Lizz Wright: Faith Against Long Odds

God Specializes

4 min 30 sec
 
Lizz Wright i i

Lizz Wright invigorates "God Specializes" with timeless fervor by channeling her pedigree in Hahira, Ga. Vincent Soyez hide caption

itoggle caption Vincent Soyez
Lizz Wright

Lizz Wright invigorates "God Specializes" with timeless fervor by channeling her pedigree in Hahira, Ga.

Vincent Soyez

Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "God Specializes"
  • Artist: Lizz Wright
  • CD: Fellowship
  • Genre: Gospel/Soul

Lizz Wright began her solo career as a wide-eyed jazz singer, but has since evolved into a pop chanteuse. No matter what genre she sings, though, her gospel roots remain intact. On her fourth disc, Fellowship, she brings her church upbringing to the fore, as evidenced by her rapturous rendition of Gloria Griffin's 1958 classic, "God Specializes."

Kenny Banks begins the song with solemn piano chords, laying the foundation for Wright's humid contralto as she testifies about the power of faith in a higher power amid long odds. Soon afterward, the rhythm section underscores her with a shuffling waltz while background singers reinforce the message by repeating the song's title.

Wright steers clear of the cloying "old-school" route, and she doesn't gussy it up with melismatic mayhem, either. Instead, she invigorates the song with timeless fervor by channeling her pedigree in Hahira, Ga., where she grew up in a strict home with parents who were both ministers. Wright relies on the emotional immediacy of her voice and the hopeful directness of Griffin's lyrics, and the result is one of the most galvanizing performances of her still-evolving career.

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Fellowship

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Album
Fellowship
Artist
Lizz Wright
Label
Verve Forecast
Released
2010

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