J Moss - Grown Folks Gospel

Published Monday 1st February 2016
J Moss - Grown Folks Gospel
J Moss - Grown Folks Gospel

RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 155387-23267

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

You can't judge a CD by looking at the title. J Moss is an artist I really rate. He is in my view one of the leading exponents of modern R&B gospel (his "Afraid" track making it into my Spirit Of Rock And Soul list) while James's work with the PAJAM production collective has produced some of the best youth-orientated gospel of the last decade. So how come it took me almost 15 months ('Grown Folks Gospel' was released in November 2014) to review this? The reason is it never seemed to come to the top of myTo Be Reviewed pile as the title to me was particularly off-putting. Here was a singer, songwriter and producer whose past music made a big connection with young African-American churchgoers who, I theorised, was now dumping the electro-funk grooves and the soul gospel ballads in favour of some misguided back to the roots retro thing in order to pull in the older generation who like their gospel "traditional" (ala Tasha Cobbs, mass choirs, Fred Hammond, etc). My suspicions grew when I noted that Fred Hammond was one of the special guests on this set, in fact before its release Mr Moss had given an interview where he explained his album's title. He suggested the project was aiming at "real people going through real issues" and went on to say, "It kind of evokes you to get into that private time with God and really just kind of love on him and hear what he's trying to say through song." Unfortunately for me the title evoked nothing of the sort. So what's the music like? I'm delighted to report it is relevant to the standards of his great 'V2' and 'Just James' albums. Moss' slow, soulful duet with Faith Evans on "You Make Me Feel" is excellent as is the slinky "It Is What It Is". Moss daringly singing the whole song in a falsetto which to my ears is every bit as good as those wonderful high vocals that Paul Beesley once contributed to the Mighty Clouds Of Joy. Best of all is the infectious, radio friendly "Hanging On" featuring Wayman Tisdale) with its happy-go-lucky feel, scatting close and, mysteriously, a guest whose name sports fans might recognise as an NBA basketball player and smooth jazz buffs as a bass player. But that particular Mr Tisdale died in 2009 so it can't be! More research needed.

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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