REVIEW: The Inspirations – Ever Old, Ever New

Producer: Jeff Collins
Label: Horizon Records/Crossroads Music Group

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The Inspirations encompass the title of this latest release, Ever Old, Ever New.  An icon in our industry, they continue to put out new music and not rest on the laurels of their storied history.  The group today consists of the “old-timers” Archie Watkins, Eddie Dietz and Marlin Shubert along with relative newcomers, Roland Kesterson, Wyatt Austin and Luke Vaught.  True to their sound, they have released a new recording that their loyal fans will thoroughly enjoy.

The unmistakable voice of Archie Watkins get’s things started with the medium tempo, “HE TURNED WHEN I TOUCHED HIM”.  I didn’t even need to look at the credits to know that Sandy Knight penned this tune, and it fits the Inspirations like a glove, and would be an excellent choice for a single release.

A highlight of the recording, Roland sings his own self-penned tune, “HOME IS SOUNDING SWEETER” before Marlin steps up to sing another Sandy Knight tune, “SHOW THEM LOVE”.

The tempo finally picks up as the Inspirations churn out their own rendition of the Singing Echoes classic tune, “ENTER IN”, which features Wyatt on the bass lines, before Archie steps back up to sing the thought provoking, “THEN WHAT?”.

The tempo kicks back up for the Dianne Wilkinson/Rebecca Peck penned tune, “FOREVER SETTLED” before slowing back down as Eddie steps up to sing, “KNOWING YOU’RE THERE”.

The Inspirations have always had a nostalgic feel to their music, recalling simpler times, and “1945” provides us with a look back before Luke Vaught steps up and showcases his stellar talents with a highly enjoyable instrumental rendition of “I’LL FLY AWAY”.  Featuring him on acoustic/electric guitar, mandolin, steel/dobro, piano, upright bass and fiddle…is there anything this guy can’t play?

I was thrilled to see the Inspirations bring back an Inspirations favorite, “I LIKE THE SONGS THAT MAMA SANG THE BEST”.  Featuring Roland, the group originally recorded the song back in 1980, and it was nice hearing it revived.  The recording closes out with “ON THE RIGHT SIDE”, which features Eddie.

Fans of the Inspirations will no doubt find a lot to like about this latest release.  The Inspirations remain one of the most consistent groups in our industry, and have found the formula that works for them, which has always been part of their charm and it’s what their fans expect.  No new trails were blazed with this recording, but it continues the tradition started 56 years ago in Bryson City, North Carolina, proving they are ever old, ever new!

Track Listing:
stars denote personal favorites)

He Turned When I Touched Him**
Home is Sounding Sweeter**
Show them Love
Enter In**
Then What?
Forever Settled**
Knowing You’re There
I’ll Fly Away**
I Like the Songs that Mama Sang the Best**
On the Right Side


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James Hales

James Hales, from Durham, North Carolina, has been a writer for since 2000. James is our featured reviewer and also contributes to monthly features periodically.
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