Mary Mary delivers gospel gems on new album ‘The Sound’ |

Mary Mary delivers gospel gems on new album ‘The Sound’

Mary Mary, “The Sound”


Mary Mary is one of the few contemporary gospel acts to gain mainstream appeal by blending urban R&B beats with traditional church music.

That approach helped the sisters, Erica and Tina Campbell, reach platinum status on their debut album “Thankful” and gold on “Incredible” and the self-titled “Mary Mary.”

The duo sticks to the same formula on the CD “The Sound.” Mary Mary churns out solid songs praising Jesus Christ alongside signature uptempo hooks on songs such as “Get Up” and “Boom.”

Mary Mary uses trendy vocoder vocals on “God In Me,” featuring Kierra Sheard. The group also teams up with rapper David Banner on the anthem-like “Superfriend.”

But the CD isn’t filled with just vibrant, danceable grooves. On the guitar-driven ballad “Dirt,” the sisters deliver a message that could rejuvenate anyone as they both bellow in harmony, “Champions never accept defeat/You fall and get back on your feet.” And on ballad “Forgive Me,” the singers talk about past failings and how tribulations helped their maturation as women.

CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: On “Superfriend,” Banner details how his faith has helped him overcome numerous strife within his life.

-By Jonathan Landrum Jr./ AP

Nikka Costa’s CD is refreshing

Nikka Costa, “Pebble to a Pearl” (Stax Records)

Will “Pebble to a Pearl” finally give Nikka Costa some mainstream success?

The soulful singer released her first CD, “Everybody Got Their Something,” seven years ago with Virgin Records, but despite the catchy title track, she didn’t become the breakout star despite considerable pre-album buzz. Her under-the-radar sophomore release, “can’tneverdidnothin”‘ didn’t help matters.

Big sales may still elude Costa with her third CD, released through Stax Records. But if that’s the case, it won’t be because of the quality of her music.

On her latest effort, the singer-songwriter shines on all 12 tracks. Working with producer and husband Justin Mitchell Stanley, the Los Angeles-born singer takes on many roles, from the clingy girlfriend on “Stuck to You” to the understandably selfish “Can’t Please Everybody” to even making a man cry on the funny “Cry Baby.”

The anti-war “Bullets In the Sky” is exceptional as well as the hopelessly romantic “Someone for Everyone.” Costa’s raspy voice adds vibrance to this delightful CD.

CHECK THIS OUT: “Without Love” is a groovy getaway about the good life, though one thing’s missing – love.

– Mesfin Fekadu/AP