My Journey – Conrad Miller

April 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Gospel Music

My Journey
Conrad Miller
Millcon Music Ministries 2009

Back in the day, Conrad Miller was a card-carrying member of the Soulful Seven, a nationally-known group whose cover of the Swingin’ Medallions’ “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love” (MGM) is a northern soul collectors item. Miller also wrote the passionate “Carla My Love” for the Softones, a sweet soul group from the Seventies with a sound similar to the Stylistics and Manhattans.

Although Miller grew up singing in his church choir and is now vice chairman of the Deacon Board at Second Baptist Church in Doylestown, PA, until recently he hadn’t stepped out as a gospel artist. After the untimely death of his daughter Lauren a day after her sixteenth birthday, the singer/songwriter decided life was too short to put off his official entry into the sacred music industry any longer. My Journey, produced and arranged by GRAMMY, Stellar and Dove Award-winner Steven Ford, is the product of that decision.

The lyrics may be grounded in personal faith, but the songs on My Journey sound as if they were pulled off old vinyl records. Miller has maintained his charming, pleasant tenor voice, and delivers his songs in a polite, reverent manner. Expert backing comes from strong, tight male groups (variously the “Back Bench Boys” and a quartet that includes Steven Ford) that give the album a quartet sensibility.

The eleven songs are amalgams of traditional gospel and sweet soul, with Biblical references peppered throughout the lyrics. Thematically, Miller sings of redemption from worldly appetites, the pleasures of salvation and the service and thanksgiving that follow. For example, on “Blessed by the Best,” a no-nonsense angel throws Miller down to get across his point. Many tracks employ the three-and-a-half minute soap opera technique that was compulsory for pop song architects during the transistor radio era, though on My Journey, Miller stretches some to five and six minutes.

While “Amazing” is the catchiest tune on a CD bulging with bubbly, bouncy songs, “Paradise” is the surefire winner. It’s a deep northern soul ballad, complete with staccato guitar licks, that sets its sight heavenward. The quartet on the all-too-brief “Movin’ On Up” tosses in tight falsetto harmonies that recall the Esquires’ “Get On Up.” On the concluding song, “From Here to Eternity,” Miller interpolates lines from the quartet chestnut, “Where He Leads Me.”

Fans of classic soul and gospel quartet especially will appreciate Conrad Miller’s My Journey.

Three of Five Stars