Last year I received a call from the Stangl family inquiring about making a Gospel recording. Well that CD has been out for a while now and I recently had the opportunity to have Bob Everhart of the National Traditional County Music Association review it. Here’s what he had to say.
“I’ve been reviewing CD’s for a long time now, and I never cease to be amazed at the dedication and absolute strong desire of young family groups in taking the music of the Lord Jesus to another level. In the case of the Stangl Family from Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, this is a pre-ordained desire. The entire family, mom, dad, and ten kids make up an amazing group of musicians dedicated to bringing the word of Christ to a new audience. They really do it well, from several stand points. They are all really good musicians, and they have the sense to keep their music beautifully simple and easy to understand. They demonstrate their musicianship very masterfully on “Wayfaring Stranger.” I was impressed, and I’ve heard this song done by many professionals, but this version is totally instrumental [and] really stands out. One of the major differences this dedicated family is able to do, and do it well, is frequent tempo and rhythm changes. Not expected, but once into the song it’s a beautiful version of a great song. All of their major instruments take a lead in the song, the fiddles are exceptional as is the slide guitar. The slide guitar also takes some very interesting leads in “Come And See” and “Tell Me The Story of Jesus.” This family is also a very practiced harmony singing group. Everybody pitches in. Everybody enjoys what they are doing. I liked the mandolin on “Wayfaring Stranger” but I also liked it in “Did You Ever Talk to God Above.” This song also has a very likable child’s voice with delightful harmony from the rest of the family. “I’m Blessed” probably [best] demonstrates the harmony singing ability of this family, it’s acapella. Super nice. We hear fiddle throughout this album, all of it done well, I especially liked it on “I Just Want To Praise Jesus.” That’s exactly what this beautiful family does. They praise Jesus in all they do. I’ve heard several good family group recordings, but this one is a strong indication where this family is headed with their music, and I foresee a wonderful ‘praising’ in their music for our Lord Jesus Christ. This album is a wonderful response to the music we need to hear more frequently. It shall be forwarded to the Rural Roots Music Commission, with my admonition ‘please listen carefully, this is fragile and wonderful music.’ My good friend Tom Sharman is the mover and shaker at Tesco Studios in Omaha, where this delightful album was recorded. Tom did a super nice job in the studio. It is mixed just right for me. That [wouldn’t] necessarily [be] the rule of thumb for everyone, but it sure works for me. I love the way the instruments glide in and out. Just right, Just right.”
Job well done and commendation for using your God-given talents to honor Him, bring His message to others, and in the process enjoy each other. This family, by the way, dropped by during the Christmas time and serenaded my wife and I with Christmas songs at our front door. It was a very encouraging blessing. Thank you.