3:1 CD Review: How You Walk the Miles (Karen Peck)
3:1 Reviews offer three highlights of an album and one area that could have been improved.
1: If You Want to Go To Heaven: You’ve probably heard a number of songs like Nicodemus, but you’ve certainly never heard one like this. The melody would lend itself to the bluesy quartet style the Kingdom Heirs are known for, and other male quartets will do on occasion (e.g. Legacy Five’s “Goin’ Home Day” or Gold City’s “Keep Me on the Wheel.”) But that’s not where Karen and her production team takes the song. Instead, this fun, bouncy track is infused with a south-of-the-border calypso or mariachi flair.
2: Stand By The River: Karen’s cover of this Dottie Rambo classic brings an appropriate mixture of almost playful delight and soulful passion. The Oak Ridge Boys’ background vocals are a pleasant contrast that works far better than one might guess at first glance. In a minor complaint, it seems that the sound engineers ran their de-essing software (a program that removes “s” sounds) a little too enthusiastically on some of the background vocals. That aside, this is a fun take on a fun song.
3: Holy Spirit, Speak To Me: On this song, which Karen co-wrote with Kenna Turner West and Don Poythress, her long-standing love for the music of the mountains comes through. This Bluegrass-infused tune might be soft and mellow, but it’s a showstopper. If you loved Janet Paschal’s “I See a Crimson Stream” or the Collingsworth Family’s “Oh, the Thought that Jesus Loves Me,” the album is worth purchasing for this track alone. Jeff Taylor, who has toured with Vince Gill and currently tours with Keith & Kristyn Getty’s live band, adds an accordion track that is a perfect complement to its meditative feel.
:1: Put a Little Love in Your Heart: This is more a positive song than a Gospel song. It’s not that it’s a bad moment; it’s just the album’s weakest. If you like Karen’s voice and style, this track is no reason to skip picking up the whole project. In fact, this project is packed with so many solid songs that, if you were to compare this with her last two or three Karen Peck and New River projects, this one’s the strongest of the set.
Credits: Produced by Ben Isaacs. Tracks recorded at The Sound Emporium by Mark Capps and Johs Papp. Vocals recorded at Daywind Sky Studios by Justin Kropf and Ben Isaacs. Additional vocals recorded at Ben’s Place, The Crib, Ron Fairchild Records, and The Parlor. Mixed by Mark Capps. Mastered at Georgetown Mastering by Shelley Anderson. Musicians: Bryan Sutton (guitar), Aubrey Haynie (fiddle, mandolin); Gordon Mote (piano, keyboards), Kenny Greenburg (electric guitar), Michael Rhodes (bass), Tony Creasman (drums and percussion), Jeff Taylor (accordion), Scott Sanders (steel). Background Vocals by The Oak Ridge Boys, David Phelps, Wes Hampton, Jason Crabb, Gordon Mote, Sonya Isaacs Yeary, Ben Isaacs, Susan Peck Jackson, Jeff Hawes, Gene McDonald, Chip Davis, Angie Primm, Gail Mayes, and Jerard Woods.
Song List: Talk about the Good Things (written by Karen Peck Gooch, Don Poythress, and Kenna Turner West); How You Walk the Miles (written by Scott Inman and Kenna Turner West); God Lives There (written by Kenna Turner West and Lee Black); If You Wanna Go to Heaven (written by Sonya Isaacs and Jimmy Yeary); Extra Mile (written by Maurice Carter and Margaret Harris); Stand By the River (written by Dottie Rambo); Partof Letting Go (written by Justin Rivers, Brandon Hood, and Wes Willet); Pray (written by Cindy Morgan); Fix Me, Jesus; Put a Little Love in Your Heart (written by Jimmy Holiday, Randy Myers, and Jackie De Shannon); Everywhere (written by Jerry Kelso, Sheri La Fontaine); Holy Spirit Speak to Me (written by Karen Peck Gooch, Don Poythress, and Kenna Turner West).
Five-star songs: If You Want to Go to Heaven, Holy Spirit Speak to Me.