Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Music from Heaven - A7 is A-1!

I listen to a wide variety of music. I do not often write about my tastes in music in the pages of The White Rhino Report. I am not sure why. Perhaps it is because musical tastes are so subjective that I do not want to risk boring you with my personal preferences. I just obtained a CD that has prompted me to break my silence and share the wealth, making you aware of a new gift of soul-stirring music. The album is the self-titled “A7” by the group of the same name – a group of six brothers who hail from a small town in Georgia.

The members of the group describe their style as “inspirational urban soul.” The music on this album cuts across boundaries that typically separate genres such as R&B, Gospel, Motown blues and hip-hop. This is a group that combines the silky harmonies of Take 6 or Manhattan Transfer with the gritty sound of Public Enemy. These are preacher’s kids with street cred! The six Harris brothers – Arcelious, Alonzo, Alexander, Andronicus, Antipas and Antonio – are the sons of Pastor James L. Harris, who has worked as an educator while shepherding a Georgia congregation. Alexander explained to me the significance of the group’s name – “A7”: “All six of the brothers’ names begin with the letter ‘A.’ The ‘7’ acknowledges the invisible presence of God as the seventh member of the group. In addition, in the Old Testament Scriptures, the number ‘7’ often connotes completion or maturity.”

Since I gained possession of this album a little over a week ago, I have listened to it dozens of times – at home, in my car, in the office. I can’t get enough. In the midst of a hectic day, the music hits me as a stream of cool, clear and refreshing water – bathing every part of me in a sense of joy, hope and reflection. It is like a chair massage for the soul!

Of the 14 cuts on this album, here are some of the songs that I have listened to the most:

“Bring in the Noise,” written by David A. Harris and Alexander is a call to church goers to be as willing to talk about God on the street as they are willing to “testify” in the safety of the sanctuary.

“Church Time in the South” is a rollicking, Gospel celebration of all that it means to worship in the freewheeling style of Black congregations in the South.

“Don’t Walk Away,” also written by Alonzo and Alexander, just won the top award of “Song of the Year” at the Gospel Choice Awards in Atlanta. The song is a clarion call to those who are down and out not to give up. The song is both inspiring and hauntingly beautiful.

“After Life [Tic Toc]” is an edgy hip-hop warning to consider how fleeting and fragile is our time here on earth. The lyrics are “in your face” and arresting: “She finally made it to church . . . in the back of a black hearse!”

“Always Here with Me” is a gorgeous evocation of the joys of deep friendship and the loyalty that such friendship engenders. It is my favorite cut on this album, and the one that consistently touches me the most deeply as I hit the “repeat” button on my CD player.

The final cut, “Worship Medley,” is enough to make almost anyone say to himself or herself: “I think it is time to get back to church!”

The musicianship of these six brothers is without peer. The production quality of the recording, mixing, editing and design of “A7” is of the highest caliber. This is a classy product - produced by a high-class group of extraordinarily talented and gifted gentlemen. I have had the chance to meet three of the six singers, and it is refreshing to know that their personalities and lives ring as true and harmoniously as do their voices.

The brothers are using this album and their appearances in person and on television to fund a foundation that provides mentoring for youth – In Touch With Communities Around The World. Alexander serves as the Executive Director for the Foundation.

http://www.itwcinc.org/

I have ordered a number of copies of this CD that I plan to present as gifts to friends and family members. I encourage you to visit the A7 Website and order your own copies, or even to invite the group to sing at your church or club.

http://www.a7music.net/index_content.html

The CD is also available from Amazon.com, Virginmega.com or Best Buy.

It you buy this album and enjoy it, please let me know. It will be “music to my ears”!

Enjoy.

Al

1 comment:

R2K said...

: )