5 Stars Out Of 5
Another Quality Project From SGM's First Family
December 26, 2010
When you have known a group since the early 1970's, played their music on the radio since 1983, attended Kim and Dean's wedding in the 80's, traveled on their bus, been a part of their Singing News Song of the Year, booked the group numerous times, and personally seen them now sing in five decades, then this old country boy can say, I know the Hoppers.
I have shared my opinions with the Hoppers regarding their work for years, but this is the first time I have ever attempted to review a recording of the Hoppers.
On "Something's Happening", the groups vocals are some of the best, if not the best ever, on any Hoppers project. Having a studio on Claude and Connie's farm has allowed them the freedom to work at their own pace and satisfaction to provide us with some of the most crisp vocals I have heard from this group. They not only nail singing their parts, but they also blend so well . They do not force (oversing) their vocals, but still sing with the conviction and emotion we expect to find in our brand of music.
Cut one "Victory Shall Be Mine" is the first single off this project. Good choice as Nancy Harmon songs (I've Come Too Far, Let The Redeemed Say So) have worked well with the Hoppers. Yes, this is the same song the Nelons cut back in 1994. "Oh, How Amazing Is Amazing Grave" is well done and comes out of the Hoppers publishing company. The tune was written awhile back by former Hoppers' pianist, Shannon Childress and his sister, Teresa Lutz.
The title cut is a recording that gives Connie, Kim, and Dean a chance to all shine on a song that will translate well in the many church dates the group works. The recitation by Connie, ala Gloria Gaither, sets it apart from other similar songs. Karlye Hopper, Kim and Dean's oldest, shines again in her second recording with the group with a great song choice for her, a Rusty Golden/Dianne Wilkerson composition.
I have about every album the Hinsons ever recorded and of course, am well familiar the song, "I've Been To Heaven" that Larry Hinson wrote for the original Hinsons. The Hoppers version is better than Hinsons, and the song is growing on me after hearing them stage it live recently. However, I must admit there is something about the line "I've been to heaven, though I've never left the room" that I have not embraced since I first heard the tune more than ten years ago.
Paula Stefanovich wrote two big songs for the Hoppers. One of them, "Jerusalem" was a mega song for the group, even if the industry did not give the tune the respect it deserved. The studio cut was hit out of the park and it's prominence in the Gaither video recorded in the city itself is spine tingling. Paula's "East of Jerusalem" is a solid album cut. I enjoy hearing Kim sing, especially how she interprets a song, as her phrasing is often done her way. Her uniqueness and vocal ability are reasons for her selection as female singer of the year.
Connie is featured on "Could It Be I'm Dreaming". The group does a great job on this Gerald Crabb and Gina Vera song. Nice to hear Mike Hopper sing bass on this cut.
Dean Hopper is the Rodney Dangerfield of SGM. He does not get the respect he deserves. On this project, he does some of the best singing he has done on "He Remembers To Forget" and "On The Authority". Same holds true with Claude as he sings the Ira Stanphill classic, "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow". I really would like to see the Hoppers feature Claude, Dean and Mike on a song in the future.
"Living In Arms Of Mercy" is one of my favorite cuts on the Hoppers latest project. Not very often do we get to hear Dean, Kim, and Mike sing together and on a song that is not a cookie cutter cut as many recordings heard on Southern Gospel radio. The entire project has some excellent orchestration, which is a trademark of a Lari Goss production. It is evident on the last cut "Statement of Faith".
"Something's Happening" is one of the best from the Hoppers. I bought it before it was ready to be shipped. I wanted to hear it that badly, and was not disappointed. Although this album is not as solid as "The Ride", mainly because the song selection on that 2006 project was much stronger (IMO) and personally ministered to me more, this SpringHill recording is one any Hoppers fan needs in their collection.