CD Review: The Greatest Story (Triumphant Quartet)
The Greatest Story is a hybrid album; it occupies ground somewhere between a table project and a normal mainline. A normal Southern Gospel mainline recording features all or mostly new songs, with lush, fully produced arrangements; a table project features simpler arrangements of classics. Over half the songs on The Greatest Story have been previously recorded—some only once or twice, some dozens of times. But the tracks and vocal performances are on par with Triumphant Quartet’s strongest previous mainlines.
The two strongest tracks on the project are both new fast songs. “Take it From Me, Meshach,” penned by fourteen-year Songwriter of the Year winner Rodney Griffin, is the current radio single; “Heaven Will Be Mine Someday” is a convention song co-written by group member Scotty Inman and Dianne Wilkinson.
The strongest slower song is “There is a Fountain,” a new song written by Rebecca Peck and Daryl Williams that shares a title with the classic hymn. It’s a pleasantly mellow song with a groove reminiscent of The Kingsmen’s “Sweeping All the Debt Away” or The Collingsworth Family’s “Oh, The Thought that Jesus Loves Me.”
The song covers are all over the map. “There’s No Such Thing” brings a fresh twist and new energy to the familiar Poet Voices song. “I Saw the Light” is a Jeff Stice / David Sutton piano / harmonica duet. “The Greatest Love Story,” made popular by Rusty Goodman and previously recorded by Triumphant Quartet in 2004, is brought back as a feature song for Eric Bennett and as the album’s title track.
Then there are several songs—”If You Had the Only Key,” written by Tim Lovelace and previously recorded by the Palmetto State Quartet, and “I Can’t Help But Smile,” written by Dianne Wilkinson and Scotty Inman—that can only be described as novelty songs.
Some Southern Gospel fans prefer to purchase albums of new songs; others prefer to hear their favorite singers’ voices on songs they’ve heard many times before. The Greatest Story offers something for both sets of fans.
Group Members: Not credited, but David Sutton (tenor), Clayton Inman (lead), Scotty Inman (baritone), Eric Bennett (bass), Jeff Stice (pianist).
Credits: Executive Producers: Triumphant Quartet. Produced by Wayne Haun and Jeff Stice. Recorded by Kevin Ward, Greg Alexander, and Ben Isaacs, assisted by Michael Stankiewicz. Vocals recorded by Danny Brown. Mixed by Danny Brown. Mastered by Alan Silverman. Packaging and design by Tribute Media Source. Review copy provided. Musicians: Jeff Stice (piano and keyboards), Duncan Mullins (bass), Craig Nelson (bass), John Hammond (drums), Zak Shumate (percussion), Joel Key (acoustic guitar, banjo), Dave Cleveland (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo), Kelly Back (electric guitar), Scott Sanders (steel guitar), Randy Miller (harmonica), BJ Cherryholmes (fiddle), John Bowman (fiddle), David Sutton (harmonica on “I Saw the Light”), orchestra recorded by Bobby Shin.
Song List: Because He Loved Me (written by Morris Stancil); I Go to Calvary (Gene Ezell, Tim Maggart, Terry Franklin); Thomas Never Doubted Again (Rodney Griffin); Take it From Me, Meshach (Rodney Griffin); He Was There All the Time (Gary S Paxton); There’s No Such Thing (Mark Lanier, Phil Cross); He Would Do it All Over Again (Jeff Bumgardner); There is a Fountain (Rebecca J. Peck, Daryl K. Williams); Heaven Will Be Mine Someday (Scotty Inman, Dianne Wilkinson); I Saw the Light (Hank Williams); I Can’t Help But Smile (Scotty Inman, Dianne Wilkinson); Jesus is the Anchor (Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey); I’ve Got Confidence (Andraé Crouch); If You Had the Only Key (Tim Lovelace); The Greatest Love Story (Joel David Byerly, James J. Payne).
Album Rating: 4 Stars.
Five-star songs: Take it From Me, Meshach; Heaven Will Be Mine Someday.