I must admit when I got to hear some of the tracks here as works-in-progress in the studio awhile back, I was impressed then. But then, the producer and songwriter behind most of the tracks is none other than former secular R&B artist Steve Carmichael. Naturally the production coming out of his north London studio, and the contemporary arrangements, are top notch. Sarah O submits to the Lord soulfully on the opener, "All That I Got". Nathan Prime follows by extolling Christ's gifts and love on the funky, mid-tempo R&B song "Knowing You", which is primed for single release replete with an obligatory garage remix. Talking about garage, Sarah's "Walk" starts up gently with a mellow acoustic guitar motif, before building into a stomping garager. Susan Harriott delivers an impressive performance on "Jigsaw", which sits well with the best of better known American female R&B gospellers. Sue Neil introduces herself alongside her choir-sized backing vocals on the soulful mid-tempo 'Overcomer', which dips directly into Scripture. Not surprising really, as the ethos of Heart Music is to unambiguously minister to listeners. The said artists have three tracks a-piece covering very contemporary and uplifting styles.
Reviewed for Heart Music Vol 1
I am hopeful that this is a new departure in worship - an album to send you to sleep. You could certainly have it on your deck as you hit the pillow and the beautifully tailored female vocal harmonies will have you in peaceful protection before track three - which I know is not the point. Yet, why not? The team, led by producer Stephen Carmichael for Heart Music, have crafted a sensitive and uncomplicated entreaty to find that private holy place. The perfectly blending voices of Aundrea Nyle, Bosede Rea and Susan Harriott gently urge us on through a series of reflections and personal encounters - which create the space you know you need to think, to let go, to drift with the Spirit of the Search. I was sure it all sounded too similar, a little safe, probably self-absorbed - then the second play, and I was hooked. None of the playing intrudes, there's no strident exhortations, no militancy. It is all a truly thoughtful, unassuming set of reflections and a very worthy contribution to the world of worship. Praise, it is not - but it does have attitude. On one or two occasions, the writing has an edge to it. I was tempted to ignore the fact that we are buying two CDs. This simply isn't corporate or congregational material, so why the instrumental (and boring) second album? It is an unnecessary indulgence in an otherwise blemish-free performance; I would even say, seductive. Stay awake and be impressed.
Reviewed for Holy Place by Phil Thomson Cross Rhythms