Monday, September 23, 2013

The Living Years - The Isaacs - CD Review

The Isaacs released The Living Years last month. The album is full of 14 incredible songs. I always have a preference for albums that include more than the normal 10 songs, even if that means a few filler songs as long as they are good.

One thing that really stands out first about this album is the lack of original songs. Becky Bowman and Sonya and Jimmy Yeary are fantastic songwriters, but this album only includes two songs by them.

A number of songs are "secular" songs turned gospel. Normally I am not the biggest fan of trying to make secular songs work as gospel. However, "The Living Years" is a strong exception. I remember hearing this song from the 1980s, but it never sounded even close to this. The Isaacs took this song and made it their own; in fact, if you hadn't heard the original version, some might assume it was a new song for the Isaacs. I really liked Sonya on "Grandpa Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days" as well, but this version wasn't far from the Judds. I think it's interesting that they chose to go back and pull "Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive" from the Andrews Sisters. It's cool to hear Ben take the lead on this one. It's definitely not what you would expect, but I like it. It's funny that three of the "secular" songs are all very different from the artists that sang them to the genre. It shows that the Isaacs have the ability to take a song no matter what it originally sounded like and make it their own.

The Isaacs also include a couple of hymns on the project including "I Must Tell Jesus" and "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow." Their Naturally project a couple of years ago had mostly hymns and familiar songs, so it almost makes a listener wonder if these would have been better suited on that project. However, The Living Years is such an eclectic album that has a little bit of everything, I think it's fitting that there are a couple of hymns. "The Lord's Prayer" is another one where the Isaacs prove all they need are their voices. It's an absolutely beautiful arrangement. And the Isaacs are always amazing a cappella.

Another a cappella highlight is "Walk Together Children." Bill Gaither lends his voice and adds to the bass line. I really liked the Isaacs' arrangement on this song!

I've always enjoyed the bluegrass version of "Daniel Prayed," so of course I love that the Isaacs included this one. This has a classic Isaacs sound!

Becky is featured on "I Wanna Be There," which is a highlight of the project. It's one of the original songs on the album penned by Becky, Sonya and Jimmy. Beautiful song and Becky does an amazing job on it! Definitely my favorite!!

Album rating - 4. 25 stars - The album is solid Isaacs. It really has something for everyone, from an Andrews Sisters song to the bluegrass you would expect. The lack of original songs brought it down a little for me, but the vocals on the projects are simply amazing! You won't be sorry, you gave it a listen!

Song List - 
1. "The Living Years"
2. "Walk Together Children"
3. "If That Isn't Love"
4. "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive"
5. "For Those Tears I Died"
6. "I Must Tell Jesus"
7. "Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout The Good Old Days)"
8. "Daniel Prayed"
9. "I Wanna Be There"
10. "I Am a Child of God"
11. "Leave It All on the Altar"
12. "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow"
13. "Shalom My Home"
14. "The Lord's Prayer"

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