CD Review: Vintage Gospel (Mark Trammell Trio)
Rating: 4.5 stars
Average Song Rating: 4.3 stars
Executive Producer: Mark Trammell. Associate Producer: Dustin Sweatman.
Song list: Leave Your Sorrows and Come Along; Mansion Over the Hilltop; Hold Me; John Saw Me; Standing On the Solid Rock; While Ages Roll; Sweetest Song I Know; Sin Will Take You Farther; In the Sweet Forever; Hide Thou Me.
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After Joel Wood joined the Mark Trammell Trio earlier this year, there evidently wasn’t enough time to turn around a CD of new songs featuring the new lineup by NQC. So the group decided to put out its second CD of classic songs. (Their first, Journey Thus Far, introduced Dustin Sweatman in 2006.) Much like Journey This Far, Vintage Gospel includes a mix of hymns, classic convention songs, and songs Mark Trammell was known for other with other groups.
Mark Trammell reprises his rendition of his Cathedrals hit song “Sin Will Take You Farther.” He also performs a song that originally featured George Younce, “Hold On.”
Uptempo convention songs like “Leave Your Sorrows and Come Along” and “Sweetest Song I Know” reinforce something I’ve said before: The Mark Trammell Trio is the best quartet without a bass singer on the road today. Other trios, like the Booth Brothers, Voices Won, and the Bishops, have (or had) a sound that was so trio a bass singer just wouldn’t fit. But this group is a mega-quartet waiting to happen.
Joel Wood is featured on “Mansion Over the Hilltop” and “Hide Thou Me.” Particularly on “Mansion,” his voice tone is enough like Eric Phillips that a casual observer might hear the song and not even notice that there’s a new tenor. His voice doesn’t seem to be quite as high, and seems to have a more power-tenor mid-range (should the group choose to employ it). But he should have little problem with the group’s repertoire.
Dustin Sweatman keeps improving as a vocalist. This is most notable on the song “John Saw Me,” where he has an impressively smooth yet powerful solo.
It took a member change to prompt Journey This Far—one of the group’s best CDs to date. It took another member change to prompt this project. If this keeps up, the group might soon find their fans doing something incredibly odd: Hoping there will be a member change … so the group puts out another table project of this caliber!
But, truth be told, it would be far more sensible for the fans to do something that would work just as well: Purchase so many copies of this project that it doesn’t take a lineup change for them to put out the next one.