|Hezekiah Walker is back with a blazing new album! | Posted June 17, 2013
Good Gospel choir music can be underappreciated these days. From the 1970s to 1990s, Gospel choirs were at the forefront of Gospel music. In the subsequent decades, people have downsized their choirs to make more of an ensemble. There is nothing wrong with this. However, thankfully the Gospel choir sound is kept alive with people like J.J. Hairston and Youthful Praise, Mississippi Mass Choir and of course Hezekiah Walker.
Hezekiah Walker has been a mainstay in Gospel music since the late '80s, and his songs have been sung across the world during church services. Now he is back with Azuza: The Next Generation. He uses the 500-voice Azusa Mass Choir (which includes many of his LFC members) this time. Donald Lawrence, who basically has the Midas touch, takes the helm as the album's producer.
The great thing about this project is how it has something for people with different tastes, including foot-stomping Gospel, Contemporary Christian, soul, and a hint of pop. The Azusa Mass Choir does their good singing throughout the whole album.
Things start off with lead single, "Every Praise." This number is simple lyrically and will be easy for listeners to understand, but compelling enough to draw people in. It is a mid-tempo number that will be great for choirs and praise teams. It is also not complicated vocally and it has a cross-cultural feel. Detrick Haddon takes the lead as United Pursuit Band's "Break Every Chain" receives a light rock reworking with electric and acoustic guitars weaved throughout.
On "I Feel Your Spirit," Walker pays homage to his mentor, the late Bishop Kenneth Moales Sr. When you listen to this song, you will think, "We are having CHURCH!" It's hand-clapping and foot-stomping music with Moales' famous "war cry" included.
"Lead Me To the Rock" has a nice groove to it that we have grown accustomed to hearing on a Hezekiah Walker album. A song that will be a mainstay on car stereos, iPhones, iPods, etc. is the ballad "More Than A Conqueror" featuring Walker's favorite singer, Timiney Figeroa-Caton. With Romans 8:37 being the inspiration for the song, it will serve to give the listeners confidence in who they are in Christ. Prepare to be taken back with the R&B tinged, "Grace" featuring some GREAT singing by Brian Courtney Wilson.
"Breakthrough" can be described as Gospel meets Contemporary Christian meets Adult Contemporary. Donnie McClurkin was the perfect person to lead and ad-lib. Donnie sings, "You are God and you are greater than anything/and I worship You / You're bigger than life to me / You are my breakthrough."
Are there more gems or standout songs left? The answer is a resounding, "Yes!" "Amazed" is vertical in lyrics, but it is definitely soul-stirring. Imagine people worshipping God, but yet leaving a service changed after hearing this song. It is one of "those" songs! Other songs to check out are "No Greater Love" and "Work In Your Favor" featuring John P. Kee.
This is one album that after listening, you want to stop and honestly, selah! In a time where albums only have two to three standout songs, Azusa: The Next Generation is chock full of them. If you are not a fan or Gospel choir music, give this one a chance. If you are a fan, you are going to be WELL pleased. Kudos to Hezekiah Walker and the Azusa Mass Choir for making a great album!
Song to Download Now:
"I Feel Your Spirit" (Get it on iTunes here
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