Track Review: Reba McEntire, ‘Oh Happy Day’
Veteran country superstar Reba McEntire returns in 2017 with a country-gospel album, Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope (February 3, 2017). Ahead of the album, McEntire released six singles, including the popular Edwin Hawkins gospel standard, “Oh Happy Day.”
“Oh Happy Day” ends up being an excellent blend of country and gospel. Beyond “Oh, How I Love Jesus,” Reba has yet another superb gospel song to flex her musicianship. The record naturally takes it time to percolate on the verse ahead of the chorus. The chorus is funky and powerful, featuring jubilant horns and superb choral vocals.
As awesome as the production is, the best attribute of the gospel gem is Reba’s voice. While she is assertive, she never has to force anything. On the second verse, she gives a smidge more, growling at the end. The second chorus which follows finds McEntire showing off her range, again tastefully, without over singing. Expectedly, “Oh Happy Day” features a key change, which is effective, if predictable.
All in all, Reba does “Oh Happy Day” justice. This is an energetic, high-flying take of the beloved, oft-covered gospel classic.