Personnel: Donna De Lory (vocals); David Ricketts (guitar, piano); David J. Carpenter (guitar, bass guitar); Eddie Free, Richard Fammer‚e (guitar); Jeff Trott (electric guitar); Cameron Stone (cello); Brian McCloud (drums); Mike Hasino (congas); Lee Ann Harris (percussion); Renee Stahl (background vocals).
Keep the Faith is at once a reunion and a continuance, a record that finds Toni Childs re-teaming with David Ricketts -- the producer who helmed her 1988 breakthrough Union -- and finalizing material she wrote in the '90s. Given this long backstory, along with its staggered release schedule -- it initially appeared independently and in Australia before showing up in the U.S. on a subsidiary of Savoy in 2009 -- it's appropriate that Keep the Faith feels out of time, not belonging to its era, but certainly not an exercise in nostalgia, either. To a certain extent, that's always been true of Childs, whose multi-cultural, neo-hippie persona certainly felt like a throwback to the early '70s even when it fit comfortably next to Peter Gabriel's worldbeat explorations of the late '80s, but Keep the Faith is especially and pleasingly out of phase, touching on all these phases, sounding leaner yet fuller than her last album, 1994's The Woman's Boat. The long 14-year gap between records does mean that the songs on Keep the Faith are precisely observed and carefully written, not fussy but finished, and Ricketts helps them sound realized, turning Keep the Faith not into a comeback but a restatement of purpose. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine