CD/DVD Review: Live in Pigeon Forge (Old Paths)
Average Song Rating: 4.4 stars (of 5)
Producers: The Broadcast Group / editing by Jeremy Peace.
Song List: Cloud By Day, Fire By Night; Jesus is Coming Soon; We’ll Sing a Sing; Life Again; It is Well With My Soul; Oh Bless His Name; Hallelujah, I’m Going Home; Somebody Touched the Lord; Echoes From the Burning Bush; Look For Me at Jesus’ Feet; The Rock that Will Never Roll Away; I’m Living in Canaan Now.
This live CD/DVD was recorded in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, at Dollywood. It seems to have been recorded last year (or very early this year), as the group has made a couple of changes since this footage was capture. The project features Mike Matt Clark on piano and Brandon Barry on bass; both have since left the group. Barry’s departure was within the past few weeks, but Clark left months ago and was replaced by Joe Cox. Also since the recording of this project, the Old Paths has added a band for select dates.
The project features a mixture of classics and new songs. Despite that the footage seems to be somewhat old, several of the new songs were from their most recent release of new songs (Today, reviewed here). For the first 2/3 of the concert, there is a roughly 50/50 mix of old and new songs; the final third of the concert is a set of mostly classic songs.
The project ends on a high note—literally—with former Kingsmen tenor Jeremy Peace ending the final song, “Living in Canaan Now”, on a clear and sustained double-high C. While I have heard that Peace and one or two other tenors possess the range to hit that note, and I have even seen a couple of clips on YouTube of Peace hitting it, this is the first Southern Gospel recording I have heard where the note is actually recorded on a professionally produced recording.
If this DVD is an accurate representation of a typical Old Paths concert, fans who prefer lots of singing and a minimum of talking should appreciate baritone/manager Douglas Roark’s emcee style. While he introduces the group, gives his testimony, and makes brief introductory comments for a couple of songs, Roark follows the less-is-more approach.
The video seems to have been recorded with only two cameras, a main shot and a zoomed-in shot focusing on the featured individual. However, most Southern Gospel videos, except the highest-budget ones, only have one more, a roving on-stage camera getting audience shots and closeups of the pianist and band. Other than the fact that we don’t get to see the pianist’s able fingers close-up, the absence of a third camera is not all that noticeable.
This live recording shows that Old Paths is good; if the reports I’ve been receiving from their concerts are accurate, especially from their concerts with a live band, the group has only been improving since.