In his first year with Tribute Quartet, tenor Riley Clark has earned himself quite a reputation around Southern Gospel circles, including being nominated as a top-10 Favorite Tenor, Horizon Individual, and Young Artist in the 2011 Singing News Fan Awards. Clark’s reputation will only gain strength after SG lovers listen to his first mainstream project as a member of Tribute, The Waiting Is Over. I should note that this is also Tribute’s first project since bass singer Anthony Davis took over for the departed Dennis Dugger.
The Waiting Is Over begins with a decent pace in “Songs of Zion.” This will likely serve as the new concert-opening song for the group. A little past the song’s halfway point, there is a temporary change in tempo as the guys sing a verse from the old Frances Crosby hymn “Tell Me the Story of Jesus.” This is easily my favorite part of the song.
Following “Songs of Zion” are two more up-tempo songs “Makes Me Want to Go” and “Jesus Is Alive.” These three songs perfectly set up what many are calling the headlining song of TWIO, Melissa Brady’s Homecoming Day. Riley Clark takes the lead on this one, and delivers an incredible rendition of the song. Combining the powerful message of this song with Clark’s ability to communicate a lyric like few others can, this will be a concert favorite across the country. Homecoming Day might be the group that puts both Clark and Tribute Quartet in the discussion for the upper-echelon of SG artists. Homecoming Day is also where the album title comes from (Homecoming day, when the waiting is over).
After Davis has one of his few solo moments of the project with “More Than Able,” the group goes into “The I Am,” which is unfortunately the lowest point of the project. I like the songs melody throughout, and I enjoy the tag sang separately by Singletary, Casto, and Davis. However, there’s something about the verses that just does not mesh well with the rest of the song. Because of that, the entire song takes a hit in my mind.
The project takes a turn for the better with the up-tempo “There Is A City.” Once again, Clark takes the lead on this song and delivers another strong performance, making it another one of TWIO’s highlights. The pace softens when Singletary takes the lead on “The Climb.” This is the type of song Singletary shines on, and “The Climb” was no different.
After singing another up-tempo song “He Is Leading the Way,” which was made popular by the Hinson’s, Clark slows down the pace once again in “Save My Family, Save My Friends.” This mellow prayer leads into TWIO’s strongest fast song and Tribute’s first single from the project, “Bring on the Joy.” This song provides a great close to the project, and will also likely serve as a popular concert-closing tune that will have audience members leaving the venue with a smile on their faces.
Overall, The Waiting Is Over presents Tribute Quartet with an opportunity to catapult into the upper-tier of SG artists. Sure, it has some weak spots, but Tribute more than makes up for it with some very strong tracks that are sure to be chart-toppers.