Ken Whiteley Gospel Music Makes Me Feel Alright!

Gospel music is all about celebration and rejuvenation and its joyous sounds lift spirits as it attempts to heal pain and suffering. Recent revivals in the work of Mahalia Jackson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe add to fresh revelations by the Dixie Hummingbirds and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama. The talented Whiteley brothers have been reviving soul, roots and blues music in their various forms for years, so Ken’s focus on the appeal of gospel is no surprise. Recorded live at Toronto’s Hugh’s Room over three nights, this release features Ken and Chris, together with such notable guests as Colin Linden, George Koller, Jackie Richardson and Ginny Hawker. True to gospel’s feel-good form, spontaneity rules and the looseness that results from such an unruly group activity is either something that appeals or it doesn’t. There are some flat vocals, the odd out-of-tune testifying but there are as many high points and some eye-opening instrumentals to round out this 13-song love-in. The bluesy "Moses’ Last Miracle” alone, is worth the price of casting off a few sins and the title track succeeds — as does the album — in establishing the happy, healing power of gospel music and its reaffirming ability to deliver a positive vibe to those inclined to listen. (Borealis)