Howard Smith
Seasons Change

For those who like to engage in “Where Are They Know?” discussions, this one is for you. Howard Smith is back in the mix.

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 involvementHoward Smith 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.

Producers: Andrae Fisher and Scott V. Smith
Ears 2 Hear Music

— reviewed by Stan North —

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