Karen Peck and New River released Pray Now at the end of April. I'll be honest this is probably one of the releases I looked forward to most this year. This group was one of the first groups I really became a fan once I started listening to Southern Gospel. And it did not disappoint! This definitely will be one of the top albums of the year. The group continues to amaze me, topping themselves album after album. This is the third project for this lineup of the group (Karen Peck Gooch, Susan Peck Jackson and Jeff Hawes). With each project they set the bar high, but continue to release projects that surpass what they've previously done.
One of the things that definitely stands out about this project is how many of the songs Karen wrote. She co-wrote five of the songs. I think with every album in recent years the songs she helped write have increased. Her songs are definitely among the top ones on the project!
I predict the title track "Pray Now" will become a signature song for the group. Karen does an outstanding job on this song that is one of the ones she co-wrote. The message of this song is incredible and so timely considering what the group has recently been through with Rickey Gooch's cancer battle. Be sure to check out the concept video for it! Excellent choice for this to be their first single.
"I Choose Christ" is definitely one of my favorites as well. Karen delivers these powerful lyrics so well. When everything around us says give up and we don't understand what's going on, we have to choose Christ.
"Calling" starts out with a country twang. It's one of the few uptempo songs on the project, but one of my favorites. The song features Karen, and it's one that I can see them singing a lot live.
With Celtic influence, "Redemption's Holy Lamb" really features the full trio and how well they sound together. The music and arrangement is very different than anything else I've heard from them, but it's definitely one you don't want to skip!
Susan sings "Peace that Covers All the Pain." This is a beautiful song that Susan really shines on. The message of this song is incredible and so reassuring for believers. Susan is also featured on "Love With All Your Heart" that is a different song than the group previously recorded on Reach Out.
Jeff is featured on both "Hallelujah for the Cross" and "I'm Not Letting Go." With these songs, he shows how well he can tackle different style songs. The former is more contemporary sounding, while the latter sounds very modern country. Both of these I found myself repeating!
Kari Gooch gets her first solo on a Karen Peck and New River project, and it's one that can't be missed. You can definitely hear a younger version of her mother. "A Life That's Good" is such a great song choice for Kari and her voice. I definitely look forward to hearing more from her in the future, and I'll hope they will include it some in live concerts!
In short, this project is a must purchase. If you're a fan of Karen Peck and New River, you'll fall in love with each song. For any gospel music fan, you will see why this group continues to rise to the top. It's an album you don't want to miss!
Song List -
2. "Pray Now"
3. "Hallelujah for the Cross"
4. "Love With All Your Heart"
6. "I'm Not Letting Go"
7. "I Choose Christ"
8. "Peace the Covers the Pain"
9. "Redemption's Holy Lamb"
10. "Lord, Send Your Angels"
11. "A Life That's Good"