David Dawson
That's The Love

David Dawson CDCast your mind way back to Anointed’s debut and most urban album to date, Spiritual Love Affair. Multi-instrumentalist and producer Eddie Howard Jr. was one of two producers handling that breakthrough project.

After several credits with artists such as Fred Hammond, Commissioned, The Clark Sisters and The Christiannaires, Howard is back with a new venture, New Spirit Music, a Gospel label under the wing of the Tae-Bo Marketing Group.

First off the block with the label is New Mexico native David Dawson, with That’s The Love. It’s a studio effort that brings a nicely planned mix of urban styles to the table, which is rooted in old school soul (both instrumentally and vocally) but definitely tracks in the uptempo contemporary.

Dawson’s delivery is smooth, yet his voice possesses an intriguing element of ‘sanded-down’ grit. At times you hear vocal elements reminiscent of British singer/guitarist Chris Rea, but also Peabo Bryson, Donnie McClurkin and a tenorized Barry White —all merged into one. His is one of those distinctive voices that stick with you.

The opening cut “Always There” showcases latin-flava’d keyboard skills from Howard with plenty percussion too. Dawson pours the flowing melody over top the mid-tempo track, with some tight backing vocals from the studio singers.

David DawsonDawson writes much of the material on the album. Highlights include “Still Haven’t Found” which describes someone searching for satisfaction and offering the Answer. Again, tight instrumentation and vocals dominate.

Several cuts ignore musical boundaries and are hard to pigeon hole. (It’s so nice to be rid of pigeons.) “Future Worth Fighting For” is a good example, with its dance beats flecked with conga to boot. Chorus vocals from St. James COGIC Choir in Warren Ohio drive this one, with Dawson intoning inspiration in front.

The title cut “That’s The Love” also falls into this category, with flashes of rap and occasional detours into vocoder land figuring in the otherwise old school inspirations that define the composition. Sure, this may sound chaotic, and in other hands it might fall apart. But with Dawson’s writing and Howard’s production, these songs work, both here and throughout the project.

Other points of note are the funky, praise party remix of the title track and the slowed-up, soulful spoken word groove “There’s No One Like Jesus”.

An impressive debut from both the label and from Dawson, That’s The Love satisfies anyone’s desire for Word-based musical creativity.

Producer: Eddie Howard Jr., Roger Hatfield
album release date: July, 2001
New Spirit / Red Ball

— reviewed by Stan North

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