Producer: Darren Hughes, Matthew Lawson, Ben Rochester
Record Label: Independent Release
I have sung in a choir for many years at my church. We practice songs each week to lead the service each week. But I could never imagine being able to sing with some of the best Southern Gospel artists and then produce a project where choir and soloists join together. But that is what the Central Baptist Church choir of Dunn, North Carolina has done. The 100- voice choir conducted by Darren Hughes has produced He Is , a combination of songs that bring together groups like Soul’d Out, The Nelons, The Mylon Hayes Family and the Whisnants with some of the great talent the church has to offer. This project is nice mix of traditional Southern Gospel, contemporary, and Christian classics sung with the four part harmony of a big church choir.
The first two songs on the project were written by the choir director, Darren Hughes. The first is perfect for the beginning, “Come Expecting.” “Come expect Jesus to bless you, Come expect Jesus to move, Get ready for his power to break through.” That is all we want to happen in our churches each and every week. A great choir number! The second song is “The Way, The Truth, The Life.” Soul’d Out sings the solos on this fast-moving song that is the choir’s first single from this project.
The next song slows things down with the modern classic “Is He Worthy.” I think most of us have heard this song many times and it asks so many great questions for us as Christians. “Is Anyone Worthy, Is anyone hope. Is He Worthy of All blessings and honor and glory. HE IS.”
The Nelons assist in the next offering, “Still Free.” From the pen of Jason Clark and Wayne Haun, it reminds us that even though Daniel was in the lions den and the three Hebrew boys were in the fiery furnace, they were free. And if they try to take away everything from us, in Christ we are still free.
A Christian classic from the 1980s is next, “Thanks.” This is such simple song that just says thanks for all you’ve done for us. From there the project goes to the David Crowder penned song, “Good God Almighty.” This up-beat song features the KidCentral, the talented young children and teen choir. They do a great job and makes you feel good about the future of the church with talent like that being used at a young age.
Two Christian classics are featured next. The Mylon Hayes Family add their talented voices to the old Albert Brumley convention song, “I’ve Never Been Sorry.” With all of the modern instrumentation we hear on songs today, it is a nice change of pace to hear a strong piano and guitar song that this offering brings. The next one hadn’t been recorded for decades. It was written back in 1859, “The Great Physician.” The song begins with a much younger song (1939), “No One Ever Cared,” then goes into the title song which features The Ben Rochester Family. It is always nice to hear old time classics like these two, since we seem to get away from them today.
Darren Hughes pens another song, “Choose Jesus.” The song gives us all the reasons why we should choose Jesus. Finally comes my favorite from this project. The Whisnants and specifically Susan Whisnant on solo are featured on the Sandy Blythe penned song, “That’s We Adore Him.” This is a Christmas song which was featured on the choir’s Christmas project but just with the chorus, “Come Let Us Adore Him” (featured on this song), it can be sung all year around. I just love the words that were written here, “the world sees a baby in a manger filled with hay but we see a Savior who washed all our sins away. That’s why we praise him, that’s why we adore him.”
This was a most unusual project for me, but I enjoyed it for it’s variety of genres and performers. I would love to see this choir in person. Just from hearing them on this project, I think they would be a great blessing to hear on a Sunday morning. I do hope they continue to produce more albums like this that showcase their many talented church members and friends.