Word Records is clearly making an effort to make this R&B-flavored offering a hit. Upon hearing it the first time, I have to say, George Huff has PLEASANTLY surprised me.
Huff could have done an album quickly after his 2004 post-Idol music tour, but he took time and spent a year to get it right and it shows. This is an album made with love and effort to ensure excellence.
That's evident in the A-list of producers and writers behind it, including folks who have worked with the likes of Barry Manilow, R. Kelly, and Barbra Streisand.
These are people who really know what they're doing.
What are the major strengths of this album ? For one it speaks to the hopes and fears of almost everyone.
It is also very easy to like the music. Melodic strength and great delivery take precedence over lyricism.
Also, American Idol contestants are all about showing off the quality of your vocals, and it is hardly surprising that the first thing you notice about the title track or the mid-tempo "Feels Like Heaven" is Huff's impeccable crooning.
I have to say that he has that strong, rich, low baritone that reminds you of a young Lou Rawls,
Continue listening, however, and you find out that the bulk of the album is inspirational, gospel-lite fare-the type of positive kind of music that Idol fans are likely to swoon over. If you love listening to songs like -- WIND BENEATH MY WINGS, you will soon find out that several songs in this album have a similar feel to it.
A few songs ("Fortunes," "See What God Can Do") have a more straight-forward spiritual message, particularly the ones Huff had a hand in composing ( remember, he was a music major at the University of Oklahoma ).
The rest ("Only Love," "You Know Me," "Count on You") are all about praise to God but the lyrics are not as straightforward. They in fact, could even sound like love songs if a few words here and there were modified.
Be that as it may, I have to say that it is a smooth, soulful, great debut. I don't think Simon Cowell can complain much.
I'm hoping it doesn't take a miraculous intervention to get Huff to assert his identity more fully the next time around.
But if this debut of his is a portent of things to come... George Huff can look forward to a great singing career ahead of him.
RECOMMENDED LISTENING TO THOSE WHO LOVE MODERN SOUNDING INSPIRATIONAL MUSIC.