You don't have to even sing in tune nowadays to be a recording artist. In today's disposable age of polytechnics, computerized vocal augmentation and hefty-sounding backings can easily scaffold a singer's lack of vocal acumen. But this is not so with the Sisters. They are all about perfecting the art of vocal harmonization. While others rely on the latest technological bells and whistles, the Sisters are about honing their God-given harmonies together until they form a unified layered sound. Without the backing of any instruments they perfected their craft on 2012's "An A cappella Collection." "An A cappella Collection," to this date, remains one of the most stunning examples of exquisite vocal perfection captured on disc. This year's "Classics Collection" is a little less adventurous. Instead of just the naked display of their glorious voices, they have brought in pianist Tim Parton who provides the only backing. The Sisters are real siblings both in blood and in the Lord; they are Kim Lord, Heather Ruppe Day and Valerie Ruppe Medkiff. Prior to them performing as a trio, they used to sing with their mother Brenda as the Ruppes. Together as the Ruppes they had numerous fan-favorites such as "Angels in the Room," "Under His Wings" and "Something in the Air."
"Classics Collection" as the title suggests is a collection of cover tunes of songs that has inspired the trio in their life and career. When they were still the Ruppes, they were fond of covering the songs of Dottie Rambo therefore it comes as no surprise that three of the late Rambo's compositions are featured here. Regardless of genres, the songs of this Grammy winning song writer are ubiquitous. Artists as diverse as Solomon Burke, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Crystal Gayle and Dolly Parton all have had recorded her songs. But it was Whitney Houston who took Rambo's "I Go to the Rock" to a new level when the song won a Dove Award for "Best Traditional Gospel Song of the Year." It is therefore a sheer delight to hear Heather's stunning alto on Rambo's "Holy Spirit Thou Art Welcome in this Place." Often the chorus of this worship is sung in churches, it is refreshing to hear the verses as well. "New Shoes" and "Until He Comes" are the remaining trio of Rambo covers. Fans would have remembered the sisters rendering a power packed version of the triumphant "Until He Comes" at the 2012 AGM Awards celebration which is wonderfully replicated here for us as the album's most appropriate closer.
After two upbeat numbers, "Just When I Need Him" is the first ballad in the sequence of songs. With just a piano backing all the songs, one would expect monotony to set in, but Valerie who takes the lead here doesn't let that happen. So iconoclastic is her phrasing, shading, tension and drama that it is not only riveting but a highlight of the disc. Song wise Dallas Holm's "Rise Again" is one of the best treatises on proclamation about Christ's resurrection set to music. Richly theological in its message yet without being stuffy, this is truly a classic. It is also wonderful to see the Sisters branch out of the white Southern Gospel canon to include an Andrae Crouch medley. Here we get to hear each of the three ladies taking the leads of the three songs here "Through It All, "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power' ending with the majestic "My Tribute."
Though there is nothing wrong with "O Happy Day," it is just so overdone that not even the Sisters could breathe new life into it. And also with 10 cuts, clocking in at just 36 minutes, this album is on the shorter side. But don't let these trivia cavil the beauty of this record. In a music landscape where walls of noise camouflage the vocal prowess or lack thereof of the artist, this is not the case with the Sisters. The Sisters are not only exquisite singers on their own, but together they form a seamless layered sound as beautiful as a variegated colored rainbow.