New Gospel Releases, Part 2

Title: Unspoken

Artist: Tonex

Label: Zomba

Catalog No.:88697-44669-2

Format:  CD

Release Date: March 17, 2009
Tonex is back with a new release, Unspoken, that will challenge traditional gospel listeners to expand their music stylistic parameters.  With various producers including Tonex, Dwayne Swan, Rhema K, T. Bizzy and Shomari “Sho” Wilson, Unspoken presents a very radical and eclectic artistic palette that parallels the character of Tonex, who is known for pushing the perceptive boundaries of gospel artists.  From the first track, “Fiyah,” Tonex asserts a bold statement highlighting his prowess as a “hot” and “saved” artist who is spiritually free and on fire for the Lord.  This message of free in salvation, steeped in an “In Yo Face” hip-hop groove, may be difficult to identify.  However, with careful listening one realizes that Tonex has positioned the good news in street dialect, which transcends traditional church walls-this project is definitely speaking to those on the highways and byways!  Nevertheless, if one is not sure of his conviction, just listen to “Joy,” where Tonex sings about how his life has changed as a result of the love of God.  Other notable tracks demonstrating Tonex’s eclectic renderings are “Again,” “Love Me 4 Me” and “Sneeze.”

Unspoken not only speaks to a broad audience beyond the traditional church, but also gives us a better understanding of Tonex as a person.  He has come through many trials and, therefore, has an enormous range of sounds and images to offer the diverse body of Christ.

Title: Reloaded

Artist: The Supreme Angels

Label: Malaco

Catalog No.: N/A

Format: CD

Release Date:  March 24, 2009

The Supreme Angels are continuing the legacy of sincerity and dedication to gospel quartet music that the late Howard “Slim” Hunt (who passed away in 2007) developed over several decades.  With Reloaded, their new release for Malaco, the Supreme Angels maintain the group’s traditional character while also creating a more contemporary sound through the lead vocals of Quincy King, Hunt’s son.  While all of the songs demonstrate contemporary gospel quartet performance styles, the opening track, “Wicked Land,”  is an up-tempo original that illustrates the essence of the current genre with its great story-line and tight harmonies accented by synth horns and a driving rhythm section.

“Hold On and Never Give Up” is another notable track couched in a moderate tempo groove that challenges the listener to maintain faith in God no matter the circumstances.  Other worthy songs are the bluesy “Don’t Let the Devil Steal Your Joy” and the solemn rendition of “I Need Thee.”  Reloaded allows the listener to experience an accurate representation of gospel quartet music that is simplistic, thoughtful, earthy and, most important to believers, the message of God in song.

Posted by Tyron Cooper