Minnesota Review Monday: Canton Junction, Volumes I & II

 

Description: The highly-anticipated debut recording is finally available. It’s been almost a year since these four guys made their debut appearance at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, and I’m not sure the buzz has left yet. Canton Junction does not try to affiliate themselves only to Southern Gospel music, and that is truly evident on these recordings. I don’t personally have an issue with that, but I know there are many who only want to hear Southern Gospel. If that’s you, I might not recommend this project. If you’re someone who loves four-part harmony, but also has an appreciation for other musical stylings, Canton Junction is your kind of group.

In this review, I will separate Volumes I and II, as I feel they each deserve their own attention.

Lake Superior (Volume I): This was a tough decision for me, but I think I’ll give the honors to The Inviting Christ, previously recorded by Mark Lowry. There’s just a simplicity to this song that I really enjoy.

Lake Superior (Volume II): I’m a sucker for the old classics, and Going Home is no different. We’ve heard versions that feature the bass (JD Sumner) and versions that feature the lead (Ryan Seaton), but this version is reminiscent of the very first Gaither Homecoming video, where the song featured the lead (Michael English) on the first verse and the bass (George Younce) on the second verse. I’m not sure if that was intentional, but it immediately reminded me of that version. Check it out for yourselves on YouTube!

Mississippi River (Volume I): This one may surprise some people, but I’ve developed a liking for Go Tell It On The Mountain. I know other bloggers have questioned its inclusion on this project due to it traditionally being a Christmas song. However, I think this is a song that can be sung year-round, and Canton Junction delivers it well. I really like what they did on the verses with all four guys getting a small feature.

Mississippi River (Volume II): There’s been a lot of discussion about the two secular songs on Volume II, both What A Wonderful World and You Are So Beautiful While they are not Southern Gospel songs, Canton Junction doesn’t really consider themselves Southern Gospel anyways. But while songs like this may not appeal to many SG listeners, they provide opportunities to reach a whole different audience that Canton Junction can expose themselves to in their concerts.

Lutefisk (Volume I): I surprised myself on this one, but Who Am I is my least favorite track on Volume I. I say i surprised myself because its become one of my favorite older songs. Hearing Aaron take the lead reminds me of his brother performing this song on his most recent project, but I definitely prefer Jason’s solo better. And nothing beats the harmony of the Isaacs. This version is okay, but I’d choose Jason’s as my favorite between the two any day.

Lutefisk (Volume II): Not sure why, but I’ve never been a big fan of the song Smile. Just not a song I’ve ever quite gotten into. Some of the instrumentation in this one seem off too.

Minnesota Nice Factor: 10%. There are a number of tracks that I individually enjoy. Others have said these two CDs drag too much, and I see their point. I believe that this project is most effective if you listen to the songs on shuffle, intertwined with the rest of your music collection. While there are a lot of enjoyable tracks, the overall flow of the project leaves something to be desired.

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