Half CD Review: In Good Hands by Declaration (EP)

Half CD Review: In Good Hands by Declaration (EP) October 1, 2011

This will be a short CD review for a short CD. Tonight I saw the Booth Brothers in concert and found out that there’s a young trio named Declaration who’s been traveling with them and opening for them for quite some time now. I’d never even heard of them before, but I was very glad to make their acquaintance. Michael Booth has co-produced two of their latest projects, and they were selling half of one of them for only five bucks. Apparently five out of the ten songs aren’t finished yet, so they’re releasing the other five in a limited EP. So I picked it up.

Personnel include Joshua Horrell on tenor, Kasey Kemp on lead, and Jake Sammons on baritone. The five songs featured on this EP are “Come to the Water,” “I Call it Home,” “In Good Hands,” “I’m Too Near Home,” and “Try a Little Kindness.” Three Two of them are new. (Obviously “I’m Too Near Home” and “Try A Little Kindness” are covers, and I just found out “I Call it Home” is also an oldie.) At the concert, they said Mosie Lister gave them the song “Come to the Water.” I’m not sure who penned the title track, but it may have been Jake Sammons, who writes some of the group’s material.
The main thing that I think is going to jump out at people about Declaration is their striking resemblance to the Booth Brothers. I’ve heard trios with various good blends, but this group’s blend is the most similar to them that I’ve ever heard. It’s not exactly the same, and their individual voices have their own quality, but all together, you could flip some of these songs on for a few seconds and literally not realize it wasn’t the Booth Brothers if you weren’t paying attention. A few more seconds would make it clear it was somebody different, but they’re obviously aiming for that same sound and style: smooth, warm, and easy to listen to.
I said that the similarities lay mainly in the overall blend, but there are individual similarities as well. Jake Sammons (at least I think it’s Jake), turns in a vocal strongly reminiscent of Ronnie Booth on the warm, tender highlight “I Call it Home.” That song is easily my favorite from what I’ve heard so far. I don’t think anyone else has recorded it, but it’s got that “been around forever” feel to it. [EDIT: Well, thanks a lot southerngospelhistory. I always check that website to see if a song is old or new, but I guess it’s incomplete. Brian has just informed me that this is an old Squire Parsons song.] The tenor also has a “Michael-esque” smoothness when harmonizing. Actually though, he really reminds me of Soul’d Out Quartet’s piano player Michael Howard (who as we know can also sing).
I’ll be saying a little more about the group when I review the concert. For now, let me recommend that you check them out. I’ll see if I can provide thoughts on the rest of this album when it comes out in full. They’re definitely off to a good start, and at this point they just need more time, more experience, and more new songs. If Michael continues to work with them, I think we can expect good things.

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  • I visited the website and checked them out. Very Booth-like, indeed.
    “I Call It Home” is an old Squire Parsons song, by the way.

  • Thanks. Edited accordingly (forehead-smack). They’re really nice guys too, although the young tenor is a bit shy. 🙂

  • I have four versions of it, but one from a Squire Parsons solo compilation is the most notable. I’m not 100% sure, but I think it was a radio single for Squire in the early ’90s. (It’s on his album Heavenly Country, 1990) His full discography isn’t on SG History.
    BTW, just noticed that Heavenly Country is available on iTunes and Amazon for downloading.

  • AmyH

    I love that song; somehow we came up with a Squire Parsons solo album way back when that we listened to a lot.

  • These guys are good friends of mine. Their first cd, Jesus Saves, is very good as well.

  • YGG,
    We met Jake Sammons at the Booth Brothers concert in 2010. He was working for them…sort-of the media tech guy. You had mentioned that Declaration was traveling with them. When we saw the BB this spring they were in Ronnie’s truck pulling a U-Haul trailer. Did they get their Sprinter? Just curious….

  • I walked (read: sneaked) around back of the venue where the concert was being held, and I saw what looked to me like a big bus parked there. So I would guess that they did!

  • Cool! I’m glad they’re getting some exposure. Groups just starting out need all the help they can get in this industry.

  • YGG,
    Hmm…interesting! Thanks for sharing (sneaking 🙂 )….

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