Producer: Jason Clark
Record Label: Daywind Records
The much anticipated release by the Nelons has finally been released…in Part 1 and Part 2! I am still scratching my head on the thought process behind releasing 2 CDs that are very similar in feel and dynamics…but nonetheless, this review is focusing on Stronger Together. Very much the same as Family Harmony, this recording features the vibrant and soaring harmonies that have been the hallmark of the Nelons sound for now 3 generations.
The easy feel of the acoustic, “MY FATHER’S HOUSE” gets the recording off to a great start and leads well into the soulful feel of “ONE LITTLE WORD”, which features Kelly.
Autumn steps up to revive an old Isaacs tune from nearly 30 years ago entitled, “FAMILY CHAIN” and does a marvelous job before Amber sings the dramatic classic Gaither tune, “THEN CAME THE MORNING”.
The tempo finally picks up as Jason sings the rockabilly, “GATES OF HEAVEN” before Kelly steps back to sing the James Taylor feel of “YOU CAN’T MAKE OLD FRIENDS”. To further drive the point in the song, Kelly is joined by one her dearest and oldest friends, Karen Peck-Gooch. This is a true highlight of the recording and while it’s not exactly a GOSPEL song, it still would make a great radio single.
The dramatic, “THE AWAKENING” is next is one of the most unusual songs I’ve ever heard. The song has a very theatrical feel to it, but I think the meaning behind the song is lost in the arrangement.
Autumn is featured on their excellent rendition of the Gold City classic, “I THINK I’LL READ IT AGAIN” before the hauntingly beautiful, “ANGELS HOVER NEAR YOU” brings it all to a fitting close.
While both Stronger Together and Family Harmony are almost carbon copies of themselves are far as song pacing, styles, etc., I think from a personal standpoint, Stronger Together is my favorite. Much like Family Harmony, this release is also a montage of varying styles, but this one seems to be more cohesive to me. As with Family Harmony, this features innovative arrangements, soaring vocals, excellent musicianship, a strong song selection and is superbly produced. I still don’t quite understand why these two recordings could not have been made into one recording, since both can fit on one disc. But nonetheless, this is a superb release.
(stars denote personal favorites)
1 – My Father’s House**
2 – One Little Word
3 – Family Chain**
4 – Then Came the Morning**
5 – Gate of Heaven
6 – You Can’t Make Old Friends**
7 – The Awakening
8 – I Think I’ll Read it Again**
9 – Angels Hover Near You**