CD Review: “His Hand in Mine” (Matt Throgmorton)
Producer: E.T. Everett.
Song List: I’ll Tell it Wherever I Go; Consider the Lilies; His Hand in Mine; In the Garden; Little is Much; ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus; Jesus Loves Me; Rock of Ages; I’d Rather Have Jesus; Praise to the Lord.
Before I get into the review itself, a word about my rating system. My involvement in the Southern Gospel Albums project has involved using the five-level star system there (ten-level if you count half-stars). I’ve decided to switch over to it on this blog to make interfacing with the SGA project a little easier.
Matt Throgmorton got introduced to Southern Gospel Music through singing with the Florida Melody Boys. He joined the group in 1996 and sang with them for several years. The group won Favorite Horizon Group in the 1998 Singing News Fan Awards and evidently disappeared shortly thereafter. Throgmorton now sings solo, as well as doing some trio dates with a regional Illinois-based trio named “One Voice.”
Throgmorton released his debut solo project recently. It consists of ten familiar Southern Gospel songs and hymns. Most of the songs are mid to slow tempo numbers, but the slow tracks are interspersed among the medium tempo tracks well enough that the project doesn’t really drag.
Highlights include strong renditions of “His Hand in Mine,” “I’d Rather Have Jesus,” and “His Hand in Mine.” Two highlights deserve special mention:
- “Little is Much” builds to the big ending that Signature Sound’s Ernie Haase and several Gaither Vocal Band tenors have been known to close the song with. Throgmorton builds it to a big finish without the assistance of massive production. He avoided the temptation (which sometimes even legends of Larry Ford’s caliber fall for) to key the song too high in the verses to have power left for the big ending.
- “Praise to the Lord,” the project’s closing song, is the project’s strongest track. It carves out new stylistic ground with an innovative, energetic arrangement. You can listen to a sound clip here. [EDIT, 2/21/13. Broken link removed.]
Rarely do I come across a project by a soloist that I like enough to listen to repeatedly. This is one of those rare projects. It was a tossup whether I would rate it at 3 1/2 or 4. I selected 3 1/2, but it is a strong 3 1/2; a project with original material this strong would easily get a 4-star or higher rating.
Southern Gospel solo projects, especially those of cover songs, often fill the gaps between groups in a singer’s career. My initial thought on hearing this project was that Throgmorton wouldn’t disappoint Greater Vision fans. (Of course, Jacob Kitson got that position…but that does leave an open spot in Tribute.) But while this project is good enough to convince me that Throgmorton would be a good find for a major group, it’s also good enough to stand on its own as an enjoyable collection of classics.