Jackiem Joyner - Church Boy

Jackiem Joyner
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Selling on the secular charts yet raised in the realm of the sanctified: it’s a typical circumstance that defines many musicians, and what dictates their direction as artists differs from one to the next, since some see returning to spiritual leanings as an embrace of the past or inevitable recognition of their future (or fan base). Some performers don’t segue from one genre to the other very well and it can result in losing listeners on both sides, but that certainly isn’t the case with Jackiem Joyner, since his fourth CD, Church Boy, embodies his gifts and expands his range with nearly impeccable results.

Selling on the secular charts yet raised in the realm of the sanctified: it’s a typical circumstance that defines many musicians, and what dictates their direction as artists differs from one to the next, since some see returning to spiritual leanings as an embrace of the past or inevitable recognition of their future (or fan base). Some performers don’t segue from one genre to the other very well and it can result in losing listeners on both sides, but that certainly isn’t the case with Jackiem Joyner, since his fourth CD, Church Boy, embodies his gifts and expands his range with nearly impeccable results.

As he usually does, Mr. Joyner pours his multi-instrumentalist methods into established hits and original songs that honor the Most High and the existence of unconditional love: “Free Fallin’” is a jubilant co-composed jam that interlaces hip-hop scratches and a subtle smattering of wiry background vocals, while “Sunday Jam” is just as rhythmic, but more textured due to its meandering sense of melody and sparkling dual use of keyboards and guitar. Staccato percussion and the tender thread produced by the notes of his sax are what drive the soothing “This Is My Song.” Are they overtly religious or intended to be such? No, but those songs can help one transition from a Sunday sermon to an afternoon brunch or lively dinner date without a hitch.

Mr. Joyner’s reinterpretations of some instantly-familiar grooves also accomplish what some artists twice his age have trouble accomplishing: paying tribute to the original while showcasing his aptitude for an individualized and intriguing update. “Jesus Loves Me” is probably the most minimal of the covers, piercing without brash overuse of instrumentation or vocals, and his take on Kirk Franklin’s “Hosanna” actually feels like two separate songs thanks to its traditional first half and its glittery, galvanizing second half that could pack the aisles of a church sanctuary or a meet-and-greet mixer with hip-swaying and happily gyrating folks. Another Franklin favorite, “I Smile,” retains its fun and funky feel, and “You Are Good” is re-interpreted with a more electric guitar and a slower tempo, but is still a radiant and redemptive listen.

For some, the house of worship is where the holy or the heartbroken must go to fellowship and receive guidance, but Jackiem Joyner’s latest proves that if intentions are pure and there’s recognition of a Higher Power, spirituality can radiate from how they honor and express His gifts. This Church Boy’s skill set is evident and if you didn’t get the good news before, his newest work will certainly convert you into a believer. Highly Recommended.

By Melody Charles

 
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