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Reba McEntire

Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope – 2017 (Nash Icon Records/Capitol Christian Music Group.)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Reba McEntire

So, you say you don't have enough Reba McEntire spiritual music in your collection, eh? With "Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope," you can fill that catalogue hole right quick. At two discs full, this ambitious set will scratch that itch, assuming you have such an itch in need of scratching.

This double album is broken down into two distinct sets. The first 10 songs are traditional ones. You almost cannot have a country gospel CD without "I'll Fly Away, " therefore, that one's here. And you would be remiss to exclude - from an album of nearly any musical genre, actually - if you neglected to include "Amazing Grace." It's here, done simply and straightforwardly.

This first CD also the one with a few special guests. The Isaacs, gospel stars, help McEntire sing "In the Garden Wonderful Peace." Even greater star power assists on "Softly and Tenderly," as both Kelly Clarkson and Trisha Yearwood lend their voices to it. The latter is given a Celtic touch in places.

The release's second disc is, for lack of a better term, comprised of contemporary Christian songs, even though its writers include some of Nashville's best. Sarah Buxton, Randy Houser and Jason Sellers are listed on the credits. Reba even wrote "I Got the Lord on My Side," which she calls her praise song that also had a little help from her mother, Jackie, in the studio. Mom even gets a writer credit on it.

Not everything here can be termed "praise" music. For instance, "Angels Singin'" rocks to a minor key melody. It's a song about how the music of angels comes to the rescue, just when they're needed.

Inspirational albums are not uncommon in country music. Most of the genre's artists originate from some stretch along the Bible belt, after all. What makes Reba's chockful album special is how it can appeal to a wide spectrum of music fans. Those that only consider church songs true gospel music, will be heartened by the first disc. People that consider themselves more 'spiritual,' than strictly 'Christian,' will find the record's newer songs speaking to them more.

Reba sings wonderfully throughout because she always wears her heart on her sleeve. Whenever a song requires powerful emotions to perform it, Reba is always the right woman for the job. "Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope" is simply a job well done.