Review “Journal of a Songstress” by Destiny Rambo McGuire.


“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” (von Goethe)

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a gifted playwriter, novelist, poet, statesman, scientist, and philosopher. But above all these marvelous titles he was an amazing thinker! Listen to what his quote says; It is the function (why it’s here, and how it’s supposed to work) ,  he then he then continued saying, ‘that it’s supposed to renew our perception’.  Speaking of such! A lot of the music cranked out in the music scene is nothing more than the same old same old….it really is. Music in general is almost reduced to wall of sound, with less melody and more bpm’s (beats per minute), sucked vacuum by the lack of content.  But thank God for beautiful music and wonderful crafty wordsmiths! “Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us”. said Marten Luther!

Thank God for Destiny Rambo McGuire, daughter of Reba Rambo McGuire and Dony McGuire. Who is not only a lovely, and gifted young lady. But a stunning, ravishing young woman who possesses a rare kind of elegance. This young lady is the grand-daughter of the late and legendary Dottie Rambo, never was there anyone that was such a worthy and fitting heir. You’ll hear people describing the human voice like an instrument, and Destiny sure has a fine instrument!  In short, she’s got it all! Beautiful as fine china,a poetic writer, a nomad, mysterious, and what a voice!

Her latest album entitled “Journal of a Songstress” is nothing short of breathtaking! It opens with a Donna Summer disco sounding song, I am transported to the old couch at my folks home, where I’m watching an episode of ‘Love Boat”. First song on the album is entitled “He Gave Me Music“, it’s full of wah-wah riffs on a guitar, strings, brass,slap bass and a disco beat. Very uplifting, and love the unexpected opening of this album. Unexpected? Yes because the album art suggests anything but this, that’s why this is a good choice!

Second on the album is “Letters to Cinderella” which features Nick Britt singing harmony on the choruses. Nick Britt and Destiny in duet sound just as good as Leslie Philips and Paul Smith did on “Make My Heart Your Own“. Don’t know who wrote this song (I hate writing reviews without credits) but it’s a superb lyric. Musically it would fit a Disney movie very well, if there’s no script to fit these lyrics, somebody ought to start writing them. I’m lyrical about this song! The first definition of the word ‘lyrical’ is ‘expressing deep personal emotion or observations’ the second is ‘highly enthusiastic; rhapsodic’. If there was ever a ‘bohemian rhapsody’ this is it! Destiny is expressing deep personal emotion, and does so in a highly enthusiastic manner.

The third song has the melodious makings of an old Irish tune….at least that’s the association I make. Maybe you’ll hear Jamaica in it…. it don’t make no difference really ,whatever or where ever….it sounds bloody marvelous anyway.

Let me make this statement now, to the writers that contributed to this album, some of who are unbeknownst to me. Who ever you guys are, there’s a minimum of two extra stars going be set in your crowns!!

Garden of Incense” is the next track, that starts with a piano fly that sounds like a thing Dr John would do..a great gritty track, Destiny’s crystal clear, soft, yet piercing vocals and the floating background vocals seem out-of-place, against that groovy backdrop. Somehow this provides a harmonious contrast that boosts this song into the ‘remarkable’ section of your music library. It’s been a while that I was so excited by a record.

The fourth song is also of world-class, magnificent perfect melody, everything comes together two exceptional singers Destiny and Nicole Nordeman…wonderful singing, beautiful playing, superb lyrics…and that melody..did I mention that before? The song’s entitled “He Starts With The End”…wow! ”

“I Just Came To Talk With You Lord” that Dottie Rambo wrote is next…the musicians are playing with a such a believable jazz vibe. I could hear Norah Jones sing this song. Destiny is a world-class performer, a nightingale….this is soooo good….this familiar tune made my jaw drop, as if I heard it for the first time.

My daughter heard the next song on the album, and said “hey dad’s playing ‘modern music’!Well I love u 2 darling! No kidding…but that’s what she said, and I was grinning from ear to ear, she suddenly thinks I’m cool. The song entitled “Upside Down” is besides stellar, modern indeed. Not because my daughter (eleven years old)  said so, but because this will always be considered modern…songs like this will never grow old.

Let me quickly skip to track  14 (there’s a total of 15 songs on this album), now that we’re talking about songs that will never get old “He Will Provide” a great standard from the gospel quartet’s golden era! Written by Cornelius ‘Mac’ McGuire (grandfather) and her father Dony. A song I first heard sung by the obscure Sabers Quartet years ago. This cut’s musical setting is a piano and lush violins. Destiny is joined by Sonya Isaacs Yeary and Rebecca Isaacs Bowman, these three should record a complete album! Very moving rendition, and thank you, lovely Destiny for breathing new life into that classic, thanks for bringing it back to the party.

I suddenly feel incapable, unfit and  totally inadequate to continue like this. Continuing struggling, trying to describe the splendor of this gem! Sorry y’all,  but I can’t muster more superlatives without repeating myself! And in the days of short attention spans,  I’m in grave danger to alienate my audience (yeah right, as if)  by boring the living daylights out of you. So let me state that this album is a fest for the mind, body and soul.

You won’t be bored with this truly creative and daring album, I guarantee that, you may even quote me on that! I urge you all to buy this album on iTunes, and write the rest of the review, on the pages of your mind!  This is a one of the most amazing albums I heard in a long time. Masterfully produced album and my sincerest compliments to whomever was responsable for the production! This is truly an album of epic proportions, it’s intimate, uplifting, thought-provoking. Just all around impressive!

Destiny Rambo McGuire’s album is available through iTunes! Merry Christmas…and spread a little love around!



Chip Davis – Standing In My Own Way


Introducing Chip Davis;  Chip being one of the most in-demand background singers in the Nashville area. He has performed on literally thousands of records now. Worked with names like Mickey Newbury, Randy Travis, Tim McCraw, Gordon Mote, Michael English, Reba McIntyre, Dolly Parton and the list goes on and on. Check out Chip’s site ( if you want to read all about Chip, because my formal introduction of Chip Davis ends here.

I want to talk about truth, talent and courage, and how all these great assets are manifested on Chip’s only solo album ever, that I recently bought. And I could talk to great lengths about how great his voice is. Or how well it was produced by his brother Billy. Could mention that Chip wrote or co-wrote most of the material on there and how thought-provoking and well crafted his lyrics are. How they talk about bigotry, prejudice, love, hate and religion. Would be nice if I could ramble on how he addresses these topics. Topics that hardly and sadly aren’t topics at all among Christians and in their churches. Could talk about the 10.000 flavors of Christians, that he sings about in ‘God Save Us All From Religion’. Maybe it would be nice to mention that, that song opens in almost the same fashion as ‘Pianoman‘ by Billy Joel. If I mentioned that, I probably would have shared the fact that Billy Joel is one of Chip’s musical heroes.

I read some comments on Chip’s website by other people, folks like Suzanne Gaither Jennings, Tony Campolo, Mark Lowry and others. In retrospect I wish I hadn’t, because some were so heartfelt/warming, insightful and eloquent, that I immediately felt inadequate and obsolete to add anything to those. But after hearing this voice, music, lyrics and it’s message, I felt called upon to get everybody I can reach through this writing to take notice of this gifted singer/songwriter. I just want to let you know how rare, and unique (regretfully so) this man’s music and message is.

So unique, that record companies that use his talents for songwriting, producing and back-up singing for their artists, won’t touch/release his solo album. Basically the album been sitting’ here for over 5 years. ‘So maybe it isn’t pretty or good enough’ I hear some cynics think! It’s often said that the truth ain’t pretty. And like all cliché expressions that expression rings true 99% of the time. Which by itself could be reason enough to become all crusty and cynical. Still sometimes truth can be beautiful, hence the remaining 1%!!! Now take my word for it or not, both truth and beauty are equally represented on this album! All wonderful truths like grace, forgiveness, and love are at the core of this album. Some lyrics are very in your face, downright confronting! Was reminded of a song Suzanne Gaither Jennings wrote entitled ‘Steel on Steel’ that said; “Well, we’re not known for holdin’ back opinions.I’ve got my knack for invadin’ your space. I ain’t afraid of cleanin’ your carpet And I ain’t afraid of gettin’ your face’.  Confronting? I hear some say, ‘now that ain’t fun’, also true, it is not always comfortable and nice. So how can that be beautiful? Confrontation can be hard, hard for the confronter (is that even a word?) because he/or she summoned all his/her strength, and courage to tell you what is bothering them about you. Hard for the confronted, because what they are about to tell you ain’t all that pretty, and thus probably true, and that tics us off even more! Yet if that message is delivered with the right intentions, it can  bring people together, if we set aside our pride. Like another verse in Suzanne’s song says; ‘When the smoke clears I know you’re a brother
Follow this through to the bitter end. If we stick around we might learn something, Something about how to be a good friend’. So we need to hear the truth every now and then, and not shoot the brother who delivers it!

Brother Chip singing his big ol’ heart out to remind us, what being a Christian is all about! And that is love! Love! that’s the reason Jesus went to the cross! Love is the greatest commandment, and granted, also the hardest. Don’t think for a minute Chip pretends that he’s got it all together, on more than one occasion he sings about his own shortcomings, doubts and failures.  He’s vulnerable and transparent throughout this magnificent album.So make no mistakes Chip loves Jesus! He is his savior and Lord, but he refuses to hate other people who won’t, or don’t dance to his particular tune!

Though it may seem Chip in spite of all his talent got the short end of the stick. I would say, you are probably right! Which is also fundamentally wrong! Chip is one courageous dude in my book. Even when this album is never picked up by any label, I hope Chip finds consolation in what Thomas Jefferson once said. Jefferson said; ‘One man with courage is a majority’. Some parts of Ray Boltz’s great song ‘Thank You‘ came to mind, and fragments of the verses surfaced in my brain. Parts like where it says; ‘Little things that you had done, Sacrifices you made,They were unnoticed on the earth,In heaven now proclaimed’. And the final two lines of that song that say ‘My child look around you, for great is your reward’.

Also was reminded of some backliner notes on my favorite Statesmen Quartet album (LPM1605) from 1958. Where the group members were briefly introduced to the buying public by Paul Jones of the Atlanta Constitution (newspaper). When Jones introduced Jake Hess lead singer of the quartet, he wrote ‘Jake Hess whose great gospel singing is heard in most of the solo parts. Only his love for inspirational music has kept Jake from becoming one of the really great popular singers in the nation’. I happen to think Paul Jones was right about Jake.

If I had written the backliner notes on Chip’s album it would have read; ‘Chip Davis love for Gospel music, and the true meaning of the Gospel, has  kept him from becoming a household name in the Gospel music industry’. Which is pretty sad, but as a jewish proverb says;  ‘If God lived on earth, people would probably break his windows’.

I love this album! And I love Chip Davis! He ain’t heavy he’s my brother!

Chip’s album is available through his website take a listen here: