REVIEW: Mike Blanton & Evidence – Reason to Sing
Producer: Jeff Collins
Record Label: Independent
I’ve always considered myself to be a “Progressive Traditionalist”, and Mike Blanton & Evidence appeals to my “traditional” side. Boasting an easy country sound, Mike and his wife Teresa, along with Shane Ferrell, have put together what I consider to be their best recording. Fans who enjoy their gospel with a more country flavor, will like this recording. With a style akin to that of such groups as the McKameys, Old Time Preachers Quartet, Joyaires, Primitive Quartet, etc., they sing with heart and sing songs with a more evangelistic approach. After listening to this recording, there’s no doubt this group has a reason to sing!
The recording starts out with a rollicking rendition of the Dad Speer classic, “OH IT THRILLES ME” before moving on the power ballad, “WORHSIP YOU AGAIN”, written by Sandy Blythe.
The title song, “A REASON TO SING” kicks things back up before slowing back down as Shane steps up to sing an older Kyla Rowland tune, “RIGHT HERE WHERE YOU LEFT ME”. I absolutely love the steel guitar intro and almost thought Vestal Goodman was going to step up to the mic!
I love the group’s rendition of the Lewis Family classic, “THIS FLIGHT THAT IS LEAVING SOON”, which features Mike Blanton before his wife, Teresa steps up to sing the powerful, “STAND ON MY FAITH”. Another Sandy Blythe penned tune, the song challenges others who are struggling to stand on the faith of others to allow them to undergird them and hold them up in the faith.
Mike steps back up to sing an old Primitive Quartet tune, “WHEN CROSSING TIME SHALL COME” before Shane steps back up to sing one of my all-time favorite songs, “I CAN’T COMPLAIN”.
The tempo picks up a bit for “THE NAPKIN IS STILL FOLDED”, which was written by Mike Blanton before kicking things back into high gear with another Kyla Rowland penned tune, “HE’S THE FOUNDATION”.
Teresa closes things out with “JUST AS BLESSED”. Written by Belinda Smith and Sue Smith, this is a powerful song and it reminds us that we are just as blessed in the bad times as we are in the good times.
This is an all-around great recording. Features and tempos are paced well, tracks and vocals are very well done and there is a good mix of new and older songs. The priority of Mike Blanton & Evidence isn’t to make hit records and push songs in the charts (and to be clear, there is nothing wrong with that), but as an evangelistic team, their goals are little different than the mainstream Southern Gospel artists and their music reflects that. With a strong emphasis on songs meant to compliment a more revival/campmeeting environment, this recording is spot on. I find listening to this recording to be very fulfilling and uplifting, as well as enjoyable and satisfying, and it is their finest recording to date!
(stars denote personal favorites)
Oh it Thrills Me**
Worship You Again
A Reason to Sing**
Right Here Where You Left Me**
This Flight That is Leaving Soon**
Stand on my Faith**
When Crossing Time Shall Come
I Can’t Complain**
The Napkin is Still Folded
He’s the Foundation**
Just as Blessed**