SEPTEMBER PENN: Hope For You (Label: Bam Bam)

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September Penn is a rising star of the US gospel circuit. She works in and around the churches of Maryland, Florida and her native Virginia and ‘Hope For You’ is her first full, solo album. The eleven tracker reveals a sweet soprano voice that handles the ballads beautifully but when required September can also handle tighter material like the loose ‘I’m Lovin’ You’ which is built from the same jammin’ template as ‘Masterblaster’. The opener ‘I’ve Got To Know’ offers rolling beats while ‘Spirit Move’ has a lazy, jazzy feel to it… both decent cuts, but it’s the ballads on which the lady really excels. Best of the bunch is the title cut which when released as a single caused a buzz on the gospel circuit, and it’s easy to hear why. The song boasts a strong melody which echoes the implied optimism of the lyric and September handles it perfectly – just the right amount of tenderness. ‘Sing Hallelujah’ and ‘Agape Love’ are pleasing examples of modern gospel ballads too while for those who prefer things a little more retro ‘We’ve All Gotta Worship’ has both old style testifying lyrics and a timeless arrangement with September’s semi-spoken vocal supported by superb harmonies from a five piece choir. Indeed, throughout the album, produced by Clarence Skinner, the harmony support is first class and it’s clear that for an indie album though budgets might have been tight, talent and commitment to the message are there in abundance. Fans of modern gospel music need to investigate and can do so at or
(BB) 3/5