On his seventh solo album, If You Didn’t Know …Now You Know, gospel singer Norman Hutchins seems to acknowledge the challenges his congregation has been going through in the hard economic times and to want to help his listeners persevere. After “God Is Able,” a traditional uptempo gospel tune, to lead things off, Hutchins switches to more of a 1970s R&B style for “I Know You’re Gonna Make it,” stating repeatedly, “Things are gonna get better.” On the title track, the thing you now know, if you didn’t before, turns out to be, “This, too, shall pass.” More than once, Hutchins says that he wrote these songs as a form of encouragement, and while praising his Savior, he also makes it clear that the Lord will reward his faithful, if they stick it out. “You’ve come too far to give up now,” Hutchins tells them in “I’m Holding on to My Faith.” For their part, his audience responds warmly to the message of hope, particularly when the music takes a surprising turn at the end with the ska arrangement of “Who Is the King of Glory,” during which Hutchins sometimes seems less a preacher than a toaster. Still, the Holy Ghost is never far from his sentiments, and he renews his faith on behalf of a church that is hanging in there waiting for better times.
Genre: Christian & Gospel
Years Active: ’90s, ’00s