A while back I wrote If I Were Starting A Label where I mentioned The Craig Lewis Band among others as people I would select. Since then, the duo have released a self-titled album that you can purchase on iTunes or Amazon.
As described on their Facebook page: “Lewis (R) 25 has a rich, once-in-a-lifetime voice that wouldn’t sound out of place on the finale of Star Search or American Idol. His authoritative, piercing tenor has so much range that it just might shatter the studio walls. Where Lewis aims for the stratosphere, Craig (L) 24 goes for an earthier, raspy sound. Yet his voice is no less dazzling, especially when he starts doing nimble vocal runs in the style of gospel virtuosos like Daryl Coley and Kim Burrell. When the voices merge in blissful harmonies, it’s the sound of perfect parts of a jigsaw puzzle magically fitting together.”
After playing the album, I’m impressed. One of the things I’m always concerned about when you have singers who can flat out blow, is that sometimes, it’s hard to find songs that really allow them to shine and compliment the talent. I think the folks behind the group did a good job of making sure they selected good songs that fit. One of the first songs to grab my attention was “Somebody Gotta Go” where the topic is a relationship that has been over but they are still living together and going through the motions. I’ve been there, so I can definitely relate. Like I stated before on numerous other reviews, knowing when to quit is a skill that not enough people have mastered. Hanging on just to be hanging on, already knowing that nothing is going to come from it is useless. Eventually, somebody gotta go. I enjoy the feel of this song as well, it has a 90′s personality to it. The next standout was “Tell Me”. Lewis comes in over the keys and sets the tone for this ballad about trying to win back a lost love. “I took your heart for granted / assumed you’d always be here / but your eyes are telling me you don’t care anymore / and my heart is begging me to fight for love.” Talking about this song really does it no justice, hearing Lewis sing solo on this song is really a shining moment on this album. The Band reaches back into the 80′s a bit on “Real Life” to grab the guitar sound to accompany a song that takes a creative look at relationships. Craig sings “Mike and Carrol Brady had a perfect life / Cliff and Claire Huxtable never really had a serious fight / Growing up I thought, that was how / life was gonna be / but the truth is it’s not / we gotta deal with the problems we got.” It goes on from there to mention other shows and talks about the contrast between those scripted loves and the work that is required for a real relationship. “Together” is another good song to check out on this album. This one is much like “Real Life” in that it’s an inspirational love song about being steadfast in the face of adversity and making a stand to be together. I don’t know if it’s my copy but this song is a little muddy production wise, but it’s still a good song. Now all those songs I mentioned are really good and are my stand-outs from the album, but none of them shine as bright as “We Need To Talk.” We often get songs from men where they champion being the other guy and take joy in smashing the lady they adore while the other man is at work. This song is a totally different take on it. This comes across more like a situation where they got close to this young lady who is in a troubled relationship and is just trying to figure out when/how to leave. It’s cool to hear them get into feelings and emotions in this situation instead of the physical thing. I think all too often, women forget that men like to feel special and desired as well so it’s good to hear them address that when they say “Girl you make me feel special / like a special kind of fool / cause I can’t stop loving you / and you know, like I know, that it ain’t gon’ change / we can’t keep goin’ through the same thing.” The other thing that helps this song stand out is that it’s Acapella, and done really well at that.
This album is a good introduction to The Band. They sing a lot about the good and the bad in relationships, as well as mixing in some more uptempo songs into the sound. I can only suspect that as the buzz continues to grow around this talented pair, that they will start to reach their full potential and push the boundaries like we see them do when they perform live. This is a good album to add to your collection.