Stronger – Taranda Greene

TarandaGRADE:  A

  • Album – Stronger
  • Artist – Taranda Greene
  • Label – Stow Town Records
  • Style – Progressive, Inspirational, Traditional (choir) Gospel
  • Release Date – 11/11/14
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes/Spotify)

SYNOPSIS:

One of the last major album releases of 2014 is Taranda Greene’s new solo recording, Stronger.  An album that had already started production and anticipating release in August.  Before the original release, Stow Town Records signed Taranda and decided to release and distribute Stronger.

The wait was well worth it as Taranda provides Gospel music listeners with one of the top album releases of 2014.  Southern Gospel listeners are already aware of Taranda’s power vocal that was prevalent in her time spent with the Greenes.  She showcases that power vocal on Stronger, unlike any other female voice in Southern Gospel music.

The songs chosen for Stronger and the arrangements chosen by producer Geron Davis makes for an absolute enjoyable listen.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The power house “Awake My Soul” soars above the other songs on Stronger to stand out as the top song on the recording.  Taranda takes this Randy Phillips penned song and makes for one of the best recorded songs of 2014.  A must listen.
  • In honor of late husband Tony Greene, Taranda records the Fred Rose country classic; “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”.  Originally recorded by Roy Acuff and then later by Willie Nelson (most remembered version), Taranda tackles this country ballad with a simple piano arrangement and somber style that makes it another must listen track on Stronger.
  • Without getting caught up in the modern praise and worship style, Taranda sings the praise song “Healer” to perfection.  She really turns it in to a progressive Southern Gospel power ballad.
  • The album’s opening/title track and first single was “Stronger”.  This song not only defines the strength of the album but conveys Taranda’s life experiences over the last several years.  By conveying the simple message of getting back up after falling, it is a message that we all need to hear at times in our lives.  Sometimes that simple message is the strongest message!
  • With all the work Taranda does with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, it is no surprise Stronger is filled with several traditional (choir) Gospel songs.  The choir is utilized on the Mary Mary cover, “Shackles”.  Taranda takes the listener to church on this particular number.  The same treatment can be heard in “A Little More Jesus” and the album’s closing track, “The Sound”.
  • Geron Davis’ production work needs to be commended.  He takes Taranda and the listener on a musical ride that leaves you wanting more.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Awake My Soul”, “Healer”, “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”, “Stronger”, “A Little More Jesus”, “Shackles” and “Where Amazing Happens”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Some of the lighter inspirational style songs did get lost on this listener.  The song “Promise” probably stood out as the most forgettable of all the songs on Stronger.
  • I also got lost on the progressive Southern Gospel/praise style song, “All I Need”.  While the vocal work from Taranda is amazing, the song itself fell flat.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Promise” and “All I Need”.

WRAP UP:

Some consider the word Diva derogatory.  If we looked at the simple definition of Diva, it is a highly distinguished female singer.  Of all the female voices in Southern Gospel music I would consider Taranda Greene Southern Gospel’s Diva.  Her voice is one of the greatest you’ll find in any genre of music.  Stronger is a must have for any lover of musical excellence!

SONG (Style) – Songwriter:  1. “Stronger” (Progressive SG) – Joel Lindsey, Barry Weeks, Tony Wood  2. “Where Amazing Happens” (Progressive SG) – William Daniel Dean  3. “Shackles” (Traditional/Choir Gospel) – Erica Atkins Campbell, Tina Atkins Campbell, Warryn Campbell  4. “Awake My Soul” (Progressive SG/Praise) – Randy Phillips  5. “Deepest Place” (Inspirational) – Meredith Andrews, Ronnie Freeman, Tony Wood  6. “Healer” (Praise) – Michael John Guglielmucci  7. “Promise” (Soft Pop) – Geron Davis, Evan Milby  8. “A Little More Jesus” (Traditional/Choir Gospel) – Erica Atkins Campbell, Tina Atkins Campbell, Warryn Campbell   9. “If I Could” (Easy Listening) – Kenny Hirsch, Ronald Miller, Martha Sharron  10. “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” (Country) – Fred Rose  11. “All I Need” (Progressive SG) – David Clark, Geron Davis  12. “The Sound” (Traditional/Choir Gospel) – Chip Dixson, William Murphy

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