Beverly Crawford - Thank You For All You've Done

Beverly Crawford
Beverly Crawford Sweeping Through the City.jpg
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Artists everywhere count remaining relevant as a primary concern. They will update their look, refresh their sound and reboot their image in order to reach that demographic that marketers, radio and record labels desire. But from opening seconds of Thank You For All You've Done, Beverly Crawford’s latest project, it becomes clear that relevance - defined as getting airplay during the 3 to 6 p.m. rush hour drive time – is not what drives the Gainesville native to make music.

That first song is “Sweeping Through the City,” a foot stomping, shouting gospel classic made famous by Shirley Caesar. You cannot listen to “Sweeping Through The City” without appreciating classic gospel’s power to move and to evoke the spirit of God. Nor can you hear this track without coming away with an understanding of how gospel music influenced nearly every form subsequent form of popular music.

Artists everywhere count remaining relevant as a primary concern. They will update their look, refresh their sound and reboot their image in order to reach that demographic that marketers, radio and record labels desire. But from opening seconds of Thank You For All You've Done, Beverly Crawford’s latest project, it becomes clear that relevance - defined as getting airplay during the 3 to 6 p.m. rush hour drive time – is not what drives the Gainesville native to make music.

That first song is “Sweeping Through the City,” a foot stomping, shouting gospel classic made famous by Shirley Caesar. You cannot listen to “Sweeping Through The City” without appreciating classic gospel’s power to move and to evoke the spirit of God. Nor can you hear this track without coming away with an understanding of how gospel music influenced nearly every form subsequent form of popular music.

Vocally, Crawford makes few concessions to modern musical sensibilities. She is an unabashed old-school gospel singer with range that moves from growl to soaring heights as is heard on the title track.  The singers invited to sing with Crawford on Thank You For All You've Done all possess similar qualities. This comes through on “I Need You Now,” the next to last song on the album. That track begins and ends with blues-inspired guitar riffs by son Todd Jr. and then features Crawford and a host of other singers added their rich vocals to lyrics expressing their dependence on God. “Lord I come in humility/Asking you to rescue me/Broken hearted/My head is bowed/This I know I need you now.”

This tack also features another quality common in classic gospel music – a full choir with a mixture of voices that serves as another instrument by adding depth and power to the chorus.

It would be tempting to say that Crawford’s album Thank You For All You've Done returns gospel fans to the old landmark. However, Crawford never really left. That’s not to say that Crawford resists all contemporary techniques, but those techniques never detract from her artistic and spiritual vision. There is a lot to respect in that approach and even more for old and new gospel fans to enjoy in Thank You For All You've Done. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 

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