CD Review: Hold On (Dove Brothers)
Rating: 3.5 stars (of 5)
Average Song Rating: 3.2 stars (of 5)
Members: Jerry Martin (tenor), McCray Dove (lead), Eric Dove (baritone), David Hester (bass), Jerry Kelso (pianist).
Song List: Hold On; I’m Gonna Rise; Leavin’ On My Mind; When I Wake Up in the Morning; He’s Gonna Smile on Me; A Little Good News; Back to Egypt; Little David; Jesus, He’s Everything to Me; He’s Sending Miracles.
Available From: Label, Artist.
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When the Dove Brothers released Anything But Ordinary, Everything but Typical in 2005, fans and industry insiders recognized that the album was indeed exactly what its title suggested for the group. It was quite the departure from the group’s classic traditional-quartet sound that had brought them to the top in the genre. What wasn’t immediately clear was whether the experiment would catch on, and whether their fans would follow them and warm to the new style. Evidently, enough of their fans liked the new style for the experiment to be a success, because Hold On is the Dove Brothers’ fourth project in this style.
As always, the Dove Brothers include a few tracks that pay stylistic tribute to their roots. “When I Wake Up in the Morning” and “I’m Gonna Rise” are solid uptempo quartet songs. David Hester delivers a stellar rendition of the Rusty Goodman classic “Leavin’ on my Mind.”
The track on this project that has already sparked the most discussion is their cover of the 1970s Oak Ridge Boys song “He’s Gonna Smile on Me.” Lyrically, the song is a rather interesting choice for inclusion on a Gospel project: “If I just say my prayers at night / And keep living right / He’s gonna smile on me.”
In another nod to country music, the Dove Brothers cover Anne Murray’s “A Little Good News.” The song was the title track of a project that won Murray won Album of the Year in the 1984 Country Music Association Awards. Though the lyrics of the original song do not reference Christianity, Dove Brothers preface and conclude the song by singing the line, “You know, the Gospel is the good news needed today.”
I would point to the project’s most obvious standout tracks as “Leavin’ On My Mind” and “Back to Egypt.” The latter, in particular, would probably make a good choice for a radio single.
After several years of bringing back the quartet classics of yesteryear, the Dove Brothers intentionally shifted course to start making their own mark. And in a genre where any given group frequently has a number of groups that have a similar sound, the Dove Brothers have been consistent enough over the last few years that their albums have an immediately recognizable sound. Anyone familiar with their last few albums could listen to practically any 5 or 10 second clip from this project and know it was the Dove Brothers—and this sort of distinctiveness pays off.