June 3, 2019 Gloria Gaynor – Testimony (Album Review)
With a career in music dating back over 50 years, the Grammy-winning Gloria Gaynor is a name mostly everyone recognizes. Out of Newark, New Jersey, she is a seasoned vocalist with deep roots in Jazz and R&B, however is best known for the disco era hits “I Will Survive,” “Never Can Say Goodbye,” “Let Me Know (I Have a Right)” and “I Am What I Am.” Now, still going strong all these years later, Gaynor is set to release her brand new album, Testimony, due out on Friday, June 7th via Gaither Music Group.
A reigning Queen of Disco, on her nineteenth overall studio album, Gaynor turns toward her faith, offering a roots Gospel collection of songs that relies on her own songwriting, a couple of hymns, as well as a cover tune. Recording for the first time in her career down in Nashville, with sessions taking place inside one of Music Row’s most historic buildings, the former RCA Studio A, Gaynor also teamed up with Grammy-winning Producer Chris Stevens (TobyMac, Mandisa).
In addition, the musicianship of the album is brought to life further thanks to guests include Yolanda Adams, Jason Crabb, Mike Farris, and MercyMe’s Bart Millard, as well as first-call studio musicians Daru Jones (drums), Drew Ramsey (guitar), Shannon Sanders (keyboards/B3), Brother Paul Brown (hammond/B3/piano/keys) Jason Webb (piano/keyboards), and Willie Weeks (bass). Latrese Bush, Melinda Doolittle, and Jason Eskridge provide dynamic background vocals.
All these factors in place, Gaynor dishes out 10 new songs that pay respect to the Lord and her life thus far. Beginning with the familiar hymn “Amazing Grace,” with careful reflection from Gaynor’s own point of view, she later goes into “Precious Lord” with unique style that still maintains a level of spirituality. Then there is the album’s lead single, “Joy Comes In The Morning,” which is an uplifting, feel good cut filled with soulful singing and plenty of cool Blues guitar. Additionally, the likes of songs such as R&B vibed “Only You Can Do,” the Gospel feeling of “Singing Over Me,” her cover of Bob Dylan’s “Man Of Peace,” and closer “Day One” add color to the landscape of the overall album.
Simply put, Gaynor sings each note on Testimony with ease. The product of the joy she feels while performing, she effortlessly transports her emotions straight to your heart. From start to finish, every song is overflowing with passion and a touch of Blues that is just right, taking your hand and pulling you onto the dance floor. Carrying a lot of emotions that is easily felt just through one listen, the album is relaxing and calming to the mind, giving your spirit the freedom it needs. An album you should continuously spin to keep yourself at peace for as long as possible, Cryptic Rock gives Testimony 5 out of 5 stars.