3:1 Reviews offer three highlights of an album and one area that could have been improved.
1: Amazing Grace: The concept for this album was to take twenty hymns and deliver simple piano-and-voices-only arrangements. By and large, arrangements stayed within well-trodden territory (see below). There were several exceptions, and this song was one of them. Each member had a solo on a verse, and in a pleasantly surprising twist, baritone Scotty Inman sang the first half of his verse in a minor key. This set up a dramatic build tenor David Sutton’s soaring closing verse.
(The DVD performance is a harmonica-and-piano duet by David Sutton and Jeff Stice, not a vocal performance.)
2: All Hail the Power: After an album filled with largely familiar arrangements, this acapella album closer came as a welcome surprise. Descant harmonies and a big modulation make the arrangement equal parts exquisite and show-stopping.
3: DVD: The video image quality is strong; the group members are well-lit, and the camera work is professional. Overall, the arrangements come across well in a live setting—in a number of cases, even better than on the CD.
There was no live audience; the group sat around a piano on a live concert stage while pianist Jeff Stice played piano. The group wasn’t going for an in-the-studio feel; it appeared to be a concert stage, with live concert lighting effects. These factors combined to leave the performances overall more subdued than you would find at a typical Triumphant Quartet live concert.
There were exceptions, though, most notably “Because He Lives.” Scotty Inman’s heartfelt introduction to and vocal delivery of “Because He Lives” made the song a stand-out.
In an unexpected twist, after the main program concludes, the DVD contains footage of their first Gaither Homecoming Tour performance, “The Old White Flag” from the Tent Revival taping. Fans were shocked when word came out that the performance had been cut from the final Homecoming DVD release. It gets a new lease on life with its inclusion here.
:1: Familiar arrangements: By and large, the arrangements differed little from preceding quartets’ arrangements of these hymns. However, piano-driven performances can still have creative vocal arrangements—as several of the exceptions illustrate.
Group Members: David Sutton (tenor), Clayton Inman (lead), Scotty Inman (baritone), Eric Bennett (bass), Jeff Stice (piano).
CD Credits: Produced, arranged, and acoustic piano by Jeff Stice. Engineered, mixed, and mastered by Danny Brown at Southern Sound Studios, Friendsville, TN.
CD Song List: Sweet, Sweet Spirit; The Love of God; Heaven Came Down; The Longer I Serve Him; Precious Lord Take My Hand; When We All Get to Heaven; Precious Memories; What a Friend We Have in Jesus; The Cross Medley (The Old Rugged Cross/There’s Room at the Cross/At The Cross/When I Survey the Wondrous Cross); Amazing Grace; Because He Lives; The Blood Medley (Nothing But The Blood/Are You Washed In The Blood/There is Power in the Blood); Send the Light; How Great Thou Art; All Hail the Power.
Song Selection Creativity Meter: 25%. In place of radio single picks and an album rating, table projects featured in a 3:1 review are measured by a different metric—what percent of the songs on the album are pulled from outside of the 200 Most Frequently Recorded Southern Gospel songs.