Do a New Thing
(independent; release date: March 17, 2017)
By Bob Marovich
Living the holy life appears to be the overriding theme of Fred Williams’ independently-produced Do a New Thing.
On the title track, the Aiken, South Carolina, singer-songwriter and music minister references Isaiah 43:18-21 in showing gratitude for God’s plentiful blessings, as well as reminding us of our responsibility to do the right thing: pay the blessings forward. During “On this Journey,” he asks God to show him the way to holiness, a state of existence he examines in detail earlier in the CD on “A Holy Life.”
Other songs, such as “I Gotta Get it Out” and “Your Mercy Oh Lord” are straightforward songs of worship and praise (not, by definition, P&W), the latter a gentle love ballad to the Most High.
Williams delivers his compositions in a craggy, husky baritone that works best on the mid- and up-tempo tracks and less so on the slower pieces. On the songs here, he favors high tessituras, which often cause him to stretch outside his range to hit the high notes.
That said, the title track is a solidly constructed song, as is “Your Mercy Oh Lord.” “I Belong to the Lord” is the album’s drive-tempo selection, while “Let Jesus Come into Your Heart” is a soulful altar call. The musicians set down a smooth jazz-gospel underlayment from beginning to end.
Williams’ two background vocalists, Paige Wall and Quintin Casey, are so much a part of this project that they deserve to have their own group name. They often sound more like a small choir than a duo. And Tiffany R. Bell offers a favorable vocal on the album’s closer, “Secret Place,” the only track on the CD that Williams doesn’t lead.
There’s no lack of desire and initiative on Do a New Thing. Williams and his team of singers and musicians give it all they’ve got.
Three of Five Stars
Picks: “Do a New Thing,” “Your Mercy Oh Lord”