Producer: Cody McVey & Jeff Collins
Record Label: Independent Release
Although it was male quartets that dominated the early history of Southern Gospel Music, mixed/family groups have also played a huge role in the success and legacy of this great genre. Names like Goodman, Speer, LeFevre, Hopper, Hinson, Hemphill, Rambo and countless others have made their indelible mark on this industry, and when the final chapter of our history is written, the name Hayes will also be counted among the elite. What started many years ago as the Hayes Family with Howard and Lucy Hayes along with their children, the baton was passed several years ago to son Mylon and his wife, Wendy Hayes, along with their children Conner, Bailey and Kennedy. I compare them to a modern day “Speer Family”, as they continue to exude class and dignity as they represent Christ through their music. This latest release continues their journey and it is filled with music to help us all as we travel along on our own journey.
With Kennedy taking the lead, the recording starts off with the medium tempo, “WE COME IN JESUS’ NAME”. Penned by one of my favorite writers, Rebecca Peck, the song builds to a nice crescendo and leads well into another medium tempo song, “AIN’T IT GOOD”, which features Conner.
Peck penned the crowning jewel of the recording, “RESURRECTION POWER”. Every Christian can join the anthem as the family victoriously proclaims…”I don’t serve a dead Savior, I don’t have a dead faith, He’s alive and so am I, brought forth from the grave, there is victory for the claiming, every day and every hour, raised to live forevermore in resurrection power!” Featuring a robust orchestral accompaniment, it’s not over the top and is very tastefully done.
Continuing with the resurrection message, the tempo finally picks up for the driving, “HE IS ALIVE”, which features Kennedy and is a highlight of the recording.
The tempo slows back down as Wendy sings, “GIVE IT TO JESUS”. Much like such wonderful lyrical interpreters like Connie Hopper, Debra Talley, Kelly Nelon-Thompson, etc., Wendy has a style that makes you feel right at home and open to the message she is trying to convey.
The classic hymn, “ALL HAIL THE POWER OF JESUS’ NAME” is given a royal treatment and is a highlight of the recording for me. I’ve heard very similar arrangements of this hymn down through the years and it’s nice to hear it get a reboot and tastefully done by the Mylon Hayes Family.
Rachel McCutcheon penned the uptempo, “JOY ON THE JOURNEY” as well as the slower testimony song, “I WANT TO LIVE FOR JESUS” before Bailey steps up to sing the uptempo, “TIME TO WALK ON WATER”, which was also penned by McCutcheon.
Wendy steps back up to sing, “GOD CAN STILL TURN IT AROUND”, reminding us “God can still turn it around, He can hear your heart cry out, maybe you can’t see…He’s moving right now, God can still turn it around!” The tempo picks up slightly as Kennedy steps up again to sing “GOD IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL”.
Known for convention-style singing, the family turns in a masterful performance on the classic, “I REJOICE IN THE LORD”, and is a highlight of the recording.
Slowing the tempo back down, Mylon steps up to sing “WHAT MANNER OF LOVE” before Wendy closes things out with a solo performance on the worshipful, “I PRAISE YOU NOW”.
I am a proponent for utilizing different songwriters on a recording. Weighing heavily on just a couple of songwriters can tend to make your final product sound sterile or all the songs sounding the same. With 10 of the songs on this recording written or co-written by Rebecca Peck or Rachel McCutcheon (albeit wonderfully talented and strong songwriters), it doesn’t lend to a lot of variety. But with that aside, this is truly a really great recording as the kids are really coming into their own vocally and it’s been wonderful hearing them grow up with each subsequent recording. The tracks are wonderfully done and very complimentary and the vocals are exceptionally well done. This young group is definitely poised to make truly great and memorable music for many, many years to come and I am thoroughly enjoying the journey!
(stars denote personal favorites)
We Come in Jesus’ Name**
Ain’t it Good
He is Alive**
Give it to Jesus**
All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name**
Joy on the Journey**
I Want to Live for Jesus
Time to Walk on Water
God Can Still Turn it Around**
God is Always Faithful
I Rejoice in the Lord**
What Manner of Love
I Praise You Now