CD Review: We Still Believe (Collingsworth Family)
Rating: **** (Very Good)
Song list: The Blood of Jesus; We Still Believe; When God Whispers; Trumpet Medley; He Already Sees; Not the Same; I Can Trust Jesus; What Noah Knew; It is Well with My Soul; More than Just a Swear Word; In Awe; God Can Do Anything; My Favorite Things; Blessed Be the Lamb.
The Collingsworths are one of the most versatile Southern Gospel groups on the road today, and their various talents are reflected in this diverse project. Three of the fourteen songs on the project are recorded by the full family, with six more by a mixed trio consisting of Phil and Kim Collingsworth and their oldest daughter, Brooklyn. A ladies trio (Kim with daughters Brooklyn and Courtney) does one song, a sibling trio (Brooklyn, Courtney, and Phil Jr.) does another. Three solos–a vocal solo by Olivia, a piano solo by Kim, and a trumpet solo by Phil Sr.–round out the project.
One of the project’s highlights is the final song, “Blessed Be the Lamb.” The anthem struck me as a song that a better-known group would have jumped at the chance to record, but I’m glad that they didn’t. It fit this group perfectly; their radio promoter would be wise to eventually send it to radio.
Kim Collingsworth was named one of the top five favorites in this year’s Singing News Fan Awards, and she does not disappoint with her magnificent rendition of “It is Well With My Soul.” Her rendition of “How Great Thou Art” has defined her piano playing for the last several years, and raised the bar to the point that finding something of equal dramatic force might have been a challenge for a pianist of lesser stature. But this song and its arrangement should help cement Kim’s position in the top rank of Southern Gospel pianists.The Collingsworth Family has recorded one song each of their last several projects featuring a ladies’ trio of Kim, Courtney, and Brooklyn. “God is in the Shadows,” on God is Faithful, persuaded me that this particular lineup has possibly the most perfect blend of any of the lineups on the CD, and whetted my appetite for more.
The ladies’ trio did return for one song on this project, “When God Whispers,” but I personally would have liked to see a second song with the lineup. One good candidate would have been “In Awe,” recycled from Mercy’s Mark’s self-titled debut project. It is done by the trio and is a highlight of the CD, but would have been even better if done by the ladies’ trio.
As always, Olivia’s solo feature is one of the highlights of the CD. Her adaptation of “My Favorite Things” should have audiences rolling in laughter before the song is over. Of course, she will outgrow the age in which she can get away with singing cute songs like this one in a few years, but this stage in the family’s music is worth enjoying while it lasts.
The CD, like their 2005 release God is Faithful, has a soft (cardboard) cover. This time, instead of attaching the booklet to the cover itself, an envelope was provided for it–an improvement over the past.
Something about this family’s music attracts fans from many different genres. I personally know Collingsworth Family fans who primarily listen to bluegrass, and other fans who primarily listen to praise and worship. Without compromising the Southern style or the Gospel message, this family’s professionalism makes them one of the premiere groups that we can point out to show outsiders what Southern Gospel should be.