It can easily be said that Cynthia Jones is as much a neo-soul artist as she is a gospel artist. Surely, she uses a strong neo-soul flavor to carry out her lyrical gospel message. But that’s the thing about Cynthia; she’s equally adept at being either gospel or neo-soul. In fact, it defines her as an artist, but in a good way, because she stands nearly at the top of the gospel world as an artist who has deep ties into a genre that began in the early to mid 1990’s. That creates the paradox that Cynthia Jones’s music sounds fresh, but still dated.
The beauty and lure of Cynthia Jones’s new album, Journey, is that, if you know the artist, you know what you’re going to get from her, and that’s a good thing. The album is chock full of organic neo-soul, with some gospel and jazz tunes added in for good measure. With Journey, you’ll get some strong inflections of Erykah Badu’s Baduism, but also a solid gospel message that Jones never wavers from. Neo-soul may be her niche, but gospel is Cynthia Jones’s calling, and she never allows you think anything otherwise. Every song is testament of Jones’ faith and commitment to loving the Lord. But it’s okay for you to light incense, bob your head and take her music in, neo-soul style, to receive the message that Cynthia Jones is bringing to you.
Journey is Cynthia Jones’s musical odyssey through multiple genres, transcending time and space. All of the tracks were written by Jones, and she’s willing to share a piece of herself with the listener so that you can check out her mind as well as understand her heart. “Journey of Soul” is a nice intro into the album; it’s a smooth neo-soul groove that could have easily been released in 1998. You instantly feel the love from the mood Jones sets and it continues with “Unconditional,” another mellow track. Jones switches gears and steps up the pace with electro/R&B “Universal Praise,” a club jam that will surely get people dancing and praising at the same time. The album has a strong Badu influence, but Jones steps out of the neo-soul box to give you cuts like “Revival,” a pure contemporary gospel track, and “Happy Birthday,” which is steeped in contemporary jazz.
One thing is sure about Journey: you will feel the album as much as you hear it. Cynthia Jones has carved out a pretty nice space in filling both the sacred and secular music voids, and with this latest album, she doesn’t disappoint. Recommended
By Gabriel Rich