You may not think you know Chris Simpson, but I am sure you do.
You probably know Simpson's voice from his lead vocals on
"Jesus Is The Reason For The Season" from Kirk Franklin
and the Familyís much-loved Christmas album, or from
Montrel Darrett's J2K project (see review).Producer: Miche Waller
album release date: July, 2000
Simpson has been with, and parted ways from two of the
biggest names in Gospel. Now itís time for him to make his mark.
The first thing you will take notice on Conversion is the
richness of this voice. Tonal sweetness and outright skill
make for a nice combination, and itís this combo
that guides you through his project.
enough, Simpson has a John Kee "thing" that he can pull
out when he wants to. On "I Am Encouraged" in particular,
he sounds like a young Kee's vocal twin, not to mention the similarity of song
structure down to the vamp. It leaves no doubt in your mind that
studied the Crown Prince of Gospel. (See interview with Chris Simpson)
Yet however uncanny the similarities, Simpson clearly has a voice and
mind of his own. You leave assured that this is merely a small part
of who Simpson is vocally. A great example of this choral dexterity
is on the Donnie Hathaway tinged "Healed" where Simpson transforms into a
much different singer. The tune, dedicated to those stricken with
the AIDS virus, is a beautiful display of the tonal resonance
of Simpson's voice against the pale of keys and strings
nicely arranged by Garland 'Miche' Waller.
Some other bright spots on the project include "World Changer" where an
incredible Spanish guitar by Rick Howard dances around pared down vocals
from Simpson. And "You Keep Me Holding On"
tells the testimony of each of us who is
redeemed. Waller is again on keys and there's a nice percussive
touch by Duke who keeps the congas appropriately simple.
Chris Simpson's Conversion adds intensely skillful vocals to a
healthy array of tunes, and the combination makes this a project
that just might make you into a convert. Do yourself a service
and donít let this one catch you napping. If you don't know
who Chris Simpson is, make sure you get to know and I guarantee
you won't soon forget.
Higher Ground / Orpheus
reviewed by Melanie Clark ó
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