EPM Music Group (released August 14, 2012)
By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog.
Chrystal Rucker has a gospel voice.
Not a pop or an R&B voice that sings gospel, nor a jazz or neo-soul voice in the service of the sacred. Rucker has the flatfooted commanding shout, the flowers and trills, and the gut-wrenching squalls of a stone singer. She demonstrates all of these techniques on her latest single, which also happens to be the title track of her debut CD, You Deserve.
A mainstay of the
in Christ, Rucker
has been off the gospel highway for the past two years, recovering from a severe
stroke. She is back and her voice sounds
none the worse for wear. In fact, the
praise lyrics that populate the CD are likely to be heartfelt expressions of gratitude for
making a way out of no way. Certainly
the bluesy passages on “I Live Your Word” and “Live to Love”—another radio-ready
track—come from the wellspring of her health scare. Church
The saints will be familiar with Rucker’s popular cover of the Hawkins’ “Changed,” where she sings the role of Tramaine, ad libs and all. Later, a B3-dominated “Hymn Medley” puts Rucker in front of the church, singing simple praises like gospel singers have done for decades.
Despite Rucker’s church-honed artistry, her magnum opus is “You Will Be My God.” It is one of the most beautiful anthems I’ve heard all year. The singer's soaring high notes and breathtaking vocal lines are nothing short of perfection.
The only thing missing from You Deserve is a live audience. I hope Chrystal Rucker’s next CD is a live project so one can hear the audience interaction, which I am certain that, in her case, is significant.
You Deserve is on Earnest Pugh's EPM Music Group label.
Five of Five Stars
Picks: “You Deserve,” “Live to Love,” “You Will Be My God.”