Review: The Brown Sisters Live in Chicago

Review: The Brown Sisters Live in Chicago

Universal Christian Music
By: Paul Barile

It is a rare and wonderful thing to really get completely lost in a disc the first time you play it. This is especially true if you don’t know the artist. It’s easy to put on the latest disc from a band you like – or a band that is getting a lot of play and groove straightaway; but when you put on a disc that you’ve never heard of by an artist you’ve never heard of and you fall in love on the first listen – now this is a rare gift.

The Brown Sisters have released such an album in “Live in Chicago” (recorded live at Freedom Baptist Church in Hillside, IL), which jumps out of the stereo speakers with such exuberance and power it will not be denied.

Traditionally, live discs inherently lack in fidelity. The controlled atmosphere of the studio is impossible to duplicate in a packed auditorium or church.
Some artists have tried to trade fidelity for passion, while others just hope the listener won’t notice. The Brown Sisters have found a way to blend the energy of the venue with their powerful voices to deliver a live disc that is nearly pristine.

Unfortunately, if your mind is not open to Christian/Gospel music the joy of this disc is going to be lost on you. However, if you aren’t in tune to modern gospel music – you are missing a lot more than I can write here.

Suffice it to say, The Brown Sisters lay down a solid groove that resonates with their own personal passion for their music and for their Lord.

The disc beings with a song called “Ain’t Nothin’ Like This,” which, in context, takes on more than one meaning. There ain’t nothin’ like this music to lift you up and carry you away, the same as their ain’t nothin’ like the Lord to do the same. Their alsoain’t no one like the Brown Sisters (Adrienne, Andrea, Phyllis, LaVette, and Vanessa ) releasing such nuanced and textured music.

The catch in gospel music – in heavier hands – is the idea that louder is better and back flips off the podium make for perfect punctuation. The truth is that changing up rhythms – informing arrangements with tension and release – gives the listener a chance to decompress between vocal acrobatics.

If there is anything wrong with this disc it is that they included a testimony at the end that went a little longer than necessary for this venue. Testimonials are a necessary part of the ritual – but this one goes a little long.

Standout track “Awesome God”

The Brown Sisters Biography

The Brown Sisters (the Sisters) have overcome many obstacles in their lives. Along with the passing of their brother, Zachary, the eldest child and original musician of the group, they were faced with a sudden illness of their mother which almost took her life in 1999. Through it all, these challenges only strengthened the Sisters’ faith and ministry of Jesus Christ, and have inspired them to keep pressing forward to the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

The Sisters have performed together for many years singing their sweet harmonies at various churches, schools, businesses, neighborhood and community organizations. God has opened doors of opportunities for them to sing Jesus’ music and continues to evaluate the ministry of the Brown Sisters. As the scripture states in Proverbs 18:16, “A man’s gift maketh room for him and bringeth him before great men.” The gift God has invested in them has given the Sisters the opportunity to minister before many great people.

The Sisters have served as special artists for many political personalities and functions, such as Clerk of Circuit Court Judge campaigns, local Aldermen, the NAACP, Cook County Jail Ministries and homeless shelters. In addition, they have appeared at the following auspicious occasions:

2009 – Appearances on Fox-TV and WLS-TV
2009 – Live appearances on The Word Network & Total Christian Television Network
2008 – Thomas A. Dorsey Convention
2008 – National COGIC AIM Convention
2007 – GMWA Convention
2007 – Chicago Gospel Festival Pritzker Stage (Over 200,000 in Attendance)
2007 – WGN Television, Fox TV and ABC – TV
2006 – Vickie Winans “Woman-to-Woman” Live Recording
2006 – Total Living Network & Chicago Cable Television Appearances
2006 to 2008 – Provided Exclusive Support to Karen Clark-Sheard
2005 – UNICEF Charity Event in Germany
2004 – Christmas Glory Special (Dr. Arthur M. Brazier) Aired on Fox TV
2004 – New Orleans Jazz Festival
2004 – Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland
2002 – Won 1st Place Honors at Dorinda Clark-Cole’s Singers and Musicians Conference
2002 – National GMWA Conference
2001 – Awarded Best Gospel/Jazz Record of the Year in France
1996 to 2006 – Toured European Countries Several Times a Year
1996 – National Democratic Convention – Clinton/Gore Presidential Rally
1993 to 1999 – Were permanent support vocalists for many artists for the nationally syndicated television show, “Testify.” They have also appeared several times on Willie Wilson’s “Singsation” WGN-TV show.

The Sisters have also been privledged to provide vocal support or share the stage various gospel greats such as Aretha Franklin, Walter Hawkins, Kim Burrell, the Clark Sisters, Albertina Walker, Shirley Caesar, the Staples Singers, Bobby McPherrin, Donald Lawrence, Hezekiah Walker and Rance Allen.

In closing, the Sisters remain humble and available to sing praises unto the Lord as they have at their first CD recording released June, 2009. The mellifluous sounds of the Sisters offer the true essence of their music ministry which cannot be fully grasped until you have partaken of the “Live” experience. Therefore, their stedfast, unfailing love for God and mankind are what motivates them to continue spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ in song.
For more information about the Brown Sisters, please visit their official website at:

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