Get Your Praise On
Brothers Percy and Jeral Gray
veered off into uncharted territory back in 1998 with the self-titled
debut of their new Chicago choir creation, New
Direction (see review of debut project).Producers: Percy and Jeral Gray, Kern Brantley
album release date: October 3, 2000
Known for their youthful daring and Gospel verve, their enthusiasm
spreads like a contagion, bringing all in earshot out of their seats
in dance. And they’re known for having one of the tightest bands
in the country bring it on. Titled Get Your Praise On, this
sophomore project offers all that was evident in their debut, plus
a little something extra.
The CD explodes with back to back blowout band jams.
“I Came To Jesus” ranks
with as high a hot factor as you’ll find in Gospel
Shawn Hodo takes the solo reigns with passion,
running the time
honored but paraphrased to
through his lightly rasped cords.
One of Gospel’s
heralded horn outfits
(Vinnie Ciesielski Roy Agee, Jim Horn,
Steve Patrick, Doug Moffett) brings
brassy fire into the mix, adding oomph
and heat to an already powerfully hot
The album’s second cut is “New Revelation”, which again
generates open mouthed admiration for the instrumentals
masters that inhabit the band. It blazes.
Where this project diverges from the first is in the inclusion of several quality
church cuts. Not that the other songs aren’t for church folk, but there are some
gems here that make you visualize the pews, the robes,
the deacons and
the mothers. Prime among these is “Come On In The
House”, an invitational slow ride of organ, piano and
drums that showcases the gifting of Shanta Gray
along with some nice slowly punctuated choir vocals.
“Glory, Glory” is another, putting the never-tired ‘burdens down’
lyric to a mid-tempo movement. And again with those horns!
This song is preceded with an introductory, semi-interlude
type of track (“Grandma’s Glory”) which goes waaaay back
to the original version of this classic (grandma
drama vocals included!). There’s so much nice ol'-style
singing on this interlude that it’s a probably a
misnomer to call it an interlude.
“Hold Out” is a slowly building and powerful number, narrated with
prophetic class by Vincent Gray: "Hold out, the Son is going to
shine". Relying on drawn out harmonies and soft phrasing, the
song moves into louder and triumphant victory with New Direction
emptying their all into the exhortation.
What else? Well there’s one of those club/dance cuts
that got attention last time out. Whereas "Lighthouse”
was the joint on the first project, “Victory” takes
that spot on this one. Emoni Wilkens takes her time with
considerable jazz flair on the beautifully rendered “What Manner
of Man”, and the slow closing cut “’Til We Meet” makes
for a pleasing end to the album.
With the Gray brothers responsible for songwriting throughout
most of the project, along with an occasional nod to Gregory Booth,
Get Your Praise On gives you consistency. If you
liked the first, you’ll love the second!
reviewed by Stan North —
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