REVIEW: Karen Peck & New River – Hope For All Nations

Producer: Wayne Haun
Record Label: Daywind Records

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Karen Peck &  New River, as an artist, has become one of the great ambassadors of Southern Gospel to the greater Gospel music world over the last several years. Her appearance in a major motion picture and her recent Grammy and Dove Award exposure has placed them squarely on the radar of many in the Gospel music community. This award-winning and highly sought after group is poised for the same trajectory with the release of its latest mainline release – Hope For All Nations.

Hope For All Nations feels like an extension of KPNR’s more critically acclaimed releases like TriumphEphesians One, and Revival as opposed to their last release Pray Now. The group seems to be stretching its musical chops on this release and trying out new sounds, focusing more on a bluesy based country and church music sound as opposed to the slightly more traditional feel of Pray Now.

Don’t fret. KPNR still hits the traditional sounds that put them on the map, such as “God’s Got a Blessing” (which is not unlike “Bend In the River”) or the opening cut “Love Will Never Give Up.” “All You Need,” which features Susan, also takes a more middle of the road sound the group has established throughout the years.

However, where this recording really works is when KPNR take on a more bluesed up sound. Karen rightly gives newcomer Ricky Braddy a chance to shine. His vocals are akin to the blue-eyed soul of Danny Gokey or Jonny Lang, and the group really shines on his numbers, particularly “Who He Is and What He Does,” which is an album highlight.

Ricky and Kari take on a stunning duet on “I Keep On Praying.” This song flirts on the side of pop much like a group like Cana’s Voice or Sisters would tackle. Kari sounds great, and the back third of this song really kicks it up a notch. “Victory Is Mine” is another highlight that features Ricky in a more soulful backdrop.

Of course, Karen Peck & New River wouldn’t be who they are without their namesake. Karen continues to be one of the best vocalists in the industry. She’s since spun the spotlight on her support that is New River and found a home in the writer’s chair as she co-wrote a good bulk of the songs on this project. She shines on the first single and anthem building “Hope For All Nations.” “I Know I’ll Be There” is another striking ballad from the vocalist that is right in her wheelhouse. “Gotta Be Saved” is rousing country number that is probably a blast to stage in a live setting for the group. (This is something that would be right at home on a Crabb Family concert back in the 2000s.) “I’m Gonna Love My Neighbor” is a fun song that features other Southern Gospel artists like The Isaacs, Greater Vision, The Whisnants, Triumphant, Jeff & Sheri Easter, and the Bowling Family. It’s a nice way to end another great recording from this group.

Overall, KPNR continues to create some of the most engaging music to come out of this genre. Producer Wayne Haun has taken this group to a new level musically. It’s been fun to watch this group transform over the years.

Track Listing:

Love Will Never Give Up
Hope For All Nations
Who He Is, What He Does
The Reason
Gotta Be Saved
I’ll Keep On Praying
The River
Victory Is Mine
God’s Got A Blessing
All You Need
I Know I’ll Be There
I’m Gonna Love My Neighbor

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Chris Unthank

Chris Unthank is a seasoned veteran of Gospel music, having been a writer, performer, songwriter, and general music enthusiast for over two decades. He has been the Editor-In-Chief for since since January 2011. Chris is an avid fan of all things nerdy and resides in Murfreesboro, TN with his wife Noel and their four children.
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