The W.I.N. (Worship In Nassau) Experience
P-Mann Music (release date: September 17, 2013)
By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog
Recorded live in Nassau’s Grand Hotel as part of the Radio One "One Love Getaway to the Bahamas" this past May, The W.I.N. Experience commemorates gospel crooner Earnest Pugh's 20 years in ministry and 15 years in the music industry.
Project participants included vocal firecrackers Pastor Shirley Caesar, Bishop Rance Allen, LeJeune Thompson, Angel Davis, Michelle Prather, and Pugh’s newly-signed Vincent Tharpe & Kenosis. You can't go wrong with such a strong team, and with Cedric Thompson as producer, to boot!
The opening songs, including the bouncy single, “I Praise Your Name,” are characteristic of Pugh’s handsome R&P style, and the island flavor of “We Praise You” pays homage to their Bahamian hosts. “More of You,” currently impacting radio, and “The Lord Is Here” are more dramatic praise ballads, but the album really grabbed my attention at “All Things Through Christ.” This bluesy contemporary gospel, with an admitted D’Angelo flavor, features Pugh’s most inspired singing and a strong assist from Bishop Allen.
From there the album only got better, with the nostalgic “O’Landa Draper Medley” featuring Caesar, Thompson, and Tharpe/Kenosis; and “Just When I Need Him Most,” an excellent contemporary gospel song and the album’s finest track. The spirit was so high on “Just When I Need Him Most” that “Step Right In” was all but a Holy Ghost praise break with lyrics.
Pugh’s tight, energetic background vocalists play such an important role on the album that they could receive “&…” billing on the front cover.
The W.I.N. Experience is a well-executed, finely-paced album that showcases Pugh’s fealty to R&P and traditional gospel. Read TBGB’s August 2013 interview with Earnest Pugh here.
Four of Five Stars
Pick: “Just When I Need Him Most,” “All Things Through Christ.”