Prime Cuts: The Same Hands, On Mountains Alone, His Heart is Big Enough
Inspired by Jesus' first miracle where he burst the confines of human logic by miraculously transforming water into wine, Cana's Voice's debut album for StowTown Records "This Changes Everything" bursts many boundaries too. For starters, few would expect that three of Southern Gospel music finest vocalists, Doug Anderson, TaRanda Greene and Jody McBrayer, would come together to form Cana's Voice. And when these three stalwarts croon together in harmony, their layered voices add another rung to the ladder of heavenly bliss. Musically, this album pushes the boundaries of genre. "This Changes Everything" is not your typical Southern Gospel offering. Rather, adding their own blend of R&B, pop, country, Gospel, and even reggae, Cana's Voice has added their own patented sound to a genre-defying cluster of songs including Kirk Franklin's "Hello Fear" and CeCe Winans' "Heavenly Father."
Our attention is captured right at the get-go when TaRanda Greene sings lead on CeCe Winans' "Heavenly Father." Augmented with a light reggae touch reminisce of Ziggy Marley, Greene immediately leads us to worship confessing our need of Him today. Just when you thought you have the musical direction of the record figured out, Cana's Voice throws us a curve ball with "I Give It to You." The folkish "I Give It to You" finds Cana's Voice in the Rend Collective and Mumford & Sons territory. And one listen to this track shows that Cana's Voice do hold their residency in such terrain well. Yet, fans who are less adventurous and yearn for a bona fide Southern Gospel ballad would adore "Jesus Never Fails." Soaring, dramatic and crescendo-building, "Jesus Never Fails" checkmarks everything we have come to love of a Gospel shout-out.
"On Mountains Alone" is one of those pop-sounding mid-tempos Sandi Patty would love to bring to the top of the charts in her prime. With a voice with shades that call to mind Patty, Greene does this sound justice by drawing perspicously out the song's message of God's abiding presence in the peaks and highs of our lives. Crisp and lively (though treading on the ho-hum on the melodic and lyrical front) is "All My Reasons Are You." McBrayer adds his high tenor to great affect to the beat driven ballad "His Heart is Big Enough," a song that recalls some of the great Babyface-tunes from the 90s. The trio have imbued Kirk Franklin's "Hello Fear" with the same R&B treatment which makes the song sound more Franklin than Cana's Voice.
Yet, the album's best ballad (and song) has to be "The Same Hands." Deserving of multiple standing ovations, Greene brings out the nuances of this song stunningly as she sings of how the same hands who created the universe and who healed the blind man still holds you and me. After hearing a song like that, our hearts will certainly have no occupancy for fear and despair. Thus, with songs like this, this record really changes everything. Say no to fear and give this album a listen.