The Bowling Family Group Trio
Well then, the news that Mike and Kelly Bowling have sent the third member of their group’s most recent incarnation packing, hired Terah Crabb Penhollow to fill out their trio, and (yet again) renamed themselves – this time, as The Bowling Family – has certainly created a lively conversation, hasn’t it?
I’ll explore some of the related and larger issues that came up during this discussion in separate posts to come. On the substance of the change itself, my general reaction is: meh. Let’s see what happens.
In their defense, they’re part of a handful of country gospel acts with no real stylistic home, but that defense only goes so (and not very) far. And too, when they’ve settled down long enough to, you know, focus on making music and stuff, they’ve shown themselves capable of quality work. “Your Cries Have Awoken the Master” being the most recent example, or Mike Bowling channeling (as opposed to aping) Kenny Hinson – the former inadvertently devolving in the latter at times. Yet the vocal balance and mix of the Bowlings and that other guy were no small part of what made their music work most recently.
The optics of bringing Penhollow on board are powerful in the nostalgic, filio-pietistic world of southern gospel, and a lot of folks will love what the Bowling Family does no matter its quality because it’s now full of extended family members.
But the former Crabb Family, from which this new group is now more or less entirely drawn, required six voices to create the sound of a good trio or mixed quartet at any given moment in live concert, and it’s unclear to me that the non-Jason members of the former group are individually as talented as their collective family sound suggested. For better or worse, the new Bowling Family is about test that hypothesis. So … I guess we should stay tuned.Email this Post