God @ Work

The sounds of Excelsior will be splashing the airwaves this summer.

The contemporary choir, hand-picked by Verity Records and hailing from Minneapolis, makes its national debut with a seasonally hot release God @ Work. Excelsior sets out to make its mark on the industry, and has tools in hand —strong material and quality vocals —to begin the job.

God @ Work CDWith many of the album's sixteen cuts penned by F. Darnell Davis, the group’s founder, a diversity in music styles is the key in defining Excelsior. While mostly defined by the contemporary, the choir offers up some ethnic and traditional flare as well.

“Hold On” features the uplifting flows of Damon Washington as the entrée to a pared-down Rhodes track. The choir sings the harmonized hook as Christopher Heille contributes some sweet acoustic guitar licks. This is one of the inspirational (versus Gospel) tunes on the project. Joining it is "Keep your Head Up".

Quan Howell sings a mellifluous lead on “White As Snow”, which serves as a brief, separately-tracked intro to “Your Blood”. The percussive interlude of “Latin Praise” mixes things up a bit, as does "Prayer Changes Things", but in a more traditional way.

On “Things Will Work Out”, the choir puts on another face and delivers the more widely known sound of the big mid-west choirs. Jewel Green starts off on lead and then hands off to David Hurst, who is somewhat of a vocal chameleon. In his lower register his tone at times will remind you of John P. Kee, but as he escalates his upper register changes to a Donnie McClurkin brightness. The mid range is all his own.

Hurst makes another appearance on “Calvary” – a bluesy sway that also features the electric guitar strokes of Mike Scott. The choir serves as a colorful backdrop for a tune that could easily be used as a theatrical scene score.

Joining the ranks of those who are lifting up the name of Jesus in song, Excelsior casts its vote that whatever you need, God’s got it.

Producers: F. Darnell Harris, Tanabe Gatlin, David Hurst
album release date: June 5, 2001
Verity Records

— reviewed by Melanie Clark

  All content in GospelFlava © copyright 2001. No information to be reprinted or re-broadcast from this site without the expressed written consent of GospelFlava.com. All rights reserved.

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