Tramaine Hawkins
Still Tramaine

There’s something entirely appropriate about the choice of this album’s title.

Tramaine Hawkins CDStill Tramaine is just that; consistency is the overriding theme here. It’s been seven years since the last solo project from the world-renowned vocalist, yet her mezzo-soprano pipes are as clear-toned, as versatile and as capable of generating spine-tingling as they ever were.

For her Gospo Centric debut, Tramaine Hawkins teams up with some familiar names to deliver twelve songs, primarily ballads. Label-mate Bishop Walter Hawkins produces the lion’s share of the material, along with contributions from son Jamie Hawkins (who is signed to Monami Entertainment/Elektra and primed for neo-soul solo debut).

Tramaine returns to a stable of veteran songwriters —those who have delivered for her before.

Calvin Bernard Rhone’s “Justified By Faith” is the lead single from this project, and in typical Rhone fashion, wraps a Tramaine Hawkins CDpowerfully profound message with a well-crafted melody. Carl Wheeler’s arrangement, The Love Center Choir’s backing vocals, combined with the musicianship of Kevin Stancil, Jonathan Dubose and Joel Smith would make this one a winner in any camp, but with Tramaine out in front, it becomes a knock-out champion.

V. Michael McKay also returns, this time with “I’m Stronger”. Anchored again by solid accompaniment forces, Tramaine often dances on the outer bounds of the song’s melody in her improvisation, filling it with soaring forays and rippling nuances. Rev. Quincy Fielding Jr. writes “All Is Not Lost”.

Other songwriters include Jason White with Tameka Beard on the upbeat “Great Change”, which in its message recalls the classic song "Changed" which Tramaine sang on the first Love Alive album. Tracy Shy Ellis with Bryant Pugh combine to write the catchy “Dedicated”.

The remainder of the album is veritable Hawkins festival, with Walter Hawkins penning “Simple Song”, “I Wear a Crown” and “I’ll See You Again” (with Jamie Hawkins), and some familiar voices from The Love Center Choir peppering the project with vocal support (San Franklin-Stancil, Brenda Roy, Antoine Timmons...).

Other Hawkins Albums
Click for review Click for review Tramaine Hawkins has sung on several recent albums, including with Walter Hawkins on Love Alive V and on Trin-i-tee 5:7's Spiritual Love.

She has also sung on each of the above-shown albums. Click on each of the CD images for pop-up mini-reviews.
Walter joins Tramaine in duet on his song, “It’s Your Power”, hearkening back to the Love Alive glory days.

In classic style, their voices tightly blend but often venture to play off each other’s veteran song instincts. The song is thoroughly enjoyable, the perfect vehicle for both.

Jamie Hawkins’ musicianship, writing hand and joint production with father Walter Hawkins brings in a slightly edgier vibe on “Over Here”. With a semi-staccato vocal approach on chorus and a funky track to relay the anticipation of heaven, Tramaine shows her vocal versatility.

A rousing latin mix of the previously released “By His Strength” (with Walter Hawkins also in the background) both rounds out and closes this new collection.

Tramaine doesn’t so much explore new territory here as offer comfort with the tried and true. Relying on her abundant strengths, she reassures the many that have been waiting, that yes, she is Still Tramaine.

Producers: Walter Hawkins, Jamie Hawkins
album release date: August 7, 2001
Gospo Centric Records

— reviewed by Stan North

  All content in GospelFlava © copyright 2001. No information to be reprinted or re-broadcast from this site without the expressed written consent of GospelFlava.com. All rights reserved.

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