The Old Paths – Simplicity Too
The Old Paths recently released the follow up to their table project from earlier this year. Keeping with the first recording, the CD contains a dozen older songs, recorded primarily with piano, bass, and drum instrumentation with pretty standard arrangements. The first recording featured almost exclusively songs that most groups have recorded at one time or another. This time the Old Paths have worked in a few forgotten songs along with southern gospel standards like “Midnight Cry,” “I Hold A Clear Title,” “He’s Still In The Fire,” and “Jesus I Love You.”
The project includes four songs originally recorded by Gold City, including “Midnight Cry.” The second Gold City cover is “Come On In,” which is one of my favorite “forgotten” Gold City songs as I don’t know of any covers of the song until now. It isn’t a drastic departure from the original arrangement, but it is really great to hear the song again. “Do It By The Book” features a drastic change. Musically, the blistering piano work is still present, but instead of featuring the tenor, the verses serve as the introduction to the group’s new 21 year old bass singer, Daniel Ashmore. Daniel is also featured on the final Gold City cover, “He’ll Never Let Go of My Hand.” While Daniel isn’t dropping Tim Riley low notes (yet), his voice is big and solid and being only 21 years old, he has ton of potential. I can’t wait to hear Daniel sing this song after he’s been singing full time longer than three months.
As I mentioned, the group has pulled out some non-standard fare. This includes two songs I don’t believe I’d ever heard before, “Holy Ghost Revival” and “Keep It Simple.” Both songs feature lead Tim Rackley, who I think is one of the industry’s most unheralded lead singers. The former song is a fun barn burner while the latter is a medium tempo song that calls for us to remember how simple the plan of salvation is and to keep it that way. And obviously on this recording, it can also serve almost as a theme song of sorts.
Before I talk about my top two songs from the project, I have to mention the one song I could have done without. Baritone Doug Roark is featured on a song made popular by Roger Bennett, “I’ve Read the Back of the Book.” I’ve never been a huge fan of this song, and again, the song follows the typical arrangement used by the Cathedrals and Legacy Five. I enjoy Doug’s other feature, “I Hold A Clear Title,” much more than this track.
The two songs that stand out above the rest on this project are both slower songs. The first, “He Gave Me The Well,” is a Greater Vision cover. This is the first time I’ve heard the song arranged to feature the lead (typically, the baritone has had the lead) and it gives the song much more power and effect than any other version of the song. Tim’s version of the song is the best I’ve heard. The other song is a beautiful rendition of “If That Isn’t Love.” Daniel has the solo on the first verse and the lead on the first chorus, with harmony from Tim and Doug, before tenor Jeremy Peace takes the second verse and holds the lead through the end of the song. “If That Isn’t Love” has been done by most groups, but this is one of the prettiest versions I’ve heard.
- I Hold A Clear Title – ****
- Come On In – ****
- Do It By The Book – ****
- He Gave Me The Well – *****
- Holy Ghost Revival – ****
- I’ve Read The Back of The Book – ***
- If That Isn’t Love – *****
- Jesus, I Love You – ****
- Keep It Simple – ****
- Midnight Cry – ****
- He’ll Never Let Go Of My Hand – ****
- He’s Still In The Fire – ****
Song Average: 4.1 stars
CD Rating: 4.5 stars
Available from The Old Paths
Review copy provided