REVIEW: The Hoppers – Honor the First Families of Gospel Music

Producer: Information Not Provided
Record Label: Gaither Music Group

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Due to the high volume of prominent names in the Southern Gospel industry, listeners have been treated to a variety of singers and styles through the years. The moment anyone mentions the name, Hopper, a listener will remember a specific song or share group members for the legendary family of singers and musicians. In 2017, the Hoppers and Gaither Music Group teamed to offer listeners, ‘The Hoppers Honor the First Families of Gospel Music.’ How fitting it is that Bill Gaither selected one of modern-day’s favorite families to pay respects to 5 different families in Gospel Music: the Speer Family, the Rambos, the Gaithers, the Chuck Wagon Gang, and the Happy Goodman Family.

As the project weaves through a variety of styles, the listener is treated to a blueprint of the family harmony that Gospel Music has witnessed through the years. While not exactly duplicating the style of the Chuck Wagon Gang, the Hoppers perform their well-known, “Lord, Lead Me On”, with the same solemnness and distinct harmonies. In addition to “Lord, Lead Me On”, the Hoppers revive great standards long-overdue for a fresh touch including “I’d Rather Have Jesus” (not the George Beverly Shea tune) and “He Is Mine and I Am His”. Already a concert favorite, the arrangement of “He Is Mine and I Am His” is sure to be well-sang through the next few years by the Hoppers.

While the project devotes much attention to honoring certain families and styles, the Hoppers introduce a new arrangement of an older Church of God Alexandria tune, “Be an Overcomer.” When Bill Gaither approached the Hoppers about doing this project, he included this tune as another barn-burner with the likes of “Shoutin’ Time” and “Stepping on the Clouds”. For this tune, the melody remains intact; however, the over-arching, “Overcome” line on the chorus was added to give a more modern arrangement to fit the Hoppers’ style.

As fans have duly noted through the past 30 years in particular, the Hoppers are a class act with a desire to keep great songs alive while looking to the future. Some song “revivals” they’ve performed include “Shoutin’ Time”, “Stepping on the Clouds”, “Let the Redeemed Say So”, “I’ve Come Too Far”, and “I’ll Take You Home.” Listening to the family honor the founding families of Gospel Music with this collection of tunes shows their class and dedication to preserving the heritage of Gospel Music. If you’re like me, a devout family-style listener, then this is a project to whet your appetite. The Hoppers perform each song with enough familiar flair to make them unique to themselves while the core of the artists remain at the heart of the album.

Personal Favorites: “Be an Overcomer”, “He Is Mine and I Am His”, “I’d Rather Have Jesus”, “Some Glad Day”, and “Lord, Lead Me On”


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Andrew Stephens

Andrew hails from Anderson, SC and has lived here all 25 years of his life. As a child, he attended concerts in the area and instantly became hooked on the concept of Southern Gospel music. His music collection has expanded to over 1,000 artist recordings as well as several compilations (including record label & radio promotions comps). For a couple of years or so, Andrew hosted a blog, "Southern Gospel Review", and did articles ranging from specialty (Hits of the Past), album reviews (CD, DVD, & Vinyl), and other interesting tidbits (recording oddities, etc.).
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