In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Expressing Christian faith in music is an idea that goes back millennia, but contemporary Christian music is one of those art forms that is, if not uniquely American, certainly recognizably so. For nearly a century, singers have been performing and recording celebratory expressions of their faith in a modern fashion, usually in English, frequently in popular musical styles. Contemporary Christian music brings religious music to the general public in a totally new way, and makes it just plain fun. If you don’t believe us, take a listen to some of these terrific groups!
Displaying 101-150 of 179 items.
Legacy : Legacy
Review: The sound of Lubbock, TX-based Contemporary Christian all-male a cappella quartet has been compared to groups like Take 6, Acappella and Rockapella. Particularly fine among these 10 songs are three written by group member and producer Josh Wheeler, "Preach the Word," "Make a Difference" and the inspirational "I Will Praise Your Name" and group member Jake Lierman's "How Can I." Other favorites are the upbeat "Livin' on the Edge," "Who is Here" and "Without Love;" the moving "Beautiful Lamb," "Beautiful Like This" and "Now to Him," with music by Keith Lancaster. Every cut of "Legacy" is strong, sung with power and feeling by this talented, committed quartet. One of the best we have heard this year!
Songlist: Living On The Edge, Preach The World, I Will Praise Your Name, Who Is Here, How Can I, Make A Difference, Beautiful Lamb, Without Love, Beautiful Like This, Now To Him
Legacy : Reliant
Review: Lubbock, TX-based Contemporary Christian a cappella quintet Legacy is Marty, Clint, Jake, Michael and Josh, and "Reliant" is their third album, following "Legacy" and Christmas collection "The Gift," both best sellers in the Singers.com catalog. First singing together in college in Lubbock in 2002 and touring together in the summer of 2003, the group went their separate ways; but some "amazing" happenings brought them back together in Lubbock in 2006 to continue their musical ministry. Compared to groups like Take 6 and Rockapella, Legacy has become known for their rich harmonies, strong leads, arrangements and vocal percussion. There are 10 songs here, all of which we're hearing for the first time, including a very nice original, written by group member Jake Lieman. Favorites are MercyMe's "God With Us," Brandan Heath & Jason Ingram's powerful "Give Me Your Eyes," Mark Hall's lovely "Slow Fade" and poignant "Does Anybody Hear Her," Mike Donahee, Phillip Larue & Jason Ingram's inspirational "By Your Side," Tiffany Arbuckle-Lee, Shaun Shankel & Tyler Hayes' "Safe," Steve Fee's "Glorious One," Ed Cash, Michael Neagle & Trent Monk's joyous "Dancing With the Angels" and Charlie Peacock's upbeat "In the Light." Wait, that's all of them, and we're not surprised-every cut in this collection is a beautiful, thought-provoking winner. These wonderful albums from Legacy don't come along very often, so treat yourself to "Reliant" now, and enjoy!
Songlist: God With Us, Give Me Your Eyes, Slow Fade, By Your Side, Does Anybody Hear Her?, Safe, Glorious One, Dancing with the Angels, In The Light, Lord I'll Fly
Martins : A Cappella
Review: Nearly two decades after releasing their first a cappella album - a perennial fan favorite and instant bestseller - the Dove Award-winning trio regroups for a recorded celebration of harmony and hymns. Heritage songs of the faith such as, "Come Thou Fount," and modern inspirational hits like, "The Prayer," and, "You'll Never Walk Alone," couple with the production artistry of southern gospel darlings Michael English and David Phelps, creating another vocal-only hit for the incomparable sibling singers.
Songlist: He's Everything To Me, You'll Never Walk Alone, When I Go Away, Fairest Lord Jesus, Praise To The Lord, Shut De Do / Three Little Birds, Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing / Fill My Cup, Lord, The Prayer, If Ever We Needed The Lord Before We Sure Do Need Him Now
Master's Men : In His Hands
Review: The latest release from this Christian men's ensemble is a fitting tribute to their former director and founder Rudy Partin who sadly passed away recently. As usual these fine voices reflect their faith and commitment to God which adds another dimension to the recordings. Highlights of the recording include the uplifting Hank Williams tune "I Saw The Light", the beautiful "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" and the mournful yet inspiring "Taps". Those who enjoy listening to heartfelt songs of praise will absolutely enjoy this recording.
Songlist: I Saw The Light, Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Create In Me O God, Sweet Sweet Spirit, Where Could I Go, God Is Good, His Eye Is On The Sparrow, I'm Not Gonna Worry, Fanny Crosby Medley, O Love That Will Not Let Me Go, Gospel Medley, Taps
Master's Men : On The Road
Review: The Master's Men is a 23-strong a cappella ensemble from North Carolina, founded in 1995 by the late Rudy Partin, a skilled and experienced director and arranger. The Men, who never charge or expect payments for appearances, have recorded six excellent albums, "On the Road" is their seventh. There are 25 live cuts here, recorded at eight different churches in North Carolina. Our favorites include traditional songs like "There's a Meetin' Here Tonight/Old Time Religion Medley," "I Saw the Light," "Witness," and "Gospel Medley," the autobiographical "Founding of The Master's Men," narrated by Dean Stults; the Contemporary Christian originals "I'm Feelin' Fine," "In This Very Room," "Had It Not Been," "He's A Personal Saviour," "The Majesty and Glory of Your Name," "I Hear A Voice A-Prayin'" and "Room At The Cross." The Men sing wonderful, rich, five and six-part harmonies on these beautiful, inspirational songs, every one of which is a gem. Enjoy!
Songlist: There's A Meetin' Here Tonight/Old Time Religion Medley , I'm Feelin' Fine , Get Together With The Lord , In This Very Room , Had It Not Been , He's A Personal Savior , Oh! What A Time , Founding Of The Master's Men (Narration) , I Saw The Light , The Majesty And Glory Of Your Name , I Hear A Voice A-Prayin' , Witness , The Heavenly Parade , Gospel Medley , Room At The Cross
Master's Men : The Old Country Church
Review: A collection of inspirational songs from this fine men's chorus includes arrangements by Jim Clancy, Haven Ministries and David Harrington. Well sung by these men of faith this recording is both reflective and inspirational.
Songlist: Have A Little Talk With Jesus, No Not The One, He Was There All The Time, He Leadeth Me, Farther Along, Rock Medley, Amazing Grace, The Old Country Church, It Is Well With My Soul, I've Got That Old Time Relgion In My Heart, The Lord's Prayer, God Be With You Till We Meet Again
Master's Men : When We All Get Together
Review: In the world of Gospel music we are mostly familiar with quartets and quintets singing four part harmony or the full choir recordings which can be found fairly readily. The Master's Men have created a unique niche. In the world of barbershop you have the quartets and then the barbershop chorus. Now we have a wonderful men's Gospel chorus, which like their barbershop counterparts, sing in the four part harmonies of the traditional smaller group but with eighteen voices rather than the 'quartet's' four or five. Now our analogy breaks down for not only do you find four part harmony, but the chorus expands beyond the traditional limitations and sing five and even six part harmonies. Their inspiration to song has been fostered by the fact that all these men live in central North Carolina, a central repository of old mountain gospel, old Southern gospel, and old traditional hymns. Add to that base their love of newer inspirational work and you have a recording in which you will find solemn, reflective, and exuberant messages of inspiration. (For those who happen have radio shows you will find a joyous version of 'Turn Your Radio On.') The Master's Men were formed in August of 1995 with a stated goal to 'provide inspirational music for the glory of God, which will enhance Christian church worship services and other programs.' Because each of the men has his own church work, family, and location they are only able to perform once or twice a month, yet they have performed in most of central North Carolina's churches.The director of this unique group of wonderful singers is Mr. Rudy Partin who also creates most of the arrangements. If you wish to hear a fresh inspiration, here it is.
Songlist: When We All Get Together With the Lord, Had It Not Been, Mary, Did You Know?, I Will Live For Jesus, There's Room At the Cross For You, Showers Of Blessing, He Touched Me, Turn Your Radio On, Go Rest High That Mountain, Alleluia, Goodbye, World, Goodbye, Lord, Use Me
Mountain Blue : A Cappella
Review: Originally known as Blue Cheese when this quartet of three men and one woman was formed at Brigham Young University in 2003. Inspired by old-time bluegrass musicians like the Stanley Brothers as well as newer groups like Blue Highway and Signature Sound, Mountain Blue began performing regularly at BYU's semiannual A Cappella Jam. "A Cappella" follows "Roll Back the Stone" and their debut album, "Gospel Train. There are 14 songs here, some favorites are the opening cut "Roll Back the Stone," Gully, Abernathy & Wheeler's powerful "John," Joe Isaacs' "Reaping in the Spirit," and Traditional songs "Down in the River," "Brethren, We Have Met to Worship," "Gospel Train," "Wondrous Love," "Amazing Grace," "Abide with Me," "We'll Soon Be Done" and the classic "Man of Constant Sorrow." Beautiful, authentic, heartfelt harmonies grace these wonderful, foot-tapping, feel-good tunes. Don't miss this powerful, down-home collection from Mountain Blue!
Songlist: Roll Back The Stone, John, Down In the River, Be Thou My Vision, Brethren, We Have Met to Worship, Reaping in the Spirit, Gospel Train, Wondrous Love, Amazing Grace, Hallelujah, I Sing The Mighty Power of God, Abide With Me, We'll Soon Be Done, Man of Constant Sorrow
Naturally 7 : Hidden In Plain Sight
Review: When we first heard and saw these seven beautiful singers, on the stage of the 1999 National Harmony Sweeps Finals in San Rafael, CA, they were the NY Regional Champs, a gospel group called "Seven," recently formed as a group and unknown on the a cappella scene. A sublime 12 minute set later they were the surprise winners, and these talented, soulful men have never looked back since then! Their latest release, of many excellent albums and DVDs we've praised in the Singers.com catalog, "Hidden in Plain Sight," is a wonder, and has drawn superstar-like attention. Difficult to pick favorites among these 14 cuts, but a cover of Coldplay's hit "Fix You," an audience favorite on their live shows, also stands out for us, "Galileo" features a wonderful (and actually licensed) sample of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody," and the gorgeous, elemental "Mahalia" samples Mahalia Jackson's "Trouble of the World" while giving a nod to the group's spiritual roots. Other favorites are what group front man Roger Thomas calls "Hybrids," where the group takes well-known songs like Wham's "Everything She Wants" and makes it the impetus for their own song, "Life Goes On;" and the group imitates all the instruments on Art of Noise's "Moments in Love," bringing their own song into the mix. "Rhapsody to the Queen" is another favorite of the group's eight originals on the album. It's clear to us how much Naturally 7 has become the cutting edge in the a cappella world by all the reviewers who rave about how 7 showcases the "awesome power of the human voice." This is what we've been talking about for decades when reviewing truly transcendent, envelope-pushing artists. Naturally 7 has clearly risen to this rare, atmospheric level, and we would invite you to celebrate this achievement with us by treating yourself to "Hidden in Plain Sight!"
Songlist: Tempus Fugit (Motus1), Keep The Customer Satisfied, Rhapsody of the Queen, Can't Take The Credit, Galileo feat. Queen, Moments (Ive Been Loved), Life Goes On, Put You On To This, Fix You, Need You With Me, Mahalia, Take It (Golden Gates), Run Away, Eppur Si Muove (Motus V)
Naturally 7 : Non Fiction
Review: The first recording from the 1999 Harmony Sweepstakes winners, who enthralled the audience will their radiant countenances and joyful energy. These young singers from New York, though having performed as a unit for only a few short months, displayed an impressive maturity and sophistication. Their gospel background has been good preparation for the brilliant rainbow of tonalities that characterize their technically ambitious, yet passionate approach. The original compositions were written by the group; they also write their own arrangements. With seven voices, they have a palette to choose from that is deep, intense and brilliant. Definitely influenced by Take 6 (their rendition of 'Bless This House' attests to this), their sound is more urbanized, funkier, immediate, as heard on the vocal percussion driven 'Train.' Lyrically, 'Non-Fiction' espouses themes of salvation and redemption, but songs such as 'Last Days,' and their incredible interpretation of 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' require no affiliation, aside from a love of captivating harmony.
Songlist: Opening Meditation (The Path I Take), Theme From Mahogany, Sit-Back-Relax..., WDRG-AM, Bridge Over Troubled Water, All Of You, ...At The Tone, Born To Worship, Last Days, Blessed Assurance, Y'All Hear Dat, Train, Last Days (Reprise), Bless This House, Closing Meditation (The Path I Take), Have I Ever Told You (Bonus Track)
Naturally 7 : Ready II Fly
Review: Since we were first blown away by seven-man Contemporary Christian a cappella group Naturally Seven (then simply called Seven) at their win at the 1999 Harmony Sweeps Finals, they have released some very special recordings, "Non Fiction," "Live in Berlin," "What Is It?" and "Christmas A Love Story." "Ready II Fly" is a cut above even those winners, 18 stunning songs that make us look for the "all sounds made by the human voice" disclaimer, and we of course find it. Naturally 7's Christian ministry has tremendous depth and feeling, but what we especially appreciate here is songs like "I Can't Doo Dat," which addresses the issue of women fans approaching these beautiful black men for sex after a concert; "True Friends (and Family)" that speaks to their importance and of acting with integrity; "Cool," which sings of the impressive power of having God in one's life; and "Forever For You" which celebrates the concept of an endless love, for God and one's partner. Lyrically, this is powerful stuff - I think of it as life-changing wisdom being passed on by the ultimate musical role models. "Can You Feel It," "Open Your Eyes," "Feel It in the Air Tonight," "Fly Baby," "Let It Rain" - these are some of the best, most cutting-edge a cappella cuts we have ever heard. "Ready II Fly" is highly recommended, and one of the best of the year. And if you ever have a chance to experience N7 live in concert, even if you have to go to Germany to do it, don't miss it!
Songlist: Can Ya Feel It?, Open Your Eyes, Feel It (In the Air Tonight), Harder Than That, How Could It Be?, Forever for You, Cool, Never, I Can't Doo Dat, 4Life, Tradition, Fly Baby, Let It Rain, What I'm Lookin' 4, New York, Comfort You, Close2Me, True Friend (and Family)
Naturally 7 : Wall of Sound
Review: Here is a "best of" collection from one of the most innovative a cappella groups performing today.
Songlist: Wall of Sound, Feel It (In The Air Tonight), As Tears Go Bye, Gone With the Wind, Broken Wings, More Than Words , What I'm Lookin' 4, Closer Now, Heaven Knows, It Is What It Is , Let It Rain (Harmony Mix), U Can't Hear Me, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Say You Love Me, Amazing Grace
Naturally 7 : What Is It?
Review: The seven deeply spiritual young New York men who called themselves "Seven" and became 1999 Harmony Sweeps Champs now are called Naturally 7 were often asked, "What is it you're doing?" Instead of answering, they wrote a song: "What Is It?" which became the title of their second CD. If the first ("Non-Fiction," on PAC Records) was still highly jazzful and musicologically composed, the second offers a new quality of pop music, striking sparks as soon as you hear it, with an organic fizz to it. Naturally Seven summon up soul, rap, rock and folk from their throats in harmonious balance; their repertoire consists half of their own compositions, half of cover versions. At first listen, we were certain that the group had gone top 40 and was using a hot soul band, until we read the disclaimer "All Sounds A Cappella, all musical sounds crated by the human voice." Listen to the title tune, the Kool & The Gang-flavored "I Wanna Be Where U.R. (Rescue Me)," or "No Fool For You," and you'll hear the a cappella envelope being seriously pushed. 14 songs, hard to pick favorites, but a funky "Broken Wings" cover, "Another You," "Get Ready," "Say You Love Me," "Closer," "Back to the Essence" and "Grace" work for us. The fact that for several years the group has been been busy creating a huge following in Germany, Switzerland and Japan is our loss in the US. One of the best, most influential CDs of the year, on many levels, Beautiful and extensive liner notes.
Songlist: So The Question Is, What Is It? (Excuse Me), Gone With The Wind, Broken Wings, Another You, Music Is The Key, I Wanna Be Where U.R., More Than Words, No Fool For You, Get Ready, Say You Love Me, Closer, Back To The Essence, Grace
Nelons : Hymns: A Cappella Sessions
Review: Take all the elements you've come to expect from the group - unparalleled vocal excellence, a sound built on the interplay between a soaring soprano and Kelly's emotional smooth alto with the intertwining tenor, and add impeccable tight family harmony with an uncanny gift of communicating God's love and you have a worship experience that you will not soon forget.
Songlist: The Hallelujah Chorus, Tis So Sweet, There is a Fountain, Hallelujah, What a Savior, Do Unto Others, Pass Me Not/ Just as I Am / Amen, Since Jesus Passed By, Keep on the Firing Line, Onward Christian Soldiers, Sweet Hour of Prayer, If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again, I Need Thee Every Hour
No Better Cause : Arrival
Review: No Better Cause describe themselves as a "five-man pop/rock/funk/Christian a cappella group out of the heartland of America, Lincoln, Nebraska." Although there are some very fine covers on their debut CD "Arrival," notably Sade's "Smooth Operator," Kansas' 'Dust in the Wind," DC Talk's "In The Light," a unky, rhythmic "Rock My Soul" and Earth, Wind & Fire's "Let's Groove;" some of our favorites among these 13 songs are originals, "Q-U-E-E-N," written and composed by group members Lucas Kellison and T.J. Saddler, the powerful "Times Like These" (which won "Best Original Song" at the the 2005 Rocky Mountain Harmony Sweeps Regional), "Valentine," "The Way It Should Be" and "If God Is My Witness," written and composed by group member Nate Kellison. Strong vocal percussion, fresh, innovative arrangements, first-class original material, rich, sweet harmonies-there's a lot to like here. Fast-rising nbc has delighted audiences all across the Midwest, and the aptly-named "Arrival" tells us they're ready to join the elite American Contemporary a cappella groups.
Songlist: Q-U-E-E-N, Times Like These, Smooth Operator, Dust In The Wind, (They Long To Be) Close To You, Never, Rock My Soul, Valentine, The Way It Should Be, In The Light, Let's Groove, If God Is My Witness
No Better Cause : Sanctuary
Review: No Better Cause is an award-winning pop/soul/funk vocal band from Lincoln, Nebraska. These 5 young men use nothing but their voices to create a full, rich sound on this collection of Gospel, Spirituals and Contemporary Christian tunes. NBC's strong vocal percussion and cutting-edge arrangements are clear on cuts like "Ride The Chariot," "Shut De Do," very funky takes on the spiritual "Wade in the Water" and "Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho," "Awesome God," the finger-popping "Oh Happy Day," "Immeasurable," "Shine Down," and "Goin' Up A Yonder." Their soulful side comes through equally strongly on "People Get Ready," the title tune, the inspirational hymn "It is Well With My Soul," "I Want Jesus to Walk With Me" and a beautifully arranged "Doxology." We like No Better Cause's energy, sweet harmonies and their spirited mix of driving, rhythmic pieces with slower, soulful hymns. Fifteen well crafted songs, where the Contemporary Christian message matches the vocals and vocal percussion in power and clarity. "Sanctuary" is wonderful stuff from talented, fast rising No Better Cause!
Songlist: Ride The Chariot, People Get Ready, Shut De Do, Sanctuary, Wade In The Water, It Is Well With My Soul , Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho, Awesome God, I Want Jesus to Walk With Me, Oh, Happy Day, Immeasurable, What Will Unfold, Shine Down, Goin' Up A Yonder, Doxology
No Limits : Beyond Measure
Review: Beyond" is No Limits' second wonderful CD, released two years after their excellent debut album "Dare to Dream." Now a mixed sextet, these beautiful young singers have the joy, the spirit, the love and the talent to make "Beyond" a very special Contemporary Christian CD. Once again led by composer/arranger and group member Kgomotso Moshugi, whose originals ("Perfect Redeemer," "Ngoba Wena umuhle" (Because You Are Beautiful), "We Believe," "O mpone ke le hole" (I was far and you saw me) and "Seeing Jesus") are only matched by songs he arranges, like "Eya tsholoha" (It's running over) and "Jesus is a Rock." There is some light accompaniment, but this is unimportant-we loved "Dare to Dream," and "Beyond Measure" is even better. Moshugi's poised, powerful words and music are the perfect complement to these spirited, joyful voices. Two stone winners in a row from No Limits!
Songlist: Perfect Redeemer, Bayethe, Phumula mphefumio wam, Ngoba wena umuhle, We Believe, Long As I Live, O mpone ke le hole, I Wanna Know, Jesus Is a Rock, Eya Tsholoha, Seeing Jesus
No Limits : Dare to Dream
Review: No Limits is a South African Contemporary Christian mixed septet, who bring us 16 mostly original songs on "Dare to Dream," their debut release from 2004. Most of the songs are written and/or arranged by group member Kgomotso Moshugi. Some songs are accompanied, but all have the fresh, rhythmic, harmonic sound we love from groups like Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Moshugi originals like "Working in the Fields," "In My Dreams," "Shed Your Light," the anthem against AIDS, "Long as We Stand Together," "Nako e sile," "Sing Unto the Lord," "Sheba o bone," "Akekh' ofana nawe" and "The Lord my Provider" are very fine. Also favorites are Moshugi-arranged traditionals like "Mhlobo wami" "Puleng" and "In A Little While." We love the joyous sound of this album, the pure celebration of it, the strong, confident leads and supporting harmonies. We'd love to tell you more about the group, but going to their website address strangely takes us to "No Limits Sports Supplements" from Pretoria. No matter--"Dare to Dream" is fresh, juicy, original Contemporary Christian stuff, and we bet you'll love it!
Songlist: Coming Again, Working in the Fields, Ye, kishlobo, Mhlobo wami, In My Dreams, Puleng, Shed Your Light, Dumisa Yena, Long As We Stand, In a Little While, Nako e Site, Sing Unto The Lord, Sheba o Bone, Just to Know You Are Here, Akekh' ofana nawe, The Lord My Provider
Onevoice : In Praise and Worship
Review: Bowling Green, KY-based onevoice is 3 Guyer brothers, Derek, Joel and Warren, and Myron Whittlesey. There are no pictures of them, or any information-the focus being on the Christian message and the music. To make this all the more clear, there are 3 readings from the Book of Psalms interspersed among the songs. There are 18 songs, hymns of praise and worship, sung with deep feeling and in beautiful harmony by these four young men. From "How Great Thou Art Medley," "Holy, Holy, Holy" and "Glorify Thy Name" to "I Stand In Awe," "What A Mighty God We Serve Medley" and "Days of Elijah," these inspirational hymns are consistently fine. An impressive, heartfelt first CD from onevoice!
Songlist: Psalm 105:1-5, How Great Thou Art Medley:-How Great Thou Art-Great are You, Lord, -Great is the Lord, Holy, Holy, Holy, Glorify Thy Name, Psalm 104:24-35, Praise the Lord, We Will Glorify, Majesty, Hosanna, My Eyes Have Seen Your Glory, We Bow Down, All Rise, I Stand in Awe, Stand in the Congregation, Psalm 103:8-14, What a Mighty God We Serve Medley:-What a Mighty God We Serve-Let the Redeemed, More Like You, Days of Elijah
Poor Baker's Dozen : A Cappella
Review: Another fantastic acappella band to come from Minnesota. Must be something in the water! A sextet of young men with incredible voices and a great talent for writing songs that the masses are sure to like. Haunting yet soothing, these songs might cause a few tears to fall with harmonies so intricate and complex, yet they make it sound so natural and easy. From echoing cathedrals, to stormy seas, holy cities, and falling rain, each song takes you to a different place and their voices are the vehicle that take you there! We have faith that you will absolutely enjoy what these young men have to sing!
Songlist: Wake Up, Who Do You Say I Am?, Ship Of Life, Holy City, I Feel the Rain, Relentless Love, Lay Your Burden Down, Brown-Eyed Girl
Poor Baker's Dozen : Go Stop Go
Review: Poor Baker's Dozen is Jeff Zupfer, Tenor, Chris Heng, Bass, Kendal Marsh, Baritone, Jeremiah Gamble, Tenor, David Olson, Tenor and Jon Olson, Alto, and they are a cutting-edge Contemporary Christian group from St. Paul, Minnesota. 'Go Stop Go' is their 3rd CD, and we have been impressed with them since the first! This is all original music, most by Jeremiah but some by Jon and Jeff. All the songs are powerful, but we particularly liked 'The Wind,' 'Send Your Rain,' 'Cry,' 'Get On Board,' and the first cut, 'Listen.' The 12-page liner notes are among the most beautiful and extensive we've seen. Great stuff!
Songlist: Listen, Go, The Wind, I Want To Know You, Send Your Rain, For The Lamb, Cry, Stronger Than Superman, Get On Board, Wrestle With Angel, Send Your Rain (Reprise), The Sweetest Name
Poor Baker's Dozen : Pour
Review: Every now and then there is a recording of such exciting musical originality that it should transcend the boundaries of a 'genre audience.' If you love gospel/spiritual music this is for you. If you love rock, this is for you. If you love country, this is for you. Who, what, whazzat, you say? Poor Baker's Dozen is six men who are presenting us with such a new palate of gospel sounds that it is difficult to fathom. There is a truly sweet, upbeat opening number. The sweetness is created by the beautiful male alto and three tenors of the group who are grounded by superb baritone and bass voices. Next we are catapulted into a techno intro of the title song 'Pour.' Wow! The original creation of this music is just starting. Next comes the touch of James Brown at the beginning of 'Leap of Faith' which keeps astonishing us with little vocal techno embellishments which are as surprising as they are original. Then there is 'Joyful Noise,' almost all vocal explorations with hardly any lyrics. It begins with an almost Bobby McFerrin sound before resolving into a sweet scat with a 'fuzz guitar' vocal solo. In a way this is the theme song of the album to this reviewer's ear. You see, many gospel and spiritual singers and groups sing about joy. Poor Baker's Dozen sing joy. You'll hear the difference in the marvelous creativity of sound and soul presented here. Such musical joy can only be found in play. Play which discovers originality and then is refined by striving for perfection. It can be safely said that this is inspired music. It is also fun! There's a country tune which delights as it varies back and forth from a parody a dance tune to a traditional country gospel sound. Along the way in this musical delight you will find a bit of percussion on two tunes and one which has cello and guitar accompaniment.
Songlist: Grace, Pour, Leap Of Faith, Joyful Noise, Jimmy, Just As I Am, Ask, Seek, Knock, This Is A Love Song (The Country Song), Sing Along Song (A Happy Reminder), The Way, Gabriel's Message, Wash Over Me, Bread and Water
Praise-apella : Love God
Review: Jen, Amy, Dean, Ryan and Ron are Praise-Apella, a mixed-voice Contemporary Christian a cappella quintet hailing from Avon Lake, OH. Love God is the debut album by this talented, soulful group, who combine solid, rhythmic vocal percussion and inspirational music with pristine vocal harmonies. There are 8 joyous, foot-tapping tunes that make you want to dance and sing along: "I'm Letting Go," "Don't Get Comfortable," "Blessed Be Your Name," "I Give You My Heart," "You're Worthy of My Praise," a beautifully re-invented cover of Bill Withers' 1972 hit "Lean on Me," "Everlasting God" and "How Great Is Our God." Hearing most of these songs for the first time, we have to say that Praise-Apella's full, rich, soulful sound owes equal amounts to some of the best vocal percussion we've heard in a Contemporary Christian group, top-drawer leads and harmonies, and innovative arrangements. "Love God" is a feel-good album of praise and worship. You may have heard Praise-Apella on the popular Christian FM Radio station The Fish. If all this sounds like Praise-Apella made this album just for you, you will definitely love "Love God!"
Songlist: I'm Letting Go, Don't Get Comfortable , Blessed Be Your Name, I Give You My Heart, You're Worthy Of My Praise, Lean On Me, Everlasting God, How Great Is Our God
ReGeneration : Hymns In Velvet
Review: Velvet: a rich fabric. The harmonies of Regeneration: sumptuous, angelic outpourings of rejoicing, of which velvet is a most fitting adjective. Carrying on in the mode established by the best-selling "Christmas In Velvet" volumes one and two, the fourteen traditionals and hymns contained here (ten of which were released a few years ago in a now out-of-print recording entitled"Pure Silk"), are inspiring not only because of their thematic content of praise, but because of the arranging of Derric Johnson, the group's director. To study a Derric Johnson arrangement is to contemplate the canon of a master. Key to his style is his seamless blending of classical choral and jazz idioms that are fresh, yet easy to assimilate. What could be more uplifting than the gloriously ascending intervals of "More Than Wonderful," ending in an epic high note? The serene and resonant "Holy Ground" is set against a backdrop of plush oohs and aahs. The countermelodic texture of "Just As I Am" is engaging but never excessive. The men and women of Regeneration (some of whom moonlight as Walt Disney World's "Voices of Liberty"), could not be more pristine in their performance. Their control, phrasing and interpretation is textbook perfect. All in all, "Hymns in Velvet" is an exercise of pure enjoyment.
Songlist: Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Jesus, Lover of my Soul, Just a Little Talk With Jesus, Spirit of God, I Must Tell Jesus, A Mighty Fortress , I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked, O Love That Will Not Let Me Go, Just As I Am, It Is Well With My Soul, Go Down Moses, Holy Ground, Jesus Is His Name, More Than Wonderful
Rescue : Before The Throne
Review: Formed in 1996, Gresham, OR-based Contemporary Christian male quartet Rescue dedicated themselves to a ministry of learning, writing and performing a cappella songs. Now, 6 excellent CDs and one live DVD in the PAC catalog, and a whole lot of wonderful live performances later, "Before the Throne" shows just how well these talented, deeply spiritual men have fulfilled their commitment. "Before" has 10 richly-harmonic songs that feature state-of-the-art vocal percussion by group members Brandon, Jason and Steve, and some of the best faux trumpet (actually, it sounds like a whole trumpet section) we've heard on the title tune and "Somebody's Watchin'." Other favorites are an original by group member Brian Sell, "I Cry," "Unleashed" by Wm. Barfield and Scott Krippayne (with added lyrics by Brian and Jason), Nicole Nordeman's lovely "Please Come," "How Great" by Ed Cash (a live cut that features audience call and response), Chris Tomlin and James Reeves; Lincoln Brewster's "Love the Lord," Nathan Arnold' "Grace" and Laurie Klein's gorgeous "I Love You, Lord." A welcome surprise is the 11th "tune," a tour-de-force beatbox talk and demonstration by Brandon Bell. Powerful and beautiful - another winner from Rescue!
Songlist: Unleashed, I Cry, Before The Throne, Please Come, Somebody's Watchin', How Great, Love The Lord, For You, Grace, I Love You Lord, Percussion: Articulated
Rescue : Rescue
Review: Seven-track EP, released in 1999. Simple ballads, such as the title track (also the group's name, must be the theme) and 'Amazing Grace' set a reverent tone of obeisance. The percussive 'Kum-Bah-Yah,' at under a minute in length, is less a song than an interlude, but it and 'Obey Him' show the quartet in light rock mode. Skillfully produced and arranged, their sound is full and reverberant, but allows enough room (and silence) for the songs to breathe.
Songlist: Amazing Grace, Obey Him, Rescue, Kum-Bah-Jam, I Will Rise, By His Hand, It Is Good (reprise)
Rescue : The Difference
Review: "The Difference" is Gresham, Oregon-based Rescue's 4th CD, and their best yet. One major difference is the introduction of a fifth male voice, bass/vocal Percussion expert Tim Storms, who has added tremendous depth to Rescue's all a cappella sound. What has returned is Rescue's powerful original material and arrangements--some of the strongest lyrics about their personal commitment to and love for Jesus we've heard. 10 songs: "So Excited," the title tune, "When the Chariot Comes" and "Come As You Are" our two favorites, "From the Beginning," the deeply personal "Darkest Hour," "Whatever is True," "I Choose You," "So Subtly" and "The Lord's Prayer." A full, rich, soulful sound, perfect intonation, top-drawer arranging, lyrics that are pure poetry - it all makes "The Difference" one of the best Contemporary Christian CDs we've heard. Recommended.
Songlist: So Excited, The Difference, When the Chariot Comes, Come As You Are, From the Beginning, Darkest Hour, Whatever Is True, I Choose You, So Subtly, The Lord's Prayer
Rescue : Two Thousand Years Ago
Review: Facile Contemporary Christian pop, turned out with absolute precision and sincerity. Occupying a niche somewhere between Acappella and Go Fish, this male quartet shares the same knack for constructing solid melodies and flowing progressions. 'You Are There' and 'Quiet, Quiet' are reflective ballads, whereas 'The Way, The Truth, The Life' simmers along with a slapped vocal bass and subtle fingersnaps; many of the songs have vocal percussion, but it's low profile. The arrangements are detailed and complex, creating a richly dimensional and spacious feeling. The group's intonation and timing, which must be innately mastered for these challenging arrangements to work, is just that.
Songlist: Paint Me a Picture, 2000 Years Ago, You Are There, Quiet Quiet, The Way, The Truth, The Life, God's Eyes, The Only One, In the Cool, What If, Shine On Us
Straight Company : Courtesy Of God
Review: Contemporary Christian group Straight Company is five deeply spiritual young men, sadly less by one, Micah Bennett, whose untimely passing in February came after completing the recording. The beautiful liner notes contain many tributes to this special man. But what a recording it is-15 powerful, all original songs, complex, compelling rhythms and harmonies, perfectly blended voices, yet each one strong and filled with feeling in its own right. "Courtesy of God" is a fresh breeze, innovative, brash and thought-provoking, like this lyric from "Ain't Go'n": "Cuz everybody talk'n about go'n up to heaven ain't go'n, Some people think they're gonna slide on in, liv'n any kind of way, You better think again." "Choose," "Promise," "High Priest," the title tune, "For You," "Smile," "Somebody Told Me," "More Than You'll Ever Know," "Satan," "Unto His Own"...each song is an a cappella gem. Guest artists include Jeff (Prime Minister) Murrah and Tavairy (Tavus-D) Williams. One of the strongest Contemporary Christian CDs we've ever enjoyed. Highly recommended!
Songlist: Choose, Promise, High Priest, Courtesy of God, Ain't Goin, For You, Smile, Somebody Told Me, More Than You'll Ever Know, Satan, Unto His Own, Blessed, Going That Way, Hold'n On, Blessed, Too (Reprise)
Straight Company : So Excited
Review: Do not doubt that the musical ministry of Straight Company is just that. It is so easy to get lost in the melodies of pop songs and R&B which are the language of their ministry that one might miss the serious message. It's joyful musical package. But then again maybe it's good to just find yourself picked up and carried along by this phenomenal septet, for their message is all the more potent when it gets through. The recording is largely original tunes, mostly co-written by multiple members of the group. Jesse Murrah, who goes by the name Essej, is the elder of a trio of siblings in the group and the senior spokesman. He explains that a major motivation of the group is to break down racial barriers and prejudice with love. We have to say that they are definitely helping to harmonize the world!
Songlist: So Excited, Find It in Your Heart, I'll Take the Pain, Put a Little Love in Your Heart, Don't Look Back, Taff Zali, To My Love, Death Ain't No Big Deal, On Your Mind , Jesus Is Coming
Sweet Deliverance : Let If Flow
Review: Another winner from Sweet Deliverance! What we especially like about this sweet-harmonizing Contemporary Christian group is the fact that they write, compose and arrange almost all of their tunes. These 12 songs, for instance, feature the thought-provoking "Defending Your Life" by Bob Allsup and Gary Ferguson, "Praisin' the Lord" and "Let It Flow" by Allsup and Russ Wooten, "Jesus is Trying to Tell You Something," "I Gotta Feeling" and "Only Son" are by Allsup individually. Kevin Percival writes "He Shows Me Everything," "You'll Save His Name," and "Useless Hammer;" and Russ Wooten writes "Back to the Bible." Upbeat, inspirational, highly creative stuff here-tap your feel to a joyous song like "I Gotta Feelin'," then be touched by the deep faith found in "You'll Say His Name." "Let It Flow" is a winner from beginning to end.
Songlist: Defending your Life, Praisin' the Lord, Let it Flow, He Shows Me Everything, Jesus is Trying to Tell you Something, Back to the Bible, I Gotta Feelin', You'll Say His Name, Only Son, Useless Hammer, As the Deer Pants, Awesome Power
Sweet Deliverance : Sweet Deliverance
Review: The musical ministry of Keith Lancaster's Acappella Company continues with the Contemporary Christian male a cappella quartet Sweet Deliverance. Included in our favorites of these 10 songs are originals by group members Bob Allsup, "I'm Here to Tell You," "No Condemnation," "You Need Love;" and with Russ Wooten "Only You are God" and "Move Over," and with Gary Ferguson, "Defending Your Life." Kevin Percival writes and composes the lovely "Father Please," and "He Made His Own Mountain." One other favorite we haven't heard is Steven Chapman and Geoff Moore's thought-provoking "Home Run." Very good new material, beautifully sung by talented Sweet Deliverance!
Songlist: I'm Here to Tell You, Defending Your Life, Father, Please, Only You Are God, No Condemnation, You Need Love, Poor Wayfaring Stranger, Move Over, He Made is Own Mountain, Home Run
Sweet Deliverance : Sweet Sweet Spirit
Review: "Sweet Sweet Spirit" is one of the first recordings, from 1990, by male Contemporary Christian quartet Sweet Deliverance, issued by their own company, Sweet Deliverance Ministries. Later albums were recorded with Keith Lancaster's Acappella Company. The group is now a sextet based in the San Francisco bay area, which received a very strong ovation from the audience at the 2008 Harmony Sweeps Bay Area Regional, where they placed second. But "Sweet Sweet Spirit," although a wonderfully harmonic collection of 10 songs, gives us very little information on the liner notes or the group's website, about who wrote and compose the songs, for instance. As the group is known for its beautiful group-written and composed material, we will assume that some of these songs are originals, but there are many very nice covers here also: Elisha Hoffman's "Are You Washed In The Blood," Randy Simpson's "Had It Not Been," the Gospel standard "I've Been Changed," "Swing Down Sweet Chariot," the traditional hymn "When The Roll is Called Up Yonder," Goodman and Davis' "Wouldn't Take Nothin' for My Journey," and Doris Akers' title tune. Thus, the tunes "This Man" and "Just A Little While" might be written by group members such as Bob Allsup and Kevin Percival. But the bottom line is, "Sweet Sweet Spirit" is a beautiful, heartfelt early collection by a group that has since released 7 excellent albums and grown in their ministry to join the elite Contemporary Christian groups, and become one of our personal favorites!
Songlist: Are you washed in the Blood, Had it not Been, I've Been Changed, Passover, Swing Down Sweet Chariot, When the Roll is Called up Yonder, Wouldn't Take Nothin' for my Journy, This Man, Just a Little While, Sweet Sweet Spirit
Sweet Deliverance : Take His Hand
Review: "Take His Hand" is more good stuff from this sweet-harmonizing male a cappella quartet, part of the ministry of Keith Lancaster's amazing, prolific Acappella Company. These 10 songs are all originals written and composed by group members. Bob Allsup contributes the very nice title tune, "Read the Writings," "Don't Hesitate" and "Talk to Me." Kevin Percival writes the foot-tapping "Phillip's Song," "Is it Me Lord," "Walking the Way," "Simon's Lament" and "Hear Our Prayer," and Gary Ferguson gives us "The Man On The Mountain." These are all wonderfully creative, thought-provoking songs that illumine and enrich the Christian experience. Beautifully sung and inspirational!
Songlist: Take This Hand, Philip's Song, Is It Me Lord (Am I The One), Read the Writings, Don't Hesitate, Walking The Way, The Man on the Mountain, Talk to Me, Simon's Lament, Hear Our Prayers
Sweet Deliverance : Walk On
Review: Listening to Sweet Deliverance's 'Walk On' was a pleasant experience. This four part Christian a cappella group is blessed with harmonious talent and solid blending. Apart from 'Jesus is Just Alright' and 'Amazing Grace,' this entire effort is all original music which is something to be proud of . The entire CD has a pop tendency, but also demonstrates the influences of jazz and doo-wop, with a speckling of reggae. The arrangements are perfectly suited to their vocal styles, giving the entire work a smooth, balanced and light authenticity. Sweet Deliverance sing with great rhythmic and lyrical inflection, focusing on the importance of the words and the message they are sending.
Songlist: Jesus Is Just Alright, Walk On, We Were There, With Her Eyes, My Ship Came In, Amazing Grace, Open Mind, Open Bible, Peace, Be Still, Missionary Man, His People
Sweet Deliverance : You're My Rock
Review: We have just enjoyed a wonderful performance by all-male Contemporary Christian quintet Sweet Deliverance at the '08 Harmony Sweeps Bay Area Regional, which earned them a very close 2nd place finish (to winner Where's Gesualdo?). "You're My Rock" includes 8 originals by the group, Bass Bob Allsup collaborating with 1st tenor Kevin Percival on the title tune, the Beach Boys-inspired "Thank You," the rocking "It's Alright," the inspirational "God of Hope and Love" and "The Only Way," the foot-tapper "We Sing Holy," the testifying "I Need You." Allsup gets together with tenor Gary Ferguson on the final original, the touching "Broken Heart," before finishing with a very fine 3-song medley, Walt Harrah's "Think About His Love," Russell Fragar's "Show Me Your Ways" and Billy James Foote's "Amazing Love" (You are My King). Every one of these songs uplifts and celebrates the faith of these talented singers, especially their excellent original material. Treat yourself to "You're My Rock," one of the best albums we've heard this year!
Songlist: You're My Rock, I Just Want to Celebrate, Thank You, It's Alright, God of Hope and Love, The Only Way, We Sing Holy, I Need You, Broken Heart, Think About His Love, Show Me Your Ways, Amazing Love (You are my King)
Take 6 : Beautiful World
Review: Its a beautiful world according to Take 6 and a beautiful body of work for their fans across the board. The 10th offering from the sextet is simply called 'Beautiful World'. Although accompanied by instruments played by the six members themselves, the vocal arrangement shine through like the earlier material that originally gave the group their offical stamp in a cappella. Unlike their last studio CD 'So Cool' which was all original material, this entire project is comprised of Pop, R&B, and gospel standards. 'Wade in the Water' and 'Peace in the Valley' are gospel gems reminiscent of 'Get Away Jordan' and 'Mary dont you Weep'. 'People Get Ready' (Curtis Mayfield) with soaring heights and winding riffs takes you for a whole new ride. 'Lovely Day' (Bill Withers) and 'Loves in Need' (Stevie Wonder) are instantly recognizable, but revamped rethoughtand rearranged in a way that only Take 6 can do. Our favorite is the thought provoking 'Fragile' (Sting) where the haunting melody is kept over lush and thick harmonies you expect to hear from Take 6. Dont be surprised if the 13 new songs from 'Beautiful World' make you a fan all over again.
Songlist: Takin' It To The Street, People Get Ready, Grandma's Hands, Love's In Need Of Love Today, Beautiful World, Don't Give Up, Wade in The Water, Someday We'll All Be Free, Everlasting, Fragile, Peace In The Valley, Street Jam, Lovely Day
Take 6 : Brothers
Review: In the fullness of a fabulously successful recording career it is axiomatic that the artists may do whatever they please to enhance their self-expression. Therefore it would be wrong of this reviewer to bemoan the orchestration of one of the finest a cappella groups who ever harmonized (moan). There, that's out of my system. This is still an important album to those of us who have all their prior and subsequent releases. Vocally, the individual voices of whomever happens to be the lead singer at the moment is more prominent than on the pure a cappella releases and it is thereby fascinating to hear very clearly the beauty of the individual voices. A note of interest is that six of the ten songs have all the instrumentation played by Brian McKnight, no doubt the brother of singer Claude V. McKnight III.
Songlist: Sing A Song, You Don't Have To Be afraid, I'll Be There, Delilah, Chance of a Lifetime, Can't Stop Thinking 'Bout You, Jesus Makes Me Happy, We Don't Have To Cry, Do Right, Don't Let Go
Take 6 : Feels Good
Review: Formed at Alabama's Oakwood College in the early 1980s, Mark and Joey Kibble, Cedric Dent, Alvin Chea, David Thomas and Claude McKnight were signed by Reprise and released "Take 6" nationally in 1988. That year they blew away the '88 Grammy show audience with "Spread Love," and incredibly won Grammies for both best Jazz and best Gospel group. On their way to "Feels Good," their 12th CD, the versatile sextet has broken down barriers between the musical genres of Jazz, Gospel and Soul and built a massive, broad-based group of devoted fans. An accompanied album, "Join the Band" and 1997's "Brothers" both won Grammies. After 20 years with Warner Bros., their final release was "Beautiful World," an album of accompanied re-interpreted pop/soul classics. But in 2006 the group returned to their a cappella and gospel (at least in subject matter) roots with the release of "Feels Good," forming their own label, "Take 6 Records," in the process. The group is poised, tight and energized, breezing through their strongest set, of mostly original material, since their first head-turning releases in 1988 and 1990. Thomas's joyous "Come On" sets the tone, and Mark Kibble's title tune, Dent and Kibble's "Family of Love," the powerful, profound "Lamb of God," the smooth, rhythmic "More Than Ever," the surprising, re-invented cover of "Just In Time," and McKnight's R&B/Pop gem "Set U Free" keeps the party going. The usual perfect harmonies, strong group songwriting (and outside song selection) and arrangements, and Take 6's return to that good old a cappella all left us with a big smile on our face, like we got when we first heard "Spread Love" back in '88. Welcome back, guys, and bless you!
Songlist: Come On, This Is Another Day, Feels Good, Wait For The Sunshine, Family of Love, More Than Ever, Set U Free, Vinterlude, Just In Time, Lamb Of God, I'll Never Turn Back No More, You Can Make It - Go On
Take 6 : Greatest Hits
Review: The influence of the Christian Contemporary group Take 6 cannot be overstated. They, in turn, cite as one their own inspirations Gene Puerling of the Singers Unlimited. Their pedigree is such that the members of this stellar sextet have graced the recordings of many chart-topping artists and movie soundtracks as well (one track, 'Setembro,' is from 'Boyz In The Hood'). Two songs from this collection, 'The Best Stuff In The World Today Cafe,' and 'One And The Same,' have never been released before. Many of the cuts are percussion accompanied, though several are purely a cappella; regardless, if only to hear the pristine voices and the impeccably constructed harmonic voicings, repeated listening is advised. Stylistically, the group has a gospel/funk flavor with a jazzy overtone, courtesy of the signature chords that have become associated with the Take 6 sound. A excellent gift and introduction to the group, with enough new material to satisfy the appetite of the seasoned aficionado.
Songlist: I L-O-V-E-U, Destiny, One and the Same, Fly Away, Mary, Biggest Part of Me, The Best Stuff in the World Today Cafe, Setembro (Brazilian wedding song), A Quiet Place, Oh Thou that Tellest Good Tidings to Zion, U Turn, Spread Love, So Much 2 Say
Take 6 : One
Review: As winners of 10 Grammy Awards and 10 Dove Awards, the multi-platinum selling a cappella group, Take 6, is beloved throughout the musical universe. One sees them return to their roots. As with their breakthrough debut album, Take 6, which went to #1 on the Billboard Gospel and Jazz charts simultaneously and earned a Grammy in both categories, One features Take 6's unique arrangements of some of the world's most beloved gospel classics as well as their inspiring devotional originals. Highlights include a guest appearance by Stevie Wonder on the heartfelt "Can't Imagine Love Without You," exciting originals such as "One," and "Down Here I've Done My Best" and their brilliant re-harmonizations of such classics as "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" and "Farther Along".
Songlist: Down Here I've Done My Best, One, Can't Imagine Love Without You (feat. Stevie Wonder), What A Friend We Have In Jesus, In My Heart, Noah, Allelula, Glorious Day, You're Gonna Need Him, Farther Along, Noah Reprise
Take 6 : Take 6
Review: Not just a cappella fans but the whole musical world perked up their ears when six young singers transformed the gospel world with their jazz arrangements. The beautiful harmonies and sophisticated arrangements immediately set a standard which has been endlessly copied ever since. Within a single song can frequently be found elements of jazz, soul, rock and R&B on a gospel base. It is no wonder that these singers were tapped to be the winners of two Grammy Awards for their first recording! It is a must for any a cappella collection! Remember this was 1988 and they set the standard by which other great harmony groups such as Boyz II Men were measured and continue to be so judged.
Songlist: Gold Mine, Spread Love, If We Never Needed The Lord Before (We Sure Do Need Him Now), A Quiet Place, Mary, David And Goliath, Get Away, Jordan, He Never Sleeps, Milky-White Way, Let The Words
Take 6 : The Standard
Review: All male sextet Take 6, one of the most innovative and influential Contemporary Christian a cappella groups of all time, was formed at Oakwood College in Alabama in the early 1980s. In 1988 they released "Take 6" nationally, and won Grammies for both best Jazz and best Gospel group. After 9 groundbreaking, critically acclaimed releases, this long-awaited recording, aptly named "the standard," returns to those jazz roots, covering standards like "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Straighten Up and Fly Right" (featuring George Benson), the scattish "Seven Steps to Heaven" (featuring Jon Hendricks, Al Jarreau and Till Bronner), the moody a cappella "Windmills of Your Mind," "Someone To Watch Over Me," "A Tisket A Tasket" (featuring a sample of the original recording by Ella Fitzgerald), the whimsical "Bein' Green" (with an unexpected Obama plug at the end), the a cappella "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans" (featuring Aaron Neville and some great faux horns), and a jazzy a cappella cover of Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" (featuring Brian McNight). Take 6's Contemporary Christian material is also included, the autobiographical "Back to You," a bluenote a cappella "Shall We Gather at the River" and the lovely, wordless, accompanied "Grace." Wow. This recording sets "the standard" for Vocal Jazz/Contemporary Christian CD of the year. Don't miss this one, it's a soulful treat from beginning to end!
Songlist: Sweet Georgia Brown, Straighten Up And Fly Right, Seven Steps To Heaven, Windmills Of Your Mind, Someone To Watch Over Me, Grace (pre-prise), Back To You, A Tisket A Tasket, Bein' Green, Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans, What's Going On, Shall We Gather At The River, Grace
Tom Fettke : Voices in Praise
Review: This professional-quality recording is a joy to listen to and is also useful as an aid for choir members who are learning the arrangements from the companion songbook.
Songlist: A Quiet Place, All hail The Power Of Jesus' Name, Come As A Child, Come, Christians, Join To Sing, Come Just As You Are, Crown Him, Declare His Glory, Grace Greater Than Our sin, He giveth More grace, Heaven's Jubilee, I Will Come And Bow Down, I Will Trust In The Lord, I'm In His Care, Instruments Of Your Peace, It's About Time, Jesus, What A Wonder You Are, Majesty, Near To The Heart of God, O The Deep, Deep Love Of Jesus, Peace, Simple Worship, Sing Hallelujah, Praise The Lord, The God Of Hope Be With You, The Lord Is My Strength And My Song, The Master has Come, To God Be The Glory, Until He Comes Again, Victory Chant, We Declare Your Majesty, We Shall Rise
Two Five Nine : Maximum Music
Review: Topic of discussion around the office lately has been 259! Though we aren't sure of the meaning of their name, we are sure that we enjoy listening to what they have to say and how they have to say it! 'Maximum Capacity' is full of energy and originality and these young men will serenade you to the end with their breed of inspirational pop. The voices are completely real in all of their recordings following 259 stringent law of no trickery in the studio, though their voices are so rich in tone and blend so incredibly well together, who needs trickery. Some songs are lightly accompanied with guitar and piano, which we think is just fine. They stand around a few expensive microphones and just sing 'Give me my 259!'
Songlist: 250,000, Deep Brown Eyes, Under the Boardwalk, Highwire, One Last Time, Tomorrow, Stick Figures, John, And Now, A Cappella, Moses, Two Five Nine, Swing Down Chariot, Jericho
Undivided Musical Group : A Cappella From The Soul
Review: Unidivided is a Southern California a cappella male sextet first formed in the spring of 2001, whose wide range of musical influences include Latin, Gospel, Contemporary Christian, Reggae, Pop, Jazz, R&B and Rock. We first were blown away by the group's distinctive style at the 2003 National Finals, where their arrangement of "Amazing Grace" drew a huge ovation from the audience. Their recent accomplishments include 2 CARA award nominations and another win at the 2005 LA Sweeps Regional, bringing them to San Rafael for the 2005 Finals. "From The Soul" is basically a Gospel CD, but it begins with the showy, funky "Jamappella," with fake horns, classical samples and a pure, sweet whistled melody line as powerful as that in any spaghetti western. "Lord I Lift Your Name On High" is a joyous reggae gospel tune that had us boogying in the aisles. "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder" would hardly be recognized by its composer, with vocal percussion, "trumpet" solo and funky arrangement that turn the song into a celebratory romp. "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" appears twice, first as a jazzy, bluenote harmonic feast, and at the end of the CD with added vocal percussion. "I Wanna Change," "Nao Ha Deus Tao Grande Como Tu," "Amazing Grace," "Es Jesus" and "What's Going On" complete the songlist. A surprising, upbeat debut CD from one of the most dynamic and innovative Contemporary Christian groups we've heard!
Songlist: Jamappella, Lord I lift Your Name On High, When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder, What A Friend We Have In Jesus, I Wanna Change, Nao Ha Deus Tao Grande Como Tu, Amazing Grace, Es Jesus, What's Going On?, What A Friend (with vocal percussion)
Vocal Point : Lead Now Me On: Hymns and Inspiration
Review: Referred to by some as "an optical illusion for your ears," BYU Vocal Point's inventive style, innovative arrangements, and incredible vocal percussion continue to wow audiences worldwide. They have performed before millions on national television (on NBC's The Sing-Off) and in concerts across the country. While Vocal Point mostly showcases popular songs from yesterday and today in their concerts, the group always includes hymns and inspirational songs as part of their shows. Now for the first time, the music Vocal Point uses to give praise and express their faith is featured exclusively on its own CD.
Songlist: 1. Lead, Kindly Light, All Creatures of Our God and King, I Need Thee Every Hour, Danny Boy, He Is Born, Noyana / Come, Come, Ye Saints, Be Still, My Soul, We All Need Saving, Infant Holy, Infant Lowly, Praise to the Man, Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Savior, Redeemer of My Soul, Nearer, My God, to Thee
Vocal Union : A Cappella Traditional
Review: When Acappella Company founder Keith Lancaster took a singing hiatus from his first group, he just couldn't stay away for long. This first recording, released in 1995, forges a sound that combines some of the straightforward harmony of Southern Gospel with the bass and percussion of contemporary a cappella. The vocal harmony will be a refreshing change for Christian music lovers who perhaps find other Acappella Company groups a bit too processed. Among the enjoyable songs: "We Shall Wear A Crown," ballad "Home Where I Belong" and "Sweet Beulah Land."
Songlist: Standing on the Solid Rock, Heaven's Gonna Shine, He Was There All the Time, Steppin' on the Cloud, Till He Comes, I Am Dwelling on a Mountain, New Life / When I Wake Up, The Lighthouse, Jesus Is Coming Soon, Give Me Light
Vocal Union : All Around Me
Review: Seven-man Southern Gospel ensemble The Vocal Union is the third offspring of Paris, TN's Acappella Ministries; the first being the A Cappella Company, created by Keith Lancaster, who is Executive Producer of "All Around Me." From "Get Ready," the first song by these talented, spiritual men, we feel the power of their music and their ministry. This is the best of Contemporary Christian a cappella: strong, innovative vocal percussion, soaring Rockapella-like backup vocals, rich, deep bass harmonies, strong original lyrics, music and arrangements-it's easy to see how "Once Upon A Tree" won the 2001 CASA Religious Album of the Year. It's hard to pick favorites from these 12, because there's not a weak cut on the CD. "Livin Love," "I Wanna Love You," "We've Got This Groove" (they do, and we can feel it!), "Heaven's Irony," "Rise and Walk,' "To See Jesus," "Do You Believe," "This Is Love" and the final cut, "What Heavenly Music." "All Around Me" is VU's 5th CD, and it is another finely-crafted, joyous winner.
Songlist: Get Ready, Livin Love, Thank You, I Wanna Love You, We've Got This Groove, Heaven's Ready, Rise and Walk, Where on Earth, To See Jesus, Do You Believe, This is Love, What Heavenly Music
Vocal Union : Just Like The Old Days
Review: The A Cappella Company's Keith Lancaster is the producer of six-man, Nashville-based Vocal Union's sixth winning CD. "Just Like" is just like their other five, that is, filled with rich Gospel harmonies and excellent original material that will have you humming and singing along! Originals include the title tune, "There Have Been Healin'," "Wake Up" and "He Gave His Life" all by group member Gary Miller, R. Fisher Boyce's "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem," Ron Block's "In the Palm of Your Hand," Dottie Rambo's "Remind Me Dear Lord," Hazel Trubee's "Walk Right Out of this Valley," and Geniece Ingold's "In My Robe of White." Each of these songs share an upbeat, positive message, wonderful lyrics and the group's joyous love of singing and spreading the Gospel, all of which add up to one of the best Gospel CDs we've ever heard. Enjoy!
Songlist: Just Like The Old Days, Get Away Jordan, Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem, In The Palm Of Your Hand, There Have Been Healin', Wake Up, Remind Me Dear Lord, Walk Right Out Of This Valley, In My Robe Of White, He Gave His Life