Neville Peter - Simply Hymn, Volume One

Neville Peter
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There is a recent trend in modern Christian and Gospel music for some of the biggest stars to record albums of classic hymns.  Many have interpreted these songs by bringing them forward with modern arrangements, nodding to the hip-hop beats and synthesized arrangements that dominate contemporary Gospel.  So it is all the more surprising to hear Neville Peter's Simply Hymn, Volume One, a disc of well known hymns that consists of only a piano and a voice.  And what a voice.  Neville Peter sounds a bit like BeBe Winans on lower notes but is a dead ringer for Carl Anderson in the upper ranges, with a clear, beautiful tone and crisp phrasing. And Simply Hymn is the perfect vehicle for that voice, keeping Peter's interpretive skills in front with the sparsest of arrangements behind him. 

There is a recent trend in modern Christian and Gospel music for some of the biggest stars to record albums of classic hymns.  Many have interpreted these songs by bringing them forward with modern arrangements, nodding to the hip-hop beats and synthesized arrangements that dominate contemporary Gospel.  So it is all the more surprising to hear Neville Peter's Simply Hymn, Volume One, a disc of well known hymns that consists of only a piano and a voice.  And what a voice.  Neville Peter sounds a bit like BeBe Winans on lower notes but is a dead ringer for Carl Anderson in the upper ranges, with a clear, beautiful tone and crisp phrasing. And Simply Hymn is the perfect vehicle for that voice, keeping Peter's interpretive skills in front with the sparsest of arrangements behind him. 

The opening number, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" is the first of many chilling moments on a disc that has no weak spots, but which is transcendent on such classics as  "Whiter than Snow" and "What A Friend We Have."  The classic songs on this album have proven themselves over the course of decades in churches around the world, and Peter reminds us why.   They are in their essence simple, timeless songs of faith and praise.  And Peter strips them to their core,not in the upbeat, uber-mixed sound of much of modern Gospel, but rather in a tone of quiet contemplation, beautiful and extremely moving in its simplicity.  He shows them as gems and in the process makes a disc that is one too.  Highly recommended.

By Chris Rizik

 
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