For those who like to engage in “Where Are They Know?” discussions, this one is for
you. Howard Smith is back in the mix. Producers: Andrae Fisher and Scott V. Smith
Ears 2 Hear Music
An entire album retrospective could be
fashioned around the quiet exploits of this veteran Gospel artist, from his time
as a member of The Testimonial Singers (who later made some changes to become The
Winans), to his involvement as vocalist on Andrae Crouch albums, to his solo career
with Light Records back in the 80’s with his Grammy-nominated album Totally
Committed, featuring the hit single “I Wanna Get To Know You".
This independently-produced project is an obvious labor of love, with well-crafted
songs and thought-provoking lyrics. Smith uses his airy-smooth voice, lined with
an occasional controlled grit, to bring out a soulfulness of both tune and word
that is sometimes lacking in today’s emphasis on beats. The voice has lost
nothing over the years; in fact, the length of the span between projects only
enhances the appreciation for a vocal talent this large.
The album generates a definite 70’s flow, not dated, but revamped to incorporate a
musicality appropriate to right now. Cuts such as “What Did You Do With
Jesus” and “Encouraged” linger in the ear even after one spin. Other stellar
tracks are “Not Now” and “Turn It Around”. With the involvement of some of
the most respected session singers around (Yvonne Williams, Howard McCrary
and Alfie Durio), and with musicians such as Paul Jackson Jr. and Andre
Gouche lending a hand, an easy soul flow vibe is carried throughout every
minute of the project.
The production values
embedded into the disc by veterans Andrae Fisher and Scott V. Smith make
Seasons Change a tour-de-force, providing a quality that goes beyond
that heard from some of the major production houses.
Seasons Change is an intensely listenable and mellow project with a sound
unlike any other on the Gospel market today, and Howard Smith is a unique
voice that deserves to be heard.
reviewed by Stan North —
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