Ashley Cleveland - God Don't Never Change

Published Monday 8th March 2010
Ashley Cleveland - God Don't Never Change
Ashley Cleveland - God Don't Never Change

STYLE: Blues
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 87687-16286
LABEL: E1 Entertainment KOC-CD-4554
RELEASE DATE: 2011-11-14
RRP: £7.99

Reviewed by Peter Timmis

Nashville-based Ashley released this, her eighth album, in 2009 receiving widespread praise and a Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Gospel Album, but it landed at Cross Rhythms just a little too late to make the station's Top 20 Albums Of The Year. An eclectic collection of covers fusing gospel and blues with rock'n'roll, this thrilling LP would have been a truly worthy inclusion to the list. The album opens with the atmospheric "My God Called Me This Morning" and the first thing that strikes you is the sheer power and emotion in Ashley's voice, strong and soulful, she has to be one of the finest singers around today. Backed by a tight ensemble of experienced musicians, a special mention should go to guitarist Kenny Greenberg who has also played with the likes of Willie Nelson and Amy Grant. Kenny's fiery slide guitar on "You Got To Move" makes for a truly original interpretation of this traditional folk spiritual. Another standout cut is Texan bluesman Washington Phillips' "Denomination Blues" which has been approached in many different ways since the 1930s but rarely has it sounded as good as here. The band lay down a relaxed Stones-style groove and Ashley is clearly enjoying herself delivering lines like "You can go to college, you can go to school, well if you ain't got Jesus you're just an educated fool". It would be all too easy to produce stale, heard-it-before performances of these old numbers but Ms Cleveland's fresh approach draws out the songs power and spirituality and they sound as vibrant and relevant as they must have done when first performed.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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Product Description

Ashley Cleveland’s unmistakable sound has won her 3 Grammy Awards, 3 Dove Awards, a place on countless year-end Top Ten lists, and a legion of devoted fans. God Don’t Never Change is Ashley’s first true gospel album, a celebration of vintage black gospel songs. Ashley has worked hard to find her own place with an era of spiritual music that comes from a rich history of struggle and pain, more from open-sky fields than high-ceilinged cathedrals, but equally worshipful. “To me the most amazing thing is people taking horrible pain and loss and allowing something God-given and beautiful to come of it, as opposed to succumbing to bitterness,” she says. “These songs speak to the sorrow in my own soul, and they’re uplifting.”

In the studio, Ashley surrounded herself with musical collaborators who knew her strengths intimately and could play to them without any hesitation. Starting with world-class producer and guitarist Kenny Greenberg with credits ranging from Faith Hill to Brooks & Dunn to Amy Grant to Steven Curtis Chapman to Gretchen Wilson to Etta James, and every musical point in between. This impressive set seamlessly weaves Cleveland’s powerful, beautiful voice through an eclectic mix of timeless gospel songs.

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