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Voices of Distingtion - What You Gonna Do?

 

If close female harmony naturally lifts your spirits, then The Voices of Distinction will surely please and inspire you. One reason for the power of this six-woman ensemble’s practically seamless chorus harmonies is the presence of four closely related family members, including Audrey Ferguson, the group’s founder, her daughter Dremetericus Thurmond (known as “Dede”), Ferguson’s cousin Geraldine Hickerson, and her daughter, Tasha.

Organized in December 2001, the group’s musical expertise speaks of many more years’ experience, due in part to Audrey Ferguson’s previous experience with one of the Crescent City’s top female gospel groups, the New Orleans Spiritualettes. But The Voices of Distinction bring a fresh sound to the gospel canon, paring away unnecessary musical elements to achieve an unusually clear sense of simplicity and spiritual directness.

“Come By Here,” for example, opens with an achingly slow ballad tempo solo vocal and simple, chorded keyboard back-up before changing rhythm to become a gently galloping call-and-response tour de force. “What You Gonna Do?” is taken at a moderate, but very deliberate, tempo with full-force angelic call-and-response making it a real standout.

There’s clearly a youthful vision at work here, with arrangements that take real risks, like the “shoo-doop, shoo-doop,” chorus that opens “Good to Me,” or the multi-layered, ethereal electronic keyboard wash that dominates the closing “No Ways Tired.” But the group can also rock it old-style, with rafter-shaking rhythms animating “Lord, Help Me,” “Hold Out,” and the traditional “Down by the Riverside.”

The Voices of Distinction do, in fact, achieve real distinction with their freshness of approach, powerful female harmonies, and strong contemporary feel.

 

 

LORD, HELP ME

WHAT YOU GONNA DO?

AMAZING GRACE

HOLD OUT

DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE

BE DOWN

COME BY HERE

GOOD TO ME

OH, PETER

NO WAYS TIRED

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