CD Review: Anita Wilson “Vintage Worship”

Grammy®, Stellar, and Dove-award nominated singer Anita Wilson rendered the Gospel community “Speechless” with her fusion of Gospel and Soul music on her debut album WORSHIP SOUL. Recognized by the New York Times’ Ben Ratliff as one of “2012’s top ten albums across all genres,” WORSHIP SOUL (2012), which also featured the hit song “Jesus Will”, introduced the Gospel world to Wilson as the new frontrunner for Urban contemporary gospel.

Now with the release of her sophomore project, VINTAGE WORSHIP, Wilson takes a modern generation of Gospel music fans on a retrospective journey. Filled with a stylistically diverse collection of worship songs, VINTAGE WORSHIP echoes the soulful sounds of music from decades past.

A 12-song project, VINTAGE WORSHIP, is a high-spirited campaign that is steeped in the silky sounds of yesteryear’s Gospel, with a familiar array of R&B tunes and other musical styles.

The album opens with, “Close To You”, a soft interlude that sets the tone of the project. By the way Wilson approaches this piano-laced tune, with smoothness and confidence, it is evident that she is in control of the moment. She steadily guides her listeners into an extraordinary moment of worship, where her purpose is to direct their attention – heart, mind and spirit – to the ONE who can provide all things good and perfect. It is an ideal moment, for a singer with an ideal voice.

Wilson quickly switches gears with her delivery of, “That’s What He’s Done For Me”. The first single from VINTAGE WORSHIP that tells of God’s goodness, this song is simply beautiful. Additionally, it is easy to tell that, collectively, Wilson, the background vocalists and the band thoroughly enjoyed ministering on this song. All are on point at every turn, and Wilson delivers this high-energy, hand-clapping, toe-tapping tune with gracefulness and authority. The song pays homage to gospel legends Andraé Crouch and Milton Brunson & the Thompson Community Singers (“The Tommies”).

A colorful collage of energetic bass licks, thunderous guitar riffs, and blaring horns are all reminiscent of 70’s and 80’s styled music. VINTAGE WORSHIP presents a wide selection of recognizable tunes – You Love Me, “So Gone” and “Gooder Than Good,” among otherswhich give the album a cohesive flow, and stays true to its vintage theme.

One of the best moments on the album is the performance of, “Oh How I Love Jesus”.  This one is sure to be a fan favorite. Wilson enlists the help of singer/songwriter Avery Sunshine and the well renowned Bishop Yvette Flunder to assist in launching a modernized version of the beautiful hymn. “Oh How I Love Jesus” is an atmosphere changer, and by the tune’s end, the listener cannot help but to be captivated by the spirited call and response session.

Wilson closed the album out with “Happy Being Me”, a familiar tune to her fans. Written by Grammy-nominated singer Angie Stone, the song was previously recorded by Wilson on the WORSHIP SOUL album, and by Donald Lawrence & Co., with Wilson as the lead vocalist. “Happy Being Me” is a rearranged, up-tempo version of the original song, which is about self-appreciation. The focal point of the song centers on recognizing the value of self-worth – and how imperative it is for happiness and peace of mind.

Overall,VINTAGE WORSHIP is a fresh and invigorating perspective on the marriage of music and ministry, the concept has undoubtedly been what’s kept Anita Wilson’s name in mention with the top of today’s new generation of gospel stars. And, if the collection of tunes that fill VINTAGE WORSHIP is any indication, it is well deserved.