Tyrone Powell & The Friends of Christ
The Relationship Project
Gone are the days when quality Gospel came exclusively from the big name record conglomerates. It's no longer
a 'story' when a superb CD comes from the offices of a smaller label. This time out, the label is
Smith Gospel Music, the same group who brought us the latest from Lorraine Stancil.Producer: Tyrone Powell
album release date: January, 2000
Innovative and fresh, Tryone Powell & The Friends of Christ (FOC) debut
with a production-driven set
that brings melting balladry together with with downright edgy approaches to musical ministry. The album is
titled The Relationship Project, which serves to encompass their ministerial focus. They
describe that as a dedication to "the renewing, restoration, and development
of relationships with the Lord, spouses, family and friends."
The final cut on the CD is "The Call", and serves to encompass the title concept.
The lyrics emphasize and exhort the importance of a relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ:
"The Lord is calling / Calling for relationship / Don't you hear him calling, calling / Calling your name". The cut begins with a
soft and simple structure, with the chorus underlying various vocal ad lib leads, before developing into
a focused worship. Simultaneous personal worship prayers by individual
choir members becoming evident by the time the cut ends.
Typical of the offerings by the 14-member choral ensemble is "Awesome God", which only vaguely resembles the familiar contemporary
hymn by that name. FOC turns it into a worshipful musical adventure, complete with punchy vocal interspersions, DJ ad libs and
various electric guitar add-ons.
"That's What I Bring" is another quality praise groove, albeit a short one, with Tyrone Powell bringing
lead vocals, as he does for many of the cuts on this disc. Equal on the groove scale, but with a different vibe, is "Jesus I Love U", which
excels as a personal one-on-one song (sing along with it, and you go straight into worship). It's an urban smoothie with a
perfect mix of soft vocals, gentle keyboards, and riding rhythms.
Thirteen tracks deep, The Relationship Project seldom disappoints. The lyricism is worshipful and personal,
the music is keyed by innovation, and propelled by excellent production. And from the opening seconds, it
is obvious that this is a choir that sure enough sings.
Smith Gospel Music
reviewed by Stan North —
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