CD Review: Easier to Live (Voices Won)
Average Song Rating: 3.9 (of 5)
Producer: Jeff Collins.
Song List: Sweetest Sound; Fishing Trip; Happy; I Will Praise Him Forever; He Lived to Love the Lord; Inside of Me; Know That You Have Faith; Easier to Live; God’s Big Hand; Same God; New Start.
Voices Won is a trio of brothers based in Dalton, Georgia. Jaron Falknor, the oldest brother, sings tenor and writes most of the group’s songs. Shantell Falknor, the second oldest, sings baritone, and youngest brother Staclynn sings lead. Voices Won started in 2000; Staclynn is the only one with previous Southern Gospel touring experience, having sung with Malachi and Jericho (according to his bio here. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link appears to be down, and has been removed.])
The projects starts with a cover of CCM artist Russ Lee’s “Sweetest Sound.” (For comparision, a clip of the original is here.) The next two songs, “Fishing Trip” and “Happy,” are up-tempo songs penned by Jaron.
Shantell wrote and is probably featured on “I Will Praise Him Forever,” a slower song but one of the project’s highlights. The tenor’s and lead singer’s voices are similar enough that it can be hard to tell them apart on solos. But the voice featured on this song is mellow, a perfect fit for the song. The tight harmonies on this song bring the Booth Brothers to mind; in fact, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine the Booth Brothers themselves doing the song.
“He Lived to Love the Lord” is the only song on the project (other than the opening track) not written by one of the brothers. This ballad, penned by Doug Little and Marty Funderburk, is well phrased and also a good pick for the group’s sound.
“Inside of Me” was written by Staclynn and is a testimony story about his conversion. It probably features him, as there is a harmony part above him on the chorus, but honestly even though he sings lead he could as easily sing tenor.
The final five songs on the project—”Know that You Have Faith,” “Easier to Live,” “God’s Big Hand,” “Same God,” and “New Start”—are all written by Jaron. Most are mid-tempo or up-temp, though the closing track, “New Start,” is a slower track that provides a nice, mellow close.
While many groups have too few uptempo songs, Voices Won comes closer to suffering from an overabundance. With so many uptempo songs, they stand out less than if there were just a few. By contrast, “I Will Praise Him Forever” stands out where it might not otherwise, because it is one of the few slow songs on the project and really gives the group’s harmonies a chance to shine.
Brothers Jaron and Shantell both cite the Bishops as one of their greatest influences, and the influence shows on this project. They achieve the smooth, tight harmonies distinctive to family blends and have the talent to make a mark.