The Oak Ridge Boys: Common Thread

Oak Ridge Boys
Common Thread
Spring Hill, 2005

At some point in their careers, pop musicians will either think about releasing or actually record a song just in time for wedding season, aimed at the scores of young brides selecting hooky ditties with dewy-eyed lyrics full of sentimental imagery (think “Butterfly Kisses”). Common Thread half-way makes me think the Oaks are trying to aim this project at the other end of life’s ceremonies: the funeral crowd. I say “half way” because a good half of these songs are dirgy, exhausted tunes, sung in the slow, overearnest fashion of people trying to sound the way they think gospull sangers sound: among the tunes comprising the dirge-a-thon, “God Will Take Care of You,” “How Great Thou Art,” “He Did it All For Me,” and of course “Amazing Grace” (this particular warrior’s sword needs to be retired, methinks). The other half, though, is an upbeat mix of old and new. At its best, the project clips along with the easy familiarity of the old guys at your home church who have played guitars and sung songs like “I Saw the Light” and “This Little Light” and “Jesus is Coming Soon” since forever. Nothing here is terribly inspiring, but one should never pass up an opportunity to hear the Oaks return to where they began, sort of.

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