Producer: Danny Crawford
Label: Skyland Records
Song titles: I’m Gonna Tell The Story; I’ll Cast My Crown; He’s Been So Good To Me; Somebody Touched Me; I Can See The Hand; Freedom Still Flows; Lord Stir The Wind; The Cross Has Won Again; That Wonderful Day; Everything
Crossroads Music recently launched a new label, Skyland Records, to give up-and-coming artists a chance to have Crossroads production, marketing and promotion, and distribution. The first release of this label comes from a new quartet, The Vintage Quartet. By all accounts, this is the group’s debut project, though they have been singing since 2010. I hadn’t heard much about them until a friend of mine (that many know around the SG blogs as irishlad) started giving them some praise. I decided that, since he’s no slouch when it comes to critiquing SG music, it would be worth it to download the project. I ended up being pleasantly surprised.
Being a newer, regional group that has just signed to a component of one of the bigger record labels, it’s no surprise that their debut effort would be a fair mix of original songs and covers. In fact, after the opening track, the project has a streak of four cover songs. The first two, “I’ll Cast My Crown” and “He’s Been So Good To Me,” come from the Soul’d Out Quartet catalog. The former is nice, but doesn’t quite top the original, and the latter throws in some higher tenor harmony near the end to help put the group’s mark on it. The next two songs are both Cathedrals tunes, and both are tenor features. Tenor Chris Jenkins has a voice that reminds me of a mix of Jodi Hosterman and Jeremy Peace, and his rendition of both of these tunes are different from what you might expect because of the timbre and range he possesses. Other covers include The Kingsmen’s “The Cross Has Won Again” (a song that deserved a revival) and “That Wonderful Day” (another Soul’d Out Quartet song that has been widely recorded, but once again is made unique by the harmonies on the higher end).
The original songs on the project are well done. “I’m Gonna Tell The Story,” which also serves as the group’s debut radio single, is a straight-ahead quartet number that fits the group’s sound well. “Freedom Still Flows” is a slower song that the group won a talent contest with in 2011, and is one of the project’s stronger songs. My personal favorite of these songs is found in “Lord Stir The Wind,” an upbeat bass feature that gives Jim Albertson that really lets tenor Jenkins and lead singer Steve Bertaux shine on the choruses. “Everything” is a slower song that never really grabbed my attention.
Vintage Quartet has a lot to be proud of with this effort; it does a good job of highlighting their strong sound and the song selection is decent, though a couple of the covers could have stood to have the quartet put their spin on it rather than follow what was originally recorded so closely. The combination of voices found with Chris Jenkins, Steve Bertaux, Warren Kinney, and Jim Albertson are very good for any quartet, much less a regional one. I was especially impressed with Jenkins; with the power and range in his voice, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up with a group like The Kingsmen in the future.
You may be wary of buying a project from a quartet you’re unfamiliar with, but The Vintage Quartet has made a project is worth the purchase. Tell The Story receives 3.5 stars.