Producer: Kevin Ward, Michael Sykes, Lari Goss, Dean Newkirk
Dean Newkirk is a name I’ve only recently become familiar with. He’s an excellent singer and has managed to surround himself with a producing “dream team” with Kevin Ward, Michael Sykes and the late, Lari Goss. Filled with strong songs, excellent arrangements and a potpourri of styles, it’s hard to pigeon hole Newkirk into one specific musical style. Just when you think you know his style, he switches on you. His vocal tones remind of Michael Lord (LordSong), and he is pleasing to ear. While for some vocalists, a variety of styles and sounds works for them, for Newkirk, if he can find his musical niche, I believe he could stand out as a soloist.
The recording starts off with the lively, “OH WHAT JOY” before moving to the country flavor of “LIVIN’ FORGIVEN”.
The tempo slows down for the string and brass infused, “YOU LOVE ME ANYWAY” before moving on to the bluesy, “DRAW ME NEARER”, which was penned by Dean, as was the novelty tune, “HAPPY CAMPER”.
Dean is joined by Country Act, Restless Heart on the country feel of “STEADY LOVE” before things slow down for “WHEN WE ARE ON OUR KNEES”, penned by two tremendous writers, Wayne Haun and Rebecca Peck.
Dean breathes new life into the classic Gaither tune, “PLENTY OF ROOM IN THE FAMILY” and is one of the highlights of recording, as is the CCM classic, “UNDIVIDED”, which features a stellar duet with Katy Peach and Lari Goss’ impeccable orchestrations.
“THE CHURCH HAS LEFT THE BUILDING” reminds us that the church’s real work lies outside the church walls and is a highlight of the recording, as is Dean’s rendition of one of my all-time favorite Lanny Wolfe tunes, “WHATEVER IT TAKES”.
The recording closes out with the song, “ALL GOOD THINGS WILL BE ADDED UNTO YOU”. Performing with the Voices of Lee in an acapella arrangement, Dean closes out the recording perfectly.
I found a lot to enjoy about this recording, and as soloist, there definitely needs to be variety, but some of the styles here just didn’t work for me. No doubt, this is a solid recording and he definitely should be proud of this effort. I look forward to hearing more from Newkirk in the future and challenge everyone to keep your eyes and ears open for him, as I hope there is more to come!
(stars denote personal favorites)
1 – Oh What Joy
2 – Livin’ Forgiven**
3 – You Love Me Anyway
4 – Draw Me Nearer
5 – Happy Camper
6 – Steady Love**
7 – When We Are on Our Knees
8 – Plenty of Room in the Family**
9 – Undivided**
10-The Church Has Left the Building**
11-Whatever it Takes**
12-All Good Things Will Be Added Unto You