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Ronnie Milsap

Then Sings My Soul: 24 Favorite Hymns & Gospel Songs – 2009 (EMI CMG)

Reviewed by C. Eric Banister

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CDs by Ronnie Milsap

Ronnie Milsap's first gospel release and first album in 3 years is a double-disc set packing in 24 tracks with a far-reaching selection of songs. There are gospel standards (such as Peace In The Valley and Soon And Very Soon), classic hymns (like How Great Thou Art and Softly And Tenderly), a couple of re-worked secular songs (Ben E. King's Stand By Me and Milsap's own 1978 number 1 What A Difference You've Made In My Life) and a few new songs (World Of Wonder).

While not stripped down arrangements, they aren't over the top and play strictly to the melody of the song, lead by Milsap's bluesy piano. And while Milsap can roll out the barrelhouse piano with the best of them, the tempo doesn't pick up until six songs in, and even then, only slightly. Even the perennial foot-stomper I'll Fly Away has its wings clipped, and the rousing campfire favorite is given a mellow interpretation.

But the slowed down arrangements work in the context of the album and give the whole project a more contemplative and worship-driven feel. Milsap stays close to, or dead on, the traditional melodies enabling listeners to sing along and use the songs as more than just background noise.