While the West-coast based Grundy has been busy making supportive appearances on many other artists’ albums over the past several years (Yolanda Adams, Andrae Crouch, Prince of Egypt Inspirational Soundtrack). it’s been a very long time since we’ve heard a full project from the maestro.
Testimony takes care of that, with fifteen tracks of praise recorded in a variety of settings and featuring some new voices.
It’s classic Grundy on “He’s Ever Shining”. Recorded live at Paradise Baptist Church in LA, the cut features RGII Crew and the Voices Of Los Angeles. Straight forward in presentation and slightly traditional, the song simply says that Jesus is the Light and is adorned by festive tambourine and all the beloved choir elements of call and response.
“I Know He’s Real” immediately follows with a stronger contemporary edge and moves into funky groove territory with Grundy and Anthony W. Faulkner II trading near-shouted leads over the choir’s repeated chorus.
Faulkner is one of the prominent new voices on this project, his soulful tenor marking multiple songs throughout the album. “In The Midst Of I Won’t Give In”, “Praise Dwells Within” and “Strong” showcase his contemporary vocal vibe.
Another notable moment on the album arrives with “A Second Chance”. On this praise and worship ballad, Grundy and Faulkner ably weave an intricately ad-libbed duet as The Rickey Grundy Inspirational Chorale supports.
Grundy has amassed a considerable following overseas, helped considerably by his extensive touring of Europe and by the numerous workshops he has been involved with over the past years. That connection is evident on the live-recorded “Thine The Glory”, where The Joybells of Örebro, Sweden take charge with choir power as Grundy overlays spoken word.
Other cuts to pay attention to are “Through The Storm” with its fine instrumental live band finesse, and softly-delivered praise of “Praise Dwells Within”.
It’s always good to see a pioneer get back on the scene. The return of Rickey Grundy is welcomed.
RGII Music Group
— reviewed by Stan North —
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