Album Review: PromisedLand Quartet – “Golden Road”

PromisedLand Quartet – Golden Road

Producer:  Wayne Haun

Label:  StowTown Records


Rating:  5 Stars

I first discovered the PromisedLand Quartet back in early 2004 and quickly fell in love with their big sound and became a huge fan of the group.  At the heart of their unique sound is tenor Joey Wilson and lead, Gene Hamman and they are very ably supported by 2 more outstanding vocalists, Aaron Swain on baritone and newest member, Steve Barnett holding down the bass.  These guys have a unique quality to their sound, and in a world where everything sounds the same, the PromisedLand Quartet rises above the pack.  They, and along with producer Wayne Haun, have created a recording that is absolutely phenomenal and one of my absolute favorite releases for 2023!

Things kicks off with the highly enjoyable title song, “GOLDEN ROAD”, which features Aaron.  Written by Scotty Inman, Sue Smith and Lee Black, it’s the perfect lead-off song and is the first single from the recording.  A very radio friendly song, it should do very well for the guys!

With its strong upbeat country feel, “LEAVE IT IN THE WATER” shows off Steve’s excellent bass vocals before Gene steps up to sing what is probably my favorite song on the recording, “THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED”.  Written by Wayne Haun, Zane King and Sue Smith, the song was a perfect fit for Gene, and I hope it makes it to radio before it’s all said and done!

Featuring a nice horn section, the tempo picks back up as Aaron and Joey both take the lead on the song, “BACK IN THE GRAVE”, which also features a nice Tim Riley signature ending by Steve at the end.  Speaking of Steve, as the tempo slows back down, he does a superb job on the vulnerable lyric of “WEIGHT OF THE WORLD”, which features some really nice steel guitar accents.  Showing off his upper range, Steve proves he’s not only capable of dragging the bottom, but he can deliver the goods on those heartfelt tunes as well.  Sounding like something George Younce would have sung back in the day, it’s a highlight of the recording, before the tempo kicks into high gear with a song called, “THE INVITATION”.  Featuring a strong beat and power chords on the electric guitar, the song has the feel of an energetic Praise & Worship tune.  It’s a little different for the guys and is the most progressive song on the recording.

By contrast, the pace slows back down for the stunning, “MY PROMISED LAND”, which is tastefully and very subtly accented with strings and showcases some nice guitar work as well.  Written by Wayne Haun, Dixie Phillips and Daryl Williams, the warm feel of this unassuming tune is a highlight of the recording and features an outstanding vocal performance by Aaron.

Keeping the tempo in slow mode, Joey steps up to sing the emotionally tinged, “GOOD TEARS”, which was written by Rodney Griffin and Dave Clark.  Joey does a great job on the song before the tempo picks up for the country feel of “WHAT THE LORD LOVES”, which also features Joey.

One of the most striking songs to come along in the last year or so is the final song, “GONE ON BEFORE”.  Featuring an excellent performance by Gene, the song is an emotional reminder for those left behind by the death of a loved one, “I’m not really gone, just gone on before, not dead but alive forevermore…”.  A hard song to follow, it’s perfectly placed as the final song, leaving the listener a bit speechless (and likely a bit misty eyed) by the messaging of the song, which is perfectly paired with a delicate and beautifully arranged music track.

I was thrilled for the PromisedLand Quartet when they signed with StowTown earlier this year, but I will admit I was a little concerned their unique sound would be creatively changed to something more mainstream.  When I finally got to hear this recording, my fears were immediately put to rest, as this definitely has their trademark sound and they have created an absolutely phenomenal piece of work.  These guys are definitely walking the “Golden Road” and I’m excited about what’s around the bend for them!

Some of my favorite songs include “Golden Road”, “The Hour I First Believed”, “Back in the Grave”, “My Promised Land” and “Gone on Before”.

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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