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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Artist: Carl Cartee
Label: Independent Release (2001)
Length: 10 Tracks (43:43 minutes)
After a long-standing musical association with his home church, beginning with a position as church pianist at age 12, Anchorage native Carl Cartee left Alaska in 1991 to attend Gardner-Webb, a Southern Baptist university near Charlotte, North Carolina. While pursuing a music major at Gardner-Webb, Cartee was hired on as worship leader for Christ Covenant Church in nearby Shelby where he worked for three years before leaving his position to perform concerts and lead worship services as part of a full-time ministry. Cartee released his debut album, Be Quiet and Paint, in 1995 and followed that release with Break the Silence, a live worship album recorded at Bethel Baptist Church in Shelby. Break the Silence did quite well; over 5,000 copies were sold through concerts and on-line sales and the single "Pocket Full of Seeds" garnered a significant amount of local airplay.
For Satisfied Soul, Cartee's first studio release in over five years, the worshipful thread of Break the Silence is carried over to entries like "Let All the Peoples Praise," "We Lift Your Name" and the exceedingly catchy "Shout out the Name," with Cartee sprinkling elements of modern rock, R&B and folk-pop, respectively, atop these songs' praise-oriented lyrics. On the other side of the coin, the title track is a slightly bluesy piece detailing of the pitfalls of greed, while "Life" is a largely pleasant combination of modern jazz and early '70s bubblegum pop. For all of the album's varied musical styles, though, Cartee's forte remains the straightforward, acoustically-based pop song. The James Tayloresque folk-pop of "Holding Onto Faith" works as a perfect backdrop for Cartee's intricate and nimble-fingered fretwork. In the same way, "I Choose to Love You" is a fine addition to the catalog of pop-numbers-turned-wedding-anthems populated by songs such as Steven Curtis Chapman's "I Will Be Here." And the smooth musical textures and heart-wrenching lyrics of "Hard to Fall" mirror the more fully-realized inspirational pop-country efforts of artists like Paul Overstreet and Susan Ashton.
On the minus side, Cartee's vocals veer just sharp or flats in a few spots. And a similarly small handful of the songs, such as "I Come" and the aforementioned "Life," are somewhat rhythmically disjointed. Similarly, the lyrics of "Satisfied Soul" occasionally wade into trite waters, as they do for the title track (Rock stars and models/ Everybody on the movie screen/ The CEO runs the show/ The rich and famous they got everything) and its narration of the pitfalls of greed. That said, though, the album's weaker moments are mostly compensated for by well-written entries such as "Hard to Fall" and "Lost in You" (You be exalted/ And I will step aside/ Let me get lost in you/ And you be glorified) which feature both an austere lyrical beauty and an extraordinarily keen personal insight. And, over it all, Cartee's startlingly rich and soulful voice stamps the entire project with a tangible imprint of both earnestness and urgency. Cartee is the possessor of an impressive vocal prowess and a sizable instrumental agility. And these attributes each fall in line nicely alongside his sincere and heartfelt delivery to make Satisfied Soul an eminently worthwhile and enjoyable listen.
Bert Gangl 11/4/2001