James Fortune represents the current generation of gospel music, a breed that seems to stretch the boundaries to an extent. Fortune’s music doesn’t stick within the strictest confines of gospel tenets, but nor does it alienate gospel’s most recognizable cues stylistically, thematically, or lyrically. Fortune’s most recent double-album, Live Through It (with Fiya), showcases Fortune’s versatility in regards to artistry. Balancing exhilarating praise joints and spiritually, reverent ballads that rise to a fever pitch, Live Through It is well rounded with something for everybody.
Live For This’ first disc is filled with incredibly intriguing, and moving musical moments. “Built For This”, featuring Christian rapper Da’ T.R.U.T.H., the first full-length track, opens the album with utmost confidence and inspiration, proclaiming, “I was built to conquer, I’m built to last…” The hip urban drum programming and synths of “All For Me” make it a winner as well, giving the younger fan base some much needed inspiration to sink their teeth into. Alexis Spight delivers electrifying guest vocals, further inciting spiritual excitement and praise. Tasha Cobbs brings fiery energy between “We Give You Glory”/ “We Give You Glory Reprise”, showing the immense power and resolve of her blessed pipes. Of course Fortune himself and Fiya fall right into place, further intensifying the spiritual experience. Disc closer “Let Your Power Fall” stays true to its title, given its powerfully driven approach.
The second disc opens energetically and prudently with “Do a Work”, in which the premise is that God is working on each of his children. The message is one easily received, aided by angular instrumental lines that ooze with energy matching that of Fortune and Fiya. It would be just a matter of time before “Live Through It” appeared in its rightful capacity doubling as title track and big-time, inspired ballad. “Just Smile” continues in soundness of message, though ends up being less enthralling. “Empty Me” restores any threatened or ceded momentum, delivering a tried-and-true message of soul cleansing and purification. Later, it is “Never Forsake Me” that pushes its message assertively, if through no other device than repetition. “Miracles”, a traditional gospel cut, is arguably the most emotionally uplifting track of the set; the listener feels the emotion and authenticity. ‘Course, it never hurts when “he (God) keeps performing miracles”. “Praise Break” gives the ultimate thanks with its rollicking, up tempo approach. A Hezekiah Walker’s appearance never hurt any album’s cause.
Ultimately, James Fortune & Fiya deliver a high praising, high quality gospel album. It incorporates contemporary and traditional facets of the style, blending both harmoniously. The guests enhance on their respective numbers, further sweetening the affair. While not every song is a perhaps a tour de force, all of the material sends enduring, wise messages. All said and done, Live Through It is a winner. ~Brent Faulkner
Recommended Single: “We Give You Glory” (Disc 1); “Miracles” (Disc 2)
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“Live Through It” by James Fortune & FIYA