Sherman James Productions
Release Date: May 17th 2019
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Raise a Hallelujah
- Hope is Alive
- So Will I
- Fighting For Us
- What a Beautiful Name / King of My Heart
- Do It Again
- Lion and the Lamb
- Wynter’s Song (Great Are You Lord / Who You Say I Am)
- Not Leaving / The Creed
- Brave / Forever / Oceans
- Reckless Love
Anthony Evans’ music can be a little hard to define. Primarily focused on worship and CCM, his music has also been influenced by the gospel music atmosphere, and at times, his music can be reminded of similar artists like Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Jason Crabb or even 1990s legends Avalon or Carman back in his heyday. Now Anthony Evans is no stranger to gospel tinged worship music, creating a worship album in 2014 titled Real Life-Real Worship that features gospel-worship heavily, while also being on The Voice US Season 2 as a contestant as well as subsequent seasons of The Voice (3 more) as a talent producer. Anthony’s ministry, while in Christian music first and foremost, is also in Hollywood and the music industry there, with Anthony forming working relationships with the likes of CeeLo Green, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey and Celine Dion during his tenure as both contestant and talent producer of The Voice US not too long ago. In 2017, Anthony released Back to Life, that featured powerful singles “See You Again” (a cover of the powerful single by worship leader Charles Billingsley), “Ever Be” (yes, the same cover sung by other artists like Aaron Shust, Natalie Grant, and of course, Bethel Music) and the heartfelt songs ‘Back to Life’, and other standout songs ‘Believe’ and ‘God of Breakthroughs’; and even in 2018, he released, under-the-radar, an EP of sorts, Everything Else, that showed us more of his gospel side with ‘Something Better’ (feat. Mr Talkbox) and ‘The Secret’. Now fastforward to 2019, and we see Anthony unveiling yet another project, this time a covers album full of worship radio hits, alongside a lone original track in ‘Hope is Alive’. Released at the end of April 2019, this is a must-listen if you have been a fan of Anthony and his music for years, if you are a fan of worship music, of gospel music, or a combination of all three.
Just one glance at the track list and you can see that every song that is popular right now in worship music circles is included on this album- ‘Reckless Love’ (Cory Asbury), ‘Great Are You Lord’ (One Sonic Society), ‘Who You Say I Am’ (Hillsong Worship), ‘Fighting For Us’ (Michael Farren), ‘So Will I’ (UNITED), ‘Do It Again’ (Elevation Worship), and ‘Lion and the Lamb’ (Leeland) are just some of the songs that have circulated worship services on Sundays for quite some time that are present on Altared, and all are given the Anthony Evans treatment- still having their worship framework intact, but still having a gospel flavour infused throughout each track. The lone original song ‘Hope is Alive’ was borne out of a season of loss and hopelessness, as he lost his uncle, aunt and cousin, alongside witnessing his mum’s cancer diagnosis, all in the span of 18 months. While anyone who has faced such calamity may have walked away from Christianity altogether, what Anthony has decided to undertake is a season of worship, to be declaring God’s name regardless of the circumstances. And this is what makes this album work- even though we have heard these songs over and over again, there is a desperation and a sense of authentic worship that comes from Anthony- not to say that many of the other artists are inauthentic with their worship. It’s just what when such hardship has occurred in someone’s life, and you see or hear them worship in spite of the terrible things, you can truly sense a total and utter reliance on the Lord, and a sense of trust that may not have been there if the hardship didn’t happen. Anthony’s album is cohesive and comforting, and even at times confronting- would we sing these songs if what happened to Anthony happened to us? Something to ponder when we worship, right?
‘…there’s been so many different ways that God showed up, but the way that I’ve dealt with it is choosing hope but then also dealing with my emotions at face value. I don’t try to pretend anymore that I’m OK. I don’t try to put on the worship leader face or do all this stuff. I don’t do that. I go and deal with the real root causes and root issues of what’s going on. The grief process, I don’t try to short circuit the process, because I know that I have to go through it. You trying to cut short a grief process is like cutting corners and building a house. It will show itself later, you’ll have issues later if you try to cut corners. You have to be strategic in building yourself back up. So I have gone to therapy quite a bit. I have made sure that I’m not saying yes to too many things as it relates to work because I don’t want my ministry to take precedence over my well-being because my ministry comes out of my well-being. It’s a bunch of different things, but the most beneficial thing has been getting my emotions out and going to therapy and dealing with it on that level. Then also, continuing my relationship with the Lord and pursuing hope…’ Anthony has faced a lot of hardship of late- no one should lose their aunty, uncle, cousin and hear news about their mum, in less than 2 years. And so, to come out with a worship project as a result is only by the grace of God and because of it too. God Himself has been moving through Anthony, and it shows in this album. Sure, this is another worship album, but for me I’ve felt such a passion that comes through in these melodies that reminds me of what worship really is about- to declare God’s goodness and faithfulness, even when things aren’t looking that great. This collection of 11 songs (some of them medleys) are great to worship alongside, and while I myself may not necessarily say that I’m a full-fledged gospel music advocate (give me CCM any day though), I have much more of an appreciation than I did prior to listening to Anthony and his music. With a comparable vocal to someone like Israel Houghton or even Kirk Franklin, Anthony’s experience of being in music for more than 10 years is something that ought to at least intrigue listeners to a hopeful listen once through to Altared. Well done Anthony for this worship album- one that’s going to keep spinning on repeat on my iTunes playlist for months to come!
3 songs to listen to: So Will I, Do It Again, Reckless Love
RIYL: Kirk Franklin, Newsboys, Tori Kelly, Chris Tomlin