Rating: 4 stars
Producer: Lari Goss
Label: Hopper Music
Track list: “Victory Shall Be Mine,” “Oh How Amazing Is Amazing Grace,” “Something’s Happening,” “Nobody’s Too Bad Or Too Good,” “I’ve Been To Heaven,” “East of Jerusalem,” “Could It Be I’m Dreaming,” “He Remembers To Forget,” “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow,” “On The Authority,” “Living In The Arms Of Mercy,” “Statement Of Faith”
I’ll admit, I’m a casual fan of The Hoppers. Other than the occasional iTunes purchase of some of their more well-known songs and stuff they’ve done that I heard and enjoyed, I’m not all that familar with their work. I am, however, familiar enough to know that they have maintained a solid sound for the past few years, and this collection of songs is no exception.
The project opens with two upbeat tracks to grab the listeners attention. “Victory Shall Be Mine” has the typical orchestrated, driving sound that the group is known for, and “Oh How Amazing Is Amazing Grace” features a New Orleans big band style. On the other end of the spectrum, the title track is a big ballad that was originally done by male quartet Mercy’s Mark. The Hoppers take a more epic, ponderous approach to it than that group did, featuring the whole group on the first verse, Dean Hopper on the second, and Kim Hopper on the third verse, all the while building to the powerful chorus. What truly separates this version from any other, however, is Connie Hopper’s recitations sprinkled in between the verses, which fit in perfectly with both the lyrics and the sound of this song.
The other covers on the project include another Mercy’s Mark song, “Living In The Arms Of Mercy,” which is given a more traditional treatment this time around, and the GVB hit “On The Authority,” which is considerably jazzier than the Vocal Band rendition. The former features drummer Mike Hopper stepping behind the mic, and the latter, Dean Hopper. A Southern Gospel classic, “I Know Who Holds Tomorrow,” is also redone, and is slightly faster than most versions I’ve heard. That track features Claude Hopper in his only solo of the album.
Some of the other memorable songs from this project are “Nobody’s Too Bad Or Too Good,” which features Dean and Kim Hopper’s daughter Karlye, and is both well sung and well written, and “East of Jerusalem,” a big slow number that features Kim Hopper, and manages to be a great song in its own right without any sort of nod to the group’s hit, “Jerusalem.” The final song, “Statement of Faith,” features all the same vocalists that are on the version found on the Legacy Five project, Just Stand.
Final thoughts: In the world of modern Southern Gospel music, the names Lari Goss and The Hoppers are almost synonymous. Goss is once again behind the producer’s chair for this latest project, and the combination once again turns out a fine body of work. While not exactly exploring groundbreaking material for the group, this project sticks to the tried-and-true sound that The Hoppers have attained over the last few years, while still throwing in a few unique numbers to add flavor. One thing you can say about this group is this: they are consistent in the quality of their material. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” indeed.
Bottom line: Fans of The Hoppers, or quality Southern Gospel in general, will enjoy Something’s Happening.