Dennis Garner – Can’t Make It Without You

The beginning track on this EP, “Two Wings” is in the vein of the gospel that knows no date. There are literally hundreds of CDs that use the same general sound (that being a early nineties, jazz-influenced style to pander to a larger segment of society).

“Two Wings” is not a weak track based on that; but it shows the curiosity of this general sound and its seeming permanence in the genre; popular music may have moved beyond this sound over a decade ago (whether to greener or blacker pastures is another topic for discussion), but this style of gospel has not. Equally interesting is the interplay that Garner makes on this track between eir own organic, earthy voice and the largely inorganic instrumentation that provides the backing beat. Moving into a more barbershop/doo-wop type sound for the lead-out of “Two Wings”, Garner ensures that listeners will stay interested in the music. “In the Hands of God” really sounds like a classical gospel track; the song really feels as if it has hundreds of years of experience.

The only conceivable problem that can be seen with “Can’t Make It Without You” (the EP) is the fact that the production values, while having a sort of basic polish to it really feels compressed, almost tinny. “In The Hands of God” is probably the most guilty of this, as the instrumental arrangements are couched in a way that really makes the entirety of the track sound as if it was sequenced on a synthesizer. The overall sound issue may only be a second priority for Garner, as the press sheet here says that “Dennis’ goal is to win souls to Christ”. While the covertness of Christian influence on this album is nowhere near as obvious as many of the popular Christian crossover bands like Lifehouse and Creed, there is some obfuscation still present on this EP. A dedication to creating music that is always solidly grounded and sincere will win people over to Garner’s cause much more easily than an overproduced and overhyped act any day. While there may only be three different tracks on the EP, Garner is musically adept enough to ensure that different sections of each track will contain enough differing material to allow listeners to glom on at any number of parts. Only forty years old at this moment, Garner is able to create compelling music that would make any number of individuals with twice eir experience blush.

Top Track: Two Wings

Rating: 6.1/10

Dennis Garner – Can’t Make It Without You / 2005 Showerdown / 4 Tracks / http://www.dennisgarner.com / dennissdp@aol.com / Reviewed 29 July 2005

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