Chris Byrd

With eleven albums to his credit and over two decades of musical presence, Chris Byrd continues to be a mainstay in Gospel music. He's undergone a musical evolution that has involved stints as a choir director (with True Victory), urban artist, and a worship leader. In the midst of that, Byrd has also served as music director for the award winning Rance Allen Group.

The culmination of that musical journey comes with Byrd's twelfth release, titled Vessel.

CDThe studio effort, also produced by Byrd, features a combination of his musical talents. Byrd still commands a strong groove as is evidenced on the tracks "Created to Praize" and "Weapon".

Diversity quickly appears as Byrd teams with Rufus Nelson for the quartet ballad-driven title track. Without question, Byrd's musical journey has made him most comfortable in the role of worship leader. Regardless of the musical presentation, the worship leader in Byrd surfaces, with commendable cuts including the mid-tempo "All the Earth" and "Overflow".

However, the strength of the project is found in the Ohio native's worship ballads. These are the moments on the album that will make you press repeat; their quality will ensure them continual airplay.

"Glory and Honor" is one of the album's gems that will become a favorite of any lover of worship music, with its regal arrangement and solid vocal presentation.

Another favorite is "Draw Me Nearer", an honest outpouring that speaks of man's continued need for God's presence. The transparency and the heart of this song will attract worshippers of all ages.

Vessel marks Byrd's wholesale transition from artist into worship leader, with worship moments suited for both personal devotion and corporate worship. That alone makes the project a worthy add to your collection.

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Production: Chris Byrd
album release date: July, 2010
Minstrel House Music

— reviewed by Gerard Bonner

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