Jason Lee McKinney Band – One Last Thing
This album appears at first glance as a fire & brimstone Christian-rock endeavor. And it is. I’m not a big religious fanatic especially when it comes to music, though I love “Oh, Happy Day.” But this heavy 16-track set (with an additional radio edit cut) has very redeemable qualities.
You don’t have to be heavily into religion to appreciate the marvelous musicianship & singing featured in this effort. The group cleverly decorated their songs with some durable beats, energetic lead guitar solos, rollicking piano runs, well-arranged melodies & at times vocals with soul though this isn’t a heavy-duty spiritual collection.
The crunchy guitar on “Freedom,” & “When I’m Gone,” exemplify these soulful vintage R&B outings. The entire presentation punctuates with its rock significance (“One Last Thing,” “Song of Songs,” “Voice for the Voiceless”). The guitarist crunches along with blistering redemptive tones & tunefulness on his licks. Impressive.
This is the 11th LP by Nashville’s 5-member Jason Lee McKinney Band. One Last Thing (Drops March 18–Bonfire Records) is a spiritual-infused journey with no confections, the God messaging is finely tuned & on this collection, it’s actually smartly woven. Nothing is bombastic, or too clinically catechism oriented. The messages get through & they get there with enthusiasm & likability.
“Paperback Novels,” is a bit too Prince-falsetto for me – but I can’t deny the catchiness of the song. The lyrical theme has authority, sincerity & the lead vocals during the rest of the song — full-throated & expressive. This tune also features a clean lead guitar that emerges with chilling detail. “Lighthouse,” however, is flawless. “Sing On,” is like an Edwin Hawkins Singers’ gospel romp sweetened with the structure of the classic “Run On,” tradition (performed by Elvis & many others).
The choir is beautiful & the lead vocalist has a mature R&B urgency. Skillfully negotiated through each song. The lyrics are colorful, energetic & the groove is well-established. Another splash of lead guitar momentum drives the tune steady & sure.
The band — Jason Lee McKinney (lead vocals/BGV/acoustic & electric guitars/writer), Barry Strauser (piano/organ/keys/BGV), Billy Wright (bass), Sam Berce (electric & acoustic guitars), Logan Todd (drums/percussion) with several additional musicians, vocalists & choirs.
The criticism — I wouldn’t have bought this if it depended on the CD cover art. After listening to these tracks, I felt the music deserved a better package. The tinted photo of the band on the inside spread would’ve been ideal.
The last time I heard a record as enthusiastic as this exploring the same themes was 1993’s The Soul Mission & their inspirational songs such as “Table In the Wilderness.” McKinney & band have all the musical performance trappings of jubilance & remains deeply entertaining at the same time.
Color image from the band’s website. The 1-hour-8-minute CD is available @ https://www.jasonleemckinneyband.com/
Check out our premiere of the song “Cross Over,” here: Song Premiere: Jason Lee McKinney “Cross Over“
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