The Erwins “Ready to Sail” Album Review

the erwins

Prime Cuts:  I Choose to be a Christian, You Are Welcome Here, The Burden of Loving Me

In a genre where many performing artists are silver-haired baby boomers, the Erwins are a breath of fresh air.  Ranging from ages between 14 and 22, the Erwins bring a youthful zest and promise to Southern Gospel Music that is so much needed.  Yet, traditionalists have nothing to fear.  Working with the deft hands at StowTown Records (The Taylors, Wayne Haun & The Perrys), "Ready to Sail" reverentially puts the right check marks beside everything we have grown to love about Southern Gospel:  Christ-centered themes set alight with memorable tunes and rustic-sounding backings.

However, the quartet also bring with them a youthful sprightly harmony and bounce that are often missing in most quartet music today.  And instead of recycling the same old repertoire again and again, save for one cut, all of these 12 cuts are brand new originals coming from reliable pens such as label honcho Wayne Haun, Sue C. Smith, Joel Lindsey, Tony Wood and others.  Perhaps a tad disappointing is that none of the siblings has had a hand in the album's composition department.

As with every StowTown release, there's always a towering beacon that outshines most of the music out in radioland, here the nod goes to "I Choose to be a Christian."  A song written by Rachel McCutcheon, "I Choose to be a Christian" is a Godly resolve to carry the marks of Jesus not out of compulsion but out of a heart transformed by the Gospel.  What makes this soaring strings ballad even more poignant is that this anthem of allegiance comes from the mouth of teenagers and young adults.   "You Are Welcome Here," coming from the pens of Wayne Haun and Will Hopkins, is a textbook example of how a well-developed story and a gorgeous melody can go hand in hand.  Set as a languid country shuffle, "The Burden of Loving Me" has a melody that keeps spinning again and again in our heads long after the song ends.

If you are into those bombastic full-bodied sound ballads, the kind that brings the roofs down with that full packed sound, "Calvary's One Spotless Lamb" will pulverize us with the grandeur and beauty of Christ's self-sacrifice.  What is most rewarding about this record is that its equity not only resides in its entertainment value.  Rather, there are some salient teaching moments that are worth the price of this download.  The title cut "Ready to Sail" helps us to understand why our unwillingness to risk our lives in God's hands often prevent us from seeing more miracles and God's outpouring.  Laden with so much truth is "Power in Prayer," a well-articulated sermon captured in song.  Thus, in this regard "Ready to Sail" is more than just a record, it's faith reenacted through songs and actions. 



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