Producer: Johnny Minick
Record Label: Gaither Music Group
When I read the press release for a new project with Johnny Minick joining the Stewart Brothers to record a new album, my curiosity was piqued. Knowing Minick from his days with the Happy Goodmans, and, now, Goodman Revival, had me wondering how his tones would sound mixed with a Western style of Gospel Music. The Stewart Brothers, Lonnie and Phil, have teamed with Johnny Minick to offer listeners a unique perspective of hymns and Gospel favorites with a Country Western interpretation.
Due to the absence of Western Music influence on the Country Music scene, this form of singing appears as a novelty of sorts. However, Minick & the Stewart Brothers show that this style isn’t past its prime – and proves that the Western style is adaptable in the Gospel Music field as well. Blending two well-beloved tunes of heaven, “I Am Bound for the Promised Land” and “Sweet Beulah Land”, the gentlemen showcase their harmonies with a backdrop reminiscent to the scenes of the Western USA in days gone by.
In addition to the full-scale treatment with orchestra and cinematic style, the Stewart Brothers & Minick offer the listener more contemplative singing with “I Love His Name” and “It Is No Secret.” While many Gospel Music listeners are well-acquainted with the latter tune, the trio gives excellent harmonies to add a fresh touch. The well-arranged strings on “I Love His Name” give the listener a full, yet understated sound to compliment the lyrics.
As I’ve learned with Western Music, a key factor in successfully singing this style is using a melody’s rhythm to accent the emotional side of the song. To some, it would seem to be another collection of timeless Gospel classics. However, the album focuses more on individual arrangements complimenting a style of music – rather than just repeating what others have recorded before. While this style may not be everyone’s “cup of tea”, I was pleased with the well-planned arrangements and style throughout the recording.
I Am Bound For The Promised Land/Beaulah Land
I Love His Name
It Is No Secret What God Can Do
This Little Light Of Mine
That Wonderful Someone
I Saw The Light
Just A Closer Walk With Thee
When He Reached Down His Hand For Me