TRU2GOD, the new project from Charles Woolfork on Marxan Records

Charles Woolfork and Covenant

Charles Woolfork has always been on the cusp of the urban edge, beginning with his ear-popping debut with Praise Covenant Choir on Benson back in the mid 90's. Amidst the beats and hip-hop grooves however, he has always retained that Tru2God CD special knack for smooth-chorus, street-based worship grooves. That continues with his third project, Tru2God.

The opening super-studio theme track "Tru2God" jump-starts all jeeps within earshot. Over a percolating nuance-filled track that quickly nestles into a pocket, Woolfork throws down a hyper lead vocal in a pledge to serve God, bringing in a rap that gets a call-and-response from the lively Covenant crew. In response to Woolforks' irresistable call ("Holy Ghost home boys, make some noise"), they sure enough do. (See the free audiovisual souvenir postcard)

While Covenant makes a couple appearances on this project, much of the backing vocals come from Woolfork himself. The solo route is a departure from his previous projects, but consistent with the thematic focus on his covenant relationship with God —it's the thread that he's woven into the overall lyrical message on the album.

Vocoder maestro Rufus Troutman continues to make an impression in the Gospel industry, joining here in celebration on "Da'Holyghostparty!" by contributing multi-layers of voice box harmony on the chorus. It's one of many urbanized cuts on Tru2God. Others include "Somethin' About 'Cha" and the infectious "Jehovah's Dance", where the reggae feel gets a run. While it would have been nice to receive some live tracks in the mix of the album, there's no denying that the studio gets maximum use with its effects.

Charles Woolfork "Can't Nobody" brings a smile with its subtle melodic reference to a familiar Kirk Franklin hit, and a genius mid-track reference to the Lisa Stansfield's late 80's soul hit with the lyrics "been around the world and I-I-I....I can't find nobody".

Other highlights come from the smoother flows. "It Is Well" stands out especially, with it's thick, dense and slow harmonies that support honest and encouraging lyrics. Also noteworthy are "No One Else" with Myisha Godfrey in duet with Woolfork, plus the gently-rising "Never Let Me Down" with its spoken Spanish intro and rapidly moving bass/rhythm track.

Vocally, Woolfork has never been in better form. As writer of every track, his covenant message is clear, well-defined, and welcomed (see interview). On Tru2God, he presents a diverse and meaty album, and that goes for lyrics, music AND beats.

Producers: Charles Woolfork, Martin Ferenzi, Jerome Paden
album release date: June 27, 2000

reviewed by Stan North

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