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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

The Journey

  • reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Jul
The Journey
Sounds like … a traditional country sound for fans of George Jones and Hank Williams crossed with the spiritual enlargement of recent Randy Travis worksAt a glance … the Oak Ridge Boys keep the spiritual tunes coming, highlighted by joyous finger-picking patterns and fast-action fiddle playing. Track ListingTrain, TrainSomeplace GreenBad Case of Missing YouSaving GraceYou Don't Have to Go Home (But You Can't Stay Here)Old Familiar LoveGoin' Against the GrainI Love You So Much It HurtsMy Girl FridayThat Ole Gravel Road Was Easy StreetThe Journey

Country followers need no introduction to The Oak Ridge Boys. Songs like "Elvira" and "You're the One" may be their most famous songs, but their recent return to Christian roots has also been a welcome change. The group's last three albums have all adapted specialties of their own, starting with traditional Southern gospel, then Christmas, followed by a patriotic project. Their latest, The Journey, takes a straight-up country approach, but continues the renewed spiritual tradition.

Purists of the genre will appreciate the lack of watered-down moments and not a single sign of manufactured pop country that's all over radio these days. Instead, it's the old-time sound of Hank Williams, George Jones and early George Strait that resonates throughout the eleven cuts, complete with fury-filled fiddles and dirty steel guitars. The title cut, about one's conversion, highlights the foursome's jubilant harmonies. "Goin' Against the Grain" is more of a true barnburner, speaking of a character who marches to his own beat but refuses to be trapped in a comfort zone of faith.

Such topical meatiness is matched with the flat-out fun of "Old Familiar Love," "My Girl Friday" and "You Don't Have to Go Home (But You Can't Stay Here)," which recall the act's vintage beginnings. However, those just familiar with The Oaks' singles and less interested in extremely traditional sounds should beware of "Train, Train" and "Saving Grace," two of the most twang-filled and drawled cuts on the album. Regardless, the guys should be applauded for sticking to their guns, not being afraid of their faith and continuing to make skillful compositions that are likely to stand the test of time.