Eddy Mann
Chapel Songs
Independent (release date: June 2, 2023)

By Robert M. Marovich

With Chapel Songs, Philadelphia-based Christian folk artist Eddy Mann offers a dozen prayerfully meditative selections with acoustic austerity.

The album is aptly-titled. The easy, peaceful songs express the intimacy of an evening chapel service. Examples include the easy-to-learn “Hallelujah,” based on Revelation 19:1 and bathed in exquisite harmonies. “Three Is One” is a relaxed meditation on the Trinity. “Amen” is a lightly bouncy arrangement of the spiritual popularized by Wings over Jordan in the 1940s, by Sidney Poitier in the 1963 film Lilies of the Field, and by the Impressions in 1964.

The vulnerability in Mann’s voice, well-suited to the material, evokes ambient artists like Low and Sleeping at Last. Everything comes together on “Gracious God,” which has the formality of a hymn but with an informal smooth jazz arrangement. He gives the same lithe touch to the Sunday School perennial, “This Little Light of Mine,” retitled here as “Let It Shine.”

Interpolating a key line from “Solid Rock,” “My hope is built on nothing less / than Jesus’ blood and righteousness,” “Hope of the World” is a praise piece built on pop song construction. And with an intro, rhythm, and chord structure reminiscent of Crosby Stills Nash & Young’s protest anthem “Ohio,” “My Alms” serves as a summary of Mann’s music ministry. “Let my life be my mark,” he sings, “be my mark in this world.”

Chapel Songs has a restful celebratory feel, brimming with understated but earnest optimism. It’s what we need as we enter a new year.

Four of Five Stars

Picks: “Gracious God,” “Hope of the World”

Leave A Comment

Written by : Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.