Monday, August 3, 2015

Aim Higher - The Browns - CD Review

The Browns are a family group that have literally grown up in this industry. The group now consists of mother Shelly Brown and siblings Michaela, Adam and Andrew. It's incredible how much the group has matured and how well their sound has developed over the years.

Aim Higher is the family's second release with StowTown Records. This project was released on July 14. I was impressed with how many of the songs were written by Brown family members. Shelly and Michaela had co-writes on this project.

It starts with the uptempo, catchy song "On the Winning Side." For the most part, it features the ensemble with each brother getting a small feature. I feel like this type of song will be great for radio and in the live setting and is really where the group shines! I like the little growls that the guys add in. I did wonder though if the "white flag of surrender" line was a little jab to fellow StowTown artists Triumphant Quartet :) Just kidding, but I did think it was funny for that phrase to be used. This song is definitely one of the strongest!

Adam is featured on the title track. "Aim Higher" has a great message and encouragement to Christians. Adam does a great job of bringing this message home. I can see this song really resonating with the younger audience. I really love the addition of the horns one on this song.

I really liked Michaela's feature on "Love That Won't Let Go." She really shines vocally on this song. The song definitely has a more progressive, contemporary feel to it. "Know You Now" is another Michaela feature and is a great ballad on a project that is not heavy on slower songs. This a beautiful, easy listening song.

Shelly gets her chance to step out on "You Speak to Me" and does a great job. This song has a great message. The orchestration on this song is really incredible. It was a solid choice to end the album on.

"Sinners Come to the River" starts with a nice violin intro. The unique vibe of this song sets it apart from the others on the project. The group has a really nice blend on the chorus. Definitely a highlight of the project!

The Browns had a few covers of songs on this project. I think it was an interesting choice to cover the song "Didn't It Rain" on this project. Though the Browns give this song their own spin. I can see Andrew really getting into this song in a live concert setting. The Browns also cover the Third Day song "Soul on Fire." I really liked how they made this song their own with a country flair. This is one of my favorites on the project. The Browns do a completely different take on "Touch of the Master's Hand" than I've ever heard. They give it a strong country sound that's very reminiscent of the Charlie Daniels Band's "Devil Went Down to Georgia." I would like to see this one live with their fiddle playing. I think it could work better live than on a recording.

Overall, I think the Browns aimed higher with the project and succeeded. It's easy to see how much they have grown over the years. I'm really impressed by their original songs. And while I might not have chosen some of the cover songs. I admire how they take risks and make songs their own. While they have grown a lot, they still bring a youthful energy to this genre! It's a project that you will want to give a listen!

Song List -
1. "On the Winning Side"
2. "Aim Higher"
3. "Didn't It Rain"
4. "Soul on Fire"
5. "Love That Won't Let Go"
6. "Sinners Come to the River"
7. "Fur Elise"
8. "Know You Now"
9. "Touch of the Master's Hand"
10. "You Speak to Me"

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