Scripture Music Group (release date: April 7, 2017)
Available on Amazon.com
By Bob Marovich
Brenda Jefferson is a songwriter who can sing. On her 2007 album, A Time of Refreshing, Jefferson held her own on duets with such leading lights as Lisa Page Brooks and Joe Ligon.
On Invocation, however, Jefferson prefers to focus on writing the songs and offering spoken word introductions and inspirational interludes. She leaves the singing of her songs to such an impressive passel of featured artists that the album could easily have been titled Brenda Jefferson and Friends.
The album’s high point comes at the very beginning, when Dorinda Clark Cole leads a rollicking church rouser called “My Heart is Fixed.” It’s the only live track on the song, and Cole ekes every utility out of her interaction with the audience at Jefferson’s Deeper Life Christian Church in Tampa, Florida.
That’s not the only traditional-leaning selection on the album. BET Sunday Best finalist Danetra Moore fans the fire on “Turn it a Loose,” and Patrick Bolton offers a bluesy delivery on “God Can.” “Say It,” with April Cooper, is another uptempo selection.
Two of the former Men of Standard appear on the album. Lowell Pye’s vocals lift the uplifting “Believe,” while Isaac Carree’s worshipful “One Touch” is a bracing CCM-style ballad. Myron Butler contributes “Dream,” and in the same contemporary style, Michelle Prather and Cersle Kenan set their sights on heaven as they deliver a fine performance on “Under My Feet.”
The album is suffused with inspirational messages of hope, encouragement, and expectation, and seven of the twelve cuts have plenty of potential. “Never Give Up” is Jefferson’s personal testimony. On March 17, 2006, Jefferson was diagnosed with blood clots on her heart, lungs, and liver. Doctors thought they would take her life but they didn’t. Clearly, Invocation is as cathartic for Brenda Jefferson as she hopes it will be for the listener.
Four of Five Stars
Picks: “My Heart is Fixed,” “Turn It A Loose.”