Dave Hollister
The Book of David: Vol. I The Transition

In a season filled with big name mainstream artists turning to Gospel, former BLACKstreet member and bonafide R&B star Dave Hollister’s new project, The Book of David: Vol. I The Transition is right up there, joining peers such as Coko and Kelly Price in coming full circle with Gospel releases this fall.

CDWhile Hollister doesn’t break any new musical ground on this GospoCentric release —something bound to relieve his ardent flocks of fans —the lyrical content and spirit of the project are a complete turnaround. Gone are the pillow talk croons and odes to fleshly lifestyle, replaced by transparent jams that document his move from wayward son to accepting the grace that God has offered all along.

Much like his Biblical namesake, and with an album title most likely meant to refer to his Old Testament writings, Hollister uses the album not only as vehicle for individual hits (there are lots —including “The Potter” and “Nothing But God”), but as a way to tell his story. Peppered with dramatic interludes and spoken segments, he pulls no punches in describing the various stages of his own walk, from questioning, to trials and downfalls, to court room drama, to doubting, through to reconciliation, redemption and peace as he rests in God.

All of this is delivered in the tight package of buttery vocals and choice beats, with production assists from a battery of the genre’s finest: Mike City, Warryn Campbell, Eric Dawkins, Shep Crawford, PAJAM, Daniel Weatherspoon and more.

The opener, “Nothing But God”, reunites Hollister with producer Mike City. City creates an atmospheric soundscape that allows Hollister to work his vocal craft, setting the stage for the rest of the album by delivering his testimony of God’s mercy and grace.

“Help Me”, with Warryn Campbell and Eric Dawkins producing and writing, is a plea for rescue from the ‘he-say, she-say’ downward spiral, and leads into a sequence of cuts that variously describe the drama that inevitably stems from a wayward life. “So Many Scars”, “Questions” (with brother-in-law Jesse Wright), “Divorce” and “The Settlement” are Hollister’s life laid bare, all nestled in street-smart soul vibes.

The way back to God is detailed in the last half of the project, beginning with “What Do You Do”, a slow jam ballad written by Carnell Murrell and Earnest Lee. “I Let Heaven Down”, “I’ve Changed” and “Where R U/ Answer Me” follow suit.

Of particular note is “The Potter (a.k.a. Jesus Picked Up The Pieces)”, where Hollister slows it waaay down. Originally sung by The O’Neal Twins and penned by Andrae Crouch, this new version is soulful and tender, splashed with guitar and produced by Shep Crawford.

Hollister couldn’t get more descriptive in his album title if he tried. The Book of David: Vol. I The Transition is a testament to the wonder work of God in one man’s life, and goes down as one of the most captivating projects in recent memory.

"I don't know of any other way than to put my life out there because it's going to help people. God has really blessed me”, says Hollister. With this album, he shares that blessing.

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Production: Various
album release date: September 26, 2006

— reviewed by Stan North

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