Prime Cuts: The Lord's Prayer, To the Cross, I Walked Where Jesus Walked
With the prevalence of modern recording techniques, it's almost assumed nowadays that artists can sing in tune without the snafu of paltry backings. Though we have an overabundance of artists who can sing; but there are few who can pulverize us in a way that will get us holding back our breath as we listen. Rachel West Kramer is an exception. As a member of the Southern Gospel group the Kramers, Rachel West Kramer has a penetrating soprano that has the ability to soar to the heights of Mt. Everest and camp there for an extended stay. But it's not just about vocal volume and heights. Even in her softer cadences, she has the ability to get beneath the skin of her notes and bring out raw emotions that we never thought existed. In short, Kramer is the singer's singer. If you are into vocalists who can sing (ala Celine Dion or Whitney Houston or Susan Boyle) and who are not afraid to shatter some glasses along the way, Kramer is simply sublime.
"Majestic Glory" is her 6th solo record outside of her involvement with the Kramers. In a recent interview with us, Kramer has revealed that the album was inspired after her visit to Jerusalem. In an effort to capture the array of emotions she has had felt while walking along the cobblestone paths of our Lord, she has decided to re-visit some of the great hymns and songs of the church that details the ministry of Jesus for this project. To help her bring out the grandeur of the powerful story of our Lord through these songs, Kramer has enlisted the help of David Clydesdale, the Nashville strings and additional aid in the production department by Shane McConnell and Woody Wright.
If you really want to be blown away by what an extraordinary vocalist Kramer is, jump immediately to the fourth track "I Walk Today Where Jesus Walked." Opening with sweet undercurrents, we could almost feel the verdant grass rustling as Kramer delicately traces the footsteps of our Lord. But when she gets to the bridge and the final chorus of this gorgeous hymn, prepare to be at the edge of your seat for Kramer's steal edged declamation that carries with it utter strength and uber directness. Then prepare for some Kleenex moments as Kramer gives a heartfelt exposition to the work of Jesus' sacrificial death on "To the Cross;" a song laden with so many piercing lessons for our broken souls.
Though the Victorian hymn "The Holy City" has had its share of covers, Kramer's version ranks loftily. Thanks to the lush stirring strings, a powerful choir, and Kramer's carefully nuanced delivery, "The Holy City" has never shone brighter. Even when Kramer tackles the evergreens such as "How Great Thou Art" and "It is Well with My Soul," she doesn't let a note go by without enunciating it with care, forethought, and feeling. The album ends with two sky-reaching bombastic numbers starting with the penultimate anthemic "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and the soul-rendering "The Lord's Prayer."
Yes, there may be many artists who can sing. But Kramer does more than that. With a great propensity to raise goosebumps, Kramer has a voice that can embellish a phrase with a reined sense of dynamics that can move the hardest of hearts and yet staying clear of all the over-hyped pretenses.
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