Since dominating adult contemporary and R&B radio with his bonafide crossover ballad hit “I Need You Now,”, Smokie Norful survived one-hit wonder status and even impressed the Academy by taking home a Grammy win for his 2004 album Nothing Without You in the Best Contemporary Soul Gospel category. Yet it is relevant to add that the coolness of Norful’s career and his relevance on the charts has simmered down some since his goldmine hit. On Live, Norful rediscovers the most popular trend in gospel music by using the live audience to once again build up his army of supporters. Taped at Memphis’ Canon Center, Norful isn’t a total stranger to the live atmosphere. In an effort to meet the surging demand of Norful’s quickly-growing fan base, he recorded the ten-track EP, Limited Edition, months after I Need You Now. Being a full-time pastor of Victory Cathedral Worship Center in Romeoville, IL also benefits him with interacting with his audiences. But the singer/songwriter isn’t as seasoned as a Donnie McClurkin or John P. Kee in a live audience. He stumbles over words and his thoughts during his introduction of “Justified” and he appears to be in rare form only when the music is going. Even his introduction of Heather Headley on the project lacks the oratorical emphasis it deserves.
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Check out Smokie Norful’s new Video, Justified by his new Live album.
“Smokie Norful Live” released in stores on April 7 is riding high, it debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top Gospel Album chart this week—his second #1 CD debut and third #1 record. The project’s lead single, “Justified” continues to grow at Urban Gospel radio, coming in this week at #14 with a bullet on R&R.
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