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 three of these characteristics evident throughout Renewed
Strength.Producers: Marvin E. McCoy, William Becton
album release date: October, 1999
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 studio 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.
reviewed by Stan North —
in GospelFlava © copyright 1999. Any information reprinted
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