Gregory Brown with the Abundant Life Music Ministry
The Levite Music Group (2013)
By Bob Marovich
Released November 3, 2013, 29:11 is the product of Birmingham, Alabama choir Gregory L. Brown and the Abundant Life Music Ministry. The title refers to Jeremiah 29:11: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
In alignment with this message, Brown’s objective for the CD is to “speak life and minister wholeness to broken hearts.” While the album meets this objective lyrically, the contemporary and traditional numbers best meet it musically.
The album opens with two brisk and energetic contemporary choral pieces that directly reference Jeremiah 29:11: “God Said He’d Deliver Me” and “These Are My Plans For You.” Later, Elder Jeannie Jackson Smith leads the choir in a hard-charging old-school exclamation of the joy of salvation in “There’s Been a Change in Me.” Vestiges of Ricky Dillard and E. LaQuint Weaver are present in the song’s acrobatic vamp. “Repent” is another congregation rouser, fast and determined as Carrie Davis leads with an evangelist’s confident fervor.
“Then the Victory” slows the tempo down and a rocking chair beat backs lead vocalist Kim Perry as she sings, “If He can calm a raging sea, I think He can take care of me.”
Where the choir is less strong is on the wandering P&W cut, “I Will Praise.” It takes a while for the song to come together and when it does, it still does not feel as well composed as the album’s other selections. The Guiding Light Youth Choir’s sole selection, “Lord Fill This Place,” inexplicably fades out after 90 seconds.
Nevertheless, 29:11 is another example that the church choir sound is alive and well in the new millennium.
Three of Five Stars
Pick: “There’s Been a Change in Me,” “Repent.”