Laura Beth Coomer's "Stand Still" Album Review

Timothy YapJul 08, 2013 03:09 PM EDT

Laura Beth Coomer has the sort of voice practically perfect for country gospel.  Her ruminative and clear alto has enough force to express a wealth of emotion and a sense of drama that never overplays its hand or feels like grand-standing.  With the fragility of Alison Krauss and the tenacity of Lee Ann Womack, listening to Commer croon is a ministry in itself.  She has a voice so soothing that it has a way of bringing us right into God's gracious precious.  "Stand Still" Coomer's debut album is a beautiful showcase for her vocal instrument; the disc contains originals, a few covers and even a hymn thrown into the mix.  Hailing from farmlands of North Texas, Coomer comes from rich heritage of faith.  Both her father and her grandfather were both preachers.  And Coomer herself is no rookie in terms of her faith and her experience as an artist.  In the past, she has performed on National award-winning "Texas Country Gospel" Television Show, "Southern Gospel Praise" Television Show, highly acclaimed "Johnny High's Country Music Review", "Arlington Live" and is a regular at the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo.  Further, she was awarded "Standout New Female Cast member" for her performance in 2012's season of "The Promise" in Glen Rose, Texas.

"Stand Still" is a ballad heavy album.  Most recognizable among the bunch of slowies is "There is a God."  Fans of Lee Ann Womack would remember "There is a God," a minor hit for the "I Hope You Dance" singer.  "There is a God" is one of the most melodious apologetic pieces set to music: from the beauty of nature to the creative healings of God today all testify to the existence of God.   Often associated with Gaither Vocal Band, "There is a Hill Called Calvary" is given a relatively rustic and simpler backing that brings out this hymn of salvation with great warmth and perspicuity.  Continuing on with the theme of Christ's sacrifice is Janet Paschal's "Written in Red."  Coomer's thoughtful vocals here is just spot on; neither pandering nor saccharine, she has patented one of the best renditions of this Southern Gospel classic.    

The title cut "Stand Still' is the Godly antidote for those of us who tend to panic in our struggles and our foibles.  "Stand Still" essentially challenges to grasp on the promise of Psalm 46:10 to be still and wait upon God.  "Daddy's Home" is a great example of how narratives can be utilized in a country Christian song.  Tying together visages of the protagonist's recollection of her daddy's return home after a long day at work with her daddy's final return back to Christ in death, this is the kind of songs you can't hear without a box of Kleenex nearby.   Coomer rarely does get a chance to get up and notched up the tempo.  But such moments come with opener "If That Don't Make You Wanna Go."  Coomer understands that brevity is the soul of wit.  Like a perfect bluegrass/country capsule of a tad over two minutes,  Coomer explains the joy of eternal life glowingly.

If there's any quibble, the record would definitely benefit from a couple more upbeat numbers in place of "Temporary Home" or "It is Well with My Soul."  Perhaps a more propulsive hymn, rather than slow "It is Well with My Soul" might have mix the tempo up a little more.  "Stand Still," nevertheless, is a thoughtful and exquisite country Christian record of mostly beautiful ballads sung by one of today's purest country voices around.



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