Producer: Harry Connick, Jr.
Record Label: Verve Records/Capitol Christian Music Group
Harry Connick, Jr. has been a man of faith for many years. The jazz artist, mostly known for big band arrangements and jazzy ballads, found himself stuck in his home with nothing but his faith to hold on to during the beginning of the COVD-19 pandemic. This caused Harry to finally get the time and energy in to recording an album full of songs that reflect his faith as well as the struggle that many of us have faced over the last year.
Being his first Gospel recording over his glowing career (which includes both Grammy and Emmy awards), there’s bound to be a mix of hymns and originals from the jazz artist. Alone With My Faith kicks off with the thoughtful ballad and title cut. I’m not sure kicking the recording off with such a slow and unremarkable track was the right route. “Alone With My Faith” has very little melodic variance and can at times drag on. I’m sure this was in part meant to reflect the introspective moments of those first few weeks of lockdown, but overall it’s easily the weakest track on the recording.
That being said, the rest of the recording is really stellar. It’s apparent that Connick is a musical craftsman. Press materials indicate that he recorded all vocals and instruments himself, showing just how impressive he is as a musical artist. This is notable on cuts like the stripped down “Be Not Afraid” (which was written by Richard Buford) with it’s stacked vocal backgrounds and unique instrumentation.
His cover of “Because He Lives” starts mellow before his instrumental prowess kicks in on the second verse. His use of the Hammond B-3 organ on “The Old Rugged Cross” gives the song a beautiful Black-Gospel lift, and his vocal interpretation is spot on. “How Great Thou Art” is an album highlight with his bluesy vocals and the addition of a fun horn section.
“God and My Gospel” has a great Gospel rock sound not unlike what you’d hear from Robert Randolph & the Family Band and has an infectious swagger to it. “Old Time Religion” features that New Orleans jazz sound that Connick has been known for after all these years.
Saving his cover of “Panis Angelicus,” the last three tracks are all Connick originals (“All These Miracle,” “Look Who I Found,” and “Thank You For Waiting”), which feature much stronger melodies than “Alone With My Faith.” “Thank You For Waiting (For Me)” is the highlight of the three with more of the Gospel-fused with rock’n roll sound.
Overall, there’s no denying the undeniable talent that is Harry Connick, Jr. His faith is on full display here, and that undeniable look at his faith is the main draw.
Alone With My Faith
Because He Lives
Be Not Afraid
The Old Rugged Cross
How Great Thou Art
God And My Gospel
Old Time Religion
All These Miracles
Look Who I Found
Thank You For Waiting (For Me)