Prime Cuts: Everything, The Real Me, Close to You
In this frothy age where songs are as disposable as last season's fashion, it's rare nowadays for an album to bear repeatable listens for years and years to come. In this day of 99 cents downloading, few even bother to listen to an album in its entirety. Therefore, instead of chasing the maelstrom of hype like many a lesser artist would do, Anita Wilson has decided to make a record that is going to defy the test of time. Together with her collaborative partner, Rick Robinson, "Vintage Worship" finds Wilson taking a time warp back to the lush 1970s soul scene of groovy pre-disco blossoming flushes before making a quick stopover in the 1980s where she gets re-acquainted with the R&B funk of that era. Yet, despite the innovative sounds welding the traditions of old into newly crafted music, what remains unchanged are the lyrics which finds Wilson still solely fixated upon Jesus and the Gospel.
"Vintage Worship" is the much anticipated sophomore follow-up to Wilson's EMI Gospel debut "Soul Worship." "Soul Worship," which was released in 2012, was nominated for 3 Stellar Awards, 1 Dove Award and 1 Grammy nod. Touted by New York Times as 2012's Top 10 albums, the record produced two hit singles including 'Jesus Will" and "Speechless." Now signed to Motown Gospel, it looks like Wilson's on the same successful path as this album's lead single "That's What He's Done for Me" is quickly gaining traction with Gospel radio.
So, does this follow-up record live up to expectations? Simply give the opening cut "Close To You" a listen and the answer becomes apparent. Featuring just the stark tingling of a grand piano, the centerpiece is definitely on Wilson mezzo-soprano as she lets loose on what is one of her most intimate piece of love song to Jesus. Listening to how Wilson soars with the soulful heights of a Mary J. Blige and with the Godly uction of a Cece Winan is just worth the price of this CD. Before we get to blink, we are immediately transported to some funky R&B praise with horns blaring "That's What He's Done for Me." Boasting a toe-tapping melody, this is a testimonial song that speaks of how Christ can fix all our brokenness if we let Him.
To give further depth and dimension to the record, Wilson has tapped on the resourcefulness of some of music's veterans including Tommy Sims. Sims, as many would recall, co-wrote Eric Clapton's Grammy Award winning song "Change the World." And he has also gone on to craft songs for Garth Brooks, Israel Houghton and New Breed, Jonny Lang and many others. Here Sims gets to sing with Wilson on the shuffling beat ballad "Reasons." While singer-songwriter Avery Sunshine and the renowned Bishop Yvette Flunder join voices with Wilson on an over 7 minute teased out version of the hymn cum newly written worship shout-out "Oh How I Love Jesus." Penned by soul divalet Angie Stone and a nod to Donald Lawrence, "Happy Being Me" calls to mind one aspect of worship that churches often neglect. If God truly made us in His image, we need to able to give thanks to God for creating us the way we are, even with our perceived warts and all. And for those who love a touching worship ballad, "Everything" and "The Real Me" find Wilson bearing her soul before Jesus.
Therefore, if you are looking for a record that you can sing and worship to beyond just the first few initial listening, "Vintage Worship" is one of those albums that can bear repeated listenings over the passage of time.