CD Review: Holy is Thy Name (His Praise)

What would it sound like if Lari Goss produced an album by a part-time group few had ever heard of? The cost of a Goss production typically rules out anyone except headline groups, and typically even they can only do it on every second or third project. Well, His Praise’s Holy is Thy Name answers the question.

His Praise was founded in 2000. Three of the four founding members are still with the group; the lead singer has been with the group since 2000. The group’s members, incidentally, have an intriguing range of professions, from U.S. Mail Carrier to professional bass fisherman. They recently signed with Homeland Entertainment Group’s Heartwarming label.

All ten songs on the project have been previously recorded, but within that statement, there’s quite a span. On the one hand, “That’s What Jesus Means to Me,” “Gettin’ Ready to Leave This World,” and “Room at the Cross” are instantly recognizable. On the other, the Mosie Lister song “Sometimes it Seems,” cut by the Couriers in 1965 (and the Goss Brothers somewhere around the same time), and a new Jim Brady ballad, “Fountain,” cut by the Crist Family earlier this year, would be new songs to most listeners.

Some of the orchestral arrangements sound remarkably like previous Goss arrangements of the same songs, but since the liner notes appear to indicate that the tracks are new, they presumably are, and Goss pulled out old charts.

Highlights include a new convention-style vocal arrangement on a final chorus of “I’ve Never Gotten Over Gettin’ Saved” and the magnificent Mosie Lister anthem “Sometimes it Seems.” How on earth has this gem lain forgotten for four and a half decades? Either this song needs to be a breakout top ten radio hit for His Praise, or, should they not stay on the national scene, some other group needs to take this Goss arrangement to the top of the charts. It’s a magnificent big ballad, so good that it’s worth obtaining the project for this song and arrangement alone.

So what would it sound like if Lari Goss took a part-time group nobody had ever heard of, and that group had deep enough pockets to afford Goss and afford a full orchestral production? Well, take Holy is Thy Name and a table project by practically any headliner, hand them to a casual fan of the genre who likes the style but wouldn’t recognize group names, and ask that fan to tell you which is the headliner group. Most would probably pick His Praise.

Several slow tracks seem to drag enough that the average song by song rating is 3.5 stars. But the end result is far more than the sum of its parts; this surprisingly strong national debut earns a 4.5 star rating.

Produced by: Lari Goss. • Group Members: Stephen Fryar (tenor), Jesse Tewell (lead), Marc Thomas (baritone), Dale Lisembee (bass). • Available from: Artist. Review copy provided. • Song list: There’s Been a Wonderful Change; God Himself the Lamb; Holy is Thy Name; I’ve Never Gotten Over Gettin’ Saved; Sometimes it Seems; I’m Gettin’ Ready Medley; That’s What Jesus Means to Me; Fountain; If it Couldn’t be Done; There’s Room at the Cross. • Average song rating: 3.5 stars. CD rating: 4.5 stars.

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11 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 think you meant ‘deep enough pockets’ and not ‘deep enough projects.’ i

    • Correct! 😳

  2. You are so right on “Sometimes It Seems” It’s a truly great song and should have been picked up and sent to the top a long time ago. Mosie remains one of the genre’s very best writers with a sterling track record. I adapted the song from the original Goss Brother’s arrangement a long time ago. We Couriers worked many, many dates with the Goss Brothers in that era (the 1960s) and from the moment I heard them sing the song I knew we needed it in our program.

    Upon the departure of Don Baldwin from our group (he was featured on the solos), we dropped the song. And like you, I am surprised that no one has picked it up until now. Good observation, Daniel.

    • Glad to hear from you!

      Do you have any idea what year the original Goss Brothers rendition was? I have it on a compilation but don’t know the original date.

  3. I visited their website, and they have a nice sound. I noticed that one of their previous albums is called Pillars of Praise—hehe, cute. 😉

  4. Daniel. I love your site and read it daily. However (lol) I would like it if in your reviews if you would reference the vocals, blend, ranges, ect…you usually focus only on songs, production and writers. All of that is important but so are the type, quality and overall blend of vocals.

    Thanks for your work!

    • Mark,

      Thanks for your feedback. Please know that I don’t take it lightly.

      I address a variety of areas, depending on the review. But the reason I focus on songs and writers, quite frankly, is that this is my area of expertise. I’ve had an ongoing interest in songwriting for nearly twelve years, writing about 550 songs so far (a few published and one cut, but I’ve not been putting that much time into seeking cuts the last few years). So I’ve spent, it’s fair to say, tens of thousands of hours studying how lyrics, melodies, and harmonies are constructed. I can speak to this area as someone who knows in great detail that whereof I speak.

      On the other hand, I’ve never toured with a Southern Gospel group, so that’s not a personal strength in my reviews.

      Here is my thinking: Other bloggers have other strengths, such as years of performance experience. I believe that if I stick to my area of expertise, I can aim to excel in my strengths, and other reviewers can cover my weaknesses/their strengths when they review a project.

      • I would say though that simply because you’ve spent enormous amounts of time studying something doesn’t necessarily make you an “expert” in that field. For example, you could have an enthusiastic young chess player who really wants to get better, studies hours every day, but ends up plateauing at a modest level without improving.

        Of course I know you’ve had some good songs Daniel (we even wrote a pretty good one together, if I do say so myself), but I’m just making the general point that “I’m really good at this” doesn’t necessarily follow from “I’ve spent a lot of time studying this.”

      • Granted. But I tried not to come at it from the angle of “I’m really good at this,” since my point was, after all, that it’s been my primary area of musical study, and my background.

      • Sure. You did describe as “your area of expertise,” but I suppose that’s not the same thing as saying “I’m an expert.” 🙂

      • Then again, I met Michael Card this year and asked him for songwriting advice, and he said he didn’t have anything. So perhaps we are all still learning… 😉