Veda McCoy
Renewed Strength

DC-based Veda McCoy delivers a superb independent project on this, her third solo album. As a Shirley Caesar singer and an accomplished stage actor, her experience, musical maturity and incredible vocals cannot be denied, with all Renewed Strength CDthree of these characteristics evident throughout Renewed Strength.

Gorgeous arrangements and clean production values mark the project, which predominantly consists of live concert tracks (recorded at Greater Mt. Calvary Holy Church in DC), embellished with studio overdubs. McCoy’s vocals and energy come through best on the more live-sounding tracks, where the rhythm loops don’t distract, and happily, there’s lots of those to choose from in this set.

The mid-tempo title track is the hightlight —a hook-laced song of encouragement where McCoy delivers a superb songbird melody backdropped by beautiful harmonies from a tight vocal ensemble. The enthusiastic congregational participation on the reprise is a worthy inclusion.

Also notable is McCoy’s interpretation of Jeffery LaValley’s “He’s Not A Little Baby”, a magnificent composition recently heard on Charles Fold and the Charles Fold Singers’ 1998 MCG debut, One Day. Lyrically, while acknowledging the fact that Jesus was once an infant, the song directs the listener to the fact that He now reigns omnipotent and all-powerful.

An interesting sidebar to this project is that William Becton lends a strong production arm and also contributes his trademark drum loop programming to many tracks. The fellow DC native is most noticeable however, on the studioVeda McCoy version of “He Set Me Free”, in which he adds his familiar MC-ish commentary to the heavily-produced and groovy vibe. “More Than A Conqueror” is another head-bobbin’ standout, with its infectious dance-influenced beat softened by rich harmonies.

Credit for the beauty of Renewed Strength must also go to McCoy’s husband, Minister Marvin E. McCoy, as he not only produces, takes on keyboard and organ duties, but also plays a very strong songwriting role. Some of the album’s most powerful tracks come from his pen (“More Than A Conqueror”, “Renewed Strength”, “He’s Working It Out”, Almighty God”, “Jesus Is A Rock”), suggesting that industry insiders would be wise to watch out for his work.

With an album of this depth of quality, be on notice that Veda McCoy’s days as “Gospel’s best-kept secret” are numbered.

Producers: Marvin E. McCoy, William Becton
album release date: October, 1999
MyJon Productions

— reviewed by Stan North

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