Producer: Wayne Haun
Record Label: StowTown Records
Back in the mid to late 90s and into the mid 2000s, the Steeles were a hot commodity and sustained a large following (me being one of them!). They were different than most groups out there and they came on the scene with guns blazing with their big sound, preachy “in your face” lyrics and huge power ballads. At the forefront of that sound was Jeff Steele’s songwriting and singing, as he sang the lead in most of their songs. Eventually they settled back into pastoral life and the kids grew up. Today’s version of the Steeles features Jeff and Sherry along with their son, Brad, and the group takes on a different sound, with Brad now sharing songwriting duties as well as taking many of the lead parts. Whereas the earlier incarnation of the group had a bit more of a traditional feel, this latest incarnation has a bit more of a progressive feel to it, but it’s still undeniably STEELE!
The recording starts off with a sound resembling the Steeles we remember from back in the day on the song “GLORY”, which features all three members of the group before Brad steps up for the acoustic driven, “THE JOURNEY”. Brad has a pleasing tone that reminds me of Bruce Hornsby and the song is a highlight of the recording, reminding us to be “thankful for the journey”.
Sherry steps up to take the lead on the power ballad, “THIS IS THE CHURCH”, a song for these turbulent times. Jeff steps up to sing the 2nd verse and the song reminds us that “none of us are perfect, we’re battered, bruised and flawed, each of us are hurting but we have all been called, to carry the message, to this human race, our message is love, our anthem is grace, it’s time we remembered who we are…this is the church!”
The tempo slows down a bit more as Brad steps up to sing the thought provoking, “WHAT IF JESUS?” before the tempo picks back up as Brad shares his own self-penned tune, “FAITHFUL ONCE AGAIN”.
“A SONG TO REMIND YOU” is a cool, brass infused tune that recalls the sound we love by the Steeles and is a highlight of the recording before the recording closes out with the powerful, “THE GOD I KNOW”.
As mentioned earlier, it seems the songwriting mantel has been passed down from Jeff to Brad, as Brad had a hand in writing all the songs on this recording with most co-written with Jeff along with Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey or Scott Inman. It’s a lyrically strong list of tunes and they are all sung and arranged well. With Wayne Haun as producer (who also produced many of their earlier recordings), you know it’s going to be a well-produced product. While I would have liked to have heard Jeff and Sherry on at least one more song, it truly is a great effort on all parts and great having the Steeles back on the Southern Gospel music stage!
(stars denote personal favorites)
This is the Church**
What if Jesus?**
Faithful Once Again**
A Song to Remind You**
The God I Know