V. Michael McKay
God Talk: Sounds of a Sanctuary

V. Michael McKay is by far one of the most influential songwriters of our time.

From his experiences has flowed an amazing collection of songs, among them "The Potter's House" (Tramaine Hawkins), the Yolanda Adams collection ("The Good Shepherd", "The Battle is the Lord's", "Through the Storm", "Take Away", "Before I Tell Them"), "The Corinthian Song" (Kathy Taylor), "I'm Still Here" and "Watchtower" (for the late Queen of Gospel Albertina Walker), "That's Reason Enough" for Bishop Paul Morton, "Broken But Healed" for Byron Cage, and the list goes on.

CD To add to his celebrated body of works, McKay presents God Talk: Sounds of a Sanctuary. The thirteen-song set delivered over 15 tracks is best described as a musical potpourri —a wide variety of music with a subtle yet enticing fragrance.

McKay has called in his peeps as the CD is peppered with appearances from a number of real deal singers and choir aggregations, with production from Bobby Sparks II.

In V. Michael McKay fashion, the set opens with a friendly disclaimer from the composer himself, i.e. put the children to bed as this is adult conversation (to be interpreted, there are some lessons that you will learn while you are here and if you listen closely, you will get it, or it will get you).

The opening selection is "Bow Down", an exuberantly energetic song with a contemporary "Sunday night service" groove. Attention music ministers, this is what the praise team sings to open the service on the Night of Worship. In one of his teaching moments, McKay sets the house in order with the truth of when the praises go up, the Blessor comes down. Mark Taylor (does anybody remember him leading "Jesus Is Mine" on the Jonathan Greer and Cathedral of Faith Choir Just Jesus project?) takes lead after McKay completes his spoken word and brings us to the vamp (which is taken up a notch on the reprise which makes up the second track).


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In musical order, the next song is the prayer chant. Daniel Johnson (Israel and New Breed, Andrae Crouch) follows up with "Purify Me". Johnson finds the right temperament and delivers the song in such a manner that you believe every word that he sings.

For the hip slappers and tambourine beaters there are the church rockers —"God's Got It" and "Come in the House". For the screamers, aisle walkers and victory lap runners, there is Gaye Arbuckle (where has she been?) singing "Fix Me". This song fits in the category of those numbers that make you run when no one is chasing, or cry when there is nothing wrong.

Pastor Darrell Blair (who does a really good impersonation of the late Reverend Marvin Yancy) handles "Oh Jesus" with such ease. Blair realizes the power of the Name and has his moments enjoying the power that flows from proper use of the name of Jesus. The late Albertina Walker adds her inimitable song stylings to "Spread It", with Rosalyn Brunswick McDuffie picking up the reprise.

This reviewer would be remiss to leave out personal favorites —the adult contemporary songs on the project: "My Life" (someone find out who Gene Moore, Jr. is and slap him a couple times) and "Rest", the latter being a simple song with a profound message. It's the musical marriage of Matthew 11:30 and I Peter 5:7 and is a panoramically wide interpretation of God's provision of care and promise to give rest.

With any luck at all, this is just Volume One of a multi series set.

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Production: Bobby Sparks II
album release date: July, 2012

— review by Gregory Gay

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