Freedom – David Phelps

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David Phelps new CD “Freedom” is a one-stop shop for all things Christian music. We have come to expect a great deal from David’s music and his newest recording in no way disappoints. It has something to suit just about any musical taste. It is a treat to discover a musical artist who excels at his genre, but it is truly a rarity to discover someone who can excel at so many different genres. This is not a jack of all trades and master of none production; every song shines forth in excellence to the glory of God.

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Many know of David Phelps’ background with The Gaither Vocal Bandd, but this is definitely something more than just another Gaither production. Mind you, there would be nothing wrong with that; we enjoy a great deal of the Gaithers’ music. Their unique southern gospel styling is a treasure to the Christian music milieu. For many years, Bill and Gloria Gaither have defined the standards of excellence in Christian music and this album takes that standard and raises the bar.

The recording begins with “I’m Coming Home,” a pertinent message whose setting is very reminiscent of early Keith Green or perhaps Larry Norman. From the start, we are hit with the reality of our eternal destiny as believers. A little further along is the song “Ghost Town” with an iconic country western feel; if you are looking for a throwback to yester-year, then this may be the song for you. David performs his own version of the classic “Ain’t No Grave” and, again, excels with vocal mastery. Lest we this is all going to be a country-influenced sound, “Sanctus” brings us into the presence of the Lord with a classically styled new setting of a standard Sanctus. We believe this is where Mr. Phelps shows his greatest musical giftings. David Phelps is just as impressive at the Opry as the opera. We are treated to the song “Rain,” a contemporary country sound, as well as “The Lily,” “Heaven’s Shore,” and “Who Do You Say That I Am?” The last track, “When the Saints Go Marching In,” is a delightfully jazzy journey into the music of the past. However, whether classics or new songs, the passion for God is evident.

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It is surprising how well this eclectic mix works. One reviewer noted the seeming musical schizophrenia and we agree that it is unusual, but this project comes together and just works. The impressive musical capability bonds every track together. When we thought we knew what the album was all about, David Phelps stepped forward to surprise us even more. Some songs feature lush orchestrations while others show forth impressive vocal power. Every song is complete with a hard-hitting Gospel message. This kind of positive Christian artistic presence is a needed gem.

Soul-audio.com described this project very well: “With ‘Freedom,’ David Phelps simply continues to establish himself as one of the most talented acts around. Gifted with an amazing voice and an ear for dynamic, creative arrangements, the artist weaves tales of faith and hope throughout songs that jump genres and styles left and right, resulting ibn a fun filled romp through this musical landscape.” That is an incredibly accurate appraisal of this album.  Some will appreciate the country roots of this album. Others will value the neo-classical stylings. Some will find the jazz and even R & B sound of some tracks enticing. Without a doubt, those who cherish Bible-themed lyrics will find each song captivating. This album is definitely well worth the listen! The only thing that could be criticized is the desire for still more from this impressive artist when the project reaches an end.

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