Prime Cuts: Water Walker, Be Christ, Priceless Praise
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
As soon as the first few notes of this record resound, you know you are listening to greatness. Thanks to producer Wayne Haun, there's a richness and majesty in these songs that's really stunning. Though the Kramers have been making albums for years, "The Hopes of All Tomorrows" is their first collaborative efforts with Ernie Haase and Haun's StowTown Records. And it is also their best album to date. With StowTown's backing comes not only a fuller orchestrated sound, but the song choices have also been more diverse both in terms styles. Not only do we have those big string-laden ballads, but there are also toe-tapping radio darlings, finger-snapping jazz-up entries, and brassy Gospel-infused shout outs.
The Kramers is a family quartet that include Scott Kramer, his wife Rachel, their daughter Maria and her husband, Ben Wolfe. The family's much anticipated new record opens on a grand note with "Greater God." In sync with the superlative titular, Haun has surround this ballad with an ensemble of stirring strings, making this ode to God's goodness sounds majestic and heavenly. "Water Walker" has the word "single" written all over it. Written without any wasted notes or syllables, the song packs in a sermon about the power of faith with an engaging melody to boot. The team showcase their layered harmonies with the otherwise nondescript "All the Way to the Gate." Toe-tapping fun begins with the jazzy "It's a Good Life." Those who like things a little more brassy will love the otherwise mandatory-sounding "Pray Till Something Happens to Me."
Ballad lovers will swoon with song's gorgeous piano riffs and Maria Wolfe's heart-stirring vocals on "Priceless Praise." The call to be Christlike is the theme of "Be Christ." Calling to mind one of those Collingsworth Family's signature ballads, "Be Christ" has that the cinematic feel, thanks to the gorgeous string section. The waltz-like title track "The Hope of All Tomorrows," gets an instantaneous like. Listen more intently and the song's hope-filled chorus will do our hearts good. The same can be said about "Great and Beyond." Sounding like an unfolding cantata, the song details narratives of why God is worthy of praise from creation to the cross to his second advent. This song is a blast from start to finish.
The Kramers' "The Hope of All Tomorrows" is not only their most diverse-sounding album, but it's also their best. The top-of-the-class production, the well-chosen songs, and those heartfelt renditions are some of the reasons why this is so.