Open Your Mouth and Say Something
JDI Records (release date: September 14, 2018)
By Bob Marovich
“Don’t you dare walk away from gospel music!” Brent Jones exhorts in the midst of his delightful new project, Open Your Mouth and Say Something.
He certainly provides an excellent role model for sticking with gospel. On his new project, the former leader of T. P. Mobb and the architect of the Easter Sunday favorite “He Rose” offers nine selections, many rendered with the talented Waco (Texas) Community Choir.
What distinguishes this project among others in rotation today is Jones’ honest and humorous repartee with his live recording audience. Although he takes music seriously, he doesn’t take life so seriously that he cannot point out the peccadilloes of fellow church folk who strive to be perfect but are, after all, wholly human. “Don’t Wait Till Midnight,” for example, is about how Christians wait until problems become emergencies to petition the Lord’s help (Jones has also recorded this song with Coko of SWV).
The radio-friendly title track turns a pulpit-honed message into a daily affirmation, just as fellow JDI artist Norman Hutchins converted “God’s Got a Blessing with My Name on It” into a church axiom in 2006. “Cry Holy” is a distinctive arrangement of the nineteenth-century Protestant chestnut “Holy, Holy, Holy,” and “I Still Believe” serves as the CD’s up-tempo rafter raiser. The “declaration song” “Fear and Faith Can’t Live Together” employs the seemingly compulsory activity for gospel albums these days, the Caribbean island rhythm.
Two stellar female guest artists turn up the temperature on the album. Dallas-based squaller Barbara Mitchell tears up “I Am On the Battlefield” and Shari Demby lends her sweet-to-salty delivery to “Jesus I Love You.” The Waco Community Choir, directed by Minister Thomas Brooks, serves as an ideal complement to Jones, and the musicians, including Michael Bereal on organ, provide tight assistance. A songbook is available for churches seeking to replicate one or more of the album’s titles in their own sanctuaries.
It’s been some time since we’ve heard new music from Brent Jones and it was worth the wait. He needs to record more often.
Five of Five Stars
Picks: “Open Your Mouth and Say Something,” “Don’t Wait Till Midnight”