It's Real

The McKameys

Horizon, 1994

REVIEW BY: Curtis Jones


The McKameys have built themselves into a steady Southern gospel powerhouse with a winning combination of good song selection, family harmony, and simplicity.  They can trace their roots back to the 1950s when three sisters – Dora, Peg and Carol McKamey – began singing together for church functions.  Only Peg remains of the original trio of sisters, but they have continued to fill slots in the group with family members.  While other Southern gospel groups have been sucked into over production and overuse of the dreaded Auto-Tune, the McKameys have stuck with a more old fashioned approach that still sounds fresh.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Nineteen ninety-four’s It’s Real is a solid piece of work from the group.  The group straddles the more electrified Southern gospel tendency with a smooth acoustic taste on a few songs.  The title track covers a the tried and true theme that indeed the old time religious way is a real feeling way, as does “A Firm Place to Stand.”  “A Voice Within,” one of the songs released for radio from the album, is upbeat and tries to convey what the presence of the Holy Spirit is like for a Christian, although doing so is a tall order for any songwriter.

The group does pull a couple of sings off of the public domain shelf to put them to work.  “I’m Going Through Jesus” is a tune that has been done by many Southern gospel groups over the years, and the a cappella “I’m Gonna Die On The Battlefield” stands as one of the best on the album.  These, along with “God Is Able” and a beautiful “A Few Steps From Home,” round out a good offering.

Despite being nearly twenty years old at this writing, It’s Real still stands up to much of the Southern gospel that is being put out today.  And the fact that the McKameys still chart regularly and have a dedicated following prove that there is still a place in Southern gospel for a more balanced, less over-cooked approach to religious music.

Rating: B-

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