Various Artists - Gospel Praise Duets: Many Voices, One Message (2014)

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No matter how much one loves a particular genre of music, it's nearly impossible to want to listen to a particular style ad nauseum without switching it up. Part of the beauty of it all is having options, ​and that's the appeal gospel music lovers will gravitate to when encountering Gospel Praise Duets: Many Voices, One Message.

No matter how much one loves a particular genre of music, it's nearly impossible to want to listen to a particular style ad nauseum without switching it up. Part of the beauty of it all is having options, ​and that's the appeal gospel music lovers will gravitate to when encountering Gospel Praise Duets: Many Voices, One Message.

A winsome blend of traditional and trendy styles, Gospel​ Praise Duets pairs some of the most renowned and recognizable voices together from jazz and R&B as well as contemporary praise performers​. Culled from previous releases, it's almost like a catchy 'Cliff Notes' for people who enjoy their worship songs youthful and upbeat (Mary Mary's "Shackles (Praise You)," "Bless The Lord (Son Of Man)" by Tye Tribbett & G.A.), old-fashioned tambourine and keyboard-filled call-and-response hymns (Kirk Whalum and Jonathan Butler's "Falling In Love With Jesus" and "How I Got Over" by Tim Bowman Jr. with Vickie Winans, both recorded live) and even the neo-soul twist thrown in by Earnest Pugh and Rance Allen's standout, "All Things Through Christ." 
 
The subject matter runs the expected gamut: Lalah Hathaway's throaty croon renders the message of Richard Smallwood's "Praying For Peace" delicately, while Johnathan Nelson and Purpose team up with John McClure and invigorate the set with their adrenaline-pumping "Yes Lord." Percy Bady and Canton Jones' "I Won't Give Up" flirts with a little auto-tune, and Jessica Reedy joins the Soul Seekers for an understated and introspective testimonial, "I'm Still Here." And for the couples, Tamela Mann and David Mann's devotional ballad "Heaven (The Love Song)" reminds listeners that loving one another is just as essential to life as worshiping the Creator that made us. 
 
Aside from needing a couple of more up tempo tracks---the dominance of slower and mid-level range tunes make the twelve song set seem much longer than necessary---Gospel Praise Duets packs enough of an assortment to satisfy the ways devotional music fans wants their worship served. It is a project that is consistently enjoyable, engaging and inspired. Recommended
 
By Melody Charles​
 
 

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