As if returning from a spiritual journey, Nashville bassist and composer Sean O’Bryan Smith delivers us his second album, “Reflection”. This soulful sounding album contains 10 refreshingly updated versions of church standards and gospel hits as well as 2 inspired original tracks thrown in for good measure. Backed by a collection of world class musician’s Smith achieves a perfect balance of reverence and rejuvenation, aptly conveying the spiritual message of each track while breathing new life into each one.
Featuring a grooving, high energy bass line, the album opens with “How Great Thou Art”, followed by the more reserved “Blessed Assurance” and “Mighty to Save”. Next up is “Blessed Be Your Name” featuring a impressive Bass and Tenor Sax unison line. Lisa Hearns adds her soulful vocals to “Me Without You”, followed by a dynamic version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”. The Smith penned “Called” fits nicely within the chosen genre, sounding right at home among the classic tracks. “Give Me Jesus” features a heartfelt Randy Brecker on trumpet, while a stirring rendition of “The Blood” keeps it simple. The vocal stylings of Gary A. Brown evoke a spiritual passion on “Yes You Have”, followed by a freshly arranged version of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. The albums final track “Reflection” features Malcom Jamal-Warner performing a provoking spoken word segment which movingly delivers Smith’s inspirational message that this album is meant to convey.
Funky, yet tasteful, and unquestionably uplifting, Smith offers us a compelling set of songs that rouse the soul and enliven the spirit. 8/10
Stanton Lawrence([email protected])