I've been meaning to say how impressed I was with the album Zeph "Zedjah" Daniel and Kel Rowley recently recently, "Sword And Dove". 11 original songs dedicated to the "Sovereign King" . . . represents a lot of patience, craftsmanship and work. Having written and produced songs myself for a while I know how much it takes to put together that much material. I was especially impressed with Zeph's production. When you are an artist yourself but then in a producer's role, it is not easy-- and many simply can't do it--to maintain objectivity and respect for the artist's muse and vision and not override it with your own vision and/or agenda.
I think Z did a fantastic and careful job working with Kel's material and augmenting it as appropriate with his great soundscape textures and overall coherency of "sound." Really, that is not easy to do--especially with a new studio . . . . Kel's voice and energy are likewise exceptional and reminded me of a guilty pleasure fave album I use to listen to in the early 80's. You wouldn't think so maybe, but Olivia Newton John put out an album then--I think it was the one that had "Let's Get Physical" on it--which had some other really great tunes on it . . . and John Ferrar the producer made it a unique ONJ album with extensive use of synthesizers and an overall mystical kind of motif that I was into at the time . . . . Kel's voice also reminds me of some of the better early Madonna tunes that I also liked, believe it or not, back in the day.
But this is a Christian album, and I think honestly one of the best of any recently made. I don't like a lot of the mushy-gushy "Jesus is my girlfriend" "contemporary Christian" music that is popular these days, and Sword And Dove is a fresh, innovative departure from that whole commercialized genre.
The music cranks up very nicely--as in, plays loud well!--which is another excellent feature--the quality of the recording clean, big, aurally spacious and punchy, which again shows Zeph's skills in this area.
Honestly, I give the album an A+ . . . for innovation, inspiration, quality and integrity; one of the best new independent releases easily of the year! [I dig the cover art as well--perfectly fits spirit and tone of the collaboration. Would make a great poster!]