3:1 Review: Recharged (Ball Brothers)

3:1 Reviews offer three highlights of an album and one area that could have been improved.

1. Distinctive Style: The Ball Brothers sing some of the tightest modern harmonies found anywhere in our genre. When they are selecting material for an album, they don’t adapt their style to the best songs they can find. They know exactly what they want to sound like, and they look until they find songs to fit it.

They pull from the Statesmen (“Sweeter as the Days Go By”) and Francesca Battistelli (“Blue Sky.”) They pull from the Gaither Vocal Band (“Not Gonna Worry” and “Can’t Stop Talking About Him”) and NewSong (“I’ll Rise.”) They pull from the Talley Trio (“Forever In His Care”) and 4Him (“Basics of Life.”) And they pull from songwriters as diverse as Ira Stanphill (“Happiness Is” in the “Happy Am I Medley”) and Caleb Collins (“My Life,” “Healer of My Heart.”)

Oh, and at least when it comes to the vocals, their versions improve on the CCM originals. Compare their take on Francesca Battistelli’s “Blue Sky” to, well … this.

They manage to take this menagerie of songs and, with the possible exception of “My Love,” make each song sound like it was written for their voices. Perhaps no other group in any genre could accomplish that with selections from both Ira Stanphill and Francesca Battistelli!

2. Daniel Ball: Each member of the Ball Brothers—four blood brothers, tenor Andrew, lead singer Daniel, baritone Stephen, and bass Josh—is a good vocalist. But Daniel shows growth as a vocalist with every new release. Recharged is no exception. Even if he is not acclaimed as one yet, from an ability standpoint, he is easily among our genre’s top ten lead singers.

3. Cover Art: When was the last time you saw a design this incredible on a table project? It’s classy, innovative, and exciting, all at the same time.

:1. One thing I would change: Song Selection. Audiences will welcome these songs with nods, smiles, receptive applause, and murmurs of “That’s a great point” or “Exquisite harmonies.” But the album would have been stronger with one or two standing-ovation anthems.

Traditional or Progressive

Rather Progressive

Song Selection Creativity Meter: 100%

In place of radio single picks and an album rating, table projects featured in a 3:1 review are measured by a different metric—what percent of the songs on the album are pulled from outside of the 200 Most Frequently Recorded Southern Gospel songs.

Credits

Group members: Andrew Ball (tenor), Daniel Ball (lead), Stephen Ball (baritone), Josh Ball (bass). • Produced by: The Ball Brothers. • Review copy provided.  • Song list: Happy am I Medley (Happy am I / Happiness Is); My Love; Basics of Life; Not Gonna Worry; Blue Sky; Healer of My Heart; Can’t Stop Talkin’ About Him; I’ll Rise; Sweeter As the Days Go By; Forever In His Care.


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14 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Good review, DM! I have really been enjoying this album and the Ball Brothers’ very distinctive stylings. I hope they’ll perform many of these songs when I see them in concert tonight!! I’ve already seen a couple of the songs staged so I’m hoping for a lot more!

    • Thanks! They did “Blue Skies” and the happy song when I saw them.

  2. Is there a reason some of your reviews have Album Ratings and some do not?

    • Re-read explanation under Song Selection Creativity Meter. 🙂

  3. Sorry. I read part of that but glazed right over the important part. My bad.

    • No problem! I was just waiting for someone to ask that question, wondering how many 3:1 reviews of table projects it would take! Harmless laugh for the morning! 🙂

  4. It’s great to see the group taking on songs more fitting to their style.

    I find it interesting that there is one more early CCM influence – “Forever in His Care.” Not only did the Talley Trio record this, but First Call, a talented studio-turned national trio, recorded it first in the 1980s. The Talleys’ are major First Call fans. It will be nice to hear a 4-part male sound on the song instead of the mixed trio sound to which the song’s been accustomed.

  5. Dove, Booth, Ball, Blackwood…a whole pile of brothers..:-))

    • A Jubilee-style record with those four groups would be about the most interesting cross-section of the genre imaginable.

      • True….never thought of that angle.

      • I would definitely buy the CD if it was called “A Whole Pile of Brothers.”

      • _O Brothers, Where Art Y’all?_

  6. They seem to do a lot of cover songs

    • Well, this is a table project… 🙂