G Wright - All Things are Possible (2008)

G Wright
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The title of G. Wright's debut CD, All Things Are Possible, can also be said to serve as the gospel singer's personal philosophy. Wright aims to compose music that will encourage his listeners. Wright won't have any trouble capturing their attention with his singing voice - his phrasing and vocal range is reminiscent of Luther Vandross. And sure enough, Wright counts Vandross as one of his musical influences.

It's dangerous to say that Wright or any singer sounds like the great Vandross. There's always the risk that these young vocalists will cease being original and try to become like Luther - or at least what pop culture tells them about how Vandross sounded. And what pop culture tells them about the Vandross sound often focuses on style over substance and is a caricature that conflates a few well-known improvised verbal riffs and runs into the whole of his vocal delivery.

The title of G. Wright's debut CD, All Things Are Possible, can also be said to serve as the gospel singer's personal philosophy. Wright aims to compose music that will encourage his listeners. Wright won't have any trouble capturing their attention with his singing voice - his phrasing and vocal range is reminiscent of Luther Vandross. And sure enough, Wright counts Vandross as one of his musical influences.

It's dangerous to say that Wright or any singer sounds like the great Vandross. There's always the risk that these young vocalists will cease being original and try to become like Luther - or at least what pop culture tells them about how Vandross sounded. And what pop culture tells them about the Vandross sound often focuses on style over substance and is a caricature that conflates a few well-known improvised verbal riffs and runs into the whole of his vocal delivery. This has turned a whole generation of singers into verbal gymnasts who mistake over-singing for the passion and precision that Vandross learned through hard work and by listening to the masters such as Ella Fitzgerald, Dionne Warwick and Diana Ross.

Fortunately, Wright learned the correct lessons from Vandross. He learned precise enunciation and how to use those verbal flourishes sparingly and to elicit an emotional response from his listeners. See, the one thing that must remain paramount for any gospel singer is to make sure that the songs minister to the heart of the listener. A gospel singer's goal is to introduce people to Christ, encourage the listener, and inform the listener about God's mercy and awesome power.

That brings us back to Wright's view of his music as a way to encourage the listener. At a time when many gospel artists produce records filled with dance-ready praise and worship tunes, All Things Are Possible comes off as a more balanced effort. There are some head nodders such as "Receive My Love," "Talkin' About Love" and "Stand On the Rock," which lead the album off. "Receive My Love," is a mid-tempo tune with an R&B influenced bass line. "Talkin' About Love" has an electronic beat that might remind some of house music while Wright tests his contemporary Christian chops with the rock influenced "Stand On the Rock." The tune "His Love Never Ends," is a mid-tempo song with an Afro-Caribbean beat.

However, these three songs are different from the work heard on the balance of the album. I think Wright wanted the rest of the album to serve as a quiet alternative to this loud world in which we live. Some of the standout songs include "Love Always," "Renew In Me" and the bonus track "What Love's Supposed to Be." All of these songs showcase Wright's talents as lyricist. Those lyrics will encourage the listener to maintain faith in God. The slower melodies really give the chance to appreciate Wright's vocal abilities. And while it's nice to "get ones praise on," Wright's decision to use most of the album to make us listen to his encourage words makes All Things Are Possible a worthwhile project.

By Howard Dukes

 
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