Monday, April 18, 2005

"Give Me That Old Time Religion"

"Gimmie that ol' time religion...It's good enough for me." - Traditional, Negro Spiritual

Words of that classic hymn of the church rings with clarity in the ears of the young in spirit. Seems like the high-demand for classic gospel projects are pushing the big companies to refinance those treasures and distribute them once again. Not only that, today's zealous consumers aren't just looking for the old stuff, but they are doing the old stuff too.

Nothing wrong with dusting off the ol' albums and putting those vinyl masterpieces back on the phonograph...And also re-producing it into
digital mp3s. A sound that was designed by the master architects of Sam Cooke & the Soul Stirrers, the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Jackson Southernaires, the Fairfield Four, the Gospel Harmonettes and the Mighty Clouds of Joy during the Golden era is now resurfacing, but with new faces.

On Tuesday, April 19, 2005, a new generation of God-fearing, gospel-
sangin' soulful talent on the GospoCentric label (distributed by mega-giant Zomba) that goes by the name "The Soul Seekers" will make their grand entrance to gospel society. The group consists of eight young brothers, whom have worked with a Who's Who in R&B, hip-hop and pop music (which include Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, Missy Elliot, P. Diddy and the Backstreet Boys), have come together to return to their roots. And it's not your grandson and granddaughters music. Instead they draw back on the power and brilliance of quartet gospel music.

The group's personnel consists of Teddy Campbell (married to Tina of Mary Mary) on bass, renowned R&B and gospel producer Warryn Campbell (married to Erica of Mary Mary), founder Nisan Stewart, lead guitarist John "Jubu" Smith, vocalist Gerald Haddon, Charlie Bereal on guitar, Craig Brockman on the organ and drummer Eric Seats. They have all expressed their passion to the rich traditions of quartet gospel and believe that they will open the ears of today's generation to its incredible, lasting sound. With them being young, talented and handsome themselves, there is no doubt that the Soul Seekers will attract a large, younger audience.

But don't let the age of this style of gospel overwhelm you...the Soul Seekers bring a fresh, vibrant perspective to the classic, down-south, churchy sound. What started in 2000 at a one-night tribute celebration to gospel quartets in Los Angeles, now stand as a beacon of light to the gospel industry. On their debut project, tunes such as the balladic "What Would You Do?", "Somewhere Listening" and "Make A Way", which features Harvey Watkins, Jr. of the Canton Spirituals, are sure to be album highlights and are filled with high-octane energy and zeal. Enough zeal to appeal to the young and the old.

With this project awaiting to drop on Wal-Mart shelves across America, it seems like quartet gospel is surely on the rise. Artists and groups such as Robert Randolph & the Family Band, RiZen, Keith Wonderboy Johnson, the Canton Spirituals and the Christianaires have done their share to reach new audiences...go ahead and add the Gospel Seekers to the mix.

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