Title: Open the Sky
Artist: Lamar Campbell
Formats: CD, MP3
Release date: September 24, 2013
After a six year recording hiatus, gospel artist Lamar Campbell and his group Spirit of Praise have returned with Open the Sky. The beauty of this project lies in Campbell’s ability to maintain the same praise focused, inspiring messages which captivated listeners over a decade ago while also incorporating the most contemporary sounds into his music. Originally from and now currently based in Indianapolis, Indiana, Campbell incorporates the creativity and voices of several Indiana based musicians. His love for praise and worship and gospel music are evident throughout this album, beginning with the opening track “Praise You Now.” Co-written by Indiana University alumnus and current director of the IU Soul Revue, Tyron Cooper, this celebratory song not only declares the personal responsibility to praise a gracious God, it also encourages listeners to join in the “praise-fest.” Featuring a prominent, funk inspired bass line, the song’s unpredictable rhythmic accents add musical interest while a “down-home” vamp reflects the intense communal worship of the African American church. The title track “Open the Sky” petitions God to send his people blessings and love in abundance. With straightforward text, the highlight of this song is the energizing refrain which reiterates “Oh, open the sky” in an enchanting melody:
One of the most timely and inspiring tracks on the album is “Speak to the Day.” Utilizing a decisive unison of voices during the chorus, this piece encourages listeners to use the power of their words to literally “speak” change, progress, and positivity into their everyday situations. Open the Sky is an assortment of praise, worship, and gospel that is sure to satisfy any listener looking for a quick spiritual “pick-me-up” or a more enduring musical experience with God.
Reviewed by Raynetta Wiggins