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REVIEW: Southbound – self-titled

Producer: Clint Brown
Record Label: Daywind Records
Website: www.southbound.live

I’ve been familiar with Clint Brown from the days when he led the worship at World Harvest Church back in the early 90s.  While I haven’t followed him closely through the years, I was familiar with his name and music, and when I found out he was putting together a southern gospel group, I thought, “well this should be interesting!” (in a good way!).  I’ve always loved the texture of Brown’s vocals and knew whatever he put together would be awesome.  Consisting of Brown along with fellow ministers Seth Elbe and Jody Braselton, they have labeled themselves as “Contemporary Southern Gospel”, but they’re blues, soul, southern, country all rolled into one!  They are a massive wall of sound that features strong, power harmony at the forefront.  They are the McGruders, Gaither Vocal Band, Hinsons, Charles Johnson & The Revivers and Selah all rolled into one group!  It’s not for everyone (but what artist is?), but there are A LOT of people who will thoroughly love the music presented here…myself included!

The recording starts off right, with a blues flavored rendition of the classic hymn, “POWER IN THE BLOOD” and leads perfectly into the southern rock feel of “NO BETTER THAN THAT”, which recalls simpler times with family, friends, and church…even giving a shout out to “Kenny Hinson singing ‘Hallelujah Meeting’ and ‘Call Me Gone’!”.  Like the song says, “It just don’t get no better that!”

Jody shines on the outstanding song, “HE’S GOT A WAY”, which is a highlight of recording.  A tremendous song of faith, the song reminds us “He’s a got a way of making beauty of brokenness, He’s got a way of breaking chains of hopelessness, when you feel like giving up…just remember…He’s got a way!”

Clint sings the fire out of the first single from this recording, “ADDRESS CHANGE NOTIFICATION”.  I grew up hearing Don Johnson singing this song many years ago and was thrilled seeing this song revived.  It’s the triumph of the recording and was the perfect introduction to these guys.

Jody covers the Gaither Vocal Band’s recent hit, “SOMETIMES IT TAKES A MOUNTAIN” and they make the song all their own before the tempo picks back up for the fun, “A LITTLE SOMETHING LIKE THAT”.

Clint steps back up to sing the comforting, “GONNA BE ALRIGHT” before Jody takes the lead on an excellent rendition of the classic, “DAYSTAR”.

Starting out simple and building to an excellent finish, the guys sing a medley of similarly themed song titled, “THE BLOOD MEDLEY”.  Featuring the songs “Jesus Paid it All”, “Nothing But the Blood” and “The Blood Will Never Lose it’s Power”, it’s a wonderful collection of tunes and is a highlight of the recording.

Accented by steel guitar, the country stylings of “MIGHTY RIVER” is next and leads perfectly into the guitar/mandolin/dobro infused, “HE’S BEEN THERE ALL THE TIME”.  The song is a great reminder that “Jesus keeps us…through the storm, through the rain, through the hard times, through the pain…when you’re looking back you’re gonna find, He’s been there all the time”.

The recording closes out with the popular worship tune, “GRAVES INTO GARDENS”, which features Seth.  While I’m not a big fan of worship music, I have loved this song since the first time I heard it about a year ago, and Southbound does a tremendous job with their rendition of the song.  It is the perfect finish to an outstanding recording.

These guys have a big sound…nothing dainty about it at all.  You can definitely hear the Southern Gospel influence in their music, along with a good dose of blues, soul…all those other things I mentioned before. These guys are not going to be pigeonholed into one specific style, and that’s not a bad thing.  Many people who would never listen to our music will get a wonderful introduction to our genre through these guys.  They carry their title well and I welcome them to our big table with open arms! I’m glad they’re here!  I am ready for their next recording!

Track Listing:
(stars denote personal favorites)

Power in the Blood**
No Better Than That**
He’s Got a Way**
Address Change Notification**
Sometimes it Takes a Mountain
A Little Something Like That
Gonna Be Alright**
Daystar
The Blood Medley**
Mighty River
He’s Been There All the Time**
Graves Into Gardens**

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James Hales
Head Reviewer at Absolutely Gospel
James Hales, from Durham, North Carolina, has been a writer for AbsolutelyGospel.com since 2000. James is our featured reviewer and also contributes to monthly features periodically.