CD Review: “Today” (Old Paths)
The Old Paths was founded in Georgia and remained a regional group for several years. But they are starting to draw national attention, as evidenced by their top 10 Singing News Fan Awards nomination for Horizon Group this year. While online polls are never reliable predictors of how actual Fan Awards voting will go, it is nevertheless a point of interest that in this Singing News Forums poll, they are currently in a clear lead, capturing 38% of the vote as compared to the runner-up, Tribute Quartet, with 16%.
Obviously, something about this group is starting to catch people’s attention. Of course, it hardly hurts that their tenor, Jeremy Peace, comes to them from the Kingsmen, while their pianist, Joe Cox (who was not in the lineup at this project) has returned to the group after stints with the Kingdom Heirs and Mike & Kelly Bowling.
Tenor Jeremy Peace, probably the most recognizable name in the lineup, is featured on two songs and turns in solid performances on both. “He Chose the Tree,” a big ballad, is probably the best song on the project, while the mid-tempo track “What Will You Choose Today?” is a solid closing track for the album.
Bass Brandon Barry is featured on “We’ll Sing a Song” and “You’ve Gotta Love the Love.” The first, “We’ll Sing a Song,” features a brass band arrangement reminiscent of Gold City’s classic years. The second, “You’ve Gotta Love the Love,” showcases Barry’s ample range; he hits both an A and a G below low C with a confidence suggesting comparisons to his favorite bass, Tim Riley. His solo voice is somewhat more melodic, though, at various points bringing Harold Gilley or perhaps former Mercy’s Mark bass Chris West to mind.
Lead singer Wayne Rackley and baritone Douglas Roark are each featured on several songs. Rackley’s strongest solos are on “Is This What You Had in Mind” and “The Rock that Will Never Roll Away.”
I hesitate to post my initial impressions in reviews, since I often revise individual song ratings up a star once I become very familiar with the song. But my initial impressions are favorable enough that I will post them here. I rated nearly every song on the project ****, with two *** (Portrait of Grace and Empty Bucket) and one ***** (He Chose the Tree). This is a strong project from a group ready for the national spotlight.