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United Tenors by Fred Hammond | CD Reviews And Information | NewReleaseToday

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United Tenors [edit]
by Fred Hammond | Genre: Gospel | Release Date: March 26, 2013

UNITED TENORS: Hammond, Hollister, Roberson, Wilson

In a music business full of inflated egos, it's nothing short of a miracle to get four of the biggest names in their musical genres to collaborate on a project, but that's just what Fred Hammond, Dave Hollister, Eric Roberson and Brian Courtney Wilson have done. The Grammy Award winning, platinum-selling urban contemporary Gospel pioneer; the R&B crooner who wailed on 2 Pac's classic "Keep Ya Head Up" and as Blackstreet front man on "Before I Let You Go"; the Grammy Award nominated Indie Soul King and the urban inspirational vocalist with the crisp rasp in his tone have united as the United Tenors. This unique unit has created an album that will not only appeal to the church world's predominant audience - women - but it's also a work that will resoundingly connect with men. "I want them to experience a brand new fresh anointed sound or feeling," Hammond says of the music's future listeners. "I want them to have a ‘WOW' moment."

Who better to usher in the WOW factor than the man who co-founded Commissioned, the groundbreaking '80s Gospel band that brought funk, lyrical poetry and a lot of unprecedented punch to the Gospel idiom? It's the same man who, through his '90s ensemble Radical for Christ, introduced the praise and worship genre to urban praise teams with modern day chants such as "Let the Praise Begin" and "Glory to Glory to Glory." The idea for this new group has been germinating in Hammond's mind for a couple of years. "It was something that I heard internally," he adds. "It was a male group sound, similar to what I heard when I heard Commissioned's first sound, so I knew I needed to move in that direction."

The sound is an Urban Adult rhythm that recalls '70s soul music without an iota of nostalgia. They take from the past but transform it for the future. "I think it will remind people of a lot of the old throwback great R&B groups like Heatwave, the Dramatics, the Chi-lites and The Stylistics," Hammond says. "It's a brand new sound that still feels familiar. When men sing together it's a very powerful moment, and we have that moment."

Indeed, they have several of those poignant moments here. Hammond wrote three of the fourteen songs and co-wrote the remaining tracks with a variety of musicians -mostly friends with whom he's collaborated with over the years. They showcase a muscular vulnerability of submission to God on the first radio single, "Here in Our Praise," a mellow sing-along in which they sing in unison: "With our hearts Lord, we worship you and we won't be the same. In your power O Lord, we are changed! As we lift up your name let your presence reign over us as we worship you."

"When assembling the group, I didn't just listen to voices, but I also looked at character," Hammond says. "I wanted to work with men who would work well together and complement each other. Personally, I have to put Fred Hammond's solo career and solo personae on hold for the sake of making this group successful. This is a bigger cause, so I have to step back now and sing background...and I'm happy to do it. And these guys feel the same way...they play their parts. There are no egos. I try to distribute the time people have on the mic equally, and it has worked."

"Working with the United Tenors has been a total joy. The bottom line is, none of us need this to survive. We are doing it out of love for God. We are all united in this, but our lives and livelihood are not dependent upon it. I think that makes the biggest difference."

Track Listing
Click here to add a video. Click to add lyrics if not listed.
01. Unshakeable
02. Love You Like That
03. Here In Our Praise
04. We Worship You
05. I'm In The Midst
06. I'm Reminded
07. Never A Day
08. Everybody Get Up
09. Come On Let's Pray
10. That's The Only Way To Love
11. My Heart Is Yours
12. What Is This
Click To Add Lyrics
13. My God Is Real
14. I Need You

Entry last edited by NRTeamAdmin on 03.21.13

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A union of singers to be celebrated! | Posted May 23, 2013
Fred Hammond has been in Gospel music for more than 30 years. He started as a bassist for the Winans, then he co-founded the colossal Commissioned. He blazed trails with Radical for Christ and he is not letting up. 
He has come full circle as he, Dave Hollister, Brian Courtney Wilson and Eric Roberson form the group United Tenors. Hollister is well known in the secular industry for his time with Blackstreet, being the singer on Tupac's "Brenda Got A Baby" and of course his solo stuff. Although he still does some dates with Blackstreet, he is devoted to ministry. 
Roberson is also an R&B singer with a strong following while Wilson is arguably one of the best crooners in the Gospel world. They release Here In Our Praise, produced by Fred. He gets help from his band—Calvin Rodgers, Philip Feaster, Lawrence Jones along with Shaun Martin, Derek Clark and Chuck Bethany. 
The album jumps into high gear with the songs "Unshakeable" and "Love You Like That." Lead single "Here In Our Praise" has a slow urban feel, but the lyrics are vertical worship to God. For the most part, the quartet as a whole is the leaders with some ad-libs from Wilson and Hammond. This group works and it is great to hear them all sing and take equal lead parts. In this day and age it is refreshing to see and hear men and devoted fathers take the lead and give honor to God.
"In the Midst of It All" is a beautiful ballad of sheer adoration to God. The song almost sounds like one of the chapters in Psalms with such lyrics as, "To know that your presence is all that we need / Is more than enough to set our minds at ease / And when our hearts is overwhelmed we'll look to the Cross / And there we are reminded that you are here.
A fretless bass, a jazzy saxophone weaving nicely throughout, great placements of each singer's voice and great lyrics make "Never a Day" a winner and a definite highlight. Hollister starts it off and from there you know it is going to be a good one. 
A major highlight on the album is "I'm Reminded." What makes this song so special? Perhaps it's the chorus, which sings: "I'm reminded how much You care for me / I'm reminded how much You done for me oh Lord / When I think of what you done on cavalry / I am reminded of Your love." Could it possibly be the fact that it's a mid-tempo pop number with some straight-up churchy "sangin'" by Fred Hammond and Brian Courtney Wilson? Can a song be pop yet churchy? It is the combination all of those things that make it so special. It is one song that you will play over and over again. 
No matter if the tempo is faster, a la "We Worship You," or slow such as "My Heart Is Yours," worship and encouragement is a big theme throughout the album. The fellas tug at the heart strings and deliver a relatable song in "Where Are You." This is a song that is vintage Fred Hammond because he writes in a way that "hits home" but still leaves you worshipping God. 
Closing Thoughts:
So much has already been said, but to see these singers put aside any egos and have equal billing is refreshing. There is power in unity and when strong men come together to bring praise to God, there is nothing like it. Thank you Dave Hollister, Eric Roberson, Brian Courtney Wilson and Fred Hammond! 
Song to Download Now:
"I'm Reminded" (Get it on iTunes here.)

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