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Artist: The Nelons Project Title: Come On Home Label: Independent Producers: Bill Gaither and Jason Clark Reviewed By: Scott Evans
Normally, when I review a project I listen to it three or four times before writing the review. I am not sure how many times I have listened to the Nelons latest project but I can now sing the bass line and know all of the words to the songs by heart! In all seriousness, this project has blessed me so much that I just love listening to it and will continue to listen long after this review is done. The project is produced by Bill Gaither and Jason Clark and includes fifteen wonderful songs, some of which you will recognize and some you may not.
The project starts out with a familiar song from the late 1980’s. The song is titled “I Have Seen The Children” and this version includes a guest appearance from Bill Gaither. Right away you will hear the incredible harmonies that the Nelons have been known for since I began listening to them back in the 1970’s. It certainly would not surprise anyone to find some Bill and Gloria Gaither songs on this project and, in fact, there are several on this recording. “Come On Home” is one of those songs and it is also the title song for the project. I have heard this song many times but not recently. What a beautiful song of coming home to Jesus! The harmonies and vocals are exquisite on this beautiful song and it will bless you time and time again. If you like your music with a touch of country flair then there are a couple of songs on here for you! “Come To The River” is the first one and the joy in this song is the message that we can come to God’s River because it will never run dry!
I cannot say for certain the first time I ever heard “Somebody’s Praying.” I can say for certain that this is the best version I have ever heard. Kelly Nelon Clark sings the verses and Jason and Amber add beautiful harmonies on this hauntingly beautiful melody with a tremendous message that will remind you of the many people who have prayed for you, and continue to pray for you, in your life. I love good a cappella music and the Nelons can sing a cappella with the best of them. “Down To The River” is an old, traditional song but the Nelons put a wonderful new arrangement on this song and sing it to perfection. It takes a lot of nerve for a group to record a song that the Gaither Vocal Band sang. However, the Nelons pull it off and, in fact; their version might be the better one! The song I speak of is the upbeat “The Diff’rence Is In Me.” I love this song because of the message of the difference that Jesus Christ can and will make in your life. I love it and I hope you see that diff’rence in you!
Bill and Gloria Gaither have written hundreds of song but one of their more recent ones was written with Larry Gatlin and is titled “Excuse Me, Are You Jesus.” I cannot even put into words how this song will speak to you. It is a tremendous reminder that we, as Christians, should be Jesus to all the people we meet, not only in our words but also in our actions. I still cannot listen to the song without a few tears flowing and I challenge you to listen to the song and let it speak to you. “Handful Of Dust” has a bit of an edge to the melody and I have to admit that I had to listen to it a couple of times to really appreciate the song. However, it has a tremendous message of love and now I really do enjoy the song. Janet Paschal, Karen Peck Gooch and Charlotte Ritchie are just a few of the tremendously talented soprano singers to sing with the Nelons in their storied history. You can now add Amber Nelon Thompson to that list! Amber shines on “Morning Has Broken” and as her voice soars, what seems to be effortlessly, you cannot help to be blessed by the message that indeed, morning has broken! This is one of the top recorded soprano performances I have heard in a few years.
“When He Talked About His Home” is another tremendous song that Bill and Gloria wrote along with Woody Wright. Jason Clark sings the lead and conveys wonderfully the message and the story of Jesse. I love this song and the message that reminds us that those testimonies from the faithful saints will always guide us home when we go astray. The Nelons have recorded so many classic songs in their history and I am glad that they still go back and record one every once in a while! The classic Nelon song on this project is “The Son’s Coming Up.” What a great song of encouragement for the believer and it is so great to hear this song again. Another of those country sounding songs is next and “I Choose The Lord” sounds familiar to me from somewhere but I cannot quite place it. However, I love everything about this song. The melody, the lyrics, the message and the high-energy performance by the Nelons are all excellent!
A song that I have not heard in a few years but have always loved is “I Heard It First On The Radio.” The Nelons record this song next and what a blessing to hear that song again. I would guess that most people of my generation can remember hearing that Gospel message on the radio. I know that I can and the beauty is that the message has never changed. I believe that Jason Clark is one of the most underappreciated songwriters today. Listen to “Jesus, I Just Want To Say I’m Sorry” and you will see why I make that statement. What a beautiful and heartfelt lyric. This song is all about God’s Forgiveness and reminds us that He is always there to give his mercy, grace and forgiveness. It is just an incredible song. The final song on the project is another one written by Jason. The song is titled “The Little Brown Church” and it reminded me of that little church that I grew up in and how we can still back to that place where we first met Jesus, even if only in our prayers.
I should say that in a discussion of my all-time favorite Southern Gospel Groups, the Nelons are going to be mentioned quickly by me. I have listened to this group for more than 30 years and I have seen them transition through various changes. I believe that this project will rank very high amongst their all-time great projects. Jason, Kelly and Amber have achieved the closest anyone can come to vocal perfection and that, mixed with a tremendous selection of songs, better than average orchestration and a constant theme of encouragement has resulted in one incredible project! My favorite songs were hard for me to narrow down and it is likely that list will change again but right at this moment my favorites are “Come On Home,” “The Diff’rence Is In Me” and “Excuse Me, Are You Jesus.” I also love “Jesus, I Just Want To Say I’m Sorry” which may be the best song on the recording. This project, like the Nelons, are first class in every way. You should purchase this project for your collection today, you will not be disappointed! For more information on the Nelons, visit their website at www.thenelons.com.