Beverly Crawford - Churchy Christmas/Joy To the World

Beverly Crawford
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Churchy Christmas/Joy To the World is more than just the title of Beverly Crawford’s new holiday album. The title is also a description of the spirit that went into this project. Churchy Christmas is a brash, unapologetically preachy record that means the remind every listener about the true meaning of the season. In short, this is one for the church folk. People who lament each holiday recording released by a pop star that includes Christmas and pop oriented tunes will have no such complaints here.

Long time gospel music fans will not be surprised because they know that Crawford is one of them.  Crawford was a preacher’s kid who started singing in a vocal group with her sisters at a young age. She came to public prominence as a singer on BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel after the Jones responded favorably to a video made by Crawford’s husband of the Crawford sisters singing.

Churchy Christmas/Joy To the World is more than just the title of Beverly Crawford’s new holiday album. The title is also a description of the spirit that went into this project. Churchy Christmas is a brash, unapologetically preachy record that means the remind every listener about the true meaning of the season. In short, this is one for the church folk. People who lament each holiday recording released by a pop star that includes Christmas and pop oriented tunes will have no such complaints here.

Long time gospel music fans will not be surprised because they know that Crawford is one of them.  Crawford was a preacher’s kid who started singing in a vocal group with her sisters at a young age. She came to public prominence as a singer on BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel after the Jones responded favorably to a video made by Crawford’s husband of the Crawford sisters singing.

That background explains what Beverly Crawford brings to Churchy Christmas – in addition to the powerful vocals that she displays throughout the album. The quality that the faithful will appreciate about Churchy Christmas is the authenticity of Crawford and the other featured vocalists.

Churchy Christmas features up-tempo arrangements of longtime Christmas favorites such as “Go Tell It On the Mountain” and “Joy To the World.” The cut “Don’t 4 Get the Baby” is a preachy reminder of who, what and why we celebrate each Dec. 25. But that’s Okay.

Crawford’s name is up front. However, she is secure enough to share mic time with strong vocalists and instrumentalists. In fact, two of the project’s strongest moments come on tunes with male vocalists in the lead. The ballad “I Wanna Be More” is not a Christmas song. However, this cut, sung from the standpoint of Christ imploring a person to embrace a spiritual relationship, reminds us one of the things Jesus came to earth to achieve. “Hosanna” is a joyful call and response song that combines R&B instrumentation with classic gospel choral vocals.

It seems that the holiday retail industrial complex brings Christmas to us a little earlier every year. Those folks aren’t thinking about the spiritual dimensions of what is one of the two most significant holidays on the Christian calendar. They just want to separate your money from your pocket. And that’s fine; the reason we brave those Black Friday crowds is to buy gifts for the people we love. But Beverly Crawford’s Churchy Christmas/Joy To the World is an unapologetic reminder that Jesus is the reason for the season. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 

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