On the heels of his upcoming October release, Warren Barfield (“Love Is Not a Fight,” “My Heart Goes Out”) has posted a new single, “The Time Is Now.” The bluesy rock song is an affecting anthem about moving from intimidation to proclamation for truth.
For many who grew up soaking up the sounds of contemporary Christian music, a new collection of songs from Michael W. Smith is similar to a reunion with an old friend. Wonder, Smith’s newest pop collection, showcases the singer-songwriter at his finest, alternating between vertically and horizontally-focused tracks.
Two tracks in particular feature Smith at his most vulnerable. “Leave,” a piano ballad sung in a strained, fragile style, was inspired by tales of abuse and the hopelessness that follows. “I”ll Wait For You” starts with a heartbreaking account of financial distress and builds into an affecting declaration of praise: “I’m gonna’ walk on and not get weary now/ I’m going to run and not fall down.” It combines Smith’s focus on worship with an awareness of the human struggle.
Additionally, Smith delivers his signature sound in upbeat inspirational pop songs. “Save Me From Myself,” the symphonic, rousing opener and debut single, serves up a “Missing Person”-style theme of a man fighting the war between his flesh and spirit. “Wonder (Not Far Away),” an upbeat pop anthem, offers a bold testimony of the transformation of the grace of God.
In the next few years, Smith will enter his third decade of crafting Christian songs, and since A New Hallelujah, he’s celebrating life as a grandfather. Other artists may struggle to age as well, but with Wonder, Smith proves he’s capable, relevant and a vital artist in the music world.
On September 11, 2010, a few hours before Third Day took the Cinderella Stage at Disney’s Night of Joy festival in Kissimmee, Florida, gospel music was ringing through the air of its nearby Epcot park.
The first-annual Disney’s Gospel Choir Fest was a new element to the longstanding event, bringing together 11 choirs from around the country to compete at Epcot’s American Adventures pavilion.
EMI Gospel served as a corporate sponsor, offering judging services from EMI Gospel President Ken Pennell, Vice-President Larry Blackwell, Jr., and Eboni Funderburk, owner of EFG Promotions & Consulting. The winning choir, The University of Oregon Gospel Singers, were also invited to sing onstage during Smokie Norful’s set that evening. Recording artist and radio show host Darlene McCoy served as emcee.
“Disney has created an incredible opportunity for gospel choirs to compete on stage at Epcot and showcase their talents in front of an audience of international theme park guests,” said Tim Hill, director of special programs for Disney Destinations. “Combined with meeting Smokie Norful and attending the ultimate Christian concert event, Night of Joy, and Disney Gospel Choir Fest is sure to be an unforgettable experience.”