Fred Hammond
God, Love and Romance

Fred Hammond will not be put in a box. The veteran vocalist, musician, producer and songwriter has seemingly done it all (even writing the play, "Christmas Who Needs It"). But a romance album?

God, Love and Romance is about all of that—, even breakups, along with great love for God. And why not Fred Hammond! The topic has been on his heart for a while.

Hammond gets production help on this 2-CD set from Calvin Rogers, Derek "DC" Clark, King Logan, Derrick Horne and Philip Feaster. CDThe album features a few MC-based interludes (featuring the very talented Pastor Jonathan Miller) along with some skits performed by Celeste Collins and Leticia Calhoun-Smith. Peppered throughout the project's two discs, they serve to unify the disparate parts.

On the first disc, Hammond captures the essence of love songs with such cuts as the jazzy, "When I Come Home to You" and the chilled out, "You Are My Love Come True". Hammond's touring band breathes smooth instrumentation into, "I'm In Love With You" as he expresses his love for his lady while thanking God for sending her.

I can almost guarantee that many folks (even those who may initially resist what Hammond is doing) will soon be using some of these songs in weddings and anniversary parties.

By its title, "The Proposal" may lead you to think it's a very slow ballad, but it actually has a nice groove that would go well in jazz clubs. Hammond sings in the role of man asking a woman to take the journey of faith and romance as his wife. Mo' Horns delivers the brass heat that they are known for. On the beautifully real "One More Try", Hammond, who has seen his share of heartache, pulls the heartstrings of those contemplating divorce.

On the second disc, Fred Hammond delivers his signature sound that people are used to, with jumping and RFC-esque songs "I Am Not Alone" and "Better Love" being high points. Both numbers encourage us to look to Jesus as their first love. Calvin Rogers, Philip Feaster and Laurence Jones do their great playing.

Lead single, "I Feel Good" is infectious in its simplicity, serving to encourage those who are depressed or down. The pop-styled, worship song, "Amazing Love" is one of those monumental Fred Hammond hits, helped tremendously by his gift for putting into words how people feel about their God. J. Moss and Israel Houghton join Fred to bring a three-headed vocal beast to tackle, "Call On Him", a high-energy song from start to finish.

There is so much more to check out, including the remixed, "He Lives (2011)" and "You're Gonna Make It" featuring James Fortune.

God, Love and Romance is a ground-breaking release that aims to change the way Christians deal with issues of marriage, romance and even breakups.

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Production: Various
album release date: Jan 31, 2012
Fhammond Music, Verity Gospel

— review by Dwayne Lacy

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