Made It After All
Powell is now the latest to emerge on the upstart Boston-based church label, Axiom Records. Solid vocals dominate on his solo debut, Made It After All (sub-titled "A Live Worship Experience") with wonderful songwriting throughout it as well. Powell's sweet tenor pipes are filled with natural soul; his delivery flows effortlessly (hear audio).
The album's first radio single kicks of the project. "Season of Greater Works". Referencing the fresh anointing that God continually pours out to his children. The song is clear in making the point that the 'greater works' that we seek are for the sole purpose of glorifying God. Powell quickly hitches his voice to the riding and infectious melody.
On "We Worship", a song written by Parkes Stewart and Joe Otis (with production from Stewart and The Untouchables), Powell reflects his praise with almost conversational, story-telling lyrics, which help to give the piece an easy-flowing, relaxed vibe. Soft, sustained strings guide the accompaniment, with a small vocal crew in support.
"Made It After All" falls midway into the album's fourteen tracks. It's the title cut, and it's well- positioned, for it is also the album's virtual centerpiece. Penned by Freda Battle and featuring Tawana Frazier, the song is a classic Gospel ballad. Powell and Frazier begin to tenderly color the piece with traded vocal lines, soft piano arpeggios circling around both of them, softened some by strings and organ. The song moves toward its encouraging climax with chorus entering in underneath the duo's increasingly gritty and passionate vocals. The brief reprise track that follows is a worthy inclusion.
Michael Manigault writes "Thank You Jesus", a rousing, uptempo gratitude-offering piece that demonstrates Powell's innate of sense of timing and phrasing.
Like-minded in theme, but contrasting in tone is the "Love Medley", where Powell dips into several popular quiet choruses ("Oh How I Love Jesus", "I Love You Lord Today", "My Soul Loves Jesus" and "I Love You Lord").
Jazz workings underpin songs such as "Without Faith", with Mark Copeland and George W. Russell Jr.'s keyboard contributions. And things get a tad bit urban on "T'ain't Nobody (remix)", which comes with rework from The Untouchables (Pierre Huberson and Mark Goncalves).
All in all, Made It After All is an auspicious debut for Clarence Powell. Here's a new artist that deserves attention.
There are song snippets available from the album. If you don't have RealAudio, be sure to obtain your free RealAudio player software first, by clicking on the blue RealAudio icon on the right.
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— reviewed by Stan North —
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