Producer: Mike Bowling
Record Label: River Hill Music Group
The Bowling Family is back with the group’s first new recording in five years – Love the People. The Bowling Family never takes the typical approach of releasing a new album every 15 months like most artists, instead they take their time to put out the perfect release that fits their sound and ministry. Mike is notoriously picky when it comes to song selection, and that meticulous ear always pays off when it comes to finding the write message for each recording.
Love the People, like previous recordings, is a hodge podge of musical styles, hitting the strengths of each of its core vocalists. Mike’s always recognizable vocal delivery finds its home in the more traditional realms of country and Southern Gospel, while Kelly’s soprano nestles nicely in the realm of progressive and more soulful styles. With the addition of Hope, the Bowling Family covers more modern and CCM based styles as well, all of which make it hard to pinpoint exactly what style the Bowling Family falls in to – and that’s not a bad thing.
“We Are the People” (written by Mike Bowling, Tony Wood and Kenna West) is about as traditional as they come in both musical and lyrical approach. That quickly moves in to the Country-flavored “I Could Tell You Stories” (written by West and Brice Long) which features Mike at his finest vocal. This straight-ahead country anthem wouldn’t be out of place on a Blake Shelton record.
Kelly absolutely knocks it out of the park on the West, Karen Harding and Sue C. Smith ballad “Everything You Need Is In the Blood.” Sisters recorded this last year with a very traditional, high church feel. Kelly takes it straight down the soulful, Black Gospel track to become an album highlight. Hope channels Lauren Daigle on the Jeff Baumgardner and Daniel Doss penned “Lay It Down.” There’s nothing remotely Southern about this song, and Hope absolutely kills it, showing off how years on the road have only helped her become the fantastic vocalist she is today.
Mike proves to be one of the finest lyric interpreters on “The People That God Gives You,” a tearful reminder of how we spend our time with our loved ones. Aaron Wilburn and Lee Black created a lyrical masterpiece on this tune. Lily Isaacs shows up on the intro to “Behold the Lamb” (written by Wood, and Becky & Sonya Isaacs) – a fantastic traditional number surely inspired by the group’s many visits to Israel as of late. The Bowling Sisters also show up in the song, truly making it a family affair.
Mike’s production and ear for arrangements is on full display all throughout Love the People. His use of background vocals throughout help to accentuate the strength of the trio while lifting the arrangement of the song to a new level. This is exceptionally evident on Hope’s other big single, “How Faithful You Are,” a CCM power-ballad that also features her sisters. John Lemonis and Kenna West should be excited to hear this song on this level.
The album closes with the barn-burner “Just Another River (written by Mike, Wood and West). This is the kind of song that hits the radio, and you automatically know it’s the Bowling Family before a single note is sung. It’s part Crabb Family, part The Freemans, and lots of Mike’s irresistible vocal delivery.
Five years is well worth the wait when the Bowling Family continues to put out product at this quality. They have set the standard for this year with Love the People.
We Are the People
I Could Tell You Stories
Everything You Need Is In the Blood
Lay It Down
The People That God Gives You
Behold the Lamb
Raise Your Praise
How Faithful You Are
Just Another River