- reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2008 1 Oct
- I Praise You
- No Blessing, No Battle
- One More Sunny Day
- Please Make Me Better
- You Know My Heart
- Can't Make It Without You
- He Does All Things Well
- You Can Rise
- It's Your Time
In a move that undoubtedly calls for ingenious, non-conflicting marketing pitches, Zomba Gospel is hedging its bets with the simultaneous release of both self-titled debuts by winner and runner-up of Sunday Best, the popular gospel talent search on BET. Though Shari Addison may have placed second on the Kirk Franklin-hosted show, she comes out on top of rival Crystal Aikin with this sassy, self-assured debut that has all the makings of a made-for-TV starlet.
The singer is 45, which would make her ineligible for a shot at a music career by the standards of American Idol and pop music. But this is not an issue for gospel. Au contraire, Addison's church-tested pipes are a heavenly fit for Kevin Bond, the multiple-Grammy-winning virtuoso charged with helming the disc.
Bond, whose credits include just about every power player in contemporary gospel, is in his element on Shari Addison, creating the ideal atmosphere for the vocalist to soar. The producer knows the playbook well, so he refrains from having Addison sing outside her comfort zone, which is exactly what Sunday Best was about anyway—to flaunt your classiest and showiest church hat. Addison wears her headpiece proudly, turning at once torchy and churchy in the horn-suffused "One More Sunny Day," one of those chorally rich ballads that careers in gospel are built on.
That song is the centerpiece of a disc punctuated by one potential radio hit after another, from floor stomper "Please Make Me Better" and the church-friendly "Can't Make It Without You" to urban-funk diversions like "I Praise You" and "Whateva". It's all extremely likable, perhaps calculatedly so, but fans of the genre won't care. Addison hits all the rights notes to propel herself as an early forerunner for best new gospel artist of 2009—not quite the same as being crowned victor of a talent search on a major network, but a better place to be in the long run.