The Songbook Of Micah
On The Songbook Of Micah, Stampley's Dexterity Sounds / EMI Gospel debut, he brings his musical gift to the wider world. The album was recorded live at Houston's St. Agnes Baptist Church, where Stampley is currently assistant minister of music, and features several songs written by Stampley, both alone or together with his wife, Heidi.
Production from Cedric Thompson and a experienced band that counts Calvin "Coon" Napper, Maurice Fitzgerald and Joey Woolfalk among it's members, ensures success.
The brassy, energetic "Worthy To Be Praised" kicks off the album with a bang, as Stampley immediately demonstrates his vocal energy. That energy is infused throughout the project, on other songs, such as the traditionally minded, blues-ready "I Am Redeemed" and the anthemic, strings-filled "Sing".
"War Cry" is an anthem that has already caught fire, wherever Stampley sings it. It's a midtempo song that starts off with a guitar riff an Stampley boldly yelling out, "This is a war cry!". The piece then builds and builds, finally exploding into a vicious vamp of victory. Background vocals set it off, with ad libs from Nakita Clegg and Lejuene Thompson. Clegg's run alone will have you hitting that repeat button.
As impressive as Stampley is on the fiery, funky uptempo numbers, he equally makes his mark on the quieter ballads.
"Come Holy Spirit" is another fine example of Stampley's balladry, with its soft opening that gradually moves into greater intensity, with Stampley holding court amidst some more fine supporting vocals. "I Need Thee", a cover of the familiar hymn set inside Kevin Graves' innovative, but traditional organ work. Flowing from this cut is "We Need The Glory", a sensitive, piano-touched prayer.
The Songbook Of Micah concludes with "Take My Life", Stampley's interpretation of the Scott Underwood worship classic that has made its mark on myriads of hearts since it first appeared on TD Jakes' He-Motions concept project (see album review). The quick return of the cut here is welcome.
If you haven't yet taken note of Micah Stampley, one listen to his songbook, and you'll find that quickly changing (read interview).
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Dexterity Sounds / EMI Gospel
— reviewed by Stan North, Dwayne Lacy —
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