James Grear & Co.
The Next Level
James Grear & Co. came charging onto the scene in 1998 with their debut,
Don’t Give Up, which charted well on both Billboard’s Gospel
and R&B charts (see review).Producers: Baby D, Akello, LA, Denver Wright
album release date: March, 2000
While many artists flounder on their sophomore
such is not the case for this Minnesota-based ensemble. With The Next
Level, the appropriate title rings true as they step up their efforts to
deliver a diverse standout project.
The 15-track album from Born Again Records has several distinct
flavors, ranging from traditional to dance to urban contemporary. In each
effort, Grear & Co. showcase awesome vocal arrangements as well as
One of the notable tracks on the project is titled
“Bet My Life”. This song speaks of God’s unique ability to show up
whenever His people need Him. This funky track has an infectious hook
that will make your head nod and your heart rejoice.
The “jam” of this album is easily “We’re Coming Up”. This song
switches beats mid-stream from an urban funk-fest to a dance track
that will definitely keep you moving.
And you can add “Power” to the
list of song successes, as this traditional cut with outstanding vocal
arrangements will easily get you pumped for church on Sunday or worship
throughout the week.
While the group counts the distinctively-voiced Jameica Nesby
(daughter of renowned former Sounds of Blackness lead vocalist,
Anne Nesby) as one of its members, the
doesn’t stop there. Both as a group and in solo capacity, all
members’ pipes offer up solid and enjoyable earfood.
The diversity in this project is found not only within the musical
content but in the lyrics also. Addressing a variety of issues,
Grear & Co. explore different subject matters in an effort to take
things to the next level.
“Believe In Yourself” is a song promoting
self-motivation and encourages the listener to focus on a goal and
believe in his or herself to reach their desire. “What Kind of Friend
Are You” addresses friendship and suggests the importance of loyalty
and commitment within a relationship. “From This Moment On” deals
with relationships and how a person vows to be committed from this stage of
Grear and his 7-voice ensemble have made a definite mark with
this new project. The musical experience that the project
embarks upon assures us that James Grear & Co. have indeed moved
to “the next level”.
Born Again Records
reviewed by Gerard Bonner —
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