Jeffrey LaValley
Round Two

Veteran songwriter, keyboardist, composer and arranger Minister Jeffrey LaValley has an impressive resume, with assocations from Tramaine Hawkins to The Wilmington Chester Mass Choir to the late Donald Vails.

But on Round Two, his latest self-released album, LaValley does something a little bit different. With some notable exceptions, the project is filled with musical ministry from names that haven't seen a spotlight or been plastered across a billboard.

CDLaValley describes his new project as simply including "ordinary people, with a love for the Lord, and a love for the gifts He's given us."

All songs are penned (or arranged) by the noted songwriter, with the entire project being church-geared, easily fitting into a standard Sunday morning service setting.

You can hear that on "Let Your Kingdom Come", a song with great 'memory stick', led by Jacqueline Hill and with introductory narration from Brenda Echols-Smith. On "In Your Care", LaValley calls on members of his own church (Deacon Dan Burns and Mother Etta Burns) to sing the song that he remembers "his mom singing that song in testimony service when I was a kid".

Former Chess Records recording artist Steve Hawkins takes lead vocals on "In This Place", with a semi-funky track in support.

We hadn't heard much from the unique song styling of Dottie Jones formerly of the Richard Smallwood Singers ("He Won't Leave You" and "I've Come Too Far"). So, two highlights of this project are "You Are My God" and "Show Me The Right Way", both with solos from the incomparable singer. You can never go wrong with Jones' vocal talent on a cut.

The album also includes a couple of songs sung by LaValley himself. A labor of love, indeed.

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Producer: Jeffrey LaValley
album release date: July, 2004
Candied Jamm Music

— reviewed by Stan North

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