The Old Paths – Simplicity
Simplicity is the Old Paths’ follow-up to their big budget release, Wonderful Life (which was by far my favorite recording of 2010 and something I REALLY need to do a review for). While Simplicity is a collection of classic songs and older favorites, it is not part of the group’s three volume Journey Down The Old Path series. This recording began as a “four guys and a piano”-style release and the songs were to be staged with pianist Trey Ivey providing the only accompaniment. When Trey left the group to join Legacy Five, the group postponed the CD so that bass guitar and drums could be added to the tracks.
Simplicity contains some songs (“Beulah Land” & “What A Savior”) that collectors of southern gospel music will dismiss as “tired” or “over done.” Still these songs are the favorites of people who actually purchase artists’ music (something I admit I don’t always remember to take into account). Other familiar songs on the recording include “He’s All I Need”, “Redemption Draweth Nigh”, “We Shall See Heaven Someday”, “Under Control”, and “Wedding Music”.
Simplicity also includes some songs that have not done been covered by seemingly every other group. The best of these songs is a cover of the Kingsmen’s “Behold The Master Cometh” which opens the project. This studio cut naturally doesn’t capture the energy of the Kingsmen’s original live recording, but with Doug Roark taking the verses (performed by Eldridge Fox on the Kingsmen’s Georgia Live), it is a much smoother sound. I look forward to hearing this one performed live. Another stand out is a remake of the Hinsons’ “There’s Gonna Be Some Changes Made”. This song is a fun, up tempo, quartet song and bass Brandon Barry sounds great on it. The group also covers a Kingsmen song I’d never heard before, “A Real Good, Feel Good Song”.
My favorite three songs of the recording are found right in the middle at tracks #6, #7, and #8. “It’ll Be Joy” is a quartet song that I have loved since the first time I heard it. It is followed by an incredible vocal by Doug on “Leaving On My Mind”. Doug’s version has quickly become my favorite recording ever of this classic song. Jeremy Peace follows that up with his rendition of “What A Savior.” This version, besides Jeremy’s vocal, stands out from others with a modified tag that I don’t believe I’ve heard used before. The line “He gave his life’s blood” is softly repeated three times by Jeremy before he goes up on the next line and is joined by the other voices on the final “oh what a Savior” for a powerful finish.
I enjoyed this recording tremendously. Even though not all the arrangements have been drastically updated, there is something special about hearing one of your favorite groups taking on some of the genre’s most loved songs. If you are a fan of traditional quartets (especially ones that don’t seem to be transitioning to a country sound) and the old songs, Simplicity is a CD that you will greatly enjoy.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review copy provided