2014 is turning into a suprisingly good year for Gospel music with all formats (Traditional, Contemporary, Praise & Worship) finding audiences and fresh albums finding chart success in the first six months.
The first half of this year saw veterans in the mix (Mississippi Mass Choir, Ricky Dillard), familiar faces doing their thing (Donnie McClurkin, Beverly Crawford), familiar artists reinventing themselves (Chanel, Erica Campbell) and some brand new kids on the block (LXW).
As you seek to separate the wheat from the tare and whip out your wallet at Walmart to buy your next CD, here are five albums you can confidently drop your dollars on the counter for and add these gems to your collection. These projects were all released between January and June 2014:
Mali Is… – Mali Music (RCA): Mali Music has emerged as a tour de force in the music industry. This album is a musical masterpiece that will keep you engaged, inspired and entertained until Thanksgiving rolls around.
Help – Erica Campbell (Entertainment One): Erica Campbell has shown she’s got the goods to be a blessing to the masses. Her new album is a bona fide winner that works so well, you almost forget she was one half of Mary Mary.
Amazing – Ricky Dillard & New G (Entertainment One): Amazing may be the most appropriate word to use when describing Ricky Dillard’s 10th album to date, a project that reveals musical growth and vocal excellence even after all these years, a trademark of The New Generation Chorale.
LXW – Deitrick Haddon’s League Of Xtraordinary Worshippers (Tyscot): This refreshing new band of west coast worshippers was a jolt of jubilee. Bringing energy and innovation, soul and swagger. Deitrick Haddon pulled no punches on this project. The result is spiritual bliss.
Live Through It – James Fortune & FIYA (Entertainment One): This double-disc delight is the full package, highlighting powerful praise by a stellar cast of soloists. James Fortune & FIYA have steadily climbed the ladder to A-List status by producing better albums each year and Live Through It is arguably their best work to date.
Livin’ – Wess Morgan (Bow Tie)
Declaration Of Dependence – Mississippi Mass Choir (Malaco)
The Way Of Escape – Kenny Lewis & One Voice (Pure Sound)