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REVIEW: The Chitans – Shoulder to Shoulder

Producer: Roger Talley
Record Label: Horizon Records/Crossroads Music Group
Website: www.thechitans.com

Some people worry about whether Southern Gospel still appeals to young people of today.  Well, there are some outstanding young groups in the genre today and one such group is The Chitans, five siblings out of Canada.  Their newest project is entitled Shoulder to Shoulder and it shows the tight harmony of these young people as well as the wide array of their music.  There is something for every type of listener when they hear this project.  Their music goes through Southern Gospel to Black Gospel to Contemporary to even a little Island gospel in this project.  For this project they sing songs from some of the best songwriters in gospel music today such as Sandy Blythe, Rodney Griffin, Rachel McCutcheon, Sue C Smith and the great Kirk Franklin.

The project begins with the title song, Shoulder to Shoulder which is a lively song that could be described as the story of their ministry.  “We will go forward united as one” who will face any battles together shoulder to shoulder.  This goes into the next song where the song gets personal with “Why I Love the God I Serve”.  It gives all the things that God is and does.  As the line says, “So many reasons why I love the God I serve.

The next song says, “Doesn’t matter where you’ve been or how deep you’ve sinner, that there is Nothing The Blood Can’t Cover.”  It reminds us that no matter your circumstance or what the world is doing, “There is still power in the Blood.”

An upbeat selection is next, “New Name Written Down in Glory”.  “Darkness held me down, God pulled me up.”  That song leads into perhaps one of the great songs on the decade, “Goodness of God.”  A lot of other groups have recorded this song, but hearing five voices blending together on this song, makes this unique.  The message of this song resonates even stronger with their smooth voices.

The words of the next song, “To Love Like Jesus” tells us how there are many things or situations that we would love to do something about or change but as humans we can’t.  Two of the lines says it all, “To change the things I can’t change” and “To give a person as a second chance” is to love like Jesus.

He was betrayed, rejected, denied, forced to walk a lonely walk to the Cross, but no matter what Jesus went through.  He went to Calvary all alone and the next song talks about, “Even If I Stand Alone”.  This song by Sandy Blythe is a powerful ballad and my personal favorite from the project.  The second verse refers to we, Christians, and what we have to face each day.  “You are all I need and You will pull me through.”

The Chitans bring out a bit of their Caribbean background with “Hush”.  It has all of the beat and even some narration in it as it tells us that God is here and we just need to Hush and answer for him. Don’t worry because God is on our side. 

When everything is going wrong around us, “There Can Be Peace” is the focus of the next selection.  In  “You Reign Forever”, it says “You heal broken with your compassion, I am forgiven.”

The next to last song is a Rodney Griffin – Sue C Smith song , “God Like That”.  “What if there is a God who could do anything.  What if there is a God who stands alone.”  We would like to have a God like that and it isn’t wonderful that we have one just like that.

The last song is from the pen of the great Kirk Franklin and like the first song seems to be a personal testimony of these talented young people.  It is entitled “My All” and the chorus ends as an appropriate ending to this project.  “My Life I Give You, My Love I Give You MY ALL.”

I had never heard anything from the Chitans until I was asked to do this review.  I am very impressed with their harmony, their various types of songs they sing and most importantly, you can just hear their pure love for God that you can hear in their voices.  You will enjoy this project and I can imagine hearing them in concert would be a great experience.