Music review by Luchae Williams
Local gospel singer/song writer, Neville Diedericks, better known as Neville D, recently nabbed the Traditional Song of the Year title at the prestigious 2015 GMA Dove Awards, which took place in Nashville, USA last week Tuesday, October 12th, as reported by Gateway News.
Well known on the SA Christian music scene, Neville started playing guitar at the tender age of 12 years old and, with a passion for music and the things of God, went on to release more than 5 albums to date with his most recent, Beauty of Difference: Season 2, available in stores in November 2015. This offering will consist of the English album and an Afrikaans version titled ‘Prag Van Verskil’.
A proficient songwriter, Neville shared that the Dove Award should be seen as a tip of the hat for SA musicians, saying that his award is a sort of a stamp of approval after working so hard in the industry for many years. I thought it only apt to revisit one of Neville’s previous releases, ‘Songs of Deliverance‘ for this weeks #ThrowbackThursday” review. The album was released in 2010 and was nominated for Best Urban Gospel Album at the 2010 South African Music Awards. It showcased his versatility and made a lot of big names sit up and listen!
On my first listen, I immediately felt at home. I love that Neville and team kept the album’s flavour authentic and vibrant. There are a lot of different colors on this CD – From dancey reggae beats, to songs with rock elements and heartfelt ballades. Something for everyone! And what makes it even better: It is Proudly South African!
Opening track, ‘He’s alive’, is a lively congregational praise song that simply declares “Death has lost its power, Jesus is alive!” It really sets the mood for the next few songs and had me dancing around in my seat!
Hearing ‘El Shaddai’ took me back a couple of years, when we use to break out in crazy praise while singing it at our Youth meetings. It is a contemporary praise song, featuring Jade Brummer, that speaks about God being more than enough for us. Neville’s vocal on this song is really amazing! This is another one of those declarations that I don’t mind singing over and over until it sinks in.
Another song that had me feeling all kinds of good was reggae-inspired ‘For my good.’ Based on Romans 8:28, this is one of those songs that will immediately pick you up when you are having a rough day! I enjoyed the catchy beat and effective vocal arrangements. Neville sings “For my good/Everything will work out for my good! /What the devil meant for harm/The Lord will turn around! /Everything will work out for my good!” This is probably my favourite song on the album!
Lead single, ‘The sun will shine again’, is a vibey feel good song with pop elements and a really cool ragamuffin styled rap interlude by Jeremy JK Koeries. It speaks about having hope in adversity with lyrics that say “Sometimes rain will fall/ But the sun will shine again.” There is a cool build up (and key change) that makes this the kind of song you’d probably end up jamming to, in your car, at the traffic lights. The track is featured twice on the album, with the latter version dubbed as ‘the slow mix’ where Neville duets with local singer, Helena Smith, in a poignant remake of the track.
I was also especially moved by sax soloist Hiram Koopman’s moving addition to the track ‘Once again.’ Neville so powerfully cries out to God, asking Him to bring revival once again! His vocals are on point and the sincerity in his delivery really adds depth to the ballade. If the song sounds vaguely familiar to you, then you’ve probably heard Loyiso Bala’s version of it on his 2012 release “Love Complete.”
Another favourite is worship track, ‘High and lifted up,’ which was recorded with legend, Lionel Petersen. The song features a wonderful choral element to it, with highs and lows at just the right places. Its chorus simply says “High and lifted up/You are high and lifted up!”
In other worship songs like ‘Nothing No-one‘ and ‘Overcoming faith‘ I am really blessed by the quality in Neville D’s vocals. It is nothing short of wow! I enjoyed hearing him minister, so effortlessly, doing justice to the songs by not necessarily belting out all the time. Sometimes the sweetest moments in worship are made even more so by a gentle, beautiful vocal.
With messages that speak of hope and deliverance, Neville D’s ‘Songs of Deliverance’, really met me where I was at this week. Its songs showcase the incredible gift that God has birthed in this Cape Town born worship leader and it made me even more excited to hear the new album next month. Five years later and I think that this album is still relevant because it reminds the listener of the timeless truths found in the word of God. A must listen!