Aaron Swain's blog about Southern Gospel Music, News, and other items of interest in the SG world.
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CD Review: The Dove Brothers – Unshakeable

July 03, 2010 By: Aaron Category: CD Reviews, SG Artists, SG Music, The Dove Brothers

Rating: 4 stars

Producer: Danny Crawford
Label: Sonlite Records
Website: www.dovebrothersquartet.com

The end of 2009/beginning of 2010 saw several big changes for the Dove Brothers, with piano player Jerry Kelso leaving the group and Adam Harman being brought in, and then adding  drummer Devin Dove and bassist Marc Peele for a three-piece live band. Changes this major will affect a group’s sound for sure, but the question here is this: how did the addition of the band change their sound for this new project?

The group has stayed in the Country Gospel direction they started in with 2006’s Never The Same, and continued with 2008’s Life and 2009’s Hold On. Fans who didn’t like the sound to begin with will really dislike this album; the group has jumped into the Country sound with both feet this time around.

With the band, the group’s song choices for this project feature arrangements that a three-piece band can easily replicate. Interestingly, many of the project’s songs come from the 1970s, an era when live bands were popular in Southern Gospel. The covers run the gamut, with songs such as The Imperials’ “Ole Buddha,” and The Dixie Echoes’ “Good Ole Gospel Song,” both of which feature lead singer McCray Dove and do a great job of maintaining the original feel of the songs while updating them to a more modern sound. Tenor singer Jerry Martin takes a feature on “My Soul Has Been Set Free,” an old Lesters Tennesseans tune (thanks, DM!). As if the group knew that this effort would draw parallels to the Oak Ridge Boys, they also recorded the Oaks classic “King Jesus,” totally updating the arrangement and turning it into a bass feature for David Hester. Hester is also featured on a Blackwood Brothers song that Bill Lyles originally sang, “How About You.”

There are plenty of newer songs to go around as well. “Hey Lazarus” has a callback arrangement on the chorus, with Hester echoing the group on each line. Baritone Eric Dove gets a solo on a verse of the Poet Voices song “Preachin’ In Prison.” “I Recall” is an upbeat quartet song, and “If I Knew Then” is a ponderous McCray Dove feature that has the lonesome sound you would find on any country ballad on the radio today. The last track, “Unstoppable,” is a song originally cut by Rascal Flatts that allows Jerry Martin to cut loose.

Bottom line: While the group has definitely adopted the heavy country sound, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Although there’s a couple tracks that aren’t my cup of tea, the Dove Brothers have released a project that makes a bold statement about who they are and what they believe in, while very clearly defining their sound.

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