Troy Sneed
Call Jesus

Florida native Troy Sneed may be a new name in Gospel, but that’s not to say that he’s a rookie. As assistant Minister of Music with the respected Georgia Mass Choir, and with links to the Florida A&M University Gospel Choir, Sneed has forged an impressive resumé over recent years.

With this live solo project on Savoy Records, Sneed Troy Sneedpulls these connections together to combine traditional choir power with his own versatile vocals, which are featured on every song. The strong sections of the project are the slower tempo, praise and worship cuts, such as "Reverence To Thy Name", which apart from being a beautifully written song, showcase choir dynamics and demonstrate Sneed's skill as a director. "The Lord Is On Your Side" is another strong cut, with hook-riddled call and response musical lines combined with a soft jazzy band grooves.

With the involvement of fellow Floridean and jazz-meister, Bruce Allen (from the Gospel jazz duo Allen and Allen) on horns and strings, the band is solid throughout the project. The new arrangement of the Margaret Allison classic “This Old Building” works well, especially with the funky instrumental interludes. This is also one of a number of songs on the disc where Sneed's spoken audience encouragement segment is overlaid over the track. While these can often be distracting, that's not the case here, as they have a down-home friendly edge that's both sincere and appropriate to the style.

Not as successful are some of the other more traditional cuts, where Troy SneedSneed often uses a high and powerful falsetto voice ("Walk Around Heaven", for example). Although the live audience appreciation of this style and sound is evident on the recording, it won't be everyone's favorite segment, especially on hearing it more than once. It's probably more of a 'live' thing, or it might be a personal taste.

However, even with a few shortcomings, this traditional project is worthy of some spins. Credit Troy Sneed with a solid start.

Producer: Troy Sneed
Savoy Records

— reviewed by Stan North —

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