric "The Journey." The earnest delivery and the punchy tune make this a great candidate for being a radio single.
While many of StowTown acts tend to rely on outside songs, it is good to see various members of the Steeles contributing to the songwriting here. This allows the group members to put their own signature on the record even more. Yet, such a virtue can also be turned into a vice when some of the weaker songs are also thrown in to fill the quota, discounting what could have been an excellent effort.