Although the Second Half Quartet's CD Refreshing was officially released last week, I was able to get a copy at the Memphis Quartet Show last year after seeing the group for the first time. The quartet consists of Chris Allman, Rodney Griffin, Mark Trammell, Pat Barker and Gerald Wolfe on the piano. This CD has one of the most pure quartet sounds of any recent project.
The group started singing together during the second half of concerts that Greater Vision and Mark Trammell Quartet would sing on together. A clip of the group singing "The Prodigal Son" together took the internet by storm a few years ago. Refreshing is a collection of Cathedral songs, however, not your typical Cathedrals tribute songs that you might think of immediately. As someone who had not yet really discovered Southern Gospel when the Cathedrals were big, I appreciate them cutting some of the lesser known songs so new fans are introduced or re-introduced to them.
One of the things I was impressed with when I saw the group live was their set up with piano and bass guitar, that's it. No tracks. The album has a few more instruments on it, but still with the same feel where the voices are front and center.
From beginning to end, this project is solid. In my opinion, there's not a weak track on the CD.
The project starts with "Cheer the Weary Traveler," which is also the first single. Love this song to start off the project. The guys tackle a few more of the fun, up tempo songs like "Standing on Holy Ground," "Gonna Shout All Over Heaven" and "I'm Going Up When I Die."
"Rivers of Joy" is definitely one that you need to put on repeat. Love Chris's step-out tenor lines on the chorus!
Mark Trammell turns in one of the best vocal performances on "Remind Me of Calvary." He reminds us of why he is one of the best in the business.
I'm glad they decided to include "The Prodigal Son" on this project, since it's the song that really made people stop and notice this lineup. Rodney does an incredible job on this song.
Many of the songs don't stray far from their original versions. In fact, the quartet turns in the same a cappella arrangement of "Wonderful Grace of Jesus," which is a definite highlight of the project.
The album closes with "Going Home," featuring Chris on the first verse and Pat on the second. While you hear these two throughout the album, they really get to step out and shine on this song.
If you love good quartet music, this album is for you. If you love a throwback to the days of Cathedrals, this album is for you. If you love pure southern gospel, this is album is for you!
Song List -
1. "Let Us Cheer the Weary Traveler"
2. "I'm Going Up When I Die"
3. "Gonna Shout All Over Heaven"
4. "Rivers of Joy"
5. "Remind Me of Calvary"
6. "When I Move"
7. "Wonderful Grace of Jesus"
8. "Standing on Holy Ground"
9. "The Prodigal Son"
10. "Going Home"