Dave Hollister - Witness Protection

Dave Hollister
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In contemporary R&B, there are singers, and then there are sangers. While the former can technically carry a tune, the latter has the ability to create a heady blend of old school and new school, urban and mainstream and even the sanctified and secular, which is what Dave Hollister does on his sixth CD and second gospel release, Witness Protection.

As apparent from Mr. Hollister's first foray into gospel (2006's The Book of David: Vol. 1 The Transition), his being a son of a preacher man (and woman) doesn't keep him from addressing spiritual matters in his customarily straightforward and street-savvy manner. His tenor, which remains as smooth and as supple as crushed velvet, wafts through ballads and mid tempos like incense.

In contemporary R&B, there are singers, and then there are sangers. While the former can technically carry a tune, the latter has the ability to create a heady blend of old school and new school, urban and mainstream and even the sanctified and secular, which is what Dave Hollister does on his sixth CD and second gospel release, Witness Protection.

As apparent from Mr. Hollister's first foray into gospel (2006's The Book of David: Vol. 1 The Transition), his being a son of a preacher man (and woman) doesn't keep him from addressing spiritual matters in his customarily straightforward and street-savvy manner. His tenor, which remains as smooth and as supple as crushed velvet, wafts through ballads and mid tempos like incense.  Some of the songs are unabashed gospel, like the confessional "I'm Here," where he tenderly offers himself like clay to be molded as the Lord sees fit, and "Bless Me," a steadfast refusal to walk away until he receives what's he's been promised. And who could deny the redemptive power behind the soaring and falsetto-fueled ode to the Creator, "The Greatest"?

If you're a Dave Hollister fan from his B.C. days and aren't exactly converted yet ("Brenda's Got a Baby," "Before I Let You Go," "Baby Mama Drama," etc.), the second half of Witness contains more earth-influenced tracks. Mr. Hollister amps the funk factor on "More of You," eschewing the carnal and material pleasures in life while he focuses on growing closer to the Savior: "The house, the deal, the mils, the Jezebels, and the cheap grills...I'm a vessel and I need to be filled." And for those who feel that Sunday services are full of backstabbers and hypocrites, there's "Church," an honest summation of why he once struggled with worshipping in the Lord's house ("I was trying to figure out what's more important, my clothes or my soul."), but that he still gets his praise on, no matter "how the preacher spends his money" or "if the choir director is friendly."  And no song keeps it more real than "Look Up," where he speaks of God's grace to folks drowning in the undertow of today's crises:  "...By the time you knock one down, here comes another bill again. The house is in foreclosure, you've got sick little children, and can't even take em' to the doctor, cuz' they canceled your insurance..."

Worthy of another Stellar Award nomination and a spot in your changer, Witness Protection is a bit lengthy, but it never fails to sooth the spirit and warm the soul.

By Melody Charles

 
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