Album Review: All That Matters (Edwards Family)

All That Matters CoverThe Edwards Family has been delighting congregations in southern Appalachia for several years, with their energetic brand of traditional family harmony.  From inception, the group has consisted of Adam (this site’s creator and owner), his wife Patricia, and Patricia’s mother, Anna Scott.  Recently, the family added the talents of tenor Jacob Ellison.  With their new recording, All That Matters, the Edwards Family debuts Adam and Patricia’s daughters, Keanna and Sarah, who were 11 and 8 years old, respectively, at the time of the recording.

The girls are definitely not a cute “novelty,” as is heard on many recordings with children so young.  They are featured on seven of the album’s twelve songs, and are surprisingly polished vocalists for their age and inexperience with recording.  The quality of the vocal blend is just as good on these songs as it is when the adults are featured.  The CD kicks off with the young ‘uns, on a stirring rendition of “All That Matters”.  I must also add that it is a real treat to hear these young ladies singing old-fashioned, toe-tapping southern gospel.  Strong examples of this include “I Know My Lord’s Gonna Stand by Me,” “I’d Rather Be Saved,” “When We All Get There,” and “I Thank You Lord”.  There is truly not a bad egg in that bunch.  With the obvious natural talent and training these girls have received, the future is very bright for the Edwards Family.

The balance of the songs feature the “classic” Edwards Family, if you will.  Patricia sings most of the melodies in a distinctly Appalachian alto, with Adam on the lower harmony and either Scott or Ellison providing the middle part.  The highlight among these songs is “I’m Not Going to Hell,” written by Stacy Pearcy, a pastor in East Tennessee.  Pearcy’s “God Makes No Mistakes,” “I Choose the Lord,” and “My Lord Is Taking Good Care of Me” were recorded by the Inspirations a few years ago.  (The latter is also found on this Edwards Family recording.)  But his finest work I’ve heard is “I’m Not Going to Hell,” which was introduced to me by this family a couple of years ago.  The best way I can describe it is that it’s a big “nanner nanner boo boo” to the devil. I’ve yet to hear this song in a church service where it didn’t elicit a powerful response.  I long for the day when a national group picks this song up (I hear the McKameys) and puts it in the ears of people across the country.  But any such group would have a hard time doing it as well as the Edwards Family does.  Like many gospel groups from the mountains, this group is most adept with mid-tempo, 3/4 time fare, like “A Risen Savior,” and “I’ve Heard of a Land,” along with the aforementioned Pearcy compositions.

My favorite aspect of All That Matters is the song selection.  The vocals are as clean and solid as the Edwards Family has ever sounded, and the instrumentation and production are spot on.  But those aspects only serve to allow for the effective delivery of the messages of these songs.  Several found on this recording are songs I’ve heard for years in churches across the Carolinas, but had never heard a recording of until now.  If you’ve gone to a traditional Baptist revival in this region in recent years, chances are you have heard “I’m Not Going to Hell,” “Why Should I Worry,” or “All That Matters”.  Now, we can hear them all the time, courtesy of the Edwards Family.  If you like old-fashioned, Spirit-filled singing, you will certainly enjoy All That Matters.

Song list:

1. All That Matters (Micah Henson)

2. Why Should I Worry (Charlotte Sons Baker)

3. My Lord Is Taking Good Care of Me (Stacy Pearcy)

4. I Know My Lord’s Gonna Stand by Me (Luther G. Presley)

5. Altogether Lovely (Lori Metcalf)

6. I’ve Heard of a Land (Harvey Gene Smith)

7. I Thank You Lord (Jason Camp)

8. I’m Not Going to Hell (Stacy Pearcy)

9. I’d Rather Be Saved (Rodney Griffin/Kirk Talley)

10. A Risen Savior (Chris Allman)

11. Let Me Tell You ‘Bout Jesus (Alphus LeFevre/Charles Matthews)

12. When We All Get There (Shekinah Camp)

Available at: Edward Family website, major digital outlets

(Though Adam is a friend and my “boss” as far as this blog goes, he did not in any way request or suggest a review from me of this CD.  I just flat out like it, and think others will, too.)

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