Bishop Andrew Merritt & Straight Gate Mass Choir
Faith In The House
Integrity Music is certainly on to something with these …In The House projects. By varying musical architects for the albums, they’ve managed to create diversity within consistency of theme.Producer: Steven Ford
album release date: October 3, 2000
While in no way slighting previous offerings,
Faith in The House is arguably the best in the series
Constructed by Gospel’s versatile producer/songwriter
Steven Ford, the live project combines worship
and praise elements in a fashion consistent with
all that is best in Gospel: fresh takes of familiar melodies, stellar new
material and vibrant live production. And all of this presented by some
of Gospel’s finest vocalists and psalmists.
Recorded amidst the Sunday morning worship in Bishop
Andrew Merritt’s Straight Gate Church in Detroit a church
that has certainly not been a stranger to Gospel recordings over the years this house's supporting beams are the members of the Straight Gate Mass Choir, who collectively serve up versatile vocal power with a seriously ministering spirit that bursts through the disc with ease.
One of the project’s joys is Pastor Bruce Parham. He brings his
inimitable style (piercing and sudden falsetto jumps mixed
with growling rolls) to six songs, including “We Sing
Praises” where leads in front of the classically Gospel choir arrangement. It’s a new praise written by Steven Ford. On “We’ll Be Faithful”, Parham again excels with his touch, with producer Ford adding a latin flair to this popular Integrity classic.
Balancing Parham is Elder Dana Powell, whose alto range finds a bridge between the unusually twinned qualities of vocal power and quiet spirit. Entering with “Come Into His Presence”, returning on the call-and-response “Victory Chant” and distinguishing “Mustard Seed Faith”, she ushers in an unforgettable worship tone.
Vanessa Williams leaves her familiar surroundings of Richard Smallwood’s choir, Vision, to highlight the plucked string vibe of “I Was Created To Worship”, as well as “There Is None Like You”. She finds herself most welcome.
Steven Ford Speaks
|Producer Steven Ford spoke with GospelFlava.com about this Faith In The House project, an album that is obviously very dear to his heart.
Hear his story, and his commentary on the various Levites involved.
Particular to this project is the spoken word contribution of Bishop Merritt, who offers up this worship as introduction before several of the songs. "Thy Word" is characteristic of this, with Merritt bringing a beautifully calm reading based on Psalm 119:105, before Zetta Chapman brings it into a vocal focus with strings, rolling piano and Straight Gates' swelling chorus behind her. Chapman and choir finish the song by incorporating too-brief elements of "Jesus Is The Light of the World".
With finesse by Aaron Lindsey on organ and Fender Rhodes, Jonathan DuBose on guitar and Jeff Davis on drums, plus orchestration and keys from Ford, this CD goes down as a winner in the annals of praise and worship.
reviewed by Stan North —
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