Producer: Jeremy Medkiff, Sisters, and Gordon Mote
Record Label: Independent
There’s an old saying that circulates in our market that basically implies there’s nothing better than family harmony. While the mechanics of that aren’t necessarily true, the case certainly can be made while listening to Sisters. The group, made up of actual sisters and Southern Gospel veterans Heather Ruppe Bennett, Kim Ruppe Sheffield, and Valerie Ruppe Medkiff, are back with a simple yet sweet recording of mostly new material.
The last time we saw these talented ladies was on Atmosphere, a recording of covers that have been circulating in the modern worship world. Simply Sisters, the follow-up, finds the girls returning to the roots of progressive Southern Gospel while holding tight to the church-friendly sounds of Atmosphere. In particular, fans of Sisters’ AGM Award-winning Classics Collection will find a lot to love here as this recording’s production is toned down and features mostly a piano or acoustic accompaniment with the occasional string arrangement thrown in for good measure.
The album kicks off with the vertically oriented “For You” (written by Jason Cox, Kenna West, Sue C. Smith, and Gordon Mote) where Heather shines on the verses. This reviewer continues to hold to the belief that these sisters are the three most underrated and underutilized vocalists in this industry, and Heather’s vocals over the last few recordings have reinforced that sentiment. Her interpretation of the lyric is stunning and breathtaking. The Lee Black, Smith, and West penned “A Day Will Come” follows with an impressive performance from Valerie. We finally get an upbeat song on “Soar,” a cover of the Meredith Andrews worship tune. Their arrangement is nice, but could benefit from a beefed up track like was found on Atmosphere.
The first big anthem and debut single shows up on “It Was Finished On the Cross.” This modern hymn, written by Regie Stone and Kristie Braselton, will resound with Southern Gospel audiences and the Church equally. As Easter approaches, this should not get lost in the shuffle of radio playlists. Listeners and fans will be begging to hear this song for years to come. Another tender ballad follows with “God Loves the Broken” which was also written by Stone along with Jeff Ferguson. As the ladies launch their new women’s ministry conference this year, this song should find itself as a center for ministry for the trio. The repeated bridge of “God does love us” has an emotional and musical payoff with its stirring vocal build up.
From the pen of Lee Black and Ben Storie comes “So Smile.” This isn’t unlike something you’d hear from the likes of Point of Grace and has a very Francesca Batistelli-vibe. The ladies do a great job of covering many musical styles, and this song drives that point home. “Another Day” (penned by Black, Michael Farren, and Kenna West) is another highlight that helps lift the recording with it’s Little Big Town feel and upbeat tempo. The final big impacting song is “Never Too Broken,” the song that will be a focal point for Sisters’ upcoming women’s conference. James Tealy, Michael Puryear, and Simon Hawkins craftsmanship on this tune is second to none.
Sisters continues to impress on Simply Sisters. There are very few singers in this industry that know how to interpret a lyric as well as these ladies. Their hearts for ministry are on full display on this recording. Simply Sisters should be viewed as one of the best for the year, even this early on in 2017. Sisters are a treasure in this industry. Simply Sisters is just proof of that.
A Day Will Come
It Was Finished On the Cross
God Loves the Broken
Never Too Broken
To Be Forgiven