The McCrary Sisters: All the Way Review

A delightful blend of soul, R&B, funk, and gospel, All the Way, the second album from the McCrary Sisters, allows four talented vocalists, normally seen in the background of performances with Dr. John and Bob Dylan, to step into the spotlight with a soulful album of praise and thanksgiving to, “Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for all that he has done, and for trusting us with the gifts that he has given us.”

After releasing their first solo album, Our Journey, in 2010, the McCrarys were a part of Dr. John’s Grammy-winning CD, Locked Down.  The McCrary’s musical career began in their father’s – the late Rev. Samuel McCrary – church, and continued with the BCM (Baptist, Catholic, Methodist) Mass Choir, and countless performances with all the greats of blues, gospel, and roots music, including Johnny Cash, Wynona Judd, and Mike Farris, along with the aforementioned Dr. John and Dylan, to name a few.

The album kicks off with “Come On,” a funky original by Alfreeda McCrary Lee and keyboardist/engineer/producer Kevin McKendree, featuring the McCrary’s doing what they do best: singing in harmony.  In addition to featuring tasteful playing from guitar great Rob McNelley, a tight horn section provides a perfect accent to Steve Mackey’s funky bass line.  The first cover on the album, Buddy Guy’s “Skin Deep,” is beautiful, featuring a nice guest vocal from Allen McCrary and fabulous guitar and synth work from producer Tommy Sims.  “Hum and Moan” is an organic spiritual, whose acoustic instruments and gorgeous harmonies produce a haunting sensation in the listener.  Equally captivating is an openly honest prayer, in the form of a late-night blues set, “Hello Jesus,” which laments transgression and sin, but affirms faith in Jesus’s infinite mercy and assistance.  “You Can Make It,” is evidence of the Sisters’ musical-theater background, and is a striking pop-inspired ballad that would be equally at home in a theatrical production, offering encouragement and hope to those travelling the often-rocky spiritual road.

There are precious few complaints to be had about this album.  It is an eclectic album, harmonically interesting, and well performed.  As a general rule, it would be nice to hear the Sisters sing in unison a bit more often.  While they sound excellent in harmony, the captivating power of strong unison singing cannot be understated.  Most all of the tracks are excellent and represent a wide variety of styles.  The only objection this critic would voice would be “Victory,” which tries to meld electronic production, heavy synthesizers and samples with organic music.  To this critic’s ears, the electronic frills are a distraction from the message of the song, and the funky guitar and bass.   All the Way represents an ecumenical selection of funk, blues, soul, and R&B that delivers a powerful musical testimony of faith, hope, and love.

The Review: 8.5/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Skin Deep
– Hello Jesus
–  Hum and Moan
– You Can Make It

The Big Hit

– You Can Make It

Review by Nik Rodewald

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