149. The Bride – Crystal Lewis
THE BRIDE (1993)
Though it would be three more years before Crystal Lewis became one of the biggest names in CCM with her best-selling “Beauty For Ashes” album, it was in 1993 with the release of The Bride that Lewis achieved her artistic triumph. Following the very cool and funky “Remember,” The Bride was a genre shifting work of artistic merit that expanded Lewis’ musical palette and vocal prowess.
The musicians on the album read like a who’s who and their playing is true and authentic. Abraham Laboriel, Shawn Tubbs, Dave Spurr, John Knox and John Andrew Schreiner.
The production was more stark and “band” sounding than any in her career and this live band feel creating a vocal urgency and attitude that some earlier releases may have lacked. This is not the same Lewis who simply sang Bill Baumgart porcelain produced pop songs. This was confident and forceful woman with something to say. This is more evident on the stark and funky “Little Jackie.”
The groove of “The Mother and The Bride” is just so smooth and cool while “Don’t Worry” is more progressive jazz influenced with amazing sax work. “You’ll Be back For Me” rocks with a power that would be seen later on her “Fearless” release but works best here.
The centerpiece of the album is the tremendous “My Redeemer Lives.” This worship song shows Lewis’ vocal powers more than just about any other in her career. Lewis holds her own against backing vocal crew that included Alfie Silas, Debbie McClendon and Linda McCrary that accompanies her and leads to several spine tingling moments.
The album also contains a wonderful version of “Amazing Grace” that would point toward the several hymns projects she has been involved with as well as being a nod to her traditional church upbringing the appreciation for the hymns in provided to her.
Many fans that discovered her with “Beauty for Ashes” have little appreciation for this album. It is much more raw and edgy and nothing like the soft AC artists that sold hundreds of thousands of copies. But for those that watched her progress as an artist from “Hi Tops” through Beyond the Charade, The Bride marks a step of maturity and artistic confidence that is unmatched on any other release.