CD Review: “Live” (Spoken 4)

A listen through Spoken 4’s most recent studio project (That’s My Boy, reviewed here) does not really prepare the listener for the group’s live sound. While their studio project used fully orchestrated soundtracks, the only accompaniment the group used in this live project is live piano. Their pianist, Tommy Fairchild, was a member of the Blackwood Brothers and the Oak Ridge Boys during the years when live piano was the only accompaniment most groups used, and has not lost his touch.

The project starts with a slow song, “Holy Spirit, Thou Art Welcome in This Place,” before picking up the tempo with “Jesus Walked All the Way.” A slow version of the hymn “At the Cross” is followed by “There’s a King on the Way,” featuring baritone Jeremy Wilkerson.

Bass Cecil Stringer is featured on “Hold Me” and “A Beautiful Life.” He showcases his low range on “A Beautiful Life,” singing a double low C (the lowest C on the piano). The ending is quite impressive, as the tenor, Thomas Griffin, goes to the F above high C while Stringer slides down to the lowest F on the piano.

“I Believe” features lead singer Jon Charles Taggart. “Heaven” features pianist Tommy Fairchild; though he does not sing on the song, he does extended turnarounds between verses.

After two more hymns, “He Hideth My Soul” and “Burdens are Lifted at Calvary,” the group performed the title track from their most recent studio project, “That’s My Boy.” The studio version does not quite capture the pathos and energy of this live rendition. The concert closes with an uptempo rendition of “Jesus is Coming Soon.”

Their top 10 nomination for Horizon Group of the Year shows that Spoken 4 has been building a strong fan base. After hearing this live project, it is easy to see why.

Rating: Recommended.

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4 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. I am very impressed by this group. Newer groups have to pass “tests” with me, but this group breezed right through the exam!

  2. This group’s traditional style probably won’t hit it big with convention and SG’s audience of know-it-alls (most of which come to convention), but I see great things in their future.

  3. I disagree with CLN. I think this group is exactly what the industry needs right now. They are tops, and will only get better and tighter

  4. Well, I read this, but I don’t remember making the connection at all! Thanks!