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A Call to Worship—Live in DC

  • reviewed by LaTonya Taylor Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Nov
A Call to Worship—Live in DC
Sounds like … contemporary gospel and praise and worship for fans of artists like Byron CageAt a glance … Live feels like a great concert with several moments of audience participationTrack ListingLet It RiseCry Out O ZionRejoiceLead Me to the RockLead Me to the Rock ReprisePhilippians 4:13Philippians 4:13 RepriseUndignifiedWe Magnify Your NameYour GloryThe Oil of Your AnointingI Can't WaitZion

Stephen Hurd has been part of the nascent praise-and-worship scene for several years. Over the last 18 years, he's worked with a distinguished coterie of artists and ministers including Richard Smallwood, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Judith Christie McAllister, Bishop Paul Morton and Dr. Jeremiah Wright. A music minister in Maryland, he's backed by Corporate Worship, an ensemble of local vocalists and musicians.

A Call to Worship, Hurd's major-label debut, is produced by veteran Steven Ford and backed by an exciting, high-energy band. Though the album does include some praise-and-worship choruses, many of the songs seem more suited to a choir. It's probably best to view the album as a concert with several moments of audience participation.

Hurd is an adept leader with a distinctive voice that blends the weathered ease of Marvin Winans, the fullness and range of Chris Willis and the authoritative delivery of Carlton Pearson. The album opens with an R&B-tinged, slightly jazzy version of the praise chorus "Let It Rise" and transitions into "Cry Out to Zion," an upbeat favorite from Vol 1. On "Lead Me to the Rock," it's evident that Hurd has strong presence. The song blends brokenness and strength in a reflective ballad. "Philippians 4:13" has a choral feel. "We Magnify Your Name" includes a sassy, funkified interpretation of "Oh, Magnify The Lord," and "Your Glory" includes several powerful, gorgeous moments, particularly as the song slowly expands and the live audience begins to sing along with Hurd and Corporate Worship.

Hurd's smooth R&B version of Matt Redman's "Undignified" is fun, if a bit too, well, dignified. The abandon of the original version gets lost in translation. And the album's two reprises would have fit fine into the original songs. Still, these are very minor quibbles with an enjoyable album.