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Red Street Records artist, Avalon, has been inspiring lives with their music around the globe for over 20 years. Recognized by the industry for their powerhouse vocals, the group has achieved significant radio success including hits like Adonai, Can't Live a Day and Testify to Love - just to name a few. This three time Grammy Nominated, American Music Award and Dove Award winning Christian artist is composed of Greg and Janna Long, Jody McBrayer, and Dani Rocca. Over their 20 plus year career, Avalon has made 13 albums, sold over 3 million units, has had 22 #1 Christian radio singles, and has won multiple awards. Now for the first time in over a decade, Avalon will release their 14th full-length album, Avalon: CALLED, on October 18, 2019. Avalon is a flagship artist with Red Street Records, a new label launched by Jay DeMarcus, a highly lauded member of the music and entertainment communities, and member of Rascal Flatts.
- Product Dimensions : 5.63 x 4.92 x 0.39 inches; 2.26 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Red Street Records
- Original Release Date : 2020
- Date First Available : August 23, 2019
- Label : Red Street Records
- ASIN : B07WYC35KX
- Number of discs : 1
- Customer Reviews:
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Well, they learned something after a bit of a misstep on 2009's REBORN. Avalon MUST have standout solos from Janna & Jody. Avalon may be known for its harmonies, sure, but any one of the members could be the lead singer, so we want to hear them lead. For my money, the 3 best tracks on this album are:
#5 "If Not For Jesus" -- THIS is the Janna ballad we expect.
#9 "Glitter & Glory" -- Recaptures the groove of the "Testify to Love" era, thanks to a powerhouse collaboration of writers: the inimitable Tony Wood, Ian Eskelin (producer of 2009's REBORN), and today's CCM darling Francesca Battistelli.
#7 "Sacred Ground" -- A classic trade-off between the 2 original members. Carries the same anthemic torch as THE CREED's "You Were There" or OXYGEN's "The Glory", and it's just perfect writing!
I'll agree with another reviewer I read that the opener "Called" isn't a song I can listen to repeatedly. I'll grant that it's a great intro song for the album: with Avalon's updated sound & time for each of the singers to shine. But the refrain, "CAAAAAAAAAALLED" is a bit much for me, even if I do like the message.
Nevertheless, for me, the stinker on the album is #8 "Lanterns". Maybe it channel's "Unbelievable" a bit in its nonconformity to the rest of the album, but the marching beat, historical gospel intro, and a breakout solo by the producer (no less), makes it (at best) just a bad Greg Long song. Hard pass.
Jody's solo "I Just Can't Stop My Hallelujahs" was co-written by Krissy Nordhoff (of ZOEgirl fame). It proves again that he's just the best at what he does. When Jody sings, we can't stop our hallelujahs either.
The last few songs took a while to grow on me, but I can strongly recommend them after many listens. I really like "Keeper of My Heart", because it channels the best of Greg's work with Avalon which was (in my opinion) found on REBORN. That's where they finally integrated his voice into the mix--rather than putting him out in front (which just makes a Greg Long song) or somewhere hidden in the back. Dani & Jody's harmony vocals are especially on-point here, and the Chipmunks are a great addition too. [wink]
#3 "Closer" is our introduction to new member Dani Rocca. I think her tone shows a notable similarity to Francesca Battistelli, and she is nothing like former sopranos Amy Richardson or Melissa Greene. Her style is what makes this project sound like a throwback to the days of Avalon with Nikki or Cherie, but this lady has more force & more chops than either of them! Another of the 4 songs here co-written by Tony Wood, “Closer” sounds like an empowerment song at first. Give it a closer listen though, and you'll be struck (as I was) with the unusual subject matter: the growth of a Christian. Strange, that this is a novel concept for a Christian song, right? But this points to the big shift for the Avalon of 2020: they've gone from "testifying to love" to testifying for the Lord. Track #4 "Only One" is more of a creed than THE CREED! It's an uncompromising statement of faith, with super-tight harmonies that could only be found on an Avalon album. While Janna holds down the chorus, both Dani & Jody put in vocal turns reminiscent of the group's collaborations with producer Charlie Peacock. However, the lyrical content you find here is more open-faced & on-the-nose. If this is the last album they put out (and I'm PRAYING it isn't) I know this quartet will be found faithful. Now I just hope listeners will be faithful to find it...
Composite Album Score = 3.8 (out of 5)
UPDATE: Knowing what they did to Michael Passons all these years ago after he came out is inexcusable. Conversation therapy? Really? People are born gay or straight. Nothing can change that.