Album of the week
Normally the only eternal being worshiped at the Soul Train Music Awards is Don Cornelius, but at this year's show devotional music took center stage in the person of Yolanda Adams. At the 15th annual gala she topped Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu to take the prize for best female R&B/soul single. Adams was virtually unknown outside the flock of Christian-music listeners until her emotional 1999 crossover hit album, Mountain High...Valley Low, made her a mainstay on R&B radio and video. But big radio may soon be marching to the beat of her drummer, not the other way around. On her latest CD, recorded live at Washington, D.C.'s DAR Constitution Hall in November, Adams revels in her faith, praising her Lord with a clear-throated yet understated intensity. It's balm for the ears. Whether revisiting her gentle hit single from last year, "Open My Heart," or triumphantly covering R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" without succumbing to his taste for overwrought production, Adams lends the material the stirring power of her convictions.
Bottom Line: Amazingly graceful