Damien Sneed - Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition

Published Thursday 4th June 2015
Damien Sneed - Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition
Damien Sneed - Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 155427-22998
LABEL: LeChateauEarl 888295230582

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

New York-based gospel artist Damien Sneed's successful 2013 EP 'Broken To Minister' has been expanded into a two disc live release that sees the man himself joined by accomplished singing group the Levites to offer up the kind of polished work that is now to be expected from the modern gospel music scene. Backed by a typically tight band including himself on keys, Sneed and crew keeps things varied on the first disc with the likes of the opener "Today Oh" - based on a Nigerian praise song - sitting alongside renditions of songs by big names such as Richard Smallwood ("Secret Place") and Kirk Franklin ("Love") as well a healthy sprinkling of Sneed originals. Elsewhere, old hymns and spirituals - "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing" and "Call Him By His Name", for instance - get the gospel treatment and showcase his own and his team's inventiveness, vocal dexterity and stage presence to great effect. Acting as host for much of this release, Sneed generously lets individual Levites like Chenee Campbell, Tekesha Russell and Djore Nance take the spotlight and, whilst the vocal acrobatics can get a bit much after a while, the conveyer belt approach does help to keep things interesting. Disc two is much freer in format with Sneed inviting Ruby Holland Hutchins and Judy Ray Tucker up for a spot of testifying to further promote this release's overriding victorious theme to the backdrop of a band - notably Jammal Graham on Hammond - who are obviously having fun at this point. Whilst the overly lengthy closing track (based around the carol "O Come Let Us Adore Him") is somewhat on the indulgent side and may have you pressing the eject button before the end, staying the course is rewarded with perhaps the highlight of the release - a stunningly inventive hidden track version of the traditional "Wade In The Water" which will simply take your breath away.

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