- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2006 1 Jan
This is the first album in more than four years for renowned Gospel vocalist Beverly Crawford, and her first with Dexterity Sounds, the record label Bishop T.D. Jakes started earlier this year. Of course, Beverly has long been associated with Dallas' Potter's House Mass Choir and was featured on their debut recording last spring. People who remember her knockout performance with the choir on that disc won't be surprised that she was asked to release a solo project. The result is a fine blend of traditional Gospel with some modern production sounds.
The beginning tracks of Beverly make it sound deceptively routine, though Beverly's voice shines throughout. Both "Reach For It" and "So Glad He Loves Me" sound like your typical Gospel choir songs, and neither distinguishes itself very well. Also, though it's common for Gospel music in a live setting to go back into a song after it's finished (a vamp), it feels kind of tacky to simulate that on "So Glad He Loves Me," which was recorded in a studio setting. Then there's the third track, "Healing Virtue," a Gospel ballad that gets quite powerful midway through … and this is where things begin to get interesting on Beverly. There are other traditional-sounding Gospel tracks on the recording, but they're mixed in with some less conventional songs. "Run to the Water" is a modern-sounding song thickened by bass and drum programming. Likewise, "Make Me" has a smooth R&B feel to it. There's even a bit of Caribbean feel to "Your Name," a fun song that should appeal to church choirs of all kinds. The album closes with the driving high-energy Gospel of "Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus" and the poignant pop benediction "Farewell."
Beverly's vocals are powerful and energetic in an Aretha-Franklin-meets-Shirley-Caesar kind of way. She doesn't have quite the diversity in singing as Yolanda Adams or Londa Larmond, but there's no denying she's got an excellent voice well suited for this genre. There's a lot here for Gospel music fans to appreciate, and Beverly Crawford once again establishes herself as a dynamic Gospel artist.