3:1: Reach Out (Karen Peck & New River)
3:1 highlights three strong points of an album and one area that could have been improved.
1. On the Banks of the Promised Land: This catchy tune deserves the high praise it’s received in other reviews. It’s not that it contains profound insights about Heaven that we haven’t heard in a half-dozen previous songs. Lyrically, it’s neither steak nor whipped cream. It’s apple pie—and thanks to a catchy tune and a great kick drum track, it’s a particularly tasty slice!
2. Broken Into Beautiful: Don’t let the uncanny musical resemblance to “Unredeemed” (Selah/Martins) distract you from what is easily the project’s most compelling lyric. The lyric is well conceived and carefully crafted. If Karen Peck was a new singer, this would be her signature song.
3. More than Ever: Other reviewers have called this Gaither Vocal Band cover subpar. I disagree. The Gaither Vocal Band cut it in 2000 on I Do Believe. But Karen takes ownership of the song and to the point that newcomers will assume it was written for a soprano. The rendition sounds like I Do Believe meets “Last Night”—and that’s hardly a bad thing.
:1. One thing I would change: More Jeff Hawes. Need I say more?
Well, need to or not, I will. (Twitter is for people who don’t think in complete sentences!) Susan Peck Jackson, Karen’s sister, seems content to be the quiet glue holding the blend together. But Jeff Hawes has great tone and control, and much as we all love Karen’s strong soprano voice, it wouldn’t hurt the album—or the group—if he had an equal share of solos.
Traditional or Progressive?
SouthernGospelBlog.com’s Radio Single Picks
On The Banks of the Promised Land (current single); Broken Into Beautiful. Those two are head and shoulders above the others to the point that each would ideally stay long enough on the charts that a third single is unnecessary.
Average song rating: 2.5 stars. Overall album rating: 3.5 stars—because where the album is strong, it’s really strong. In fact, the standout tracks are so good that one could argue the case that they raise the overall level to 4 stars.