Now Hear This!

Christafari - To the Foundation
Lion of Zion Entertainment
Grade: A+

If more Contemporary Christian artists took their cues from Christafari, the CCM market might not be as bland and hopeless as it often seems. With what seems like no effort at all, Christafari have released their rootsiest album yet seamlessly blending roots reggae with dance hall ska, and a sprinkle of good old fashioned rock in a single package that highlights why these fellas have been at the forefront (no pun intended) of spiritual based music of all kinds for over two decades. “To the Foundation” is just that both musically as well as thematically. The entire album returns the listener to the basics fundamentals of reggae, spirituality and just plain good music. Christafari has with this effort managed to release a deeply spiritual, deeply groovy piece of CCM without watering down the music or the meaning. Simply amazing!   

Macy Gray – Big
Geffen Records/ music
Grade: B-

The second major release from Black Eyed Peas front man’s record label, Macy Gray’s newest effort finds her sounding better than she has in a very long time. Her first studio release in four years, “Big” finds Gray collaborating for the first time with other artists including Justin Timberlake, Natalie Cole, Fergie and himself. Despite the additional talent and slick production that reeks of’s influence,  Big seems to do little more than take past formulae that worked well for Gray and added a little more spice. The album has a good solid sound throughout and her trademark pipes sound as good as they ever have. However, there is little (if any) growth or expansion of the music and at times it seems to echo her debut album from 1999 a bit too closely. I mean, really—how many songs about killing someone and running away with their money can one person write? Don’t get me wrong, Big is not a bad album, it’s just not anything new for Macy Gray.

Patty Hurst Shifter – Fugitive Glue EP
Mood Indigo Entertainment
Grade: B+

Back with the first of four promised follow-up EPs to last year’s “Too Crowded on the Losing End”, PHS draws inspiration from the best of anthemic, play at full volume, guitar filled classic rock and modern day folk Americana pours it all in a blender and hits puree at full blast. The result is a collection of adrenaline charged music with down-to-earth execution wrapped around a skeleton of well crafter tunes that stick with the listener long after the record is done. If the next three EPs are a fraction as good we are in for a treat. If you like Whiskeytown or The Drive-By Truckers, the PHS is a band you should definitely check out.
Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

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