Commandment Entertainment 2009
Kendra Carr is equal parts gospel singer and evangelist, and she puts both to excellent use on her first national CD release, Unexpected Judah.
Unexpected Judah has the energy and timing of a live performance. It comes out of the box strong, waxes traditional, slows into a praise and worship groove, and then turns up the tempo as the CD spins toward its finale. With one exception, the songs were written either by Kendra, album producer Daniel Miree, or the two in collaboration. All of the compositions are polished, tuneful pieces that fit with Kendra’s vocal styling like a cup to a saucer.
Although Kendra tends to wrap her church-filling gospel voice around praise and worship pieces, the current single “Only You” is a traditional program-stopper in gospel waltz tempo. Similarly, “He’ll Deliver” is a hand-clapping, foot-tapping, churchy workout. Like an experienced gospel singer, Kendra uses a pleading, evangelistic, stream-of-consciousness singing technique on the vamp of extended numbers to heighten and stretch out the intensity.
The album’s big surprise is “Reign In Me,” a kaleidoscope of complex chord structures that bubbles with vocal brilliance from Kendra and her background singers, who, by the way, support her professionally throughout the project.
Unexpected Judah advertises diversity in sound and style. To that point, “He Is” has a Brazilian beat and the album’s closer, “Yet I Will,” is pop-oriented, complete with buzzing electric guitar. Both performances demonstrate that Kendra is comfortable with a variety of musical palettes. One constant, however, is the lyric content, which focuses squarely on praise, worship, rejoicing and redemption. Another is the fact that Kendra Carr is a stone singer who can really sell a gospel song.
Kendra Carr cut her musical teeth at the Greater Little Rock Church in Pensacola, Florida, and once was a member of the group Epiphany. Today, she is Overseer of Music and Worship Arts Ministry at The Zion Church in Jackson, Tennessee, an apostolic plant of the Mt. Zion Baptist Church of Nashville, where Rev. Jerrell T. Beard, Sr. is Pastor.
Four of Five Stars
gPod picks: “Only You,” “Reign In Me,” “He’ll Deliver.”