You don't have to rattle the church pews or lobby loud shouts of "Hosannas" to create worship that alarms, arouse and challenges. Worship is more than just about method. Rather, the chrism of powerful worship is the readiness of the heart to engage God. To this end, Marcia Chisolm's debut record "Simply Worship" doesn't disappoint. This s more than just an album; rather this is (a close to 80 minutes worth of) an encounter with God where we get ample opportunities to holler and storm out some sizzling praise to our Maker. And we also enter some reflective moments where we get to luxuriate in God's alluring beauty with emotionally bearing songs such as "So in Love." Chisolm may be a new name to many of us. But she's definitely no rookie when it comes to worship. Ever since she was two until she was twenty years-old, Chisolm has had been singing at the Big Miller Grove Baptist Church. After which, she became a member of the Citadel of Hope COGIC as well as singing backing for Gospel luminaries such as Dorinda Clark-Cole, Karen Clark-Shead and Hezekiah Walker.
Since leading worship is not only Chisolm's forte but her life's calling. "Simply Worship" finds her in her element as she leads us over 11 songs worth of songs recorded live at Greater Victory Christian Center in Atlanta, Georgia. With her brand new debut "Simply Worship," the buzz is already building around the lead single "Used." Penned by Tasha Cobbs, "Used" avoids all the peddling trappings of many Gospel songs. Instead of meandering along impromptu shrieks, "Used" is a prayer of service to God that trumps on its tightly knitted melody and the song's well developed melodic structure. Rivalling close to be the album's follow-up favorite is "Hallelujah to the King." Packed with lots of full throated belts, this soaring worship anthem should not surprise us that it comes from the pen of Darius Paulk (who co-wrote VaShawn Mitchell's smash "Nobody Greater").
Moving more in line with traditional Gospel where Chisolm trades lines with her choir is "Oh Give Thanks." Nevertheless, it's testimonial to Chisolm's gift of not only able to hold her own, but her ability to also front a choir with creative leadership. Chisolm then steps out on sonically limp with "We Worship the King." Keeping in abeyance all the contemporary protocols, here she and her producer Trenton Philips enter a time warp back to a 90s sounding Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir-styled worship that is a delight to the ears and a comfort to the heart. In such an excursion of worship, she does decelerate the tempo for some pensive meditation with the gorgeous "Breath of Glory." The gentle guitar riffs, the comforting voices of the choir and Chisolm's alto all gel together in a heartfelt invocation of God's Spirit. "So in Love," as the titular suggests, is Chisolm's billet doux to Jesus.
If you want Chisolm to get raw and intimate, don't miss "Desperation." Combining Michael W. Smith's "Breathe" and the hymn "I Need Thee," she leads us in a heart rendering 8:41 minutes of worship that is audacious, loud and such a tug to the discouraging heart. "Simply Worship" is one of those records that its titular is synoptic of its content: this is a deeply God-centered experience where Chisolm ,acting as our music director, leads us through the various expressions of worship. From traditional Gospel to pop-centered worship to alloys of hymns and choruses, this is simply worship done the Marcia Chisolm way.