Anthony Nelson & the Overcomers
Love Jesus, Love People
New Heavens & New Earth Music (January 29, 2016)
By Bob Marovich
Earlier this year, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, contemporary gospel group Anthony Nelson & the Overcomers released its debut album, Love Jesus, Love People. Nelson, an engineer by training and an ordained deacon and multi-instrumentalist by calling, organized the ensemble three years ago after going through tough personal challenges, including losing both his parents.
Despite the ensemble’s Louisiana roots, don’t expect any fais do do on the album. Evoking an eclectic variety of music influences—from Shirley Caesar to Hillsong Worship to Esperanza Spaulding—the group revels in feather-soft harmonies and major sevenths, giving the album a spring drizzle freshness. Rather than fire and brimstone, Nelson and the Overcomers prescribe soothing musical medicine, especially when delivering messages such as “This Too Shall Pass.” The singers are adept at complex harmonies and lead work, with several taking vocal solos.
The album’s title is made manifest on “Love My Enemies.” To the organ’s encouraging chirp, the group calls for listeners to love their enemies just as they love their friends. This theme also appears on “Merciful,” especially during the line, “Lord be merciful to me as I am merciful to others;” and on “Overwhelming,” which is accompanied by a quite lovely and very resonant cello. “What God Says” underscores our royalty as children of God even when we are disobedient.
The single “Dedicate” is a personal prayer of commitment to discipleship. “We Adore You” is the album’s shining moment, a bright and infectious praiser conventional in lyric but memorable in melody and zestful vocal energy.
On Love Jesus, Love People, Anthony Nelson & the Overcomers provides what I call “cool down” gospel—religious sentiment to breathe in like aromatherapy while recovering from a spirited worship service.
Three of Five Stars
Pick: “We Adore You.”