Written by: Celita Diaz-Perillo (Date written: 09/23/2021)
Southbound is preparing to release their self-titled debut album September 24, 2021. The group consists of Bishop Clint Brown, Seth J. Elbe, and Jody Braselton, and boy can these pastors/worship pastors belt out some awesome melodies and harmonies. Their voices and some of the songs recall other groups and musicians, to me at least, such as the Gaither Vocal Band, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound, Russ Taff, The Imperials, 4 Him, Clay Crosse, and Casting Crowns, just to name a few. I would love to know if you are reminded of any others!
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by the song selections, many of which are classic Southern Gospel tunes and hymns with new twists. I was delighted to listen to some songs that I did not know, some I had not heard in a very long time, and others that I regard as lifelong treasured memories and everlasting blessings to my soul. All in all, this album is an interactive experience, at least it was for me. Let me explain…
Honestly, this album had me wishing to be in that praise and worship moment that MUST have occurred as they sang the lyrics that ring out like soul-prayers and reminders that we CAN trust our Lord. We CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens us. That no matter the heartache, trial, sorrow, grief, insecurity, or challenge, we will be okay as we trust in, cling to, rely on, and believe in Him. While the words were not exact, they spoke to MY heart in that way.
I danced and swayed to the sweet notes in some songs, and stopped to raise my hands in praise for others. I prayed, sang along, and just teared up as song after song was like a salve to my unsuspecting heart.
Out of the twelve songs, here are my top four favorites so far –
“No Better Than That” was just such a fun song! I danced away to this storytelling, “… foot tappin’, hand clappin’, tambourine slappin’, whole church rockin’, everybody shoutin’” kinda song.
“He’s Got A Way” is such a lovely reminder that God is NOT done with us yet. He knows how to make beauty for ashes and to work all things together for good. “Hold on to faith”. God is so faithful. This song rings out like a testimony and encouragement to struggling souls.
“Sometimes It Takes A Mountain” is another testimony-ish, prayer song. Wow, this one got me good. My heart was ALL in it, and I really think that SO many people will relate. Please go listen to this one as soon as you can. It speaks of how God can use our challenging times to “Get ahold of” us, and how we can trust His plan. How when we surrender and humble ourselves, we are bowed, but in our needing Him, we find strength, purpose, new perspective, and always, our Loving Lord is there.
“The Blood Medley” What can I say? This one brought out “all the feels”. These songs have touched my heart for so long, and to hear them together was so neat. What a gem of a medley. And a topic that so many avoid speaking about anymore, so as not to sound “weird”, but the book of Isaiah speaks of these things because they matter. THE BLOOD THAT WASHES ME WHITE AS SNOW. THE BLOOD THAT GIVES ME STRENGTH FROM DAY TO DAY!!! It will NEVER lose its power! Oh, it just takes me back to praising Jesus together with my dad so long ago. Hallelujah!!
So, all in all, I may sound super excited about this album, and I am. Southbound is the perfect mixture of facing the hard things with hope, joy, and trusting in Jesus. It is loaded with edification, encouragement, and reminders to find our peace in Him, and in the most powerful ways- through music. Thank you, Southbound, for blessing my heart!