7 Sons of Soul
They are a six-man outfit, with a 7-man name.
7 Sons of Soul makes their debut and eponymously-titled Verity Records entry with a nod to both traditional quartet roots and the soul-driven, modern-style vocals. With an impressive list of credentials behind each of them, this group stakes out musical territory that is at once fresh and comfortable.
Vocalists Cliff Jones, Deonte Gray and David Lindsey, together with Paul Edwards, keyboardist Sam Kendrick and bassist Nathaniel Fields comprise the DC-based group, and between them have plenty of experience. From the opening moments of their album-opening, old-school intepretation of "Amazing Grace", there's no questioning of that.
The project is filled with some great vocal moments. "He’s So Real" featuring Jive R&B artist Raheem DeVaughn on vocals alongside Cliff Jones, is one of those, with its smooth soul vibe. Both singers ad lib and freely bounce trading lines off each other, with backing chorus and keyboards stabilizing.
Also a standout is the cut with Fred Hammond and PamKenyon Donald, "What Is This?", a welcome rework of the song that is most identified with Walter Hawkins (it was co-written by Rev. Willie Morganfield and gained smash hit status on the self-titled The Walter Hawkins Family album from 1980). This version gets production from Supe for The BurnUnit, and is bound for heavy radio spins.
7 Sons dig into the Willie Neal Johnson song, "Show Me The Way", with some sure enough quartet flow, again showing the group's flair for that genre. Resonant harmonies mark the slow tempo piece. "He's Coming Back" also fits into that camp.
Interview with 7 Sons of Soul
"It’s our goal to bring versatility back to Gospel Music. For so long we’ve been used to either traditional, contemporary or CCM. With the 7 Sons of Soul we want to bring a new twist to it and put a little edge on it. That way, no one is left out. We want to appeal to all ages...."
On the other end of the musical spectrum is the today-groove "Run On", that encourages perserverance (both in lyrics and emphasized by the song's never-quit musical structure), and "Need You", a buttery ballad that switches things up with its easy soul mix.
Rounding out the project is the wedding song "My All", which brings back Raheem DeVaughn back into the vocal picture, and "Make Daddy Proud", a moving and tender ballad tribute to Jones' late father. Both songs have co-writing credits that include Brandon Broadnax (see album review).
With their vocal excellence grafted to their combo of old-school soul and quartet flava, 7 Sons of Soul fill a niche in Gospel that, quite simply, needed to be filled.
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album release date: March 23, 2004
review by Stan North —
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