Men of Standard's flowing vocal lines weave in and out of lead position and through intricate background vocals that exhibit award-winning prowess. Indeed, the industry knew what they were doing when they gave this group the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) 1997 Vision Award for New Artist of the Year and a GMWA Excellence Award for Contemporary Group of the Year. Their first CD, Men of Standard was the inaugural CD for Malaco Music Group's Muscle Shoals Sound Gospel label out of Jackson, Mississippi and consistently appeared on Billboard's Top Gospel Album chart. Their first hit single, "Winter," grabbed the attention of radio jocks across the country and the buzz about Men of Standard grew loud.
This veteran group has always been about bringing something new to the table and pressing on to their goal of spreading a gospel message with excellent music. Since their inception nearly a decade ago, they have been recognized for each of their releases at the Stellar Awards through multiple nominations, walking away with two awards in 2000 for their Feels Like Rain CD. In that same year, Men of Standard repeated their GMWA win for Contemporary Group of the Year. They have performed with artists such as Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, Dawkins & Dawkins, Yolanda Adams and opened for CCM cornerstone Michael W. Smith, among others. Their third take on MSSG, simply titled Volume III, was the beginning of a season of change for Men of Standard and they have spent their time since that release in 2002, honing their craft, developing their ministry and finding focus.
Now with the years and several projects behind them, a new album and fresh journey ahead of them, it is natural to wonder how they've managed to remain together as a group and hold true to their standards of excellence and their vision to minister. The cut, "Just Like You," tells it straight as they sing, "I wanna be just like you, live like you, pray like you, walk like you, talk like you, be like you, preach like you, teach like you." For the challenges they have faced over the years, it is obvious this attitude has carried them through the journey and it is equally obvious they have shouldered the burdens together with great love and respect for one another as well as a tremendous faith in God and His desire for them as musical ministers of the Word.
Their title cut, "It's a New Day," speaks of encouragement and victory and is sung from the hearts of those who know first hand what it is to walk out of a shadow and into light, knowing that it is their Lord and Savior who brought them to this new place. Isaac Carree, Bryan Pierce, Lowell Pye, and Michael Bacon, the four Men of Standard will each separately tell the same story of faith and passion for their music as well as their mission to spread encouragement and a message of faith through that music.
It's a New Day was born out of each member of the group's desire to express their faith and victory over trials. Though the theme of the CD was unintentional, it reflects this faith in every cut underscoring their closeness and unity, whether through the praise song, "Lord of All," the victory song, "I Made It," or the ballad of encouragement, "Keep the Faith." Perhaps the tenderest moment on this work is carried in the cut, "A Soldier's Heart," written from the perspective of a soldier who is near the front line and writing a letter of praise and hope to his family.
A collaborative effort resulting in an exciting listen, Men of Standard, It's a New Day is overflowing with energy, the signature sound of Men of Standard harmonies and tremendous faith and praise. The group is blazing a trail for others to follow and truly bridging the gap between Contemporary Christian listeners, Praise and Worship fans and Gospel lovers, a feat not easily accomplished on one CD.
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