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REVIEW: Karen Peck & New River – 2:22

Producer: Wayne Haun
Record Label: Karen Peck & New River
Website: www.karenpeckandnewriver.com

One of the most consistent singers in southern gospel music is Karen Peck Gooch.  She’s consistent in her ability to deliver a song, her love for her friends and fans, and her love for the Lord are always evident when she steps on the stage or off.  Over 30 years ago, she put together New River along with her sister and alto singer Susan Peck Jackson.  Karen and Susan have been joined by several other fine young singers through the years. The current line up consists of Karen, Susan, Grant Gibson, Kari Gooch (Karen’s daughter) and son Matthew Gooch who plays guitar.

This line up has released its second project titled 2:22. It’s hard to follow up the very popular and successful 2020 release Lift Up the Name which was full of great songs. However, the group once again has found strong songs that are so timely for where we are as a nation.

The project kicks off with “Spirit of Heaven,” which is an anthem crying out for the Lord to open the windows and send down the fire upon us! It’s a great opener and a mid tempo song with a worship flair to it! What a way to kick off the project for sure! The groups first single from the project is up next and is titled “Answer is Jesus,” and it’s such a timely and poignant song for our current state as a nation and world! This song says it plain and with hope! The answer is Jesus for everything we’re needing. He’ll be enough! This song has definite #1 potential!

“The Keepers” is up next and is a song celebrating those who keep on keeping on and being faithful to share and show the love of Jesus! Grant Gibson steps up and delivers “Future Glory.”  A stand out performance for Grant for sure. this song has a different sound than past KPNR hits is so full of hope. “Every single struggle will soon be over in Jesus Name!” “Bless His Holy Name” features Karen and is a tender ballad and beautifully done. “Many times he held me in the fire…..he kept my hope alive…” It’s such a lyric full of hope and thanksgiving for the faithfulness of God in our lives. Karen shines on songs like this! Well done!

“If God Wrote A Song” features Kari and her youthful, tender vocals are flawless. Her tone is pure. This is Kari’s best vocal delivery to date. Up next is the hand clapping, foot stomping tune called “Dance.” Karen has such impeccable energy on this song! It’s sure to be a great song live in concerts! It’s nice to hear a happy song reminding us …”even when we’re in the valley we can still clap our hands…” It’s great song of praise and celebration.

“Lead Me Through” is catchy and reminds us that “Anything that Jesus leads me to I know that He’ll lead me through!” Another timely message! I love the harmony on this one, too! “Valley Too Long” features Susan and is an anthem declaring “We’ve been in this valley way too long!” “Sheaves” is such a beautiful song and incorporates the 19th century hymn “Bringing in the Sheaves.” It’s such a gorgeous song and concept to remind listeners to keep sowing. Keep being faithful.

The project closes with the entire group reciting The Lord’s Prayer. I can’t really think of a more appropriate way to close this project, which honestly this isn’t just a typical listen. This project is a worship experience. If you’re discouraged, tired, need hope and joy restored, GRAB THIS project! This is y far the best package of music KPNR has delivered in their 30 year career. Well done, guys!

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Jennifer Wilkerson
Reviewer/Contributing Writer at Absolutely Gospel
Jennifer Wilkerson, recording artist, singer and speaker is a preacher’s daughter from Illinois, and has spent her life in ministry. She studied Music and Education at Olivet Nazarene University and has been a school teacher, worship leader, background vocalist, worked in the music industry in various capacities and also sung with such southern gospel groups as The Chuck Wagon Gang, and McMillan and Life. Jennifer married Dr. Bob Wilkerson in October 2009 and had twin daughters in 2015.