Monday, September 30, 2013

CD Review: "That's Why We're Here" (Whisnants)

The Whisnants have become somewhat of a mainstay in traditional Southern Gospel music. This well-established family group, started in 1970 out of Morganton, North Carolina, has produced ten #1 songs including “Even in the Valley,” and “What You Took From Me.” More recently, they’ve released radio hits such as “I’ll Pray For You,” “King Jesus is Coming,” and “All Is Well.” Recent discography includes Hymns and Harmony--a table project released last year--and More Than Enough, released in 2011. Current group members are husband and wife duo Jeff and Susan Whisnant, along with sons Austin and Ethan and Aaron Hise singing lead.

The group’s newest CD, released this month, is titled That’s Why We’re Here, and moves the group away from the huge, orchestrated Lari Goss-produced numbers that led their last mainline recording, and back to the style that brought them to the forefront on Southern Gospel radio.

Opening the album is the project’s first single, a song penned by Rodney Griffin and Jim Brady called “He Can Move That Stone.” An acoustic-flavored number with a touch of strings, this upbeat track reminds us that if God use a little rock to make a giant fall, if he can bring down Jericho’s mighty wall, if can move the rock sealing up the tomb, then “he can move that stone that troubles you.”

That’s Why We’re Here has its fair share of songs about Heaven, (arguably Southern Gospel’s most popular topic) including the second song “We’ll Meet Again,” (a Palmetto State Quartet cover) “Glorybound,” (a solid upbeat country-tinged song), “Press Along to Gloryland,” and “We’re Going Home.” The third song “I Will Live,” the closest song to a power ballad on this project, also talks about how we will live because Jesus died.

The songs don’t all exclusively deal with Heaven and eternal life though. The rest delve into other topics, such as the song “Because You Gave,” which is a preacher song--a tender tribute to pastors and the sacrifices they make. Led by Susan Whisnant, it follows somewhat in the tradition of her recent feature, “Burn the Boat.”

As with their past albums, the Whisnants have secured songs from some of our genre’s most prominent songwriters including Rodney Griffin, Jim Brady (they’ve had great success with the song “All is Well,” which was penned by Jim’s wife, Melissa), Dianne Wilkinson, Lee Black, Jason Cox, and Kenna West.

I believe the project could have been better with some more truly unforgettable slow songs, and the addition of a couple power ballads in the tradition of “All Is Well” and “I Will Glory in the Cross.” Of course this type of song can’t carry an album, but they usually are well received.

The strength of this album I believe lies mostly in its fast songs, though there are a couple good slow songs too (like “I’m Not Afraid to Trust Him”) that I believe will touch people in a positive way. The Whisnants have quite an impressive track record and I look forward to seeing how others respond to these new songs. That’s Why We’re Here is a worthy addition to the group’s music catalog, and fans won’t want to miss this new release.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Released By: Independent
Available for download? No
Artist website:

Review copy provided by artist.


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