Producer: Michael Sykes & Daniel Riley
Label: Penn Street Records
The Sharps’, Penn Street Records debut release titled One Day is a solid one. If these boys continue to put out projects like this they will go far. The song arrangements are excellent, good balance between vocals and instruments along with good feature choices on each track make this a tough album to beat. Each of the guys show their vocal versatility throughout the song list. I honestly cannot find anything technically wrong with the project. I have my favorites out of the list of ten, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like the others, it just means my favorites stood out more to me than the rest.
The project kicks off with the kickin’ country influenced My Home in Heaven, penned by Woody Wright. The harmonies are strong, tight and balanced perfectly with the tracks. Ben Sharp, baritone, takes the lead on the first verse. There’s just enough ‘southern twang’ to add to the country flavor without being overboard. This is one talented vocalist that will surely draw attention. If you like your bass smooth, rich and down low you will enjoy Mike ‘Smitty’ Smith’s feature on the second verse. He is as solid as they come and crystal when he’s in the basement, this is key to a good bass singer. You may be low but if you can’t be understood what’s the sense? Smitty nails the low notes.
Next up, you’ll be thinking about your heavenly home and singing along with a folk flavored song written by James Payne & Adrian Payne, I Can See the Promised Land. It’s a great song and one I’m sure you will be humming or singing long after it finishes. Mike Leath, lead singer for the group is featured on this cut. His smooth vocals are a perfect match up and carries the song perfectly. One of my favorite tracks on this project.
Some sweet tenor from Andy ‘Butch’ Sharp on another country styled track, this one written by Elmer Cole, My Friends. If you’re like me and enjoy the songs about heaven, then you will find yourself tapping your foot as Andy delivers a solid performance on this song about heaven and the hope of seeing friends on that glorious day.
Worth It All, written by Gerald Crabb is the fourth track. As the title says, through all the grief and sorrow on the journey it will be worth it all! Baritone Ben is featured again on this rockin’, upbeat song and shows off his range and vocal ability. This is one talented singer, with a dynamic range. This writer will be adding him to my ‘Favorite Baritone Bucket’.
Another Elmer Cole song, My First Day in Heaven, the verses are handled quite dynamically by lead singer Mike Leath, while tenor Andy Sharp takes the lead on the choruses. This is one beautiful song, probably my favorite of all. That first day we step through those magnificent gates of heaven to be reunited with family of friends and waiting with open arms our Savior! What a promise!
Alton Harkins is the songwriter on It’s in Your Hands, an old favorite, done by a lot of groups and soloists. Bass singer, Mike Smith delivers a vocal on the verses that I can only describe as being smooth as butter.
Under the Influence of Mercy is the first radio release from the project. Penned by Woody Wright, it’s a good pick for radio with a catchy arrangement, good tempo and a great hook. It’s one of those happy kinds of songs, that you just can’t help but smile and sing along with.
Songwriters Kenna West, Lee Black & Jason Cox wrote track number eight, I’ll Never Get Over, about the wonder of salvation and the unconditional love of our Lord. As I listened to this song, I found myself thinking back to my walk down the aisle and knelt at an old-fashioned altar. Musically it’s a simple track, but it has a powerful message.
The guys deliver another rockin’ number on a song written by Scotty Inman and Chris Alman. Baritone Ben Sharp leads this catchy tune and once again does a bang-up job. His vocal style fits these types of songs perfectly. When we face the storms of life we just need to stand on God’s promises, rely on His word and His strength will deliver.
Wrapping up the project is the old William James Kirkpatrick hymn, Lord, I’m Coming Home. When I first saw this song on the list my first thought was “oh no”; this is a tough song to do without it sounding ‘churchy’, but The Sharps pulled it off. I love the music, love the arrangement. In this writer’s opinion what takes this song from churchy to a good solid track is the smooth lead of Mike Leath and the vocal styling that he puts into it, as opposed to signing it straight, as I have heard so many that do; that and the harmonies are just tight.
I have added One Day to my collection and I am sure you will too! If you’ve never heard The Sharps, I strongly encourage you to give this album a listen, you won’t be disappointed. You can find The Sharps internet home at www.thesharpsquartet.com.
(stars denote personal favorites)
MY HOME IN HEAVEN (Woody Wright) *
I CAN SEE THE PROMISED LAND (James Payne & Adrian Payne) *
MY FRIENDS (Elmer Cole)
WORTH IT ALL (Gerald Crabb)
MY FIRST DAY IN HEAVEN (Elmer Cole) *
IT’S IN YOUR HANDS (Alton Harkins)
UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MERCY (Woody Wright) **
I’LL NEVER GET OVER (Kenna West, Lee Black & Jason Cox)
STANDING ON THE PROMISES (Scotty Inman & Chris Allman) *
LORD, I’M COMING HOME (William James Kirkpatrick)