CD Review: I Have Returned (Gene McDonald)
After spending nearly a decade with the Florida Boys, Gene McDonald left the group in February 2007. Since that time, he has driven for Gordon Mote, worked with a bus company, and made select solo appearances, including at Gaither Homecoming events.
McDonald made a highly-acclaimed solo recording, produced by Stewart Varnado, in 2006 (In Times Like These). I Have Returned, produced by Nick Bruno, is his first solo project since going solo.
The song list and arrangements are safe choices. McDonald probably sees no need to “prove himself”; instead, he revisits thirteen Southern Gospel classics, backed up by traditional-style tracks that have a touch of country influence at points.
Many bass singers are low-note specialists to the point that they have difficulty sustaining enough variety of tone throughout ten or more solo songs. But McDonald demonstrates, once again, the width and rich textures of his range, making a very enjoyable recording.
Song list: I Have Returned; Shadow of the Steeple; The Sweetest Song I Know; Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus; How Great Thou Art; When They Ring Those Golden Bells; The Greatest Love Story; The Cross in the Middle; When He Reached Down His Hand for Me; Who am I; That’s No Hill for a Climber; Ten Thousand Angels; The Lighthouse. Review copy provided.