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"Love Lifted Me" 
By: Ulysses Brown

Somewhere between the pulpit and the dance floor, this uplifting gospel/r&b song from Atlanta-based worship leader, Ulysses Brown, will have you praising God and raising your hands, while singing along to the memorable chorus and dancing in the aisles.

Kicking off with a retro-inspired drum loop, accompanied by tight bass and piano riff, this track is a sparsely-produced foundation (smartly so) for Brown's emotional and soulful testimony.  Although Mr. Brown has a very distinctive tone and vocal style, from the opening note, I was reminded of several brilliant 80s/90s secular r&b vocalists like J T Taylor (Kool and the Gang) and Rafael Sadiq (Tony! Tone! Tone!) as well as gospel contemporaries like Kirk Franklin and Israel Houghton.

Brown begins his story with the very emotionally-heavy, "I was sinking , deep in sin," laying the groundwork for his powerful testimony.  The funk-infused bass groove carries the verses nicely, adding to the dance-ability of the track.  That funky groove is accompanied by a lilting organ and driving piano chords, which gives the music a bit of a club/house feel.  From there, the story takes an uplifting course: "The Master heard my despairing cry."  The real party starts when the choir appears on the chorus.  You can almost visualize the members swaying and clapping along jubilantly, as they sing, "Love Lifted Me."  The song reveals its most poignant line as it approaches the final chorus: "I came running to Jesus; weary, wounded and so sad within my heart.  And, I found in Him a resting place, and He has made me glad."

It's easy to see why this song was a number one single on James Banfields's Blog Talk Radio show.  Pure joy, praise and redemption are found on "Love Lifted Me."  For fans of bass driven, r&b-influenced gospel music, this track is pure heaven.

                                                                   --Reviewed by Michael Stover
                                                                       MTS Management Group

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”Come Unto Me” – By: Ulysses Brown

“Come Unto Me” is the second track from Atlanta-based worship leader, Ulysses Brown, that I had the pleasure of discovering. After reviewing his up-tempo, funk-infused dance track, “Love Lifted Me,” I was pleased to find that Mr. Brown is not just a one trick pony. He delivers the goods once again with “Come Unto Me.”

“Come Unto Me” is a jazz-flavored, r&b-inspired, slow gospel jam that feels like it could have been penned by R. Kelly and sung by Al Jarreau or Anita Baker. Like Mr. Brown’s previous release, this song also leans on a sparse, retro-influenced production, held together by a tight rhythm section, 7th chord piano playing, and even some unexpected marimba. With the exception of the Christian message in the lyrics, this track feels like it could just as easily be found, played by a jazz combo in a smoke-filled club, as it could be found sung in church during Sunday morning services.

The first thing that struck me about “Come Unto Me” was the unpredictable, yet tasteful-use of minor and 7th chords on the piano. This instantly made me sit up and take notice,that this was not your typical smooth groove. Mr. Brown’s vocal, while strong on the last single I reviewed, was even more powerful and dead-on in its delivery. The vocal runs were smart and well-placed, and never over-bearing.

While the lyrical content doesn't break any new ground, there is a saying that “if it ain't broke, don’t fix it.” So, as a songwriter, Mr. Brown stays the tried and true course of bearing witness to the forgiveness of sin and redemption through his faith in Christ. “I was a sinner, I was lost in a world of sin…I heard the voice of Jesus say to me one day,‘Weary one, come unto me and lay down and rest.”

Fans of classic r&b and the Smooth Jams CDs of the mid-90s will find a nostalgic connection with “Come Unto Me.” But, in my opinion, good vocalists like this are timeless. It’s easy to see why Ulysses Brown was once named Richmond, Virginia’s “Man Of Music.” He is certainly living up to that reputation on this release.

--Reviewed by Michael Stover
MTS Management Group