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.