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.

Faith In The House CDWhile in no way slighting previous offerings, Faith in The House is arguably the best in the series to date.

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.

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.

Steven FordHear his story, and his commentary on the various Levites involved.
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.

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.

Producer: Steven Ford
album release date: October 3, 2000
Integrity Music

— reviewed by Stan North

  All content in GospelFlava © copyright 2000. No information to be reprinted or re-broadcast from this site without the expressed written consent of GospelFlava.com. All rights reserved.

New Releases
Message Board