Joint Review: Sheltered (Brothers Forever)
Composite Rating: 3.3 stars
Producers: Glen A. Tabor III and Brothers Forever
Song List: “I Feel A Blessing Coming On,” “That’s Good Enough (Gospel Singer Wannabe),” “I Can’t Forget The Day,” “Be Alright,” “Whenever I Speak His Name,” “More Than I Know,” “Showers Of Blessings,” “It’s Better,” “I Am Him,” “More Than That,” and “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power”
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1. I Feel A Blessing Coming On
Aaron Swain: The project opens up with a catchy song that reminds me of something Three Bridges or Valor would do. I do believe I keep hearing a bass vocalist in the song, but since these guys are a trio, I must be hearing things! The first featured singer has a very Jason Morales-esque voice. This song had me singing along from the get-go and it’s been stuck in my head for a while now
Daniel Mount: Aaron’s ears aren’t playing tricks on him. Buford Light was the group’s bass singer until February 2008, when he retired due to health problems. This is a strong track that brings Valor or even the Gaither Vocal Band to mind.
Brandon Coomer: I agree with both you. The song catches your attention and is very enjoyable. As for the sound reminding me of another group, I’d lean towards Aaron’s comparison to the original lineup of Three Bridges. It makes a great start to the project.
2. That’s Good Enough (Gospel Singer Wannabe)
Aaron: I must admit, seeing the title of this track had me thinking it was going to be a fun little parody song. I was surprised by the song; it has a very interesting message that says God is pleased with whoever sings to Him, no matter if they’re “wannabe’s” or not, and thank God it’s not our talent that saves us. Sounds like something straight off of an Austin’s Bridge songlist.
Brandon: I can’t decide if this song is more an anthem for all the weekend warriors that visit local churches or a song that talks about one of the biggest ills of southern gospel music (groups of limited ability not working to get better, thinking “that’s good enough”).
3. I Can’t Forget The Day
Aaron: I believe this song is the group’s current radio single, and while it is a nice song, it never really grabbed my attention.
Daniel: Perhaps it was chosen as a radio single since its sound depends less on the bass’s vocals than a song like track 1, which might be a better song but be ruled out for that question.
4. Be Alright
Aaron: This song sounds like it would belong on a Gaither Vocal Band project as a Guy Penrod feature. Cool song, and the GVB style definitely shows on the chorus. I’m hearing that bass singer again!
5. Whenever I Speak His Name
Aaron: My mind travels to a 70s-80s Imperials project with this song. Definitely some progressive melody going on here, to good effect.
Wes: Good call Aaron. This song is found on 1979’s //Heed The Call// album, with Russ Taff singing the lead. Great song. These guys do it justice, too.
Brandon: Thanks for the information, Wes. Although the chorus is a little repetitive, I enjoy this song a lot. It may not be the best song, but it is one of my favorites on the project.
6. More Than I Know
Aaron: A nice little country ballad for a change of pace, and also sounds like a GVB-style song. I keep going back to this song; it didn’t really catch on the first time I heard it, but it’s growing on me.
Daniel: This relaxed, mellow track is an enjoyable interlude, not to mention being one of the best songs on the project.
Brandon: I completely agree with Daniel. This really might be the best song found here. This is the first track that really slows down enough to let you listen to the message and the understated instrumentation is a great change of pace from the majority of the project.
7. Showers Of Blessings
Aaron: I thought this would be a rendition of the hymn, but I was surprised once again. I have a feeling I’ve heard this song somewhere before, but I can’t place it…
Daniel: Perhaps part of what rings a bell is its lyric similarity to Palmetto State Quartet’s “Living in the Sunlight” from their 2005 //When it Pours God Reigns// project. That song’s chorus begins with the lines: “Well, I’m living in the sunlight of His Love / Feasting on the Manna from above.” Whether despite or because of the lyrical resemblance to the Palmetto State track, this is a nice song.
Brandon: When I first listened to this track, I really didn’t want to like this song. After listening to it several times, it grew on me. It is fun, very catchy track.
8. It’s Better
Aaron: Wasn’t impressed by this song at all. Perhaps it was the tempo, or just the style it was in, but whatever the reason, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Brandon: Several groups have started having a very noticeable country influence in their instrumentation the last few years. A little of that can be a very welcomed development. Sometimes though, that influence can be taken too far. I believe this track is an example of this.
9. I Am Him
Aaron: A George Strait-ish ballad. Very slow, but it’s not so bad after a couple times of listening to it.
Daniel: The instrumentation is nicely done, particularly the mandolin.
Brandon: Although the acoustic instrumentation reminds me of track 6, this isn’t nearly as strong as the earlier song.
10. More Than That
Aaron: The latter part of this album seems to be all ballads. Probably would have liked this song better if it had been placed somewhere other than right after a similarly slow song.
11. The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power
Aaron: This was listed as a bonus track, and I almost jumped out of my seat when I heard the deep bass voice featured. A bit heavy on the vibrato, so that kind of ruined it for me.
Daniel: This was probably Buford Light, their bass at the time of the project’s release. It’s a nice enough track that they probably decided it was worth keeping on the project, even with the group now a trio.
Brandon: Honestly, I question the inclusion of this track. Both the group and Buford Light are better than this track illustrates. I also prefer arrangements of this song that feature the tenor.
Aaron: All in all, it’s a nice project, but nothing that blew me away. I’m sure these guys will get better with time, as they are already decent vocally. Not a big fan of some of the song selection, but this project is a listenable one. Not a must-have, but definitely has some good songs.
Daniel: Certainly, from time to time, this project has moments that show what the group could be. But I don’t mean that to take anything away from what the group is now; this is an enjoyable, well-done project.
Brandon: I agree with the others that this project has its moments, both good and bad. There is definitely something to build on here. If the group can pick out the strong points of this project and develop that sound in the future, I’ll be excited to hear the results.