Producer: Ben Isaacs & The Isaacs
Record Label: Distributed via Daywind Records
Over the last decade or so, Ben Isaacs has emerged as one of the premier producers in Southern Gospel music – adding his talents to projects by the Gaither Vocal Band, Oak Ridge Boys, Karen Peck, and his own family group The Isaacs. With this recent emergence, Ben’s talents as a producer have helped The Isaacs to continually produce some of the strongest recordings in the Southern Gospel industry as well. This trend continues in marvelous fashion with Nature’s Symphony in 432: A Journey from Pain to Praise.
According to press materials released about this new recording, Nature’s Symphony in 432 “is recorded in ‘Verdi’s A tuning’ which is warm and gentle to the ear. Scientific experiments have proven that birds sing, whales bellow and the untrained human voice naturally sing in 432 tuning.” When you couple that with the spiritual path that The Isaacs went through in their own personal lives, you have what has to be the finest release The Isaacs have ever produced from a pure technical and lyrical standpoint.
Branching out of their comfort zone in more than one way, award-winning songwriting duo Becky & Sonya Isaacs paired themselves with other notable songwriters such as Kenna West, Marcia Henry, Tony Wood, Tamara & Carmen Mariea, Benji & Jenna Cowart, Jimmy Yeary, and others. This has in turn found The Isaacs’ sound shifting from the straight ahead bluegrass and traditional country sounds to more progressive undertones with sweeping orchestrations and pop sensibilities to go alongside more mature lyrical topics.
This is most notably seen in cuts like “God Is Still With Me” with its singer/songwriter pop flair or “Rock” which recalls the likes of acoustic Christian duo Shane & Shane. “Fields” showcases a more pop-bluegrass sound that bands like Mumford & Sons or The Rend Collective have made popular over the last few years. The Isaacs even venture in to more progressive Southern Gospel a la The Hoppers with “This Is the Year.” “Keep Breathing” isn’t unlike something you’d hear from more progressive groups like 11th Hour or Sisters. Fans of the traditional Isaacs sound need not fret as over the fifteen tracks the sound is still ready and available, most notably heard on tracks like “None So Lovely,” “Dining With the King,” and “Bird On the Wing.”
As great as the arrangements and marked stylistic shifts are on this recording, what really stands out is the general heaviness that the lyrical content provides. Most recordings in this genre don’t dive too deep in lyrical content – showcasing more on thoughts about the cross, the resurrection, and our blessed hope of Heaven. There’s nothing wrong with that focus, and while The Isaacs have always dipped their toes in the heavier subjects, Nature’s Symphony in 432 finds the group focusing on hurt and pain and then providing the hope that our Savior provides. “I Love You More,” “Keep Breathing,” “Yours Amen,” and “If That’s What It Takes” feature, at times, heart wrenching lyrics with vocal delivery that easily matches the lyrical topics. Ben Isaacs in particular gives one of his most compelling performances on “If That’s What It Takes.”
While there might be a lot to say about the tuning and concept that this album went for, all of that really means nothing if the songs don’t say something. Thankfully, Nature’s Symphony in 432 proves to be an epic release for The Isaacs due to it’s musical inventiveness and exceptional lyrical prowess. The Southern Gospel industry and fans should be applauding The Isaacs for creating such a great musical piece to add to our genre’s storied history. Job well done.
I Love You More
Lord of My Heart
This Is the Year
Bird On the Wing
I Find It All In You
If That’s What It Takes
God Is Still With Me
Dining With the King
None So Lovely
Great Is Thy Faithfulness (featuring Terry Bradshaw)