Friday, July 31, 2009

Life Journal - B. David

A soulful groove brings hope to the broken

Life Journal
Artist: B. David (http://www.bdavidmusic.com/)
Label: Destiny Style Records
Length: 11 tracks/45:50 minutes

Life Journal by B. David is a fine, aptly named debut. Those who escape the darker side of life through Christ have a depth of experience from which they can draw. David has turned the trauma of his childhood into soothing messages of hope and healing. It’s personal but not so specific that listeners will have trouble relating. It will be especially comforting to those who have been bruised and battered by life. It’s filled with positive affirmations that reflect a healthy outlook.

Thankfully, this is not a recording that is so message-driven that it suffers artistically. Though there are a few rock riffs, most songs consist of rhythm and blues arrangements with smooth as silk backing vocals. Much of it is delightfully acoustic with minimal production. The sound is somewhat reminiscent of Stevie Wonder, not that David has reached that pinnacle, but I think even Wonder would enjoy the soulful sentiments.

A standout is “David,” which like the rest of the songs has a one-word title. David has a high-pitched voice, and this song starts a little jarringly with him singing a melody that becomes the chorus. The song quickly takes on a Take 6 vibe, with a percussion track that sounds like finger-snapping, and gentle acoustic guitar. His voice carries an infectious rhythm as he sings: “This is a song that I will sing, when trouble enters my life. This is a song I will play, to get through the night. Though I think I’m nothing, I feel there is something that you want me to do. So I’m going to keep on waiting behind this mountain for you. Until you call my name, I’m going to sing to you.”

This reminds me that the songs, primarily written or co-written by B. David, have a wonderful childlike quality that is even reflected in the music. The sincere lyrics and the simple arrangements make the songs sound fresh.

Back to “David,” which is my favorite, even though the first single, “Believe,” is also an excellent song. Just when you think “David” can’t get any better, it becomes sublime at the end. The music begins to build after a bridge and the background singers start to say, in between David’s singing of the chorus melody, “When I feel sad … When I feel weak … ” It ends on a triumphant note with a choir of singers proclaiming, “I’m gonna worship.” This alone makes the CD worth having, but this is a likeable collection of songs. In my mind, the opening “Hope” is the weakest because of its generic rock riffs and sound. David is at his best when in the soulful groove.

This recording has broad appeal but is certainly a fine example of music’s potential to be therapeutic. David’s life reminds us that God can restore the years. His music follows in the wake of the prophesied ministry of the Messiah: “He will not crush those who are weak, or quench the smallest hope, until he brings full justice with his final victory. And his name will be the hope of all the world” (Matthew 12:20-21 NLT). This is a beautiful soundtrack for every life that is reaching for hope and wholeness. Any broken heart will do well to make this part of their therapy.

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