Monday, March 2, 2015

Pentecostal Opinion - Are reality shows hurting or helping the church?



Hey everyone!!! As a fan of all forms of reality television, when gospel artists, preachers, and Christians began to show up on my television screens, I originally was ecstatic at the opportunity to see these people in their everyday lives but that excitement has seemed to fade away because of the negative portrayal some of these people have displayed. While watching a Christian based reality show two Friday’s ago, I could not help but wonder if the church as a whole was being helped or harmed by this influx of reality shows geared towards Christians and members of the church. Let me first place this disclaimer out, I do not feel that all reality shows featuring gospel artists, preachers and Christians are negative or bad, but I must say that I have been a little disappointed in the images a lot of these people have allowed producers to display. In today’s reality show craze, it is very difficult to notice the difference between a Christian reality show and a secular one and that is a problem. The same amount of negativity that can be seen on secular reality shows are easily displayed on these shows and it should not be so. There definitely needs to be a change before it is too late and permanent damage is created.

For many years the church of yesteryear had a great reputation when it came to public perception. Now granted the church did not do everything correctly and was not perfect but it was reputable. I cannot help but think are the images portrayed in some of  these reality shows tearing down or even destroying  the legacy of the church for the next generation. Being raised in church I always prided myself on the integrity of my local church and it seems like that sense of integrity is slowly being chipped away at. I cannot help but wonder what our founding fathers would say and feel about our portrayal on television.  I think from an overall perception they would not be pleased and would be a bit disappointed. Participants in these shows have named outreach as the reason for doing these shows but in my personal conversations I have noticed that people within and without the church are very displeased in what they are seeing. Eventhough all the shows featuring gospel artists, preachers and Christians are not bad, we live in a society where people are placed in boxes and consistently grouped together, so because of this all Christian reality shows tend to have a negative overcast placed on them. 

I do not feel that these shows need to be taken off the air because they are in the early stages where  the premise of these shows and the portrayal of the people on them can still be changed and turned positive. My greatest suggestion in creating better shows is changing the essence of these shows to be more ministry based. While watching a number of these shows, I have noticed that ministry is a small focal point and a great deal of emphasis is placed on the personal lives of these people and the drama created throughout the show. Now granted watching the personal lives of these leaders makes them more personable, but if these shows are created for outreach as previously stated then that needs to be a focal point of the show. It is imperative that people representing the church make decisions that will not be consequential for years to come. With this post I challenge all gospel artists, preachers and Christians to create a change in the reality shows they participate in. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Opinion. God Bless!!!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pentecostal Review - Dorinda Clark-Cole "Living It"



Hey everyone!!! This edition of Pentecostal Review is featuring the new album by, Gospel Rose, Dorinda Clark-Cole. As a legend in her own right and gospel music royalty, Dorinda is proving that she can still making incredible hits and music that people will love and enjoy. The sound for this album holistically is different but not off putting and unfamiliar. I love how Dorinda took risks and those risks paid off. Anyone who is a fan or even familiar with Dorinda knows how great of a power vocalist she is and that is very much on display within the album. So without further ado I present my review of Dorinda Clark-Cole's new album "Living It."

The album begins with the hit heard all over the air ways, "You Are." I love the  electronic beginning of the song, it really creates a different sound for Dorinda and shows her ability to be versatile. The message of the song about how great our God is and how much we rely on Him and His strength really resonates with the heart. As she has consistently shown before Dorinda's voice sound incredible and I believe this song will help add to her legacy as a solo artist. I really adore the fact that the sung words, You Are during the verses sound very strong and full, with the including of her background vocalists. The strength and precision of the notes on the bridge by the background vocalist is such a treat to the ears and draws you even further into the song as a listener. The inclusion of autotune on the vamp creates an unexpected sound that you are presently surprised by. I think the key to this enjoyment of the autotune done is its small inclusion and how it does not overtake the song. The strength and precision of the notes on the bridge by the background vocalists is such a treat to the ears and draws you even further into the song as a listener. This was a very excellent way to start the album both because of the familiarity of the song and great fast paced, good feeling song it is. 

"The Name" has a very 1950's girl group feel to it with a modern day twist that is different but welcoming to the ears. The only complaint I have is the busyness of the actual sound and song, because of this the words seem to get lost in the mix. During the second time of listening to the chorus your ears are able to slightly grasp what is being sung. The message of the power in the name Jesus really begins to resonate with your heart and mind once upon grasping it.

The hip hop feel that starts off "Use Me" is a bit surprising coming from Dorinda but captivating of your interest. I love how even in the midst of the changing sound Dorinda's voice still carries her signature style. The sampling of children's voice within the song really was creative. The background vocals and Dorinda singing together didn't mesh as well as I would have liked within the song because in some portions it appeared a bit conflicting instead cooperative. The simplicity of the chorus allowed it to be so you found yourself singing along within your first listen. The vocal freestyling done towards the end of the song was a Dorinda Clark Cole fan's dream, during this she displayed why she is still reveered in the gospel industry. 

The piano intro of "Bless This House,"  the second single off the album that has been gaining traction in the radio airwaves, immediately mentally  transports you to a place of reverence to God. The addition of the organ add a church essence to the song that can only be done through the organ. Dorinda's voice really sounds superb on the song and really causes you as the listener to feel every lyric that is sung. The chorus of the song is very reminiscent of the Clark Sisters original sound the women are famously known for. The exhortation given at the middle of the song accomplishes what I am sure it meant to do and that is to be encouraging. The including of the background vocalists only propells the Clark Sisters sound even further. 

"In The Dark" begins with a very futuristic, electronic sound that cause you to wonder where the direction of the song is headed. As Dorinda begins to sing the song your mind is reminded of the 80's style of music made famous by the artist such as Prince and Shelia E. Once your attention is captured during the song it is somewhat lost and never fully regained.

Dorinda's unique vocal stylings begin "Save Me Now" and through that she really grabs your heart and attention. The background vocalists chosen for this song sound marvelous together, and truly enhance the song. The sound during the chorus has a hymn like perception to it that is reminiscent of songs the modern day church was founded on. The simplicity of the song makes it easy to connect with, especially if you are in a situation that you need the Lord's help with. Even with the connecting, the consistent repetition of the chorus causes the song to begin to feel monotonous.

"Holy" begins with a short exhortation by Dorinda on the holiness of God that mentally causes you to think about the greatness and holiness of the God we serve. The singing portion of the song begins with a praise and worship style that I could see incorporated in many churches for the praise and worship portion of service. Because of the simple call and response nature of the song I see many congregation picking up on the song very quickly adding to the reason I see it being potentially sung in many churches. The chorus of the song does a great job of creating a climatic effect that causes your mind and heart to react in an internal praise. The bridge of the song pushes that internal praise even further. The combination of the song lyrics and Dorinda's adlibs work perfectly together. 

An uptempo beat begins "Antidote," which immediately captures your attention. The song has a very busy sound once the background singers are added along side Dorinda that makes it slightly difficult to initially follow along with. Upon the second time listening to the chorus your ears become accustomed to the song and allow you to follow and catch on much easier. The song has a great message and catchy tune that eventually causes it to  become easy to sing along with.

"He Still Loves Me" begins with a calypso/reggae beat that immediately causes your body to want to react in some way. Dorinda's voice surprisingly meshes very well with the song and creates an island sound mixed with her own uniqueness. The song is infectious in the good feeling that is creates in you. The bridge does a great job, truly showcasing Dorinda's voice. The scatting Dorinda does towards the end of the song is so original in nature to this style of music but surprisingly  fits the sound.

The piano and orchestra beginning of "Living It" set the stage for an emotionally gripping song. Once Dorinda begins singing she pushes that feeling even further. I think it was very smart musically to solely showcase Dorinda's voice throughout the song because it makes the song very intimate. The song reminds you of the staying essence of the God we serve, that can't help but resonate with the hearts of a believer. This is definitely a favorite of mine off the album. 

The first time I heard "Write My Name" was on the gospel singing competition Sunday Best where one of the greatest mic tosses I have ever seen took place. After my initial hearing of the song I fell in love with it. This only caused me to be elated to see that it was included on the album. The song has an old school church sound and essence to it, that you cannot help but love and appreciate. The collaboration of Dorinda and Donnie McClurkins is a listeners dream come true. I thought the including of this song that was written and recorded by her mother Mattie Moss Clark, was a very great and touching way to pay homage to her. Upon listening to Dorinda sing the chorus, it seems like this song was created for Dorinda's voice and she delivers it extremely well. The musicianship displayed on the song is simply put incredible and a forward pusher to the greatness of the song. As an adlib great, this a fan's dream because on the vamp Dorinda displays how great her adlibing skills truly are. The exchange between Dorinda and Donnie on the vamp really shows why these two are such great artist and vocalists. The musicians take you into a personal praise with the greatness of their playing. A disclaimer needs to be placed on the song because it is dangerous to do anything beside just listening because it is a soul stirring song. This was a definitely a perfect way to end the album, with a praise. 

The album is amazing and something that is out of the box for Dorinda. Eventhough it is out of the box for her and has a few bumps,  it is not something that as a fan you will not enjoy or be disappointed by. The album is definitely something that should be added to your collection especially if you are a fan of Dorinda's. Go out and by the album you will not be disappointed. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Review. God Bless!!!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Pentecostal Fashion - Oversized Scaves

Courtesy: Asos
Hey everyone!!! As we continue in this harsh winter, this trend I am writing about is intended to help keep you warm during these chilly months. The trend I am talking about are Oversized Scarves. What started as a joke for many has now become the “It” accessory to wear. The great thing about this trend is that it is not gender specific and a great way to keep warm. The key to this trend is to ensure that the scarf appears carefree. The way to have it appear care free is accomplished with how it is worn. It is most appealing when just wrapped around the neck and not tied or to have a loose knot if tied.  As we continue in this harsh winter go out and get your oversized scarves. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow the Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Fashion. God Bless!!!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Pentecostal Inspiration


Hey everyone!!! As we go into the month of February which is the month set aside to commemorate the achievements of African American's, this post is lightly inspired and celebrating this. One of the greatest contributors to the achievements of African Americans, Martin Luther King's, I Have a Dream speech done in Washington D.C. was impactful in nature but it is fascinating that the most well known part of the speech was actually not written down. I find it so compelling that Martin Luther King Jr. followed his gut instinct and went off script during this monumental speech.

I think as Christians we need to truly take note of this and follow in these footsteps. In this walk with the Lord, the Holy Spirit many times instructs us to do things but we tend to hold back and not follow the directions given. Looking at Martin Luther King Jr. we realize his legacy goes hand in hand with the I Have a Dream speech, so I cannot help but wonder what impact would have been made had he not followed his inner voice and gone off script. Even though we may never know that answer I think it is safe to say that there would have been somewhat of an impact made and just think of all that would have been impacted just by that one decision.

This example really must cause us to ask ourselves, what impact will our decision to follow or not follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives have on our own legacy and the lives of others. It is imperative that we not only follow the leading of the Holy Spirit but that we continually stay in contact with the Lord to lead and guide us in our daily lives. This is imperative because our live must be a consistent communication channel that the Lord can use.

This week's scripture let's us know, that being led by the Spirit is part of the definition of being a child of God. This reaffirms the criticalness of this to our walk with the Lord. So the next time the Holy Spirit urges us to do an action, let us without reservation follow that urge. God Bless!!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pentecostal News


Hey everyone!!! The Stellar Awards nominees have been announced and this year appears as if it going to be stiff competition in majority of the categories. With the location and date of the award's ceremony changed, it appears as if this will be a very interesting and exciting Stellar Awards. The new date and location decided for this year's award show is March 28th in Las Vegas, Nevada. I think the change of location is a great way to bring excitement and celebration for the award show's 30th year. As done last year I am going to post each category and nominee, with my prediction of this year's winner in bold. Having predicted 18 out of 28 categories correctly last year, let's see if I can top myself this year. God Bless!!!


ARTIST OF THE YEAR
ERICA CAMPBELL, HELP, MY BLOCK/EONE MUSIC
RICKY DILLARD & NEW G, AMAZING, LIGHT RECORDS/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
SMOKIE NORFUL, FOREVER YOURS, TREMYLES/MOTOWN GOSPEL
THE WALLS GROUP, FAST FORWARD, FO YO SOUL RECORDINGS/RCA


SONG OF THE YEAR
MICHAEL MCDOWELL & JAMES JOHNSON, YOU ALONE – YOU ALONE (ARKANSAS GOSPEL MASS CHOIR), EMTRO GOSPEL
W. CAMPBELL, L. MOORE, H. LILLY, A. SLEDGE, H. JONES & E. CAMPBELL, HELP FT. LECRAE – HELP (ERICA CAMPBELL), MY BLOCK/EONE MUSIC
HARMONY SAMUELS, MICHELLE WILLIAMS, H. "CARMEN REECE" CULVER & AL SHERROD LAMBERT, SAY YES FT. BEYONCE & KELLY ROWLAND – JOURNEY TO FREEDOM (MICHELLE WILLIAMS), ENTERTAINMENT ONE
TIFFANY JOY MCGHEE, AMAZING – AMAZING (RICKY DILLARD & NEW G), LIGHT RECORDS/ENTERTAINMENT ONE


MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
DEITRICK HADDON, DEITRICK HADDON'S LXW, TYSCOT MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT
MALI MUSIC, MALI IS…, BY STORM ENTERTAINMENT/RCA RECORDS
RICKY DILLARD, AMAZING, LIGHT RECORDS/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
SMOKIE NORFUL, FOREVER YOURS, TREMYLES/MOTOWN GOSPEL


ALBERTINA WALKER FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
ANITA WILSON, VINTAGE WORSHIP, MOTOWN GOSPEL
ERICA CAMPBELL, HELP, MY BLOCK/EONE MUSIC
MICHELLE WILLIAMS, JOURNEY TO FREEDOM, ENTERTAINMENT ONE
TASHA PAGE-LOCKHART, HERE RIGHT NOW, FO YO SOUL RECORDINGS/RCA


GROUP/DUO OF THE YEAR
DONALD LAWRENCE, BEST FOR LAST, QUIETWATER/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
JAMES FORTUNE & FIYA, LIVE THROUGH IT, FIYA WORLD/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
THE WALLS GROUP, FAST FORWARD, FO YO SOUL RECORDINGS/RCA
THE WILLIAMS BROTHERS, SONGS OF WORSHIP, PRAISE & DELIVERANCE, BLACKBERRY RECORDS 2014 - 2015


NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR
RUTH LA'ONTRA, SO GOOD, TYSCOT MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT
TASHA PAGE-LOCKHART, HERE RIGHT NOW, FO YO SOUL RECORDSINGS/RCA
TEMPLE OF DELIVERANCE WOMEN'S CHOIR, IN THE SANCTUARY, HABBAKUK MUSIC
UNCLE REECE, BOLD, OBED MUSIC GROUP


CD OF THE YEAR
ARKANSAS GOSPEL MASS CHOIR, YOU ALONE, EMTRO GOSPEL
ERICA CAMPBELL, HELP, MY BLOCK/EONE MUSIC
RICKY DILLARD & NEW G, AMAZING, LIGHT RECORDS/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
THE WALLS GROUP, FAST FORWARD, FO YO SOUL RECORDINGS/RCA


CHOIR OF THE YEAR
ARKANSAS GOSPEL MASS CHOIR, YOU ALONE, EMTRO GOSPEL
DEITRICK HADDON'S LXW, DEITRICK HADDON'S LXW, TYSCOT MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT
RICKY DILLARD & NEW G, AMAZING,LIGHT RECORDS/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
THE MISSISSIPPI MASS CHOIR, DECLARATION OF DEPENDENCE, MALACO RECORDS


PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
WARRYN CAMPBELL, HELP (ERICA CAMPBELL), MY BLOCK/EONE MUSIC
RICKY DILLARD, WILL BOGLE & RICK ROBINSON, AMAZING, LIGHT RECORDS/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
KIRK FRANKLIN, HERE RIGHT NOW (TASHA PAGE-LOCKHART), FO YO SOUL RECORDINGS/RCA
KIRK FRANKLIN, FAST FORWARD (THE WALLS GROUP), FO YO SOUL RECORDINGS/RCA


CONTEMPORARY GROUP/DUO OF THE YEAR
DONALD LAWRENCE, BEST FOR LAST, QUIETWATER/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
JAMES FORTUNE & FIYA, LIVE THROUGH IT, FIYA WORLD/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
THE WALLS GROUP, FAST FORWARD, FO YO SOUL RECORDINGS/RCA
ZIE'L, PRONOUNCED ZY-EL, DREAM GOSPEL


TRADITIONAL GROUP/DUO OF THE YEAR
LISA KNOWLES & THE BROWN SINGERS, THE EVOLUTION CONTINUES, ONE VOICE MEDIA
THE CANTON SPIRITUALS, KEEP KNOCKING, MALACO RECORDS
THE WILLIAMS BROTHERS, SONGS OF WORSHIP, PRAISE & DELIVERANCE, BLACKBERRY RECORDS
TIM WOODSON & THE HEIRS OF HARMONY, MILLIONAIRE, MARXAN/CENTRAL SOUTH


CONTEMPORARY MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
DONALD LAWRENCE, BEST FOR LAST, QUIETWATER/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
DEITRICK HADDON, DEITRICK HADDON'S LXW, TYSCOT MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT
MALI MUSIC, MALI IS…, BY STORM ENTERTAINMENT/RCA RECORDS
SMOKIE NORFUL, FOREVER YOURS, TREMYLES/MOTOWN GOSPEL


TRADITIONAL MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
DONNIE MCCLURKIN, DUETS, RCA INSPIRATION
EARNEST PUGH, THE W.I.N. (WORSHIP IN NASSAU) EXPERIENCE, P-MAN MUSIC
RICKY DILLARD, AMAZING, LIGHT RECORDS/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
WILLIAM MCDOWELL, WITHHOLDING NOTHING, DELIVERY ROOM MUSIC/ENTERTAINMENT ONE


CONTEMPORARY FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
ANITA WILSON, VINTAGE WORSHIP, MOTOWN GOSPEL
ERICA CAMPBELL, HELP, MY BLOCK/EONE MUSIC
KIERRA SHEARD, GRACELAND, INDEPENDENT
TASHA PAGE-LOCKHART, HERE RIGHT NOW, FO YO SOUL RECORDINGS/RCA


TRADITIONAL FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
BEVERLY CRAWFORD, THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU'VE DONE, ECHO PARK/JDI
LISA KNOWLES, THE EVOLUTION CONTINUES, ONE VOICE MEDIA
RUTH LA'ONTRA, SO GOOD, TYSCOT MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT
SHERI JONES-MOFFETT, POWER & AUTHORITY: LIVE IN MEMPHIS, MOTOWN GOSPEL


CONTEMPORARY CD OF THE YEAR
DEITRICK HADDON'S LXW, DEITRICK HADDON'S LXW, TYSCOT MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT
ERICA CAMPBELL, HELP, MY BLOCK/EONE MUSIC
SMOKIE NORFUL, FOREVER YOURS, TREMYLES/MOTOWN GOSPEL
THE WALLS GROUP, FAST FORWARD, FO YO SOUL RECORDINGS/RCA


TRADITIONAL CD OF THE YEAR
ARKANSAS GOSPEL MASS CHOIR, YOU ALONE, EMTRO GOSPEL
DONNIE MCCLURKIN, DUETS, RCA INSPIRATION
RICKY DILLARD & NEW G, AMAZING, LIGHT RECORDS/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
WILLIAM MCDOWELL, WITHHOLDING NOTHING, DELIVERY ROOM MUSIC/ENTERTAINMENT ONE


URBAN/INSPIRATIONAL SINGLE OR PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
DEITRICK HADDON'S LXW, GREAT GOD, TYSCOT MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT
ERICA CAMPBELL, HELP FT. LECRAE, MY BLOCK/EONE MUSIC
JAMES FORTUNE & FIYA, LIVE THROUGH IT, FIYA WORLD/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
MICHELLE WILLIAMS, SAY YES FT. BEYONCE & KELLY ROWLAND, ENTERTAINMENT ONE


MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
FLORIAN SCHNEIDER, GREAT GOD – DEITRICK HADDON'S LXW, TYSCOT MUSIC AND ENTERTAINMENT
BILLIE WOODRUFF, HELP FT. LECRAE – HELP (ERICA CAMPBELL), MY BLOCK/EONE MUSIC
MR. BOOMTOWN, LOVE ON THE RADIO – FAST FORWARD (THE WALLS GROUP), FO YO SOUL RECORDINGS/RCA
MATTHEW CHERRY, SAY YES FT. BEYONCE & KELLY ROWLAND – JOURNEY TO FREEDOM (MICHELLE WILLIAMS), ENTERTAINMENT ONE


TRADITIONAL CHOIR OF THE YEAR
ARKANSAS GOSPEL MASS CHOIR, YOU ALONE, EMTRO GOSPEL
BISHOP LARRY D. TROTTER & SHS COMBINED CHOIR, PRAISE REVISITED, UTOPIA
RICKY DILLARD & NEW G, AMAZING, LIGHT RECORDS/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
THE MISSISSIPPI MASS CHOIR, DECLARATION OF DEPENDENCE, MALACO RECORDS


CONTEMPORARY CHOIR OF THE YEAR
CHARLES BUTLER & TRINITY, BETTER, EPM MUSIC GROUP
DEITRICK HADDON'S LXW, DEITRICK HADDON'S LXW, TYSCOT MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT
LAMAR CAMPBELL & SPIRIT OF PRAISE, OPEN THE SKY, 360 MUSIC WORX/MOTOWN
DARNELL DAVIS AND THE REMNANT, MOVING FORWARD, RCA INSPIRATION


SPECIAL EVENT CD OF THE YEAR
DONNIE MCLURKIN, DUETS, RCA INSPIRATION
VARIOUS ARTISTS, WOW GOSPEL 2014, RCA INSPIRATION
VARIOUS ARTISTS, EARNEST PUGH PROUDLY PRESENTS GOSPEL'S RISING STARS, EPM MUSIC GROUP
TAMELA MANN, BEST DAYS DELUXE EDITION, TILLYMANN MUSIC


RAP HIP HOP GOSPEL CD OF THE YEAR
ANDY MINEO, NEVERLAND, REACH RECORDS
DA' T.R.U.T.H., HEARTBEAT, MIXED BAG
LECRAE, ANOMALY, REACH RECORDS
UNCLE REECE, BOLD, OBED MUSIC GROUP


YOUTH PROJECT OF THE YEAR
KENDRA SMITH, SOMETHING NEW, DiVINE RECORDS
NYASIA, SHOOTING STAR, INSPIRING DREAMS ENTERTAINMENT, LLC
PURE-N-HEART, ALPHAEUS ANDERSON PRESENTS PURE-N-HEART KIDS, TEENS MOVEMENT "SING THE WORD", MUSIC2CHANGEU RECORDS
STL3, ALL THINGS NEW, PGK MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, LLC


QUARTET OF THE YEAR
LISA KNOWLES & THE BROWN SINGERS, THE EVOLUTION CONTINUES, ONE VOICE MEDIA
THE CANTON SPIRITUALS, KEEP KNOCKING, MALACO RECORDS
THE WILLIAMS BROTHERS, SONGS OF WORSHIP, PRAISE AND DELIVERANCE, BLACKBERRY RECORDS
TIM WOODSON & THE HEIRS OF HARMONY, MILLIONAIRE, MARXAN/CENTRAL SOUTH


RECORDED MUSIC PACKAGING OF THE YEAR
DEREK BLANKS, VINTAGE WORSHIP (ANITA WILSON), MOTOWN GOSPEL
DEREK BLANKS, HELP (ERICA CAMPBELL), MY BLOCK/EONE MUSIC
DEREK BLANKS, AMAZING (RICKY DILLARD & NEW G), LIGHT RECORDS/ENTERTAINMENT ONE
JEFF GILLIGAN, FAST FORWARD (THE WALLS GROUP), FO YO SOUL RECORDINGS/RCA


PRAISE AND WORSHIP CD OF THE YEAR
ARKANSAS GOSPEL MASS CHOIR, YOU ALONE, EMTRO GOSPEL
EARNEST PUGH, JUST WORSHIP (EP), P-MAN MUSIC
MICAH STAMPLEY, LOVE NEVER FAILS, MOTOWN GOSPEL
WILLIAM MCDOWELL, WITHHOLDING NOTHING, DELIVERY ROOM MUSIC/ENTERTAINMENT ONE

Pentecostal Review - Jason Nelson "Jesus Revealed"


As someone who loves gospel music in general and has so many songs I enjoy listening to it is hard for me to pinpoint my favorite artists. With that being written, I can say with a surety that Jason Nelson is my favorite male singer. The gifting and anointing he displays consistently is in my opinion second to none. The release of his highly anticipated album Jesus Revealed has created a lot of buzz and enthusiasm in the gospel community. The versatility displayed in this album is incredible and causes you to really appreciate Jason's gifting on numerous levels. This album may be his greatest works up to date. So without further ado I present my review of Jason Nelson's new album "Jesus Revealed."

The album begins with an "Intro" featuring a classical music sound followed by Jason Nelson's voice speaking about God and the various revelations he displayed throughout the Bible. In this intro he sets the tone for the album and explains that this will be an album to fully show Christ.

The first song on the album, "God Is Great" begins with a very up-tempo sound that has a fist pumping beat. I love the electric sound infused in the chorus, it really adds a sense of intrigue to the song.  The back ground singer's three part harmony in the chorus combined with Jason Nelson's superb voice sounds so exceptional. The simplicity of the chorus really allows you as the listener to catch on and sing along during your first listen. Even with the smooth transition made from the chorus to the vamp, the vamp itself really does not fit the format already established. Despite that, the song sets a great tone for the album and causes you to anticipate what is to come.

The next song "Pour out Your Spirit" has a great interactive feel to it. I can see this song being sung in many churches for their praise and worship portion of service. I love the simplistic but powerful nature of the song. The pop essence infused creates a different dynamic that adds to the greatness of the song. I enjoyed the introduction of the vamp but did not fully enjoy where the transition led. The interactive feel created initially was somewhat abandoned during the vamp.

The album then transitions to the up-tempo "Can't Stop Calling" where it begins with a chant essence to it. The song creates a very easy sing a long atmosphere that you cannot help but sing along with.  I enjoy the way the bridge transitions the song's beginning to the vamp. The way the music switches up during the vamp neither adds nor takes away from the song, but I could have lived without it.

The next song "Can't Stop Calling Reprise" really adds to the album and to the previous song. The chant sang during this reprise really creates a positive listening experience. This is a very hyperactive song that I can see being the favorite of many listeners. The repetitive hitting of the drum's high hat really gives a churchy essence to the song. You know after that song, a praise erupted out of the building just because of its powerful nature.

The guitar entrance for "Way Maker" sets the stage for a very soul stirring song. There is nothing like Jason Nelson's voice on a slow song. He has such an amazing tone, presence and anointing that is especially present during the slow tempo songs that he sings. Even though the background singers sound stellar, I believe this song could have been more powerful if it included more of Jason's voice and less background vocals. The groove created on the vamp of the song creates a very enjoyable listening experience. I really adored the impromptu singing Jason did with the guitar, it reaffirms the way-making power of Christ.

The next song on the album is the massive hit "I Am" heard all over on the airwaves. There is such power to this song that it causes you to reflect on the greatness of God.  I love the instrumentation displayed at the beginning.  It creates an atmosphere of a heart tugging and soul stirring song that does not disappoint. Jason's voice was created for this song and the way he delivers it shows why he is one of the best male vocalists of this generation. The superbness of the background singers on the chorus creates a breathtaking musical moment. The power and anointing felt in the vamp propels the song to another dimension of greatness. The exhortation given by Jason Nelson is like the cherry added to a milkshake.

"Jesus Revealed" sets the stage for another intimate song that displays the excellence of Jason's voice. Even though the song is great in its message and sound, it has a very difficult task of coming after I Am. Once it goes midway into the song the message and lyrics of the song truly become displayed and captivate your heart and mind. It has a powerful and convicting message to ensure that we are showing the world Christ.

The next song "Never Ending Worship" starts off as another song I could definitely see being ministered during the praise and worship portion of a service. The simplicity of the song allows for an intimate moment between you and God. The balance between Jason and his background singers is skillfully done throughout the song. The three part harmony combined with the magnificent musical arrangement displayed on the vamp takes the song to the next level.

"I Can Run" starts with a southern gospel/quartet style vibe. Even though this isn't Jason's normal style of music, his voice fits perfectly with the sound and the music. As a huge fan of his high register, I believe Jason should have stayed in his lower register for this song just because it fits more with the established sound set. The call and response portion of the song really takes you to a down south church atmosphere. The horn section during vamp adds a nice touch to the song.

The combination of the piano solo opening, tempo and background singers of "I See The Lord" starts the song off on an amazing note. Guest vocalist, Tasha Page Lockhart, really ministered the song well and caused you to feel the message about the greatness of the God we serve. It was refreshing to not hear Jason and Tasha singing on top of each other and allowing each person to sing and adlib in cooperation to the song. The moment they did sing the verse together sounded amazing and complemented each other.  Jason Nelson's exhortation at the end of the song sets the stage for the audience to engage in true worship.

The sound of a worship break begins "The Lamb." The musical prelude to the song creates a moving setting and mood. Once Jason begins singing you feel and hear the sincerity and appreciation to Christ for His sacrifice. This is such a beautiful song that causes you to reflect on the sacrifice of Christ. The repeating of "Jesus, He is the Lamb" during the bridge really invokes your thoughts on the power of Christ's sacrifice.

The album picks up with “So In Love.” The song has an indie pop sound and likeness to it. This song is very different from anything he has ever done. I really enjoyed the change of pace for Jason. The fact that this love song to God could have easily gone the traditional route of slow and balladesque, but was turned into an indie pop song really amazed me and showed the genius and intelligence of Jason Nelson. This is one of my favorite songs off the album just because of the words and different sound. 

Jason continues the different sound pace with “Right In This Place.” When the song begins you hear an electric piano which reminds you of dance music. The dance music sound further evolves as the song continues and even though this is not Jason's normal sound it fits his voice and creates a pleasant listening experience. It is so unusual but enjoyable hearing a praise and worship song turned into a dance song.

Worship Song” reverts us back to the Jason Nelson the world has become accustomed to. The simplicity and depth of the song creates a moment where the words are seemingly pouring out from your heart. Guest vocalist, Livre' was a very great addition to the song because she added a pure sound to the song. This song really breathed worship from its essence.

The last song from the album, "I Am - Radio Edit" is the same song as the one written about earlier just condensed. Because everything written before stands true to this version I direct you back to what was written earlier. 

This is such an awesome album and one I am sure you will be able to enjoy time and time again. Please go out and support this great man of God and outstanding album. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Review. God Bless!!!



Monday, January 19, 2015

Pentecostal Spotlight - Sean Tillery

Hey Everyone!!! Few artists have made as much of an impact as “Sean Tillery and Changed” did in 2014. Even without a major label backing them, there was a great sense of buzz surrounding them and their debut album. Few new artists, especially those who are featured with a choir, have  been able to garner the support that Sean Tillery and Changed have attained this past year.  As a product of the choir “Worship and Praise”, under the direction of James Hall, Sean has been able to create his own identity with an unique sound while still having a sound influenced by the choirs that have come before him. Packed with vibrato and power, Sean Tillery and Changed appears to be one of the choirs to ensure that choral music is still very prominent in the future.  So with great excitement, I present this edition of Pentecostal Spotlight featuring Sean Tillery.

How did you first get started in gospel music?

I have been around gospel music, virtually my whole life. Growing up, my mother had a gospel singing group so I attended their rehearsals, along with singing in my church’s children choir. As a child, I directed my own invisible choir which later turned into directing the gospel choir at my high school and then Changed in college. I have always been drawn to gospel music and more particularly gospel choral music.

How did the starting of “Changed” come about?

“Changed” started when I was attending Oakwood University in 2004. The reason I decided to start Changed was because, to me the music scene at Oakwood was all similar to each other and I wanted to create something different. From that idea, my vision for Changed grew and developed into what it is now.

What influence has being a choir in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area had on your choral and overall style?

I cannot say that it has had much of an influence. Changed and I are different than any other choir or group within the area. Being used to a more northern sound has caused me to realize the difference. The one thing I will say is, having the amazing talented musicians from within the area has been the biggest influence on our music. So not so much the choral aspect has been an influence but the musical style added to our unique choral sound has.

What was the inspiration and central theme behind your album "The Live Experience"?

Before even recording the album, a few of the songs such as “Blessed Assurance” and “Whom Shall I Fear” were already being ministered by us when we went out. Most of the songs were inspired by my Pastor, Pastor Alonzo Walker’s messages. I would have to say the central theme of the album is to spread God's Word and the need for His Power and Spirit.

On "The Live Experience" what one song do you identify with the most and why?

I would have to say I identify most with the song "Saved." The reason being is because it is important that us as Christians witness to those who may not know Christ at all. In the first verse of the song I share the importance of sharing the message of Jesus Christ and I believe it is a responsibility of all of us to share this message to the world.

If you could relive any moment, whether it is to create a different outcome or just to experience it once again, what moment would that be and why?

There are many moments I would love to relive but I would have to say my live recording is the one moment I would choose above the rest. From my standpoint, it was a great night so I would like to view that night from the standpoint of someone else, to see what they saw and how they felt. Also, to see how everything came together would be an awesome moment to relive. As a perfectionist there are a few things I would like to tweak from that night. All in all that was one of the greatest experiences of my life, so I definitely would love for the opportunity to relive that moment.

As a young man who attended Oakwood University, how has being musically educated affected how you look at and go about your music?

Being classically trained has trained me to have a fine tuned ear. It also has caused me to incorporate classical, theatrical, and jazz aspects to my music.

As a member of the legendary “Worship and Praise” under the direction of James Hall, what has been the greatest thing you have learned under his direction and leadership?

I have now been with Worship and Praise for eight years and have always taken note to the faithfulness that James displays to his local church, Citadel of Praise and Worship. I would have to say the greatest thing I have learned from him is to be accountable to your church and your leader. I can say that at my local assembly, Bethel Deliverance Outreach Ministries, my whereabouts can always be accounted for. I never just do not show up to church or stay home with my feet on the couch when I am supposed to be fulfilling my local church ministerial obligations.

Musically what three artists have been your greatest influences and why those three?

The first I would have to say is James Hall because I have always loved choir music but have identified mostly with James Hall and Worship and Praise. The reason being is because of the jazz and classical influence displayed in their music which I have also in mine. Walter Hawkins, because he is my favorite male vocalist of all time. So a lot of the vocal arrangements he did I try to emulate. Edwin Hawkins, because of how great of a song writer he is and how he influenced gospel music and my music even to this day.

What has been the greatest advice you have received since being in ministry?

The greatest piece of advice I have received is that everyone in ministry with you, may not be able to see your vision as closely as you can, so it is important to be steadfast in your purpose and goals as the leader. Everyone may not continue to follow you, but it is important as the leader to have the tenacity to move forward even though some members may not follow.

When you are not ministering and traveling, what leisure activities do you enjoy partaking in?

I really enjoy spending time with my friends when I am not ministering or traveling. I really enjoy bowling and am a very avid movie goer. I will not admit that I shop a lot but there is a little addiction there.

What scripture do you live by and what makes it so significant in your life?

The scripture I would say I live by would have to be 1 John 1:4 "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness." The reason for its significance is that it gives hope to someone who may not know Christ. It also let's everyone know, that no matter what you have done it does not mean it is the end of the story.

What currently do you have in the works?

I started teaching new music after the live recording. At this time, I am trying to decide what will be our next single that will be released before the next album which will hopefully be released sometime in 2015.

Where can someone purchase your latest album and contact you to book you for an event?

You can purchase my album on all major online music stores such as iTunes and Amazon. If you would like a hard copy of the album you can go to cdbaby.com. For booking please send an email to musicsource@execs.com.

As we can all see, Sean Tillery is an amazing artist and a great man of God. Please support his music and all future endeavors. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Spotlight. God Bless!!!


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