September 21, 2012 |
It's not easy to outdo Kirk Franklin. A major presence in gospel music since the mid 1990s, Franklin is known for his intensity on stage. He doesn't sing a lot, but as a bandleader in the old-school Cab Calloway mode he does pretty much everything else: dancing, playing piano, acting out his lyrics like the extreme-sports version of a sign-language interpreter. Franklin exercised all those moves (and quite a few more) within the first several moments of his concert Thursday evening at the Gibson Amphitheatre, where he welcomed an enthusiastic crowd by declaring, “My goal tonight is for you to leave stinky.” But he wasn't alone in his quest to cultivate what he called “a spiritual funk.” This was the second date of the King's Men tour, a month-long U.S. trek teaming Franklin with three slightly lower-wattage gospel stars: Israel Houghton, Donnie McClurkin and Marvin Sapp.
December 25, 2007 |
NEW YORK -- Kirk Franklin has no problem reminding his predominantly Christian audience that he is not the perfect Christian. His gospel tunes often reflect the difficulty of keeping the faith in trying times. He's talked candidly about past struggles with temptation. And asked if he wanted a relationship with his estranged father, he said: "You don't really want to know my answer -- because my answer is going to be very un-Christian."
February 21, 2002
* Kirk Franklin, "The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin," Gospo Centric. Has some sugary soul-pop, but other passages retain a rousing, tradition-based sound, recruiting stirring gospel voices such as Shirley Caesar and the late Willie Neal Johnson. Also: Code Name: Rocky, "Infinity," Oglio Dan the Automator, "Wanna Buy a Monkey?"
August 24, 2000
Dave Alvin, "Public Domain," HighTone. Alvin's set of old folk songs lovingly brought to life demonstrates that human afflictions are never far from the minds of pop artists, whatever the era. (Natalie Nichols) Cubanismo!, "Mardi Gras Mambo," Hannibal. The teaming of this Havana group with ace New Orleans musicians is a natural. Even something as potentially hokey as the Cubanized version of the R&B novelty "Mother in Law" is irresistible fun.
August 12, 2000 |
There's every other gospel artist in the world--and then there's Kirk Franklin. He's just that different. While it's hardly unusual to hear contemporary gospel singers meld a modern, urban beat and flavor with traditional, church-steeped messages, Franklin is the one who does it with the most flair and innovation. Musically, he's up there on a creative rung all by himself.