The 12-tracker presents music that will be sung in churches across the globe with Hairston, Eric Davis, and John Smith providing the lyrics and musical production.
A truly gifted songwriter, Hairston continues to deliver songs that quickly become church standards. It's a role that he confesses is near to his heart.
Hairston teamed up with some of Gospel music's brightest stars on a several tracks. The title cut is an up-tempo number featuring Bishop Eric McDaniels with a wonderful declaration that the best is yet to come. The lyrics are inspiring and full of hope.
Bishop Hezekiah Walker keeps the party going with "Lord Of All" and upbeat praise and worship song with that East coast choir flavor written by Hairston along with Eric Davis. It transitions into what has the potential to be a fan favorite "My King" a hyper number with its heavy baseline, power packed vocals, and a catchy melodic drive. Lead vocalist Tiffany Andrews-Woodside, is the perfect vocal choice to compliment the power of the song.
A stand out track on the project is "Grateful", featuring noted rising vocalist in the Gospel world, Minon Bolton. It's a beautiful mid-tempo song where all of the musical elements, vocal arrangements, and the lead vocals come together to present a soul stirring and powerful performance.
Then there's "Working It Out For Me", featuring the legendary Pastor John P. Kee and the dynamic vocals of Lisa Knowles.
Another special song on the project is a cover of Eddie James' popular "I Am" which features four of the tenor vocalists of Youthful Praise on lead vocals (Sam Walker, Woodrow Vereen Jr., Stephon Hawkins, Marc Britt). Their vocal interplay works well. Where we may usually see four female vocalists, it was nice to hear males with different tonal qualities and styles on one song. Melissa Bell delivers her signature vocals on "The Victor".
Last, but certainly not least is the hand clapping, foot stomping "Reap", a good praise break with Jennifer Johnson out front.
The horn instrumentation truly catches the ear on this album. Band arrangements are strong with Big Mike Clemmons on drums, Chris Russo and Vindell Smith on lead guitar, Javier Solis and Rodney Kennedy on percussion, and Eric Days and David Brown Jr. on keyboards, just to name a few.
After This, while primarily a praise and worship focused set, and choir-driven in terms of the arrangements, encompasses a myriad of styles. It's a great set of material and reflects the writing prowess of Hairston (he writes 10 of the 12 songs). Definitely worth the purchase and true to the sound of JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise, it's a great addition to your collection.
In an exclusive audio interview, GOSPELflava.com discusses the new album with JJ Hairston:
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Light Records / eONE Entertainment
— reviewed by Nakiyah Hayling and Martin Williams —
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