Dr. Karry D. Wesley Presents the Antioch Fellowship Church Voices of Praise: Speak to My Heart

afmbc speak to my heartDr. Karry D. Wesley Presents the
Antioch Fellowship Church Voices of Praise
Speak to My Heart
Antioch Fellowship MBC (release date: January 15, 2016)
www.afmbc.org

By Bob Marovich

Big churches need big choirs, and big choirs need a big sound to fill a big church.

The Voices of Praise choir envelops the 54,000 square-foot Worship Center of the Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas—a state where big is boss—with its thunderous timbre. That, and a contemporary flourish with no small amount of traditional flair.

The choir’s self-produced debut album, Speak to My Heart, offers up examples of their vocal might with a mix of songs, most of which follow lyrically with the titular promise of praise, though old-fashioned get-you-through selections are present, also.

The album features the lead vocals of a few guest celebrities, notably Earnest Pugh on the single, “Great and Mighty;” Tommye Young West on the aisle-walking “Oh Give Thanks;” and traditionalist Beverly Crawford, whose evangelistic passion on “Think of His Goodness,” with its 12/8 Baptist waltz tempo, concludes the album effectively.

Truth be told, the choristers who step forward to lead the other album selections are just as good as the guests. Paul Shepherd lends his creamy tenor to his own composition, the balladic, prayerful title track, one with great potential for other artists to cover. His shouting lead on “Give God the Praise” is quite affecting, but the song ends in the midst of its surge. Likewise, Elisabeth Johnson lends vocal power to her own “Bless Your Name.” Alto Katrina Spottsville does fine work on “He’s a Wonder” but comes into her own during the reprise, where she offers a flatfooted church mother solo that would rouse any congregation.

Speak to My Heart is a very fine debut for the Voices of Praise and adds more motive force to the “Bring the Choir Back” campaign.

Four of Five Stars

Picks: “Speak To My Heart,” “Think of His Goodness.”

About Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.

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