I previously mentioned that Voice of Praise released their new CD, Deliverance. And thanks to Glen’s (Random Pitches) thoughtful care, I now proudly possess my own copy. I’m going to seize this opportunity to contribute some comments about this project.

I’ll start with the bottom line: This is a fantastic recording. Their best ever, I really like it. They’ve made some real improvements as a group, and this disc is the evidence.

The first thing I noticed was a very different overall sound than their last CD. It had gallons of reverb whereas “Deliverance” has a much tighter, closer, less “noticeable” reverb. It makes for a very honest, intimate sound.

The second thing I thought was that they’re taking some steps into new musical territory! They tried some new things, and I think it was a slam-dunk success. There’s a couple of arrangements on this album that, correct me if I’m wrong, stylistically they’ve never really experimented with before. VOP has largely stayed close to traditional, classical, and often “choral-type” arrangements, that’s where they’ve carved their niche. But the new ground covered here is a wonderful, complementary addition to their formidable musical arsenal. It’s fresh and new but doesn’t take anything away from their normal repertoire.

VOP opens the disc with a Tim Rumsey arrangement of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” They have used a lot of Rumsey arrangements in the past (there are two on Deliverance), in fact have commissioned them. He writes layered, textured, full, 4-plus part material, very nice stuff. And it suits Voice of Praise very well. Love that final fat chord!

VOP has traditionally used a lot of stacks (recording over top of themselves to double the voice or add extra parts) on their recordings, and this one is no exception. They use this recording technique to great effect, such as on the Rumsey pieces.

I have to mention track 3, “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel.” This is a cut off the King’s Herald’s classic “It’s Spiritual” album from 1974. If AHQ would still be singing, I’d have been pushing to do this song! I love it, and I’ll sing it someday.

I must admit, I’ve never liked the song “The Old Rugged Cross,” but their treatment of it here is very nice. It’s a Walt Harrah (of the Haven Quartet) arrangement, and I like his work. This tune stretches VOP in a new direction a little bit too, and it’s a great addition to the disc.

Track 7, “Down by the Riverside,” two words: Kirby Shaw. Voice of Praise does vocal jazz! Who’d have thought! They tear it up. It starts with the bass laying the rhythmic foundation, then the tenor lead (go Josh!) joins him and they sing the first go-round by themselves. Then everybody jumps in and it takes off from there. Check out some of the background patter: “Ooo, now we-e don’t need it!” Great stuff!

“Hallelujah, What a Savior” is an in-house arrangement by Jon Zehr. He uses the music to bring out and emphasize the journey dictated by the lyrics. I doubt you’ve ever heard the song quite like this.

“I’m Gonna Let it Shine” is a children’s medley also arranged by Tim Rumsey. It has a lot of variety, and I think the kids will probably like it as much as I do! Very cool.

I must mention the cover photo. For a conservative group, they took some risks here too! And once again, I think it paid off handsomely. It’s a fresh, unique, interesting, and compelling cover.

Who knows, I may be commenting on Voice of Praise more later. Because guess what? I’m going to hear them in person this coming Sunday morning!

Terrific CD, I highly recommend it. Order it at VoiceofPraise.net.