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Nannette Vaughn: In God’s View
Sound/Style: devotional-styled country/bluegrass blend
By Steve Morley
(UMCom)—In much of the world, the person who can "do it all" is often the most highly valued. Sure, one-man-shows are impressive, and no one should fault a particularly talented individual for letting her light shine. Still, there’s something inherently Biblical about each of us being a part of a whole, as in the Body of Christ. Nannette Vaughan’s In God’s View is a fitting example of the fruits that come from collaborating with others in the Body.
Because Vaughan’s gifts as a singer and songwriter are more natural than schooled, her solid alto vocals and plainspoken songs are elevated considerably by the enlistment of some of Virginia’s finest musicians. If Vaughan perhaps has room to develop, particularly as a lyricist, her countrified fare offers sufficient substance for her high-quality studio players to wrap themselves around. These instrumentalists are used to best effect on the CDs more up-tempo, bluegrass-leaning tracks, like the bluesy minor-key "Blood Of Emmanuel" and the evangelical opener, "Time To Move."
Like a woman who needs only the faintest dab of cosmetics to look super in a snazzy new outfit, Vaughan’s simple but attractive voice holds its own alongside sleek, exciting arrangements featuring acoustic stringed instruments and fluid yet salty harmonica. "I’ll Go" is a southern gospel-styled stomper about responding willingly and obediently to divine marching orders, while fiddle and mandolin fuel the light but driving declaration of spiritual independence, "Freer than Free."
The aforementioned tidbits can’t help but stoke one’s appetite for more of the same, though the main course consists of slow and mid-tempo country numbers, resulting in a stop-and-start feeling in spots. All the same, it’s on these more sedate pieces that Vaughan is at her most devotional and personal. "Bless The Lord" carries a low sheen that translates into sincerity and authenticity—a quality that is sometimes harder to perceive in more slickly produced sacred music. Vaughan wields the most power, word-wise, on "Meet Me With Love," a plea on behalf of the less fortunate among us for bias-free eyes and compassionate hearts.
In God’s View is a musical meeting that takes place somewhere between the back porch and the church just past the city limits, with its participants clad neither in bib overalls nor three-piece suits. If this is your sort of musical geography, Nannette Vaughan is ready to take you there.
Steve Morley is a freelance music journalist living in College Grove, Tenn.
This review was developed by UMC.org, the official online ministry of the United Methodist Church.