Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Worship with the 180 voice Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and 3,500 worshipers as they mightily declare the Name of the Lord. Recorded LIVE in New York, this highly anticipated release features 13 new songs written by Carol Cymbala and The Brooklyn Tabernacle songwriting team. From the inspiring "Made to Live for You" to the epic "New Jerusalem" to the powerful "Declare Your Name", this album is sure to ignite hearts in praise. Vocals are enriched by special guests Israel Houghton, Jonathan Butler, Paul Baloche and TaRanda Greene.
"Since its inception in the 1970s, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir has become famous for its weighty arrangements and smoking delivery of modern church anthems, selling millions of records and garnering a stash of Grammy and Dove awards as a result. Not bad for a choir. And for their sophomore pairing with worship-driven label, Integrity, the 300-member vocal movement invites R&B guests Israel Houghton and Jonathan Butler to join in on the celebration, effectively raising the roof with thirteen songs of soul-stirring worship. The only complaint to an otherwise fine praise project is that it remains full-force throughout - though a tender cameo from one of worship music's most sensitive leaders, Paul Baloche, provides temporary pause." -Christanity today
Down Beat (p.79) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "The singers exalt to seventh heaven with original songs of praise like 'I Surrender'..."
Personnel: Dave Cleveland (acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Eliode Guillaume (electric guitar); Jason Michael Webb (piano, Hammond b-3 organ, keyboards, drum programming); Joe Ferdinand (keyboards); Michael Archibald (drums); Garett Buell, Javier Solís (percussion).
Recording information: Ocean Way, Nashville, TN (06/12/2009/06/14/2009); Platinum Lab Recording, Nashville, TN (06/12/2009/06/14/2009); The Brooklyn Tabernacle (06/12/2009/06/14/2009); The Brooklyn Tabernacle, Brooklyn, NY (06/12/2009/06/14/2009).
Photographer: Sam Noerr.
For the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir's second Integrity album, founder Carol Cymbala and Jason Michael Webb have written a batch of new songs that casts the large group in a contemporary mode. That is to say, this is not traditional or traditional-sounding religious choir music. Rather, despite the large vocal group and its accompanying orchestra, the music is more in a pop/AC style, often employing soloists in call and response format. Thus, the album should be categorized more as a CCM effort. Cymbala and Webb actually locate the sound not far from the choir's 1972 founding; the music often would have fit on late-`70s or early-`80s pop radio and displays the influence of pop/soul masters like Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie. Richie's Caribbean lilt (e.g., "All Night Long [All Night]") is on display on such tunes as "It All Belongs to You" and "Coming Back." There are songs that are taken by the choir alone, but even these often boast buoyant pop arrangements, such as "Where Can I Go." "Helpless," on the other hand, is set to an acoustic guitar gently fingerpicked as accompaniment to a male solo singer, and the choir is not heard at all. The result is a varied collection in terms of the music. Of course, the message is constant, as choir and soloists profess their faith, leading up to the stirring and catchy title song in which they assure their Savior they are not afraid to "declare your name." ~ William Ruhlmann