Avis Marie Bickham
I Am Sure
Independent (release date: July 5, 2019)
By Robert M. Marovich
The title track of Louisiana indie gospel artist Avis Marie Bickham’s latest recorded effort was named CCM Christian Song of the Year at this year’s Rhythm of Gospel Awards. It reinforces the notion that the expansive-voiced Bickham is at her best with more measured, melodic songs.
The up-tempo songs on I Am Sure are conventional. “Where They At” rolls along to a techno hip hop foundation, and “Release the Sound” is a thunderous R&P that pushes Bickham to the upper reaches of her vocal proclivities. To a percussive Latin swing, “Where is God,” featuring Thomas Harvey Bickham Jr., poses the question that many ask when deep in the midst of turmoil.
It is when Bickham shifts to a more reserved mood that the album shimmers. In addition to the aforementioned title track, “My Time of Worship” is marvelous. It is melodic, dramatic, prayerful, and the album’s finest track. By the conclusion, Bickham is so caught up in the flow that she incorporates snippets of “Nearer My God to Thee” and “Draw Me Nearer.” It is as if the hymns grew there. The heartwarming single, “I Am There,” is about God’s parental love for his children. Although the mood has shifted, Bickham continues to belt out the lyrics as she did on the showier pieces.
In addition to singing gospel, Avis Marie Bickham is a music teacher and owner of Happy Fingers Piano Studio in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Three of Five Stars
Picks: “My Time of Worship,” “I Am Sure”