Thursday, 5 February 2009

June Rochelle - Changing Places Vision/Titan

This album’s been around for some time but for all kinds of reasons it seems to have slipped through the net – shame ‘cos “Changing Places” is one very classy, modern gospel album that deserves serious consideration. Why? Well for starters Indianapolis-based June Rochelle is an outstanding vocalist. She has a clear yet soothing soprano that moves easily from cool jazz-based inflection to controlled soul passion almost at will. Secondly the songs are first rate. Well constructed and aimed primarily at the gospel community, their message can nevertheless be applied to secular relationships, personal problems and pressing social issues. Thirdly, the label hasn’t skimped on production values. Though the album’s on an indie, it has all the feel of a big label project. Hear it all come together on the lead single “Radio” – an insistent, steady beater that rides a clever title hook. It’s good – but there’s better. “Real Thing”, for instance, is a wonderful cut. Tight, mid-paced and melodic it’s what real modern soul’s all about while “Just Because I’m Saved” calls to mind Jill Scott’s classic “Family Reunion”. Ballads? Well there’s plenty here that will, satisfy. “Use Me Lord” is a real beauty and “Wherever You Go” is big and dramatic. The one non-original song though is the one that really shows where the lady’s coming from. It’s a version of “His Eye Is On The Sparrow” and if you care about soul music – I mean really care – you should grab a listen pronto. Like I said up top, it would be a shame to let this one slip away.

Bill Buckley

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