CD Review of Keep the Faith by Toni Childs
Toni Childs: Keep the Faith
Recommended if you like
Joan Osborne, Grace Slick,
Marianne Faithful
Toni Childs: Keep the Faith

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

espite an exceptional early start, Toni Child’s career stalled unexpectedly at the end of the ‘90s, putting her on hiatus for more than a decade while she dealt with record company delays, retooling her personal life and taking the time to enjoy life in Kauai, where she currently resides. That halting pace seemed all the more unexpected considering her early endeavors – first as lead singer for the band Berlin, then as backing vocalist for the duo David & David on their critically acclaimed album Boomtown, and eventually, as the driving force behind three solo albums that effectively framed her as an artist of substance and conviction. And while none of those efforts succeeded in making her a star, it didn’t mean the world wasn’t taking notice; they garnered her international acclaim, a slot on the soundtrack to the film "Thelma and Louise," and an opportunity to work with Peter Gabriel and his Realworld cooperative.

Ultimately, for a myriad of reasons both personal and professional, Childs opted to take her leave from the record biz and devote herself to personal pursuits. So it’s something of a surprise to find her suddenly resurfacing 10 years later and making music that’s still vibrant and tenacious. True to its title, Keep the Faith is a series of songs underscored by affirmation and determination. The title track sets the tone, its churning, determined melody bringing to mind Joan Osborne’s "One of Us" without the analogous circumstance. However, with track two, the raging, rallying "I Saw God in the Super Market," Childs echoes Osborne in evoking an omnipresent Almighty. Happily too, the material finds her singing as authoritatively as ever, investing each number with a conviction that can at times provide assurance ("Heart that Matters") and at others, a sharp rebuke ("Blind").

Mostly though, Keep the Faith is a thoroughly uplifting endeavor, with an unbridled optimism that threads its way from the spunky sound of "Mama’s in the Kitchen" to the caressing strings of "Dream That We Dream Of." And when the set wraps with its pair of longing ballads, "When All Is Said and Done" and "Because You’re Beautiful," there’s nothing to distract from that ultimate upward gaze. Consequently, Keep the Faith ought to be considered a much-needed antidote for these troubled times, a soothing yet stirring collection that’s destined to rank as one of the major comebacks of this still young year. That’s an accomplishment that goes far beyond mere Childs play.

You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook for content updates. Also, sign up for our email list for weekly updates and check us out on Google+ as well.

Around the Web