2010 – Yes, No, Maybe? (Part 1)Published by Torrence Glenn on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 11:15 pm.
Well folks, 2010 is coming to an end and we’re about to walk into a new year and a new decade and hopefully you’re excited about it. I generally don’t get that excited about the “New Calendar Year” because birthdays to me seem to be more significant in an individual’s life and are “technically” that person’s new year. But I understand the significance and value in celebrating our COLLECTIVE new year and since we’re not all born on the same day, this allows us all to celebrate a new beginning together. So for that reason and a few others, I’m pretty excited about 2011 and what it has to offer so I thought it would be a good idea to formally say goodbye to 2010 with another series of “Yes, No, Maybe?” since you guys seemed to love it so much last year! Ready? Let’s dig right on in.
James Fortune & Fiya – Encore – After the success of their last CD and the song “I’ll Trust You” many wondered “could they do it again?” And I get technically they didn’t. What do I mean? Interestingly enough, there wasn’t a “big song” from this project (although the CD fared pretty well in sales) and of course, me being the oddball that I am, this CD turns out to be the one I’ve enjoyed most from his catalog. There might be a track or 2 I skip when I put it on but overall the CD is solid and Fiya’s vocals are always extremely CLEAN, but what makes this project so dope to me are the ridiculously strong guest lead vocalists. Kierra “Kiki” Sheard, Lowell Pye, Anaysha Figueroa, Canton Jones, and Isaac Carree bring their talents to to the project and kind of make you have to listen even if it’s not typically your kind of gospel. And one more thing, keep paying attention to J. Drew Sheard! Carry on…
Mighty Clouds Of Joy – At The Revival - Don’t have a whole lot to say about this project but with the Mighty Clouds of Joy you know what to expect and generally know what you’re going to get and if you get that, you’re good! So with that said, Joe Ligon and the rest of the clouds did the good quartet singing they’re known for with a little extra *umph* thanks to producers Raphael Saadiq and DeVante Swing. It’s music you have to be in the mood for but when the mood hits, this CD is perfect! If you’re not sold, listen to “He’ll Fix It For You,” I promise you might lose it!
Marvin Sapp - Here I Am – Won’t take too long with this one because you already know how great this CD was. I’ll say this though, it’s really good to see somebody on top for good reason. Every now and then in every genre there’s sometimes an “it” person and you can’t figure out for the life of you why because they’re just not that great. Not the case with Marvin Sapp, the music exceeds the hype and he did what most artists in the last few years have the hardest time doing…coming off a huge hit and trying to get a 2nd one. Marvin seems like he’s going to be that dude for a minute and if he keeps making CDs like this one, I’ll say it’s well deserved. SING FOOL!
Myron Butler & Levi – Revealed…Live In Dallas – *points fingers like Celie in The Color Purple* “If you keep sleeping on Myron Butler & Levi ain’t no good gonna come to your ears!” (Jokes) Although I can’t play any particular instrument “well” I still kind of like to think of myself as somewhat of a “musician.” (That makes a whole lot of sense doesn’t it?! Nope, not really! But go with it…) And perhaps that’s why I love this group so much because if you’ve got musical ears, Levi’s vocal prowess will make those ears really really happy. I’m a strong believer in balance and Revealed… Live In Dallas brought us musical complexity and sophistication that we didn’t necessarily receive from many CDs this year. You need this project in your life if for no other reason than the cover of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” and “Speak Into The Atmosphere.” *WHOOSH*
Smokie Norful Presents - Victory Cathedral Choir – Chicago…. Choir… Do I need to say more? I guess I should huh? Well I’ll say this, if you don’t like your gospel loud, strong and straight churchy, this wasn’t the CD for you, but if you like your gospel with a whole lotta organ, squall and church, you know why I loved this CD. Don’t get me wrong. I love change, I embrace it and as a matter of fact, I hate when “tradition” impedes progress. HOWEVER, I sometimes become a little concerned that some of our heritage is getting lost as music progresses and fewer choirs get record deals, songs on the radio, etc. So when a CD like this shows up I’m happy. Add to that that Smokie let his choir actually do the singing instead of jumping on every other song and making it a “church choir backing up Smokie” project. If you know and love choirs the the way I do, you’ll have to admit, they’re good!
Karen Clark-Sheard - All In One – We waited and we waited for a new Karen Clark-Sheard project and we finally got one! So here’s the problem, it’s really hard when you have an artist that is so legendary and has such an iconic and game changing past work not to compare the projects and allow them all stand on their own. So like a lot of Karen Clark-Sheard fans, each time a CD is released I go “Is this gonna be like ‘Finally Karen?’” and then you just drive yourself crazy and what for? So this time, I got that out of my head and listened with fresh ears and I have to say, on it’s own, this CD is GREAT. It’s probably her most contemporary project to date (which is why I’m still befuddled that her Grammy nomination is in the traditional category, hmmmm) but the “sanging” that you love and expect from Karen is dead on! And I repeat, y’all better watch out for J. Drew Sheard! (Continue to carry on….)
Gerald Scott & Co. – Don’t Let Go – Unless you’re from the northeast, particularly the DC, Maryland, Virginia area you’ve probably never heard of this group, but hopefully now that you’re reading this blog you’ll pay attention and then go listen to this project. A publicist friend forwarded this to me knowing I like choirs and groups and thought I’d enjoy this independent group. Well, I did…. A LOT. They walk the ensemble line because although there are 10 of them and they can finesse a clean and delicate group vocal, they turn it around and squall like a 50 voice choir as they do on my favorite song from the CD “Glad About It.” (I lose it everytime!) Keep your eyes out for Gerald Scott & Co., I’m a fan!
Darwin Hobbs – Champion – I’ve always thought Darwin Hobb’s “sweet spot” was singing live and in church so I was glad to hear a live project from him because I believe that’s where he shines. Not sure if this CD got all of the push that it could; some for industry reasons, others because he had some health issues that kind of put him out of commission for a bit but for those that missed it, the project’s really good. Although I’m not a minister of music anymore, i still listen to CD’s with hopes of finding songs to teach to the choir, praise and worship team, etc. and there are some gems here including the title track “Champion.” And the “musician” in me pays close attention to things like background vocals and the BGV’s on this CD are beyond excellent!
DeWayne Woods – My Life’s Lyric - It’s always a tricky thing when an artist (especially a gospel artist) takes musical risks because when we like an artist for a particular thing, we can become a bit spoiled and place unfair expectations on them. I think that issue is to blame for “My Life’s Lyric” not achieving the success it could have, and in my opinion should have. I mean, we’re all different and such and people are going to like what they like but you gotta give this one a chance! As I said earlier in the year, I used to view DeWayne as a good singer but a little safe and in the pocket. Well, with this CD he said “I got something for you!” and he gave us a ridiculously diverse, fun and MUSICAL CD that I really enjoy. It’s a little gospel and a little bit “neo soul.” (*Osmond family voice*)
Lucinda Moore – Blessed, Broken, and Given – Now y’all know me (and to those who don’t, nice to meet ya.) I listen to a whole lot of music because I have to, but sometimes a CD doesn’t get it’s fair play on my iPod because I can get overwhelmed or the timing may just not be right or something silly like that. Lucinda’s project was one of those but kind of for good reason. Being the church boy that I am, once I heard the single “Fire Baptized Medley” I kind of just kept listening to that one over and over and didn’t get to really get to get into the rest of the CD just yet but that song is a good sign! I’ve always maintained that Lucinda’s strength was in straight up live church vocals and the medley is EXACTLY what I’ve always wanted from her, so if that’s any indication, I’m sure I’ll love this CD. So that’s why this CD is falling in “maybe” this year, but tell me your thoughts if you have it. I’ll make sure in 2011, I’ll get a good listen in!
Forever Jones – Get Ready – Now you have to have been under a rock to not have heard the 2010 hit “He Wants It All” by Forever Jones. As much as I enjoy that song and the group overall (I guarantee you, you will NOT meet a sweeter family!), the CD just didn’t move me as much as they do, especially live. Forever Jones is an experience and not just something you put on. So I won’t put “Get Ready” in the no category because it’s not exactly “bad” it’s just not nearly as good as hearing them in person and experiencing their worship firsthand. It’s also a little CCMish and I won’t beat that dead horse (y’all know the drill, telling Jesus how pretty he is while greasing his scalp and such is what the genre reminds me of), it’s just not my thing usually but if I had to listen to some CCM, I’d prefer Forever Jones singing it to me over some others!
Deitrick Haddon & Voices Of Unity – Blessed & Cursed Soundtrack – Again, this year was busier for me then I think it ever was and I couldn’t let this CD “marinate” the way I wanted to, but it’s got some of my favorite people on it, so it goes in the Maybe category just on the strength of containing Jessica Reedy, Lowell Pye and Michelle Williams. Not much to say here, perhaps I’ll take all these maybe CD’s with me to my next vacation and dedicate some time to ‘em!
Well, I think I’m losing my touch! Nothing to put here, ha! For now… this is Part 1, something tells me something will fall in this bucket in the next installment. We shall see.. Go to Part 2!