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Vanessa Bell Armstrong
The Experience

In this industry, vocal quality is difficult to maintain over an extended period of time. It is nearly unheard of for an artist to be even better after four decades of singing. But such is the case for the legendary Vanessa Bell Armstrong, whose continues to reinvent herself while maintaining her vocal integrity.

The latest chapter in the artist's storied career is written in her new project, aptly titled The Experience. The fourteen track set puts Armstrong in a live environment, which if you've ever heard her sing, is already a recipe for success.

CD  Recorded live in Chicago earlier this year, Armstrong comprises all of the ingredients for a wildly successful recording. Add Armstrong's impeccable voice and vocal placement to the production genius of Donald Lawrence and you have a HIT!! The multiple-time Stellar award winning producer and songwriter amassed a band and material that fits Armstrong like a glove, and places his recognizable touch on every element of the project.

Armstrong covers several cuts that work well for her. The album's lead radio single "Good News", first found on Aretha Franklin's 2003 release, gets a worthy remake in this live setting. The vocal powerhouse adds her signature passion to "Help" (also known as "S.O.S." on Vashawn Mitchell's debut release, Believe In Your Dreams).

Arguably the most piece also serves as the album's lone vocal collaboration, as Rance Allen assists in revisiting Armstrong's 80's smash, "You Bring Out the Best In Me". Indeed, this vocal duo elicit the best in each other in this dream partnership.

The album is filled with so many additional exciting moments. "Hand of The Lord" is nearly autobiographical in nature, as Armstrong expresses her gratitude for God's protection throughout her career. That appreciation is a continual theme throughout the album as found on tracks like the worship-filled "I Will Praise You" and the powerful "The Greatest Power". You can't miss "Greater", another absolute gem.

Armstrong delivers a masterpiece that is sure to be lauded among her best works to date. From her flawless voice to her unmatched vocal placement, The Experience is a bona fide hit, and deserves premium shelf space in your musical catalogue.

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Production: Donald Lawrence
album release date: 2008
EMI Gospel

— review by Gerard Bonner

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