Producer: Roger Talley
Label: Crossroads Music
Song titles: God’s Gonna Send A Revival; Thank The Lord; Good News From Jerusalem; The Song Of Heaven; Homesick Angel; Leavin’ On My Mind; The Time Is Now; With Just A Little; He Loved Me Anyway; Through Me, The Cross Lives On; It Always Gets The Darkest (Just Before Daylight); Better Farther On
When discussions arise about the “up and coming” groups in Southern Gospel music today, Tribute Quartet has found its way onto more and more lists in that category. The quartet started picking up steam with the release of For This Time in 2010, yielding songs that either gained radio success or have found lasting power in their program such as “Calvary Wins Again,” “I Am Healed,” and “That’s Why I Love Him So.” Before their next mainline release, The Waiting Is Over, in 2011, the group had seen the departure of tenor Brian Alvey and bass singer/founding member Dennis Dugger. The new guys, Riley Harrison Clark and Anthony Davis, filled the respective vacancies, and though that album produced strong singles like “Bring On The Joy” and “Homecoming Day,” it was not as overall solid as their previous effort, and I looked forward to when the lineup had time to gel and come together for a (hopefully) stronger release.
After an A Capella opening of the chorus of “Revive Us Again,” the group sticks with what has been their strength up to this point by featuring tenor Riley Clark on the upbeat of “God’s Gonna Send A Revival.” Clark also gets strong features on the worshipful ballad “Song Of Heaven,” another upbeat number with an interesting hook called “Homesick Angel,” and “The Time Is Now,” a tender ballad in the vein of “Save My Family.” Clark brought a buzz to the group when he joined at age eighteen with a voice that showed great potential, and it’s nice to hear his continued vocal development being evidenced in these songs.
I mentioned that the group’s strength has lied in featuring Clark, and most of the group’s better-known songs will attest to that fact. That trend is broken with this project, and by what many may not expect; two of the project’s strongest tracks are carried by baritone and pianist Josh Singletary. Most wouldn’t think that Singletary would be the featured vocalist on any “hits” for the quartet; when they started out, he was given songs that played up his “crooner” style, and it was almost a novelty when he got a feature. Since signing with Crossroads, they have gotten away from that, and Singletary really comes into his own here. “Good News From Jerusalem” is a moving track with an interesting structure that chronicles the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and Singletary’s delivery is impeccable. He also gets a beautifully orchestrated testimony song in “Through Me, The Cross Lives On.”
I also appreciated the improvement that bass singer Anthony Davis displayed on this project. I was glad to hear that he has opened up his tone a great deal and grew out of the nasal sound he had on The Waiting Is Over. His standouts on “Thank The Lord” and “Homesick Angel” were good evidence to this, and I didn’t expect to enjoy his cover of the Rusty Goodman classic “Leavin’ On My Mind” as much as I did. This development is arguably what makes the quartet’s sound as an ensemble the strongest it has been to date.
As is the case with any “new” group, Tribute Quartet has needed one project to really garner attention outside of a few radio singles. With strong performances by each member of the group and a song selection that is their best yet, Our Anthem could be that project for this group, and that’s why it’s their first ever project to get 5 stars from this site.