Few artists in any genre are able to become household names, establish longevity, or develop a signature sound. Even fewer are able to take these ideas into reality. For nearly two decades, Kurt Carr has worked tirelessly to achieve these goals and become one of gospel’s most prolific songwriters, producers, and artists.

Along with the famed Kurt Carr Singers, Carr embarks upon his 6th effort, ironically titled Just the Beginning. The 22-track, double disc effort is the most expansive work in Carr’s career and could easily be heralded as his best work to date.

While Carr’s veteran status would seem to contradict the album’s title, he has made some new moves with this effort, representing a new beginning. For one, the album marks the first on his new imprint, Kurt Carr Gospel. In addition, he’s added several new singers to his arsenal including Michelle Prather, Timiney Figueroa-Caton, and Vonnie Lopez, who join experienced group members Yvette Williams, Troy Bright, and Nikita Clegg-Foxx. The combination doesn’t miss a single beat and adds incredible flair to the trademark Kurt Carr sound.

Known for taking calculated musical risks, Carr continues fusing varying genres with the gospel message while renewing a distinct focus on providing Sunday morning anthems.

Avalon joins Carr on the pop-influenced and infectious “My Shepherd (Psalms 23)”. Anaysha Figueroa joins her sister Timiney Figueroa-Caton on the faith-filled “I Believe God”, which showcases some of Figueroa-Caton’s best vocal work to date.

89-year old newcomer, Narcissus Hinton-Brown makes her mark as lead vocalist on “Introducing Narcissus Hinton-Brown”, where she visits hymns like “How Great Thou Art” and “This Little Light of Mine”.

For lovers of traditional Sunday morning music, Carr does not disappoint. You can go straight into a dancing fit with tracks like “Blessed Be The Rock”, “Right Time Right Place”, and the funky “Spiritual Makeover”.

Other notable gems include the exceptional title cut, “I Am The One”, and “Don’t Let Your Light Go Out”, an inspirational track celebrating the heroism of public servants such as Nelson Mandela, Sheila Jackson-Lee, and Barack and Michelle Obama.

After a four-year recording layoff, Carr and his ensemble have returned with a gem of an album. Focusing on prophetic declarations, Carr takes this project to impart hope, faith, and a fresh outlook into the lives of listeners. From the future of believers to Carr’s own career, he declares emphatically that this is Just The Beginning, and it’s hard to argue with that.

Reviewed by Gerard Bonner for

Also On Elev8: