As a rule, I try not to listen to Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving. This year, of course,
I had to break that rule to check out the first holiday album from James Fortune & FIYA, titled Grace Gift. And I’m glad I did.
The twelve-track project hits stores this Tuesday, October 16th, and it’s a winner. Here are 5 Reasons To Buy it when it drops:
1. True to Form. Over the past several years, the signature sound of James Fortune & FIYA has come into better view– we see their lane and their style, and we love it. Perhaps the best part of Grace Gift is that it’s clearly a Christmas project, but it’s right in line with the FIYA sound. You’ll get intricate and precise harmonies, TONS of energy, and great musicality. Cuz that’s what they do.
2. “Mary’s Song.” That Cheryl Fortune… she can sing and she can write, and she does both beautifully on this heartfelt ballad from the perspective of the mother of Jesus. The instrumentation and progressions just scream “Christmastime” to me, and that’s not always easy to do. Definitely an album standout.
3. Faithful to the fam. It’s no secret that James Fortune is well-connected. He’s always got a who’s-who of in-demand artists offering guest vocals on his projects (most recently, of course, is the radio hit “Hold On,” featuring Monica & Fred Hammond). But on this album, Fortune takes a minute to simply highlight his folks… those who travel and minister with him week-in, week-out… cuz they’re definitely “enough.” Standout performances include D’Shondra Rideout’s “The First Noel” and Josiah “Jojo” Martin on “Holy Night.”
4. “This Christmas.” Everyone tries to remake it, but few have done it in a way that proved to be worth the effort. Not the case with this version, though. Isaac Carree and Minon Bolton trade smooth leads on this holiday classic, adding their own flavor while staying tastefully true to the original.
5. Still a gospel project. Because Christmas music rejoices in the birth of our Savior, it’s never really limited to a certain time of year. That’s a major part of all gospel music. It’s cool, then, that this album features great songs that are spinnable throughout the year. One of my favorite songs on the entire project is not holiday-ish at all– it’s the CCM-tinged oh-my-goodness-good “Love Came Down,” featuring Todd Galberth on lead vocals. That’ll be played from January to July, just cuz.
So there you have it. If you need more than five reasons, I’ll point out that “Worship the King” and “Go Tell It/Wonderful Child” (featuring Lisa Knowles and Shawn McLemore) are also faves that you’ve gotta hear!
You want this album. Take a listen to snippets and get it right here, via Amazon.com–