REVIEW: DeWayne Woods–“Life Lessons”

DeWayne Woods-Life LessonsFor close to fifteen years, DeWayne Woods has proven to be one of the industry’s most consistent vocalists and personalities. Whether singing background for artists such pop heavyweights as Celine Dion and Atlantic Starr or gospel icons such as John P. Kee and Donald Lawrence, his vocal texture has always shined. Known for his huge hit “Let Go” from his 2006 solo debut release, this multiple time Stellar Award winner has learned his share of lessons from his life’s journey. Following a five year recording hiatus, Woods returns with his third release aptly titled Life Lessons.

This thirteen track effort holds several firsts for the Atlanta-based artist. For one, this project is his first on his new imprint Soul Therapy Music Group. It’s also his first release featuring multiple collaborations. Throughout his career, he’s regularly teamed with Grammy award nominee PJ Morton. He resumes that partnership on the track “Never Be The Same”, the first radio single from this release. R&B breakout star Avery*Sunshine joins Woods on the soulful track “Take The Pain Away”. The combination of these two voices fit like a hand in a glove. The album’s current Top 20 radio single is the uptempo jam “Friend of Mine”, which features two of R&B’s finest male vocalists, Anthony Hamilton and Dave Hollister. The chemistry between these three is fantastic and definitely deserves revisiting. It’s no wonder this single was part of this year’s NFL Super Bowl Gospel Celebration.

Dewayne Woods PromoHe partnered with the enigmatic singer/rapper B. Reith on the equally hybrid “With You”. Here’s another song that definitely will be on repeat and deserves radio airplay. This is a feel good jam that’s is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and a good dance to your feet. It’s also an amazing reminder of exactly how incredible Woods’ collaborative choices really are. He also teams with Larry Waddell and Stokely Williams of Mint Condition for the track “They Said…”. Really, just put this on one and let it play. It’s the perfect fusion of Woods’ smooth vocals under the foundation of Mint Condition’s trademark artistry. It feels REALLY good!

For as amazing as the collaborations on this project are, none of them overshadow the album’s consistent and overarching message. This collection of songs really represent Life Lessons. The packaging of this presentation is as practical as it comes. It shares the joys and pains of life along with the solution of love and of Christ in a palatable way that would encourage the believer while inspiring the non-believer. One of the most powerful songs on the project is the simplistic “Try”. Backed by simple piano accompaniment, “Try” reminds listeners that no matter your difficulties, life and success is worth one more try. It reminds all of the power of love and the need for love to envelope the world. This is a universal and timeless message which screams as loudly today as it would in any other point in history.

Other stand out cuts on the project include the feel good tracks “Worryin’ Never Helped” and “In My Heart”, along with the powerful cut “Relyin'”. Be sure to look out for newcomer Quinton Ellis who shines bright on the reprise of this track which features his vocals and an organ! Brace yourself!

From start to finish, this project shows the maturation of Woods as both an artist and as an individual. Life Lessons is indeed a collection of life lessons that, if applied, can really bring about long lasting and evident change. No matter your life challenge, this project has a song that accurately offers a faith based solution. Musical. Inspirational. Uplifting. Relevant. These are DeWayne Woods’ Life Lessons. Class is indeed in session.

DeWayne Woods: Life Lessons
Release Date: Feb. 3, 2015
Soul Therapy Music Group
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