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Cynthia Jones’ Fifth Neo-Soul Gospel CD “Journey of Soul” In Stores August 30,2011

Taking a cue from the godfather of soul’s intro on “Get On Up,” Cynthia Jones opens her fifth neo-soul gospel CD, Journey of Soul (Kingdom Records), due in stores August 30th, with the declaration: “I’m gonna do my thing.” With that pledge, the Raleigh, NC-reared singer/pianist jumps on her motorcycle and vrooms through the nineteen tracks comprising the CD with a message of faith wrapped in a sophisticated package of smooth jazzy soul that places her in the company of artists such as Jill Scott and Ledisi.

The founder of the Ebony Angels and the Soul Patrol biker clubs and an expert cyclist herself, Jones continues to blaze a trail for neo-soul music (her 2008 “Gotta Soul” video aired on BET and has over 50,000 YouTube hits) with an evangelistic message but expands her territory with the new set. “It still has my neo soul vibe,” she says. However, I’ve added some things that are not the style people expect from me like a club song and a straight up traditional gospel song.”

This time out, Jones offers two sophisticated club tracks with the very danceable, “Judah Jam,” and the infectious “Universal Praise” that boasts a throwback to `80s club songs like The Mary Jane Girls’ “All Night Long.” The traditional styled “Revival” is only traditional in terms of the vocalizing; the music is still neo-soul.  One of the most dramatic vocal spectacles of the set, Jones pushes her elastic soprano beyond its usual comfort zone and creates a smoking-hot tour de force performance. The remainder of the disc is exactly what Jones’ fans have come to love and expect. The lead radio single, “Unconditional Love.” bursts with the silky soul warmth of Quiet Storm radio. Other eyebrow archers include Jones’ sultry read of “Happy Birthday” as a mellow holiday track. She takes church standards such as “Love Lifted Me’ and “Jesus Loves Me” and reinvents them as sassy smooth soul numbers.

Jones began her career as R&B artist and once fronted the band, The 21st Magnitude, before returning to her gospel roots in 2000 for her self-financed debut CD, Almost Midnight. However, she didn’t feel the gospel style fit her vocal strengths. Since then, she’s weaved her Good News message with her love for R&B grooves. Her CDs, Turn to You (2003), Soulogy (2005) and Gotta Soul (2008), have made her the forerunner for blending Neo-Soul with a gospel flavor. “This is one of the Top 10 neo-soul albums that I have ever heard in the history of that musical style,” Bob Davis of wrote of the latter. “In short, whatever you liked about the first two albums of Erykah Badu is to be found here. The album is a perfect blend of classic soul, jazz and funk with a hip hop sensibility. The groove is hypnotic, the vocals are seductive.

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