Liz Mc Comb
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Her voice surges up from the depths of her soul, sounding like someone with the force of a volcanic eruption. It’s all about : “ Give him up ”, “ Let him go ”.

This performed with such intense passion that the singer roars, rejecting everything that her music casts aside - futility, compromise, despair, “ that fake diamond that is only a little piece of glass ”.

Everything in this album rings true, and pure, and harsh and beautiful. And it’s too bad if Liz’s diamond-like voice can sometimes hurt those ears too fragile to listen to an intense sincerity that can seem native...

Liz Mc Comb’s beliefs are so deep that she sings as no one else can. Each syllable is enunciated in such a manner that few artists can compare to her bold grace. Not only is Liz a true diva, she is also an accomplished pianist. Liz attacks the piano as if to apologize for the fragrant sweetness of her voice. She is gifted and tough. Unlike those who sing to please the audience, she sings to spread the message, to fuel the fight against evil. She manages to do this without the slightest effort at all, for her voice is sublime - so radiant and so earnest that she transcends the tradition she was born into.

Liz Mc Comb is a Gospel singer, but she could have been born into a family of opera singers, or have followed in the steps of Edith Piaf or Oum Kalsoum. Whatever the form, she would still have become what she is today - an instinctive musician, and an overwhelming singer with terrific presence. She could never have been a simple showbiz product.

Liz may be physically present in the studio, but her soul is elsewhere, beyond time and space, in the Pentecostal church where she learned to sing in the daunting shadow of the pastors, her parents, or in the huge performance halls where as a young girl she had to overcome her shyness, as she opened for such greats as James Brown and Ray Charles.

She has nothing to fear anymore. She is now in the Hall of Fame of great African-American voices, all of them having arisen from the embrace of the churches. She has opted to remain faithful to her religion, instead of becoming a secular sister or pop diva like Aretha Franklin or Tina Turner.

But the magic of her voice is proof that she’s got her feet on the ground, and that her senses are very much alive, for conversion is the first step on the road to eternal bliss and a testament to the supernatural power that carries her into flight.

The greatest Gospel singers, similar to the Sufi poets of Islam, know that a spiritual song always possesses quality, since God is “ Beloved ”. “ Sinner please ”, Liz Mc Comb fervently sings as if this unknown sinner were her own brother. Her mystical and maternal songs are songs of love as well. The tone grows more serious towards the end of the album however “ The Rich Man ” is a reminder that the Bible promises the wealthy a place in Hell, and that a place in Paradise is the only thing that money cannot buy.

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She is the high Priestess of Funk-Gospel, ordained to carry the message in honor of a religion that has never forgotten the black and blue bruises that slavery has left, and Liz ends the album with a “ song of freedom ” crying out to America in the name of Nelson Mandela’s emancipated Africa : “ America before it’s too late, America open up your gate ! ”.

This inspired album will likely open wide the gates of her native America for his humble servant, daughter of Christ, has given Europeans a more noble image of America by not worshipping only the Dollar, but Holy God.

Liz Mc Comb’s music is just the opposite of show business. Her art is authentic and popular, and touches a wide audience - directly, without compromise. In an age where media trends dictate the rules, and where truth has been overshadowed by facades, Liz Mc Comb has carved out a place for herself using nothing but her voice, cradled by her faith.

Spangles, plunging necklines, laser effects and tacky synthesizers are for the others, the Muses of glib. She never had to rely on anything like that. She rose to the top by word of mouth, without the need of a sponsor or having to play up to the press.

A true star is born, along the lines of those rare beings who have made it on the sheer strength of their will alone. Liz Mc Comb conquered Europe in only a few years, after a series of spectacular recitals. Her concerts are always sold-out, a sign that there is some form of justice, which truly comes from “ above ”.

Liz Mc Comb’s concerts are the opposite of a show - they offer a mesmerizing human experience and a true initiation for those who have never had the privilege of entering an African American Church. Like her predecessors Mahalia Jackson and Marion Williams, Liz Mc Comb knows how to convert any public into a congregation of faithful “ followers ” and she knows how to instill a holy atmosphere, whatever the setting may be.

Her gift was clearly apparent on her earlier live album. There, she was in a state of grace before the crowd. But the first few notes of her new album are living proof that she has climbed up yet another step of that proverbial Jacob’s Ladder. It’s no longer a question of communication or complicity but of true communion.

Shut up in her Los Angeles studio with her musicians, she was impervious to solitude, and sang as if she had the entire world at her feet, waiting to hear the Gospel - her songs of joy bringing back the true meaning of the Evangel’s message of “ good news ”, crossing age and color lines. “ Time Is Now ” : the time for Liz Mc Comb’s sanctification has come.

She believes that the only thing to be sanctified is what she has been singing about since childhood - faith itself. If the powers that be can’t recognize an artist of this caliber, this record will be sure to haunt them - a reminder that “ a place in Paradise is the only thing money can’t buy ”.

Gérald Arnaud Translation : Pamela Prudhomme / Jérôme Reese

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