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Refocus, Restore, Rejoice!
Posted September 16, 2013
By Dawno,


Karen Peck Gooch first came to the attention of Southern Gospel fans in 1981 when she joined popular group The Nelons. With a sweet soprano voice and a personality to match, Karen has long been a fan favorite—readers of Singing News Magazine have voted her "Favorite Soprano" 11 times. She performed with the Nelons for 10 years before leaving to establish her own mixed ensemble, Karen Peck and New River. Marking their success to date, in addition to many No. 1 songs, the group has earned three Grammy nominations.

Though some faces have changed, Karen's sister, Susan Peck Jackson, has been at her side from the start. Since 2010, Karen and Susan have joined their voices with that of tenor Jeff Hawes.
 
Karen Peck and New River experienced a banner year in 2012. On the strength of their 2011 release, Reach Out, the vocal trio took home several awards, including two GMA Dove Awards: Country Song of the Year ("Good Things are Happening") and Southern Gospel Album of the Year. On the heels of this success, Karen Peck and New River present their newest work, Revival.
 
Stirring title track "Revival" leads off the record in vivid fashion. It's a summer day under the big tent. You feel the sweltering heat; you see the sweat rolling off the preacher's face into the sawdust. Voices fill the air and the ground shakes beneath your feet. It's more than the vibrations of "toe-tappin'" or "hand clappin'." It's a Holy Ghost "faith stirrin', shake the earth Revival!" 
 
On "Oh, Hallelujah," bouncy banjo, airy background vocals, and stately synth strings provide backing to a joyous vocal as Karen and friends remark how God's love is on display all around us as "endless beauty, if we have the eyes to see." The trio rejoices: "Oh, Hallelujah! / Oh, Hallelujah! / Oh, Hallelujah! That's what I keep singing."
 
"Finish Well" takes a popular sports and endurance event sentiment and applies it to daily living, urging the listener to maximize each day. "Wherever He may lead us, whatever it may cost," the song implores, "finish well, every day that we are given / finish well for the glory of His name / finish strong until the Savior finally calls us home."
 
Easy-going, country-flavored "Everybody's Going Through Something" relates that no one is immune to struggle, while lending comfort by reminding that, with Jesus, we don't have to go it alone: "If everybody's going through somethin', I'd rather go through somethin' with Him."
 
When Jeff Hawes steps up to the plate for "Dancing Like Lazarus," he hits it out of the park! The lively, earthy tune uses anecdotal New Testament evidence, in perfectly rhymed lines, of Jesus' dominion over life and death: "I am singing like the blind man when he got his sight that day / laughing like Jairus watching his little girl run and play / shouting like Peter when he came from the empty grave / and I'm dancing like Lazarus, when the grave clothes fell away."
 
Prayerful "Jesus, Remember Me" gives voice to the many instances when we need help. It's a hushed, humble plea: "As you're looking down from Heaven, all the millions you must see / Oh, Jesus, remember me.
 
Strong harmony chords on the chorus make "I've Been Broken" a joy to listen to. Susan takes lead on the verses which speak about how we are blessed, even by trials. Take heart, sufferer, for once you come out on the other end, you'll be singing, "I've been broken, but I've been blessed.
 
Classic "Joy in My Heart," a long-time live highlight for Karen Peck, has been featured on Bill Gaither specials. Peck and New River tackle it here with aplomb. This performance has everything a good ol' southern gospel tune needs: an engaging arrangement, a false ending, and energy enough to bring a crowd to its feet!
 
Hawes is again featured on the emotive "You Did it Anyway," which contemplates the sacrifice that Jesus made, knowing full well what lay ahead: "You did it anyway / You walked on up that hill / ... / You did it anyway."
 
The record started with a tent revival and ends with a barn party. The melodic, contagious energy of "I'm Saved," with dancing fiddle and toe-tapping upright bass, will have you shouting and singing along: "I've been saved by His glorious grace / My heart has been set free / I'm saved, now I see / Hallelujah, I've been redeemed!"
 
Closing Thoughts:
On their latest Daywind Music release, Revival, award-winning vocal trio Karen Peck and New River share an engaging, musically diverse set of songs that will encourage listeners in their daily walk. With bits of country, bluegrass, contemporary, traditional, and progressive southern gospel, listeners of all persuasions are bound to discover something they like. Whether you're moved to clap, sing, dance, and shout by cuts like "Revival", "Oh, Hallelujah", "Dancing Like Lazarus", "Joy in My Heart", and "I'm Saved"; inspired by "Finish Well"; or comforted and encouraged by "Everybody's Going Through Something", "Jesus, Remember Me", and "I've Been Broken", Revival is sure to speak to your heart. 
 
Song to Download Now:
"Revival" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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