The New Christianaires
My Faith is Working. . .The Journey Continues
Carter Classic Creations (release date: July 31, 2018)
By Bob Marovich
I give ample credit to any group that starts their CD with an old hymn and sings it almost a cappella, as the New Christianaires do on My Faith is Working. . .The Journey Continues.
In free time (i.e., no tempo) and with only an improvisatory electric guitar for support, the quartet harmonizes sweetly on “I Need Thee Every Hour.” After that auspicious opening, the New Christianaires put a contemporary spin on both traditional songs and newly-composed numbers with an old-fashioned texture.
In 2010, Minister George N. Carter Sr., a member of the original Christianaires of Sontag, Mississippi, which featured Paul and Tyrone Porter, reorganized the group in Florida by adding Apostle Jarmain Hawthorne, Elvis Brumfield Jr., Anthony Seay, and Rev. Clint Walker. Today, the group consists of Carter, Brumfield, Walker, Arthur Smith Sr., Pastor Charles Martin, and Pastor Nathaniel Crumedy.
The album’s song lyrics trod familiar quartet territory. With stanzas bolstered by lines and couplets gleaned from the gospel quartet lexicon, the eight non-public domain selections speak about discipleship, faith, and living holy. The energetic “If I Had Wings” echoes in theme the original Christianaires’ big hit, “Two Wings,” in its anticipation of entering Heaven, the ultimate paradise destination for the faithful. Although it moves more slowly, the traditional “Won’t It Be Grand” is no less energetic in its consideration of the afterlife.
The title track and 2017 single, written by Darrell Jay Jones, is a joyfully rollicking selection with a dash of self-deprecating humor. Lead singer Brumfield declares nothing can get in the way of his faith: not a lost job, not problems in the church, not problems in the home, not an empty refrigerator—nothing. Another neo-traditional piece is “In My Jesus Name,” sung by Arthur Smith and dedicated to his father, the “quartet pioneer and songwriter” Jimmie Lee Smith of the Supreme Wonders of Florida.
My Faith is Working is a very fine project by a group that may contain only one original Christianaires member, but it still maintains the founders’ commitment to blending traditional downhome gospel music with modern day musicianship.
Four of Five Stars
Picks: “I Need Thee,” “My Faith is Working”