Ann McCrary

Her Gospel credentials are impeccable. She is the daughter of Rev. Samuel McCrary of the famed Fairfield Four. She spent time as one of the fabulous vocalists of Bobby Jones and New Life, and recently, as one of Gospel's most requested session vocalists, you have heard Ann McCrary sing on albums from Yolanda Adams to Hezekiah Walker, from CeCe Winans to Donnie McClurkin to The Clark Sisters.

And if you've ever dug into the world of split-trax, that is most likely the voice of Ann McCrary singing the line of that hit song that you've determined to learn for yourself.

 CD McCary's self-titled solo album on Vital Communications is her sophomore project, her first appearing several years ago on Against The Flow Records. This time out, she connects with son-in-law Steve Crawford (from Anointed) in his debut as producer, and delivers ten quality songs.

The album begins with a warm interpretation of "My, My Lord", written by Anointed (Crawford and his sister Da'dra Crawford Greathouse), and also accompanied by Crawford. Satisfying chord changes highlight the essence of the message — that God is our friend, our faithful confidante and our sole source of Joy.

Veteran keyboard man Roger Ryan steps in on "I'll Pray For You", a soft ballad of piano thoughts and McCrary's self-penned reflective vocal joy in describing the beauty and joy of parenthood. Ryan also supports prominently on the redo of "Nobody But Jesus", first given light by Vanessa Bell Armstrong back in the day, and superbly handled here by McCrary along with a seasoned backing crew (Jevon Woods, Jerard Woods, Gail West, Anointed, Alfred Lee, Tammy Crawford).

McCrary brings back memories by reuniting with Dr. Bobby Jones on the classic "Yes, God Is Real", with the familiar lines, "He is real, real in my soul". Organ, bass, guitar, drums and choir amp up the song to a powerful, full throttle Gospel finish.

The album conclused with a folksy segue into a churchy and acappella "Church Medley" (featuring "Have You Tried Jesus", "I Get Joy", "Can't Nobody Do Me Like Jesus"), with McCrary leading the way accompanied by hand claps and a vigorous call-and-response from several of the album's backing vocalists. —a great ending to this satisfying project.

Producer: Steve Crawford
album release date: November, 2002
Vital Communications

— reviewed by Stan North

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