|TITLE: CeCe Winans|
ARTIST: CeCe Winans
LABEL: Wellspring Gospel/Sparrow Records
GENRE: Pop/Inspirational/Urban Gospel
SPECIAL EFFECT(S): CeCe sports a new "do" and a bit more o' the funk on this album which features guest appearances by brother Marvin Winans and rap artist Grits.
PRODUCER(S): Brown Bannister and Tommy Sims
CeCe Winans is one of those performing artists who simply gets better with age. Vocally, she has never sounded richer. Musically--thanks in no small part to her producers--she continues to stretch, incorporating elements not traditionally associated with Gospel music. This is a perfect example. The follow-up to Alabaster Box, her best solo effort to date, this album marries progressive R&B, jazz, and contemporary pop to build an exciting backdrop for CeCe's no-doubt-about-it Gospel lyrics.
The cool, jazzy opener, "Heavenly Father," launches the theme of God as the source of hope and peace in the world today. The party basically winds up from there. Be sure to check out "Out My House," one of the funkiest stomp-the-devil songs I've heard in quite some time. Of the ballad moments, the most notable is "Bring Back the Days of Yea & Nay," a stirring CeCe and brother Marvin duet. That one song leaves you wondering if God looked down on the day Mom and Pop Winans married and said, "You know, I'm a bit overworked, so I'm just gonna give that Winans family all the talent I'm giving out this year."
The downside here is that, lyrically speaking, it doesn't quite live up to the bar set with Alabaster Box. There wasn't one song that totally blew my mind or found me pulling my car off the road to compose myself. Okay, so that's a lot to ask. But really, when it comes to CeCe, whose voice always blows my mind, is it? All that considered, CeCe Winans gets a happy, if not enthusiastic, nod.