Freddy Washington ‘The Jesus Record’ Review

Freddy Washington 'The Jesus Record' Review

‘Just Wanna’ is a harmonious, vibrant and uplifting song that seems to blend the great old school style of Motown influenced Gospel with a CCM/Praise & Worship twist with intricate brass and string parts, pulsating rhythms and driving guitars. “I just want to give You all I’ve got I just want to show You that You are the best thing to happen to me.”

‘Jesus’ is one of the most cinematic songs I’ve heard in a while. It’s very orchestral in its instrumentation and backing vocal arrangements, fusing all of that with Washington’s clean, powerful and Country/Rock influenced vocals. It’s very exciting to hear the fusion of orchestral instruments and textures with those found in Traditional Gospel, Country and Rock for a truly invigorating sound and musical experience.

‘Can’t Hold Me Back’ is in one of nearly every drummer’s favourite time signatures, 6/8. Because of that it has a natural swing and natural sense of movement. The background vocals add a beautiful texture and array of colour and flare to the song while the music literally grabs you with the subtle changes and dynamics and the contrast of drive (from the guitars) and punch (from the drums) and the smooth layers of strings. The chorus bellows out… “Now’s the time to be, everything Jesus wants me to be,” lyrics that if applied will push you into purpose and action.

‘Because Of You’ touches on the old school style of Motown influenced Gospel hearing the influence of Stevie Wonder on the brass parts and chord progressions. The message is that since Jesus came into our lives “everything changed,” and that God “gave me a second chance, a new lease of life and now I can journey…”

‘Help’ is out and out CCM/Pop, a little similar to something like what Brandon Heath did on the ‘Leaving Eden’ album fusing heavy urban beats (in the verses) with guitar driven melodic lines carrying the song making this a very radio friendly song. I found great encouragement in the lyrics “Give it your best shot, help is coming.”

Melinda Watts lends her vocals to the soul-stirring ballad ‘The Masters Hand’. Her clean, crisp vocals and dynamic range deliver the message of the song perfectly and blend with Washington’s rich tone to make a heartfelt collaboration that lets us know that just one touch from ‘The Masters Hand’ can truly change everything.

Washington teams up with Chrystal Rucker for a powerful uplifting reminder and song of encouragement that “there’s a place for us” and as Rucker effortlessly hit those high notes in Karen Clark-like style I was enthralled and inspired that I need to live a life that will allow me to make it into heaven every time I sang “Heaven is the place, I wanna go, heaven, heaven, walk the streets of gold.”

Washington collaborates with his father Bishop Freddy Washing Washington Snr on ‘I Love You (Lord Today)’ for a remake of a timeless classic by the late great Edwin Hawkins. Bishop Freddy Washington Snr brings that rich, raspy Gospel tone to the song while father and son sing their hearts out on a song that Gospel music lovers of old and now will love.

‘I Need You’ feat. Byron “Talkbox” Chambers had me stomping my foot and grooving to the joyful vibe of the song. The addition of the Talkbox adds a nice effect and rich texture to the vocals and will delight all Teddy Riley fans out there.

‘The Jesus Record’ is one of the best albums I’ve heard in a while. From a writing and production point of view I can’t fault it. The way Freddy Washington Jnr has fused styles and written songs in totally different styles but still makes the album sound like a fluent, coherent project shows his skill as a producer.

From fans of old school Gospel to Contemporary Gospel to Pop/Rock and CCM, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy but most of all, there is a delightful vibrancy and feel good factor like the first day of a much-needed holiday/vacation. The musicianship is amazing throughout the whole album and is constantly pushing boundaries of what is expected to come out with something new and exciting. Washington’s vocals are distinct, unique and versatile.

I don’t think I’ll hear a better independent project this year. However with that said ‘The Jesus Record’ can stand up next to the best of them… It’s original, it’s fun, it encourages, and it can lead you into times of worship but most of all… Its focus is Jesus!

Track List:

  • I Just Wanna
  • We Are The City
  • 316 Part 1
  • Jesus
  • He Understands
  • Can’t Hold Me Back
  • Changed
  • Because Of You
  • Pleasing
  • Help
  • Traded
  • The Masters Hand
  • There Is A Place
  • I Love You
  • 316 Part 2
  • I Need You
  • Page Is Turning

5/5

Reviewed by Matt Brooks

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