The Old Paths – Right Now
- Battle Stand ***** – The project opens with an energetic up-tempo song recorded by the Roy Knight Singers last year. The song features one of the most unheralded lead singers in the industry, Tim Rackley. Tim carries the lead through most of the song, including a solo on the second verse. Tenor Jeremy Peace takes the lead on the final chorus. The music track, featuring a banjo, establishes a touch of bluegrass that is present on a lot tracks on the project.
- He’s My Song **** – This beautiful slow song features Jeremy Peace and could serve as a testimony for all full time ministries. The lyrics of the opening verse sound like something that must go through the minds of a lot of singers while lying in their bunks before a service – “And though it seems I have no stress, it’d be nice to get just a little rest, but I can’t say no, for He is my song.”
- Woke Up This Morning **** – Young bass singer Daniel Ashmore handles the verses on this catchy fast song, while Tim and Jeremy lead the choruses. Although Daniel doesn’t really bottom out any notes on the song, it lets you hear that he has a great voice to handle solos. As I mentioned above, this song is very catchy, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself humming or singing it to yourself after hearing it a few times.
- Everlasting Yes *** – This is a ballad that features Tim Rackley. This isn’t one of the ballads that starts soft and keeps building and building until it goes way up for the big ending. It starts and stays close to the same level, although the music during the verses is a little more laid back than during the choruses. This isn’t a bad song; it is very pretty with a wonderful message, but coming between two fast songs, the lack of energy in the song is a little jarring.
- I Know That God Can Do It ***** – This cover of an old Heaven Bound song is the stand out track on the project and has a ton of energy. The second verse is probably my favorite part of the entire CD. Tim, who has the lead throughout the song, sings the first line by himself and then other members come in on each successive line – a duo with Doug, a trio with Jeremy, then the full quartet. Finally, Daniel solos the last line and hits an incredible note on the end of the verse. My only complaint with this track is that it doesn’t last long enough, so I have to keep hitting the replay button over and over.
- I’m Saved **** – This medium tempo song is baritone Doug Roark’s only feature on the recording as he sings both verses and has the lead on the first two choruses. Doug is a solid baritone and while he may not have the dynamic range of a Mark Trammell, he sings songs with a message concerning salvation that he communicates so effectively that they become a highlight of each recording. The song is arranged in typical southern gospel fashion with a key change and the tenor taking the lead on the final chorus. While that arrangement is common, it fits this song and should go over very well at all the Baptist pastor conferences that the Old Paths are a part of.
- When It All Starts Happening **** – The Hoppers aren’t the only group mining Mercy’s Mark’s excellent final recording for material! This cover replaces the brass section of the original with a harmonica and lead guitar, giving it a more country flavor. The vocal parts are switched around a bit as well, but not so much that the song is all that different from the original. While I have to say I prefer the original music track to this one, it is a great song and the country feel fits in with the rest of this project.
- The Blood On My Hands ***** – Upon first listening to this project, this was my pick for the best song on the recording. Although a couple faster songs have overtaken it, it is still a great, powerful ballad featuring Jeremy and it demonstrates just a little of his range on the tag. I love the steel guitar work in the music track. It isn’t a country-style “crying” sound, but a very pleasing sound that adds to the song. Also, Daniel’s voice really shines on this track as he supplies the low end for the group.
- God’s Great **** – I mentioned earlier that several music tracks have a hint of bluegrass flavor to them. This song also goes in that direction with the vocal arrangement. Tim Rackely is featured on the verses and has the lead on the chorus, with Doug getting a few quick step out lines. I love the hook of this song. The lyrics speak of how good God is, but then stops and say, “no – God’s great!”
- Right Now **** – This song is absolutely blistering – think “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” with southern gospel lyrics. A banjo, fiddle, and and some nice piano licks are prevalent in the music track. Tim is featured here, along with Daniel who repeats the verse. Daniel’s phrasing on his verse reminds me of a young Tim Riley or Jeff Chapman. An instrumental encore fades out and closes out the CD.
Average Song Rating: 4.2 stars
CD Rating: 4.5 stars
Pre-release review copy provided