There are two types of upward trajectories in this industry. The first type is the artist who plugs along and slowly builds its fan base over many years, and sometimes over decades. Artists who have fit this mold over the years include the Down East Boys, the Collingsworth family, and even the Booth Brothers. They were by no means overnight successes and had to put in years of work to get where they are today. The other kind of artists are those who seem to come out of nowhere and take the industry by storm. Recent groups to fit this mold are The Sound, Southbound, 11th Hour, and High Road.
Based out of Cookeville, Tennessee, the Shirah Brothers seem to be on the ladder trajectory. The group is beginning to amass a large fanbase and substantial radio airplay in just a very short amount of time. Their newest recording, One, looks to help cement that sentiment. One is a smartly-crafted progressive record that showcases significant song choices and familiar, southern gospel harmonies.
The album kicks off with the cover of pop/country sibling band CAIN’s “Yes You Are.” Also the first single from the record, this is a fantastic cover of an already popular song. It fits well within the Southern Gospel Market. The energetic country tinge of “Child of God” is an album highlight. The chorus is absolutely infectious and harmonies take the chorus up a level from the Crowder original.
The inspirational anthem (originally by Phillips, Craig & Dean) “There Is a God” features striking lyrics and unforgettable harmonies. The straight-up Southern Gospel ballad “The Day the Lamb Died” will probably play well in large concert venues, but feels a bit out of place on this overly progressive record. The tender “Kneel” (written by Marty Funderburk & Nathan Woodard) fits much better in the set of songs with its worshipful tone and gentle accompaniment.
The group fires on all cylinders when they are on the cutting edge of progressive. To me, the album’s highlight is “He Ain’t the Leavin’ Kind.” This cover of the Rascal Flatts hit single is a fantastic blending of country and progressive that showcases fantastic arrangements and clever lyrics. The acoustic setting of “Good Thing We’ve Got Forever” could be a potential single, and the lyrics really stand out on this one. Karen Gillespie and Matthew Lawson penned a fantastic song.
Overall, One is a fantastic introduction to an up-and-coming trio like this. I wish the group had relied more on original songs instead of picking up tunes from other genres. I’m by no means rejecting this as a great model for attracting new fans, but a couple is more than enough for a recording. Fans of the more progressive styles of Brian Free & Assurance, The Sound, the Booth Brothers, or Triumphant Quartet will find a lot to like here. This is a recording that is highly recommended.