One encounter, and it’s really hard to forget Angela Spivey. Dubbed the ‘Princess of Gospel’, she is a powerhouse of vocal exhuberance and a spirited bundle of energy. Beloved for her lead vocal on “So You Would Know” from the Gospel Announcer’s Guild of the Gospel Music Workshop of America project, the Chicago native has three solo projects under her belt.
Determined, her fourth album for Aleho International Music, fosters a heavily traditional groove, paced by psalmists such as Ralph Lofton, Al Willis, Andrew Gouche, Doc Powell, Calvin Rogers, Derrick Lee and the late Michael Robinson.
Birmingham, Alabama’s Prince Yelder and Disciples for Christ provide ample backing vocals. along with an ensemble of Chicago vocalists.
Highlights on the project include the two songs written by Spivey herself. “Your Joy Is Coming” rides a deliciously heavy bass line and moves into a well-received choir-and-band reprise. The testimonial “It’s The Lord’s Doing” is in the same camp, with its bottomed out foundation and bangin’ instrumental groove anchoring Spivey’s working off of the choir.
A real churchy foundation is laid on “Wait on Jesus”, a style that is a perfect fit for Spivey. Her splays of vocal energy are expected, and she does deliver, leaving no doubt whatsoever of her conviction.
Frequently interacting with the congregation and choir both with vocal exhortation and spoken encouragement, Spivey thrives on the interplay.
Spivey takes time to present a tribute to the Gospel pioneer, the late Dorothy Love Coates, in a 12-minute medley of her four of her hits (“That’s Enough”, “Holding On And I Won’t Let Go”, “He’s Calling Me”, “You Been Good To Me”). Trina Jeffries puts pen to “Where Are The Worshippers” in a songwriting detour from her usual capacity as one of the land’s most recognizable personalities (Sister Canteloupe). Balladic and traditional in style, Spivey pointedly asks both the church and the wider community why the praise is not offered up to God for his very evident blessings. Rounded out by a jazzy cover of “Hark The Herald Angels Sing” and Al Hobbs’ praise-painted “You Have Brought Us” among others, Determined satisfies on several levels as Angela Spivey remains one of Gospel’s most dynamic vocal artists.