David P. Stevens and Friends
From Thoughts To Actions

Sometimes is hurts to see a good project go unnoticed. If only people knew...

That’s the overwhelming feeling one gets after listening to From Thoughts to Actions from David P. Stevens and Friends. In fact,From Thoughts To Actions CD ‘listen’ is not what you do with this album. “Immerse” is a better description, for the music, presentation and lyrics simply engulf you.

The overpowering atmosphere here is that cool vibe derived from acoustic soul. Vocals, both lead and harmonied backing choruses take prominence, and yet the studio instrumentation (which possesses enough life and energy to sound ‘live’) somehow subtley get in your face. Stevens uses abundant acoustic guitar and rhythms to maximum understated effect on all the instrumental tracks, fusing every element to direct the attention toward the message.

As vocalist on two of the project’s 10 cuts, J’Mel Jones impacts with her soft soulfire voice that drifts over acoustic guitar, sweet strings and soft crisp percussion of the georgeously comforting “Rest Your Soul In Me”. The song recounts the sorrow of a young women experiencing an aching loneliness, and her turning to Jesus, casting her cares on Him. On the more rhythmic, scripture-filled “Romans 12:2”, Jones treats the quick-turning melody with nuanced vocal flairs alongside a stacked and patterned vocal chorus from Stevens.

Another shining vocalist is Charles Dixon on “God Speaks”, which admonishes (in the voice of God) not to put Him ‘in the background’ when He has commissioned us to serve Him. With a range that moves from breathy tenor to soaringly strong falsetto, Dixon succeeds in delivering the force of the lyric. Musically, there’s a Terrence Trent D’Arby influence here.

Other vocalists are equally startling: N’Neka Davis, Juan Sessoms, Tom Sligh, Larry Marshall and Keith Floyd offer individual voices on diverse cuts, yet share the same spirit of laidback intensity that is the hallmark of this project.

David P. StevensWhile the project’s mastermind steps beyond the curtain of the instrumental track on several occasions to offer backing vocals, in two instances Stevens gives us the complete package.

“I Don’t Care” and “Unclear As To What?” feature him blending his own lead vocals into his guitar-based instrumental mixes. Unconventional in title, these jewels also sparkle in their musical originality. Over a gentle progression of chord changes, “I Don’t Care” expresses a personal conviction to live for Jesus Christ and not care what people say about it. “Unclear As To What?” is cryptically titled to urge others to just try Jesus.

If you're looking for real music, true soul and a refreshing lyrical edge in your Gospel, then you’ve just found it in From Thoughts To Actions.

Producers: David P. Stevens, Andy Selby
album release date: mid 2000
Camp of David Productions

— reviewed by Stan North

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