DeWayne Harvey and Unrestrained Praise
Keep Looking Up
From Florida’s Unrestrained Praise comes this project of straight-up choir material, fashioned by songwriter, director and vocalist, DeWayne Harvey.Producers: Michael Houston, DeWayne Harvey, Marc Cooper
album release date: August, 2001
Recorded live at Wakulla High School in Crawfordville, Florida and bringing together some of the state’s brightest lights (Marc Cooper assists in production, The FAMU Gospel Choir drops by with supporting vocals, songwriter Jimmy Hill kicks in a couple songs), Keep Looking Up is simply solid Gospel.
Harvey pens several songs, including the potent “Shine A Lil’ Light”, a bright, jammy number that opens the project. Dual leads from Olivia and Katrina Harvey set off this wonderfully arranged composition that breaks down into choir parts before too long.
The mid-tempo “Destiny” follows with high intensity mass vocals behind Kim Brinson’s clear alto lead. Fred Williams sings out confidently on “No Failure”, a relentlessly-rhythmed song where the key phrase, “there is no failure”, is repeated on choir chorus. It’s yet another album highpoint.
Traditional selections are plenitful, with the title cut as well as “So Much To Thank God For” the less frantic “I Don’t Wanna Be Lost” driven by familiar stomping church rhythms and standard band arrangements.
The concluding two songs on the album are a departure from the musical norm. “Hope In The Lord” is an encouraging ballad with lead by the song’s author, Michael Figgers. Hammond B3 backstops while Unrestrained Praise pops in occasionally.
“Call On Me” is a natural segue, another ballad but this one being a little more restrained. Harvey takes the solo mic here, bringing the celebration to an end with lyrics that take the voice of God calling us Himself.
Accompanying the project is the video which successfully marries the visuals to the audio, bringing home the sights and sounds of all that makes mass Gospel choirs so appealing.
Innovative Records / Tyscot Records
reviewed by Stan North —
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