Producer: Les Butler
Record Label: Family Music Group
As the musical landscape continues to change, there will always be groups like the Old Time Preachers Quartet that keeps things grounded. I always consider myself to be a Progressive Traditionalist. I like the new stuff and I am all for progressive sounds, but something about the rich tones of a solid male quartet singing the traditional style does something to me. Anchored by Les Butler and Mike Holcomb on piano/baritone and bass respectively, the group has gelled into a solid singing machine with lead singer Bob Sellers (formerly of the Kingsmen), Tim Owens on tenor and additional support provided by Adam Borden on bass guitar and vocals. Their first recording was really good, but this latest release is truly an exceptional piece of work and I can’t stop listening to it!
The recording starts off with what could be the quartet’s mantra, “LONG LIVE OLD TIME RELIGION”, which features Mike Holcomb. This medium tempo tune is the perfect opener for this recording, as it proclaims, “long live the old time religion, the saving kind that’ll change the way you’re living, though some may say the modern way is what we really need, I’ve made the decision the old time religion is good enough for me.”.
The tempo picks up for the country stylings of the Joel Hemphill classic, “I’LL SOON BE GONE” before slowing back down the bluegrass feel of “THE EMPTY ALTAR”, which features Les Butler. Love the haunting strains of the fiddles and dobro on the song.
The tempo picks back up for the classic, “WHEN GOD’S CHARIOT COMES”, and it’s a highlight of the recording before moving on to “THE CHAPTER AND THE VERSE”. Penned by Rebecca Peck, the group definitely channeled the Inspirations as it sounds like something they would do, as does the fun uptempo, “I SANG MYSELF HAPPY”, which was also penned by Rebecca Peck along with Dianne Wilkinson.
Bob Sellers is featured on the medium tempo, “WHAT WE NEED” which declares the things we desperately need today…”fire in the pulpit, conviction in the pews, tears on the altar, the hand of God to move, love for the Bible, hatred of sin and saints who’ll live for Jesus, til Jesus comes again”. This is another excellently written song by Rebecca Peck.
The highlight of the recording is “HE HAS”, which is a slight departure for the group, musically, and features an excellent performance by Adam Borden. His passionate delivery draws you in and you can’t help but rejoice in the strength of our Savior. I am thrilled they have released this as the first single.
The tempo picks up with the classic, “EVERYBODY WILL BE HAPPY OVER THERE”, which features Mike on a spectacular bass feature, before slowing down a bit for the song, “I’LL CONTINUE IN THE THINGS I HAVE HEARD”, which features Les.
The recording closes out on a high with two uptempo songs, “ONE MORE REASON” and the Hinson classic, “JOY COMES IN THE MORNING”.
If you like bass singing, you’ll get plenty from Mike Holcomb, and he shows us why he is one of the finest bass singers in gospel music. My one criticism, although Bob Sellers takes the lead in several songs, he doesn’t have a lot of features. I would have liked to have heard him a little bit more. That aside, this is a classy recording with a good mix of old and new songs. It’s not over-produced with a lot of orchestrations and stacks and you get lots of great singing. The tracks take no back-seat though, as they are excellently done and serve as much more than just “background”. This is the type of quartet music I want more of. This is kind of music I can sink my teeth into. Less manufactured sound and more authentic and realistic sounds. This group can sing anyone off the stage and I look forward to hearing more from these guys in the future. More please?
(stars denote personal favorites)
Long Live Old Time Religion
I’ll Soon Be Gone**
The Empty Altar**
When God’s Chariot Comes**
The Chapter and the Verse**
I Sang Myself Happy
What We Need**
Everybody Will Be Happy Over There**
I’ll Continue in the Things I Have Heard
One More Reason
Joy Comes in the Morning