The Singing Contractors “Working on a Building: Hymns & Gospel Classics” Album Review
Prime Cuts: Wine into Water, He'll Take Care of You
Overall Grade: 4/5
Aaron Gray and Josh Arnett are really contractors in real life. And they really can sing, well, if one may add. It all started when they released a video of them singing the hymn "How Great Thou Art" at an unfinished corner of remodelled home. Within a matter of 24 hours, the video gone viral with over a million views. This has led them to ink a contract with Gaither Music.
In many ways, "Working on a Building" follows the same template Gaither Music has had designing for their artists such as Guy Penrod and Lynda Randle. It contains the tried and true winning formula of the duo recording ever-green hymns, a patriotic song, a Christmas entry, some Southern and country standards. Songs that are so non-offensive that families in America's Bible belt will grab copies of this disc and play them as background music as they drive to church. In short, this album is pleasing but it is also very safe.
To Gray and Arnett's credit, they both can sing and when they harmonise with each other, they complement each other so well that you may even think they were proteges of the Cathedrals or the Oak ridge Boys. And they really put such harmonies to great use on the title cut "Working on a Building." The way the boys trade phrases with each other in the chorus reinforces the song's theme that the church cannot function unless we complement each other in service. One listen to their take of "How Great Thou Art" becomes apparent why the duo's version had gone viral. It's majestic, anthemic, and affecting.
Though the Singing Contractors excel in their renditions of chestnuts such as "Amazing Grace," "Because He Lives" and "The Old Rugged Cross," they also add little creativity to these hymns. Much better is their handling of the lesser known T. Graham Brown ballad "Wine into Water." Penned by Brown when he was having a bout with the prowess of alcohol, "Wine into Water" is a desperate plea to God for help utilising Jesus' first miracle in John 2 as the song's seed thought. Though the Singing Contractors do not have the gravely gravity of Brown's nuances, but still their performance is stellar. Also of note is their take of the piano-led "He'll Take Care of You," the 90s-country sounding "He Saw What I Could Be" and the elegantly rendered "There's Always a Place at the Table."
There are many positives with this disc: it is beautifully executed musically, the guys sing with excellence, the songs are so revered in the church that they defy criticism, and the production is flawless. The only negative is that this album is safe and blends in with the countless albums Gaither Music is putting out perennially. Veneered by a sense of slickness, we don't actually get to hear the heart of the Singing Contractors.
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