CD Review: These Truths (Old Paths)
These Truths is one of the ten strongest Southern Gospel releases this year. There’s a pretty good chance it’s even top five.
Often, when I say that of a project, it is because a project is filled with truly great songs. These Truths is not without good songs, and one (“Long Live the King”) that is the strongest anthem they’ve ever recorded, but the vocal performances are what makes this album stand out. This is the strongest collection of vocal performances in the Old Paths’ career.
Few quartets have vocal talent this strong at every position. Founding members Tim Rackley and Douglas Roark anchor the quartet’s sound at lead and baritone. Roark shines on “If It Were Not For Grace.” Rackley’s performance of “Long Live the King” seals its spot as the single strongest track the Old Paths have ever released.
With a jaw-dropping performance on “God Said I Love You,” tenor Jeremy Peace proves that he hasn’t lost a note since his Kingsmen years. But then turns around and offers a tender interpretation of “Isn’t That Why He Came.”
Meanwhile, newest member Daniel Ashmore, on his second album with the group, continues to impress. Ashmore is the finest young bass-singing talent to arrive in our genre since Pat Barker’s debut several years back. Their personalities, on and off the stage, couldn’t be more different—Ashmore is the gentle giant to Barker’s life of the party persona—but their talent level is similar. Ashmore probably has the most resonant, open lower bass tones that this genre has seen since Big John Hall’s days with the Blackwood Brothers.
The Old Paths’ previous album, their major-league debut Right Now, was a breakout album for the ensemble, scoring them two #1 hits. Forget any talk of a sophomore slump; These Truths is head-and-shoulders above its predecessor.
Group Members: Jeremy Peace (tenor), Tim Rackley (lead), Douglas Roark (baritone), Daniel Ashmore (bass).
Credits: Produced by Danny Crawford. Engineers: Van Atkins, Jeremy Peace. Mixed and mastered by Van Atkins. Musicians: Danny Crawford (piano, keyboards, orchestrations), Tony Creasman (drums, percussion), Jeremy Medkiff (bass guitar, electric guitar), David Johnson (acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle, resonator guitar, harmonica, steel guitar, banjo). Review copy provided.
Song List (songwriters in parentheses): We Are Those Children (Jeff Gibson); Isn’t That Why He Came (Karen Gillespie, Rachel McCutcheon); Enough and Then Some (Christie Capps); We Hold These Truths (Steve Marshall, Phil Mehrens); Love Them to Jesus (Rodney Birch); If It Were Not For Grace (Christopher Clayton); Passing Through (Steve Marshall, Chris Binion, John Darin Rowsey); God Said I Love You (Craig Edwards); God’s Gonna Do the Same (Ronny Hinson); Long Live the King (Dianne Wilkinson, Chris Binion).
Five-star songs: Long Live the King.