Christian Music Columnist (1997)
By Danielle Lee Aderholdt

It always makes me smile a bit when an artist with so much promise releases his second record and has included all the changes I secretly wished for. Tony Vincent must have read my mind, because his new release, One Deed, is a huge improvement over his self-titled 1995 debut.

Though Tony Vincent was wholly satisfying and spawned several hits, One Deed offers up the kind of goods I knew the talented singer is fully capable of. The debut was a slickly produced pop fest with Tony's voice often hidden under a whole slew of techno-doodads and gizmos. One Deed, though, incorporates a full studio band, a new experience for Vincent that had him both excited and nervous at the same time.

"We had three musicians who played every song," he says. "Nothing was programmed, and for me, being a keyboardist and a computer nut, that was a very different thing. Everything was very free, it was open and it was live. It was good to not be chained to a sequencer or a computer. I think that has been a big revelation to me because even though something might be played very correctly, if there's not passion it becomes very sterile. I finally learned what rock 'n roll is really about on this record."

'Passion' is indeed the key word here. After a string of concert dates and his newfound direction toward a more live rock sound, Vincent's voice and song writing are full of the passion and intensity that reflect the theme of the record: one man's integrity in a hurting and lonely world.

This attitude of staunch faith comes through most clearly in the haunting "Polly's Eyes." The powerful ballad is the story of a friend, who through love and relentless dedication, led Tony and his family to Christ. Polly battled cancer for six years and eventually died, but her love lives on through the song and Tony's dedication of the album to her.

The minor-keyed tune is an honest look at the struggle he faces at the loss of this loved one, but at the same time reflects his unwillingness to give into pain and loneliness in the line, "I won't love myself is why."

The title cut, with its hooky chorus, stresses to the listener that sometimes all it takes is one act of kindness or love to change another person's life. Vincent says, "A lot of the time we forget how we can touch another person with a simple action and how it can make a huge difference. Where it might not mean much to me, it might mean the world to someone else."

The song that stands apart so sharply from everything on Vincent's first release is "Can't Have One Without the Other." A soaring acoustic rock number, this song could very easily be his crossover hit. He's expressed an interest in making it in the mainstream, and truthfully, it's songs like this one that will get him there.

"You can't have one without the other, green and blue need earth and sky, they cannot separate us if they try, 'cause love's the reason." It's one of those songs that within a Christian radio context is clearly about God, but on secular radio, it sounds like a love song. It works. Hopefully it will become a hit in both markets.

With its melodious and heartfelt tunes, nine of which were penned by Vincent, One Deed is a surprisingly lovely piece of artistry; every song is very well written and produced. The singer has obviously grown lyrically and vocally, and his musical range of vision has broadened as well. Vincent is a relatively new artist who will be a delight to watch grow even more over the years. Hopefully he'll continue down the road he's started travelling with One Deed.