With two themed albums out of his system, Miner gives us a ten-song collection telling us what’s on his mind and in his heart in his distinctive soul-infused style.
God Gave It To Me
Artist: Tim Miner
10 tracks / 34:25
If you’re looking for some old-school funk, gospel, a little hop-hop and blue-eyed soul in your Christian music mix, then look no further than Tim Miner. A legit legend in the industry, Miner’s been busy but fans of his distinctive grooves and landmark albums had a decade-long wait for new solo projects. Thankfully, Tim’s recently re-emerged with Come Home For Christmas, followed up closely last year’s Somewhere Between Blues and Hymns. With two distinctively themed albums out of his system, Miner gives us God Gave It To Me, a ten-song collection where this artist says what’s on his mind and in his heart in his typically visceral, soul-infused style.
The songs are saturated with wonderful beds of harmony, often reminding me stylistically of The Winans (I can hear The Winans covering “I Love You”). The long-standing comparisons of Tim’s vocals to Stevie Wonder (you could do worse!) still hold true, although Miner’s vocal style is very specifically his own, albeit with momentary allusions to the likes of Michael McDonald (“Almost Doesn’t Count”).
God Gave It To Me begins with a funky jam (I’m going to have a real problem coming up with synonyms for the word ‘funky’ here) on the title track. The influence of Sly Stone can be felt in the bedrock of this track which is a pure celebration of all things good. The funk continues with “The Life,” which incorporates some innovative live horn arrangements and (yes) funky guitar in back of delightfully up-front vocals.
Miner’s love for and familiarity with Church culture will be obvious to the rest of us who share the same life-experiences. For good or bad, we know who Miner is singing about in “Everybody Doesn’t Have a Word,” and, if we’re honest, we all share the same frustrations described in “Go Love Yourself” - after all, we’ve each been given a limited number of cheeks to turn...
“Let Your Light Shine” mixes a positive message with a heavier soul/rock vibe. Tim creates an impressive synth-horn riff to go along with some interesting live percussion.
The album’s only cover tune is Stevie Wonder’s “Have a Talk With God,” with guest vocalist Colton Chase Miner, Tim’s young son - maybe Colton found out that Stevie was signed at age eleven? Watch out, dad…
God Gave It To Me seems to change course slightly for the remaining four songs, which showcase Miner’s ability to write stirring ballads and worshipful anthems. “There is a Power” is a memorable slow jam, followed by a praise ballad that showcases Miner’s stunning abilities as a musician and vocalist. The harmonies are rich and Tim’s lead vocal show an undeniable respect for classic and contemporary ‘black gospel’ music – I could easily hear The Winans covering this gem. That homage to old and new-school continues with “Almost Doesn’t Count,” a soulful ballad recounting the legacy of wisdom passed down from his family legacy. “No such thing as almost losing, but you can almost win,” he sings, concluding eventually that “it’s hard to measure almost, ‘cause ‘almost’ doesn’t count.” Listen for the Michael McDonald influence when the lead vocal begins.
The album ends with the lushly orchestrated “When it Hits You,” with Ian Oakley conducting The Dallas Symphony Orchestra and playing piano – a strong ballad about loss, sadness, and realization. It’s a beautiful, poignant finish to a fine project!
With God Gave it to Me, it’s good to hear Tim Miner doing his thing free from any particular theme. Aside from his signature vocals, Miner provides all of the basic instrumental work (except where noted), from guitar, to keyboard, to percussion and various other grooves. This is Tim in a purely ‘Miner key’ (pardon the pun) expressing his joy, celebrating the freedom we have in Jesus, and, yes, getting a couple of things off his chest. And he does it all with a healthy measure of soul, class, energy, and funk. Hey, I did my best not to over-use the word but there’s no escaping it – the man’s music is funky. Got a problem with that?
- Bert Saraco
- 4 tocks
- You can see Bert’s concert photography by visiting facebook.com/express.image