Richard Smallwood, one of Gospel music’s living legends, has been making life-changing appearances around the country as he promotes his upcoming CD Promises. He recently appeared at New York’s Greater Allen A.M.E. for an “intimate concert” that turned into a full-on worship service after he performed “Mender” and “Trust Me” from the CD. His upcoming appearances include “The Experience With Dedry Jones” in Chicago, as well as television performances of his single “Trust Me” on TBN (August 26, re-airing August 27) and Sunday Best (August 28).

Recorded live in a small studio setting, PROMISES is Smallwood’s first CD since the 2005 passing of his beloved Mother, who was the artist’s biggest fan and motivator. “I had not written a song since my mom died,” he says, “I thought the gift had dried up. I would try to write and nothing would come.”

“Trust Me,” the majestic first single, is currently available at iTunes and is on its way to the top of the Gospel radio chart. Smallwood says “it is a song to encourage those who have experienced loss. It’s telling them that what they are feeling shall pass, if they only trust God.” The message perpetuates the album’s theme of divine PROMISES, with a lyric that states “I’ll fight your battles/if you will only trust me.”

“Mender” opens with a big band horn section and ruminates about the trials and tribulations that can break one’s heart. “A loved one has departed, a friend has gone,” Smallwood sings in empathy. “Just know the pain won’t last always,” co-lead Stephanie Winslow testifies. “This too shall pass to brighter days. Don’t you know he’s putting you back together again?” Then, Vision chimes in with the declaration that like a handyman, God is “the mender of broken hearts.”

PROMISES also features “Is There Any Way?” The song was originally recorded on the late Bishop Walter Hawkins’ LOVE ALIVE III, and Smallwood reworked it in tribute to Hawkins, who was his mentor and friend. Donald Lawrence collaborates with Smallwood on “Facts Are, Truth Is;” and Lalah Hathaway (daughter of his ‘60s Howard University classmate Donny Hathaway) appears on “Praying for Peace.” “I was going through some of the songs I had written in the ‘70s and many had the same theme as this song,” Smallwood recalls. “Back then it was the Vietnam War, so we’re going through the very same thing because there’s always been fighting, there’s always been war. But now racism has reared its ugly head in a way that I haven’t seen since I was a little boy. I wanted to write something that everyone could identify with globally, which is that we need peace.”

Vision, Smallwood’s trusty ensemble of singers, appears throughout the CD - which was produced by longtime collaborator Steven Ford.

PROMISES is in-stores NOW.

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