You won’t need a lyric sheet to sing along with Crystal Lewis’ latest musical offering Holy, Holy, Holy. But then, you may not want to. Although Lewis’ unique and resounding voice still permeates this album of hymns, she doesn’t seem to be stretching herself vocally.

Lyrically, the album is not a challenge, and musically, most of the tracks stick to the original song arrangements. One notable exception is the driving ’80s techno beat of the remake “When the Roll is Called.” This song offers more of what you would expect from the soulful voice that roars on some of Lewis’ earlier offerings.

You may be happy to hear the old Edwin Hawkins’ hit from the late ’60s, “Oh, Happy Day,” which stays true to Hawkins’ arrangement right down to the horn section, but the original arrangement really dates the song. Also featured is Lewis narrating Scripture about the holiness of the Lord, and the project ends with a rousing version of the song “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

Lewis’ vocal range is the only unique aspect of this collection of mostly older hymns or spirituals. Consequently, you might want to review it more than once. Listening with more intensity will reveal some of the shadings and nuances of Lewis’ voice.

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Based on hymns, spirituals and older songs, Holy, Holy, Holy, would fit more in the repertoire of an artist such as Sandi Patty, whose music is more suited to the inspirational genre. It seems as if the producers of this album were simply counting on Lewis’ inimitable voice to carry the project. They almost did it, but not quite.

Copyright © 2004 Christian Music Planet, used with permission.

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