Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bill Winston Presents Living Word - Released


Bill Winston Presents Living Word
Released
Source Media (2012)

By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog

Dr. Bill Winston and Living Word Christian Center’s Released, recorded around 2010, is out on the streets in greater force this fall, likely due to enhanced distribution channels.

The album has already produced two singles: Kim Stratton’s sassy “Favor Ain’t Fair,” and Donald Lawrence’s GRAMMY-nominated title track. 

Released benefits from an assemblage of top-shelf artists from the Windy City.  In addition to Stratton and Lawrence—he’s a member of Winston’s 20,000-member Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park, Illinois—the album features the talents of Walt Whitman, Jr., best known for his work with the Soul Children.  Vanessa Brown-Dukes of the Brown Sisters is in the chorus.  Michelle Renee and Ed Tucker offer their vocal skills, also. 

The choir has a big, bold sound, smooth and deep like Shekinah Glory Ministry and the Wooten Chorale Ensemble, not churchy like Fellowship or Cosmopolitan.  Polished and passionate, the choir offers exquisite touches on the meditative “Be Still,” led by Tucker.  Stratton nearly steals the program on “Awesome Wonder,” however, her squalls all but setting the church carpeting ablaze.

Back to the title track, “Released” is part inspirational song, part prayer session, and part laying of hands as Lawrence moves from singing to evangelizing.  Evoking the talking preacher style of James Fortune (or perhaps it's the other way around), Lawrence orders the members released from the grip of everything from cancer to financial woes. The congregants shout in grateful acknowledgement.

You can’t have a Chicago choir project without at least one pew burner.  Released concludes with the uptempo “Church Medley,” a string of congregational gospel songs led by Winston, Whitman, and Renee.  

Released is resplendent with satisfying musical depth.

Four of Five Stars

Picks: “Released,” “Awesome Wonder.”

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