REVIEW: The Nelons – Family Harmony

nelons-familyharmonyProducer: Jason Clark
Record Label: Daywind Records

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The much anticipated release by the Nelons has finally been released…in Part 1 and Part 2!  I am still scratching my head on the thought process behind releasing 2 CDs that are very similar in feel and dynamics…but nonetheless, this review is focusing on Family Harmony.  This recording features the vibrant and soaring harmonies that have been the hallmark of the Nelons sound for now 3 generations.

The recording starts off with an energetic rendition of the classic, “I JUST CAN’T MAKE IT BYSELF”.  With a bit of a Cajun feel to it and a really cool key change leading in to the final chorus, the Nelons definitely put their own unique spin on this fun song before slowing down as Kelly turns in an impassioned performance on, “GREATER THINGS”.

The tempo picks back up for the brass infused, driving sound of “DAYS OF JERICHO”, which features the soaring vocals of Amber Nelon Thompson.  This driving song reminds of something the Martins would sing, before the tempo down as Autumn Nelon Thompson steps up to sing the anthem, “IMAGINE ALLELUIA”.  Jason steps up next to sing the classic, “SUPPERTIME”, with Bill Gaither making an appearance doing the recitation.  In keeping with the sentimental theme, the nostalgic “WHEN GRANDPA SANG AMAZING GRACE” follows.

Jason steps back up to sing the honest song, “DON’T GIVE UP ON ME” before the tempo picks back up for the fun novelty classic, “SONGS THAT ANSWER QUESTIONS”, which feature all the members of the Nelons.

Amber closes out the recording with a phenomenal performance of the Dottie Rambo classic, “WE SHALL BEHOLD HIM”.

The recording is kind of a mosaic of various styles…you have some with the more country/acoustic feel, you have the big band/pop infused numbers and big ballads topped with a bit of Cajun spice.  It’s like the group couldn’t quite nail down a style they wanted to be identified with.  It’s an excellent recording featuring innovative arrangements, soaring vocals, excellent musicianship, a strong song selection and is superbly produced.  I am a bit disappointed with only 9 tracks though and feel the average listener isn’t getting a full bang for their buck.

Track Listing:
(stars denote personal favorites)

1 – I Just Can’t Make it By Myself**
2 – Greater Things
3 – Days of Jericho**
4 – Imagine Alleluia**
5 – Suppertime
6 – When Grandpa Sang Amazing Grace
7 – Don’t Give Up On Me**
8 – Songs that Answer Questions
9 – We Shall Behold Him**



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James Hales

James Hales, from Durham, North Carolina, has been a writer for since 2000. James is our featured reviewer and also contributes to monthly features periodically.
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