Prime Cuts: Fragile, Welcome, Faith Come Alive
There are many of us who have grown up in the church. But the church has not grown up in many of us. Many of us may allow our feet to drag us into the church's sanctuary each Lord's Day, but our hearts are a million miles away. We are completely lost in the antiquated hymns and we are absolutely befuddled by the archaic sounding sermons rifled with overwrought jargons and clichés. The church pew has thus become deadliest place on earth; it has become the festering ground where agnosticism, atheism and spiritual aloofness are nurtured. Harsh as it may sound, Tasha Page-Lockhart was once such a victim. Not only did Lockhart attend church while growing up, but she was also singing with the choir each Sunday while squandering her life away in drugs and the fast life on the other days of the week.
Tasha Page-Lockhart is the daughter of legendary Gospel artist Lisa Page. Just like her peers Latice Crawford and Le'Andria Johnson, Lockhart was also the winner of the nationally televised singing contest Sunday Best. Not only was Lockhart able to wow the judges with her soul-searching vocals, she was also picked by Gospel music guru Kirk Franklin where she was signed to his Fo Yo Soul/RCA Inspirational Records. Ever since her win, Lockhart has also revealed that her road to success was paved with heaps of bumps and valleys. Between the tender ages of seven and fourteen, Lockhart was sexually molested by someone who was supposed to be close to her. As a result, Lockhart spent a large swath of her teenage years in drugs and rebellion while still singing in church every Sunday.
If you want the juicy details of how Lockhart's life was later radically transformed by God, take a listen to the record's lead single "Different." On this mid-tempo R&B burner, Lockhart details, with candid perspicuity, how her life went haywire when she was merely seventeen years-old and how later God brought her back to Himself. Also weaving in her own autobiography is the current piano-led single "Fragile." Eradicating the polite (and often insincere) scaffolds we have often placed around God, Lockhart gets up, close and personal with God for a tete-a-tete as she confesses her failures to understand God's higher and wiser ways. "Welcome," with its infectious folk like melody, is not only a standout musically, but it's also to be noted for its sagacious lyrics. Basically, "Welcome" is the message of Ecclesiastes set to music as Lockhart sings about the meaningless of life without God.
Joining her mother Lisa Page for a traditional Sunday morning Gospel number is "I'm Living." Though both ladies are in excellent vocal shape, they still could not succour the song from its lacklustre melody. PJ Morton's duet with Lockhart on "Yours," an affection-soaked love song to Jesus, works better. While "Just a Little Bit" finds Lockhart and producer Kirk Franklin dancing back to the Motown sounds of the O'Jays and Stevie Wonder. Also, one should also not overlook the glowing ballad "Faith Come Alive" where Lockhart breathes new life into Hebrews 11:1.
"Here Right Now," at the end of the day, is an important record because it gets behind the nice and polite façade we often put in front of others in church. These songs are not afraid of getting into the dirt in wrestling through our failures, pains, sins and hurts before God. And they are not afraid then to let go in celebrative joy as we find our rest in Jesus Christ through faith.
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