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Date: 22 October, 2009
George Luke reviews the latest releases from Beverly Trotman, Portland, the David Crowder Band, Nate Campany and One Voice, an album started after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami
One Saturday in February 2005, just about everyone in Britain’s Christian music community assembled at Abbey Road studios to record a charity single for an Indian village that had been devastated by the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
Not only did “One Voice, One Heart” raise thousands for tsunami relief; it was also the birthing ground for a lot of friendships and musical partnerships. And now, four years on, it's spawned an album.
Like Martin Smith’s recent Compassionart project, One Voice seeks to combine worshipful music with a heart for social justice. In addition, executive producers Lawrence Johnson and Les Moir also really wanted to use music to bring different cultures together.
This desire has led to some collaborations that look weird on paper but actually sound pretty interesting when you get to hear them. Take, for example, “Nothing is Impossible” on which worship rocker Tre Sheppard teams up with soul gospel girl Kiera Sheard.
Or “Let the People”, a joyous fusion of South African and Latin American rhythms.
Voice of Hope is the debut album from former
Beverley’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Heaven Help Us All” and her take on “Amazing Grace” stand out as two of the strongest tracks here, along with “Awesome God”.
Definitely better than anything those annoying twins in the current series could ever come up with.
After a lot of thought and deliberation, I’m going to declare Portland’s These Broken Hands one of the best new albums of 2009. And since Bob Harris has already shown the Solihull-based trio a lot of love on his Radio 2 show, I know I’m not alone in loving it.
These Broken Hands is a collection of exquisite tunes, mellow and soothing; at times reminiscent of Paolo Nutini or Damian Rice. Its eleven tracks address both relationships between people and between man and God.
One standout track is "Talk to Me"– arguably the most beautiful anti-war song I’ve heard in years.
You can always rely on the David Crowder Band to come up with music that’s both lyrically and sonically challenging. And I’m glad to say that their new album, Church Music, delivers on both counts.
Church Music is a collection of worship songs that go from being joyous and exuberant right through to personal and contemplative, set to a delightful mix of rock, pop and electronica.
The title track is a hands-in-the-air disco stomper, and on “God Almighty, None Compares”, David and the gang go all prog. rock on us! Altogether a musical feast as diverse as the church is – or at least should be.
American singer-songwriter Nate Campany has, in the past, written songs for the Backstreet Boys and a couple of former contestants in the Scandinavian equivalents of American Idol.
However, there’s no trace of a boy-band pop sound on Nate’s debut EP, The Only Bridge I Need – on which he’s ably accompanied by a band of loyal friends he calls The Serenade.
What we have instead are four tracks of heart-warming Americana – a nice (if brief) ‘alt-country’ backdrop to his musings on lost love and missed opportunities. Nate says his mission is to make pop music smart again; I for one hope he succeeds.