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REVIEW: Booth Brothers – Speak Jesus

Producer: Barry Weeks
Record Label: StowTown Records
Website: www.boothbrothers.com

I was a huge Booth Brothers fan back in the late 90s and through the late 2000s and followed their music pretty intently during that time.  Over time though, I drifted away from their music, but I was checking back in from time to time.  I will admit, I hadn’t really listened to much of their music from the last 10 years or so, but was pretty shocked when the news came that Ronnie Booth was retiring from the group.  I was also pretty surprised and thrilled when I found out Buddy Mullins was taking Ronnie’s place.  Being a big fan of Buddy’s singing, I was very interested in hearing how this new iteration of the group would sound, so I actively waited to get my hands on this latest release.  The wait was worth it and I was excited about what I heard.  Consisting of Michael Booth along with Buddy and Jim Brady, the group’s sound still has a familiar feel to it, but they’ve adapted a bit of a pop/contemporary sound.  Producer Barry Weeks is an out of the box thinker/producer and the Booth Brothers have always been an out of the box type of group; not afraid to sing and record different sounds and styles, and this latest release is definitely outside of the norm for Southern Gospel.  Jim Brady had a hand in writing almost every song on the recording, as 7 of the 11 songs were written by Jim along with co-writers Tony Wood and Barry Weeks.  Also, 2 songs were co-written by Jim along with Buddy Mullins; so out of the 11 tunes, 9 of them Jim Brady had a hand in writing.  With that, there is a certain continuity found in the overall feel of the album as well as the lyrical content, and I think that plays a big part in what makes this recording so great.

The upbeat, pop infused “ALL MY DAYS” gets the recording underway before the tempo slows down a bit as Michael sings “ROOM FULL OF STORIES”.  This song will no doubt be a huge concert favorite as the lyric conveys that we all have our own stories to tell and when we’re gathered together, “we stand in a room full of stories, and the one thing that’s clear…they all tell how faithful God is”.  No doubt, this song will resonate with live audiences everywhere!

The driving, brass infused “MY NEXT VICTORY”, which features both Jim and Buddy, is a highlight of the recording.  This is a fun and exciting track, and definitely one to crank up the volume on!

Michael, Buddy and Jim all tackle solo lines for the powerful, “OH, HOW GREAT THE LOVE OF JESUS”, which has the feel of a modern hymn, before the tempo picks up a bit for the driving, country beat of, “STAND IN THE STORM”, which features Jim.  I love the faithful lyric as it declares, “I’d rather stand in the storm with Jesus, than stand in the sunshine alone”.

After a few driving medium to up-tempo tunes, the tempo slows down tremendously as Buddy sings the comforting, “NOTHING LIKE GRACE”.  Written by Buddy and Jim, for those struggling in their walk with Christ, the song reminds us “there’s nothing like grace, hearing God say child it’s okay, you can start again, consumed by His love, cleansed by His blood, nevermore to face the guilt of past mistakes, there’s nothing like grace…that is greater than all my sins, grace that will pardon and cleanse within…”

The tempo picks up a bit for the country tinged, “THE UNKNOWN”, which is a tremendous song of faith before the tempo is kicked into high gear for the driving, energetic tune, “LET’S SING”.  Featuring Buddy (who also co-wrote the song with Jim), the song has an infectious and contagious energy to it that will have you clapping and singing right along before the song is over.

Michael steps up next to sing the worshipful, “GOD OF EVERY SEASON” before we come to “HALLELUJAH, PRAISE THE LAMB”, which is my absolute favorite song that the Talleys (Roger, Debra and Kirk) sang back in the late 80s and early 90s.  For years, I have longed for someone to bring this song back, and so glad the Booth Brothers recorded it.  Featuring Jim, the guys do a really great job resurrecting this classic tune, where they pretty much stick to the Talleys arrangement, but still were able to make the song their own, before the tempo picks up a bit for the contemporary feel of “DEPENDING ON YOU”.

The popular Praise & Worship tune, “I SPEAK JESUS”, closes out the recording and the Booth Brothers do a phenomenal job with the song.  One of the most powerful worship tunes to come out in the last couple of years, it’s a fantastic way to end this latest recording by the Booth Brothers.

Country Roads (independent version, not the Gaither version) and Between Here and Heaven were the last recordings I had heard from the Booth Brothers, and this latest release is very different from those recordings.  Naturally, with Ronnie’s exit, the group would take on a different texture and sound with Buddy, and Speak Jesus ushers in a new era for the Booth Brothers.  Time will tell the impact, but based on what I hear with this recording, the guys have a tough sound with a highly progressive style that their fans will surely enjoy, and with that, they will undoubtedly win some new fans as well!  It’s an excellent recording and definitely one of the best releases for 2022!

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