REVIEW: Jan Harbuck – God Is Real

Producer: Jan Harbuck
Record Label: Independent

Everyone who enters the Southern Gospel industry desires to carve their own niche. Being a predominately male-driven industry, female soloists are few. Jan Harbuck uses a blend of Country Gospel & Inspirational sounds to create a unique experience. Having several years of experience singing with a local group and sharing the stage with prominent names like the Goodmans and the Cathedrals, Jan offers listeners a solid foundation in the Southern Gospel style. Her latest project, God Is Real, is not only my introduction to Jan Harbuck’s singing, but I’m sure it will be to many others.

True to her Country style, Jan offers listeners several tunes filled with banjo, steel guitar, etc. Having written all 9 songs on the project, Jan gives her personal perspective. Songs like “Caught Up” and “Hand of the Lord” and “Brand New Song” show her desire to communicate a message from her heart in a one-on-one style.

While Jan offers listeners a Country style, she treats fans to Inspirational sounds with “God Is Real” and “The Cross That Made My Crown.” These and other Inspirational-style tunes show a stronger balance with her vocals and the music (a more pleasing listening experience). The latter tune would perform well at Southern Gospel radio given its unique perspective on Christ’s work at Calvary and the Garden Tomb. Songs in this style give Jan the ability to pace herself and communicate clearly without much musical backdrop.

For fans of female solos in Southern Gospel/Country Gospel, Jan Harbuck gives listeners a steady medium-paced project with 2 very different music styles. One of the dangers of solo recordings is similarity. Having a variety of background singers helps reduce any negative experience. Having female singers to back up a female soloist gives the listener constantly high-pitched arrangements. Jan sings with much enthusiasm, yet the medium-tempo selections tend to sound the same. However, sticking to the Inspirational stylings of “The Cross That Made My Crown” and “We Are Here Together” is Jan’s strongest offering to listeners. Given time, Jan Harbuck will grow and treat audiences to an excellent recording and being an effective communicator from the stage.

Track Listing:

Caught Up
We Are Here Together**
Hand of the Lord
God Is Real**
Mama’s Song
Walk Thru This Life with Me**
The Cross That Made My Crown**
Land of No Tomorrows
Brand New Song


Andrew Stephens
Reviewer/Contributing Writer
Andrew hails from Anderson, SC and has lived here all 25 years of his life. As a child, he attended concerts in the area and instantly became hooked on the concept of Southern Gospel music. His music collection has expanded to over 1,000 artist recordings as well as several compilations (including record label & radio promotions comps). For a couple of years or so, Andrew hosted a blog, "Southern Gospel Review", and did articles ranging from specialty (Hits of the Past), album reviews (CD, DVD, & Vinyl), and other interesting tidbits (recording oddities, etc.).