DOMINIQUE HOWARD: Chapters (Label: Tate Music Group)

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Dominique Howard is a contemporary gospel artist who works in and around the soul hot bed that is Shreveport, Louisiana. There she plays the gospel circuit continuing the role she enjoyed whilst serving with the US army for eight years. G. I. Howard sang regularly at military ceremonies and won an award for best solo gospel performer. Encouraged by the accolades, she’s just released this – her first album and it’s clear that she wants to take modern gospel music in a newer direction. ‘Chapters’, you see, isn’t your standard gospel album. Sure, there’s plenty of preaching and praising and messages about salvation and forgiveness, but it’s all delivered very gently. There’s no pulpit thumping on the 9 tracker as Ms Howard strives for a gentler medium through which to deliver her messages. Indeed, she herself describes her sound as neo soul and a casual listen might make you think you’d stumbled across a new Jill Scott album ‘cos that’s the general musical thrust. ‘Main Line’ is very Jill Scott – languid and laid back… a cool and gentle groove with sweet, layered harmonies. But then so too are ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’, ‘Searching’ and ‘I Never Knew A Love Like This’ but they don’t quite ignite. The sharpest track is the opener, ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’ while ‘Burden Down’ has a jazz feel about it but again they seem to lack energy. Maybe that’s the idea behind the album, but I can’t help thinking that the LP needs a kick up the backside. One big, bright tune would quite transform the album and encourage you to listen to the lady’s messages a little harder. If you want to listen you can find out more at . The album is currently being promoted by Mike Ward’s Sheffield based indasoul promotions.
(BB) 3/5