Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Crystal Lewis Croons Beautifully in 25

  • Lindsay Williams Contributing Writer
  • 2014 13 Aug
Crystal Lewis Croons Beautifully in <i>25</i>

Artist: Crystal Lewis
Album: 25
Label: Metro One Music

It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since Christian music was first introduced to the soulful voice of Crystal Lewis. Over the course of her illustrious career to date, Lewis has garnered four Dove Awards and a GRAMMY nod, in addition to performing alongside some of the biggest names in music, including Bono, Mary J. Blige, Yolanda Adams, Andrae Crouch and Donna Summer, among others. Moreover, she’s released more than 20 English albums (including two live records, two holiday offerings and a children’s project) and seven Spanish recordings.

Now, Lewis is releasing a two-disc “best of” collection titled 25 via Metro One Music, the independent label she founded with her husband, Brian Ray. The album celebrates the last 25 years of Lewis’ music and ministry with 25 tracks and two bonus remixes. It’s a veritable walk down memory lane, reminding listeners why Lewis was a much-deserved GMA Dove Award Female Vocalist of the Year recipient and a GRAMMY nominee.

Stylistically, 25 is a mix of the spectrum of sights and sounds that have colored Lewis’ career for nearly three decades, changing with the musical tastes of the day as well as the singer/songwriter’s own evolving influences. Fans will love the retrospect of her biggest radio hits, including “Only Fools,” “Shine Jesus Shine,” “Beauty for Ashes,” “God’s Been Good to Me,” and perhaps the song she’s best known for, “People Get Ready…Jesus Is Coming,” among others.

Regardless of the various sonic nuances introduced in every decade, one constant remains unchanging throughout the entire collection—Lewis’ outstanding vocal delivery. Some of her best vocals are actually experienced on the stripped-down selections where the sparse instrumentation makes Lewis’ voice a beautiful centerpiece. From “Precious Lord” and “Amazing Grace” to “It Is Well” and “How Great Thou Art,” the hymns featured on25 create a natural home for Lewis, her powerful voice breathing fresh life into the timeless lyrics.

The two new remixes at the end—“Beauty for Ashes (Solomon Ray Remix)” and “People Get Ready…Jesus Is Coming (Peace 586 Remix)” featuring Propaganda—don’t add much to the originals, although the former was remixed by Lewis’ son.

Overall 25 is an excellent reminder of Lewis’ amazing contribution to Christian music through the years. Her voice and her lyrics are beautiful gifts not to be taken for granted. 25’s generous set list will ignite enthusiasm among longtime fans for brand-new music anticipated from Lewis later this year.

*Published 8/13/2014