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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2000 1 Jan

I rejoice when I find that a classic artist turns out to be a Christian or at least involved with a Christian project. By classic artist, I mean someone of legendary acclaim, creating the feeling that many had when Bob Dylan did his first Christian project. Foreigner's Lou Gramm, Yes's Jon Anderson, Michael McDonald and Paul Carrack are all artists that come to mind from recent years.

So I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Aaron Neville (the legendary voice behind such hits as "Tell It Like It Is," "Everybody Plays the Fool," and "All I Need to Know") has a strong faith in God and was raised both Catholic and Methodist. Devotion marks his first expressly Gospel release. The difference between this and some other celebrity-driven spiritual recordings in recent years is the desire to express faith rather than simply express a musical genre. This is clear from Aaron's songwriting, which makes up half of the album's selections. Of his own songs, I particularly liked "What Would Jesus Do?," though I found the spoken-word poetry on "Jesus Is a Friend of Mine" lackluster but heartfelt nonetheless. Musically he jumps from Gospel to R&B (ala Marvin Gaye or Al Green) to pop, where he shines in duets with Rachael Lampa ("There Is Still a Dream") and Avalon ("By Heart, By Soul"). His soulful covers of such classics as "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Morning Has Broken," and "Jesus Loves Me" were moving.

You don't buy an album like this for the creativity as much as you do for Aaron Neville and his voice. If you're a Christian and you like his work, you're going to like this album. Nevermind that the songs are typical gospel, pop, and R&B. Aaron's voice is as good as it has ever been; the album is well produced; his covers are interesting enough to warrant their inclusion on the album; and it's clear that his faith is genuine. You can't ask for anything more in order to enjoy Devotion.