CD Review: On the Way Up (HisSong)
Rating: 3.5 stars (of 5)
Produced By: Wayne Haun.
Song List: On the Way Up; The Grave Can’t Hold Me; The Miracle Man; Out of His Way; Through Every Storm; Our Highest Praise; Because of the Blood; Joy in My Heart; I Still Have it All; The Things That Won’t Be There; That’s When God Steps In; I Don’t Regret.
The main adjective that this project brings to mind is “ambitious.” Given a larger-than-average budget and a master producer, what can a second-tier group achieve?
This project gives us a pretty good idea.
It contains mostly new songs, though it includes three covers, a Walt Mills / Tanya Goodman collaboration, “Joy in My Heart,” and two Hemphills covers, “On My Way Up” and “The Miracle Man.” Song selection is good, a decent selection of ballads, mid-tempo numbers, and fast songs, though mid-tempo songs seem to be predominant.
The group has a good vocal blend; probably its most distinctive voice is Adam Elrod’s tenor part. Elrod is a power tenor in the Danny Funderburk tradition.
The album isn’t exactly traditional, but it’s not really fully progressive either. It incorporates elements as diverse as Black Gospel arrangements, orchestral ballads, and a session band with some familiar names in the (small) Southern Gospel session player universe–Gordon Mote, Ricky Free, Craig Nelson, Randy Miller, and others.
No song jumps out as a likely breakout hit for the group. But the project is quite listenable and shows promise of a group that has strong potential to be top-tier material.