The Stand Campaign
Tyscot Records (release date: September 9, 2016)
By Bob Marovich
In 1971, the protagonist of Alvin Lee and Ten Years After’s “I’d Love to Change the World” sings about the desire to change the world, “But I don’t know what to do / So I leave it up to you.”
Thus spoke the disillusioned children of the 1960s as America entered the even more disillusioning 1970s.
Forty-five years later, facing a similarly disillusioned community, syndicated radio personality Cory “Coco Brother” Condrey changes the debate by declaring, “America will be what we make it.” A few minutes later, his wife Joann Rosario-Condrey and Yung Honore deliver an incisive rumination on the declarative “Change the World.” Don’t leave it up to someone else. Be the change you want to see.
So opens #America, an album featuring a team of artists performing under the rubric of The Stand Campaign. It’s a follow up to Condrey and The Stand Campaign’s 2010 CD, Coco Brother Live Presents Stand 2010, where the collective—at that time including Tye Tribbett, Israel Houghton, and Darwin Hobbs, among others—encouraged “the Body of Christ to become aggressive evangelists in their communities.”
But six years have passed, and things have not gotten better, they’ve gotten worse. What to do?
In what sounds like the soundtrack of a Christian hip hop stage play, #America features a newly constituted The Stand Campaign, one featuring Condrey, Joann, Yung Honore, J.Paul, TJ Pompeo, and Da’ T.R.U.T.H. More than half of the CD offers sobering commentary about the issues in the news today: police brutality, double standards, racism, and revenge killing. The team offers a solution: follow Christ and embrace his simple message of love. Bracing beats and EDM make the message musically relevant. The apex of the argument appears on “We Declare War,” the album’s Big Number, where Joann and Da’ T.R.U.T.H. charge “real Christians” to stand up and take on evil.
Later, the artists offer more contemplative moments in a cool down of emotions. This is where we get the delightful treat to hear Joann Rosario-Condrey really sing. Her work on “Born Again” and the ethereal “Hallelujah” is exquisite, almost transcendent. The songs recall her gorgeous 2007 Verity CD, Joyous Salvation. TJ Pompeo also has a very compelling voice, which he demonstrates on “King.”
The Stand Campaign urges Christians to make change by putting Jesus Christ first. Change begins with you, and you know what to do.
Four of Five Stars
Picks: “Change the World,” “Hallelujah.”