Tonya Baker
Since He Came In

Where has she been?

That’s what you’ll be asking yourself when you listen to this latest project by contemporary Gospel songbird Tonya Baker. The rich timbre and sultry wealth of this Ohio native’s vocals jumps right out at you. Her musical giftedness could be described a healthy blend of Helen Baylor and Kim Burrell, with a touch of Layla Hathaway —but all Tonya Baker. If you were paying close attention, you may have noted that she wrote the jazzed "To Know You Lord", the only non-Tonex-penned song on his Out The Box DVD project.

CDBaker's current release, Since He Came, is one that is sure to minister to whatever situation you could be facing, with every track a blessing of musical artistry.

The first cuts that open the sophomore project let you know that Baker is ready to worship. “Glorious”, “Where Would I Be” and “He’ll Never Change” each get you praised up and raised up in adoration unto the Holy One.

Then you meet up with ballad of supplication, “Healing is Here” and the title track, “Since You Came In.” Both take you straight to Burrell territory, with Baker’s riffs and trills reminding of the jazzy-gospel vocalist, but again, with her incredible sound, she makes it all her own. When you ease into “Since He Came In”, you realize the degree to which Baker’s ability to go on and on is exceptional. The same sung by other singers might soon grow tiresome, but Baker makes you yearn for more.

Baker slips into a little neo-soul with “Love You Like Me”, and then drops the R&P flava’d “Vengeance Is Mine” and “Raise the Praise.” Both radio-friendly, these tunes stack up against anything currently spinning in the top 20.

Tracks you don’t want to sleep on are the mini-musical words of encouragement of “He’ll Withhold” and “Oh God, You Said.” Baker’s Part 1 and Part 2 lyrical conversation to a discouraged friend resonates into a captivating yet pungent message of hope. Both songs ultimately relay the report that God will not withhold any good thing from us, but we must hold firm to the promises in His Word.

It’s the things you aren’t expecting that make this album so powerful. It’s Baker’s acute ability to add her own signature to today’s contemporary Gospel sound that makes her gifting all the more special. Although some already know it, others will soon find out, this Levite powerhouse is truly a force to be reckoned with!

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Producers: Various
album release date: Sept, 2005

— reviewed by John Burton, Jr.

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