Spirit & Truth
- reviewed by LaTonya Taylor Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2004 1 May
One of the benefits of contemporary gospel music is its ability to highlight an individual artist in a studio or concert setting. But in doing so, the honest-to-goodness choir song is often neglected. That's not the case with
A distinctive of the Total Praise Choir—and of writer/producer Kevin Bond's work, for that matter—is the cleanliness of the sound. Traditional, choir-based gospel music can sometimes sound a bit ragged, simply because so many voices of varying ability are involved. Add to that the (often-competing) showcase band, and the effect can be murky.
Not so here. Remarkably, the 250 "whosoever will" members from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church blend well, and Bond's vocal arrangements and clean keys convey the message with both aural clarity and interest.
Highlights of the album include the reflective "Thank You for Your Grace," featuring lead vocals by Ted Winn of vocal duo Ted & Shari. Vanessa Bell Armstrong brings her cool, jazzy lead to "Suddenly," and "He Said It" features funky guitar and smart A-T-S breakdown. The title track is a beautiful praise chorus that builds to an intense finish. Labelmate (and fellow church member) Darwin Hobbs joins the choir on the jazz-bouncy "He's Been So Good to Me," and Elder William Murphy contributes a raspy, melismatic lead to "Servant's Prayer." "By Faith" has an uptempo, party-choir vibe, and "O Give Thanks" has a punchy, stylized choral feel.