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Soulsville: Souled Out 'n' Sanctified

A proclamation of his new life in Christ, Danny Brook's new album, in what he calls a "hard Gospel" style, is dedicated to spreading the good news.

"The blues is a chair, the first chair," John Lennon once said of the genre's elemental place in popular music. The blues is a chair in which Danny Brooks sits most comfortably, as seen on the Toronto-based singer/songwriter's latest release Soulsville: Souled Out 'n' Sanctified.

"Since early childhood, I have loved and been moved by Gospel music..."

It is Brooks' fourth album in a style he calls hard Gospel—a blend of Gospel, blues, R & B, soul and mountain music.

His voice leaps out at you immediately on Sousville. He sounds like Tom Waits lite—as if his voice has been lovingly shredded and ground down, then patched back together and shredded a little more.

That voice is aptly backed by the Rockin' Revelators, featuring such rock luminaries as drummer Bucky Berger (who played with Jackson Hawke and Cilliwack), keyboardists Richard Bell (Ronnie Hawkins and the Hawks, Janis Joplin, the Band) and Michael Fonfara (Downchild Blues Band, the Electric Flag, Rhinoceros) with slide guitar virtuoso Colin Linden. Other backing vocals are the Fabulous Levy Sisters and Hiram Joseph, plus Esther Kessler.

"Since early childhood, I have loved and been moved by Gospel music," says Danny Brooks. "It soothes the soul, uplifts the spirit and energizes. We all love to hear good news, and this is news that brings joy, peace and, I believe with all my soul, healing. Soulsville is dedicated to spreading the good news."

In the lengthy booklet that comes with this limited edition CD, Brooks acknowledges his deliverance from problems like substance abuse. In his songs, he proclaims his new life through music that grabs hold and won't let go. Whether it's in the high-powered boogie of "Soulsville" and "Soul Satisfied" or the soulful, slower numbers like "Nobody Knows You Like the Lord" and the poignant yet very personal "You Won't Show," the strength and spirit of the music are undeniable.

The verdict: Soulsville: Souled Out 'n' Sanctified is a marvellous beginning to what is planned to be a three-album set.

Originally published in Faith Today, July/August 2004.




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