Friday, September 23, 2011

Vicki Yohe - I'm At Peace: A Praise and Worship Experience

Vicki Yohe
I’m At Peace: A Praise and Worship Experience
Shanachie Entertainment (release date: September 27, 2011)

By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog.

Stellar- and Dove-Award nominee Vicki Yohe is among a handful of blue-eyed gospel singers who have not only found an appreciable audience in the African American church, but whose work has also landed on Billboard's Top Gospel Singles and Albums charts.

Her tenth and latest CD, I’m At Peace: A Praise and Worship Experience, was recorded live at Bethel World Outreach in Brentwood, Tennessee. The album demonstrates the praise and worship leader’s tuneful vocals and proclivity for pop-rock beats, evocative of fellow P&W artists Martha Munizzi and Mary Alessi. “Somebody Worship,” the album’s opening selection with its juicy flourishes of brass, exemplifies the clean, fresh, aerobic sound that Yohe relishes.

Still, the singer’s ballads are her sweet spot. The emotionally-rendered title track, a beautiful and simple song co-written by producer Ay’Ron Lewis and featuring his crisp piano work, has a melody that you’ll swear you’ve heard before, but you haven’t. That is the mark of a song with staying power. No doubt “I’m At Peace” will be covered by gospel and inspirational artists for years to come.

Yohe enthusiasts will revel in nine-plus minutes of majesty on “Heaven on Earth,” a song Micah Stampley recently recorded. Yohe has plenty of room on this track to exercise her supplicant soprano.

A couple of interesting cuts on I’m At Peace are “So Many Reasons” and “I’ve Been Redeemed.” The former is a duet with Christian hip hop artist Canton Jones, a head-scratching pairing on paper but Yohe and Jones render a surprisingly powerful duet. Jones’ work here proves that beneath his cool hip hop swagger beats the heart of a true gospel singer. The latter is a nice change of pace: a traditional church-wrecking, choir hand-clapper that quickens the pulse and heats up the room.

I’m At Peace: A Praise and Worship Experience is smooth and pleasant, quite possibly Vicki Yohe’s best work to date.

Four of Five Stars

Picks: “I’m At Peace,” “So Many Reasons.”

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