Israel & New Breed – Worship Anywhere: Live from Camp NewBreed

District 11 Entertainment

Release Date: October 7th 2022

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Israel & New Breed– Worship Anywhere: Live from Camp NewBreed (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. New Breed Anthem
  2. Miracle, Signs and Wonders
  3. Fun (feat. DOE)
  4. Wrong About You (feat. Joe L Barnes)
  5. Yes, Jesus Loves Me (Wrong About You)
  6. Witness (feat. Cristabel Clack)
  7. Blessing and Honor (feat. Anna Sailors)
  8. Worthy (Blessing & Honor)
  9. Flow Like a River
  10. Certainly
  11. Need to Know
  12. Worship Anywhere (feat. Linny Smith, Chenee Campbell)
  13. Campfire Coritos (feat. Claudette Bailon, Adriene Bailon-Houghton, Nate Diaz)
  14. Spirit Medley (feat. Lucia Parker, Onaje Jefferson)

My wife Adrienne always has these wild ideas at 5AM, and one day she said, ‘I know what we’re gonna do. We’re recording the new record at a camp with adults.’ After thinking about it for a while, I was totally on board. We always say you can worship anywhere, and I think this project is a testament to that. It’s also a testament to the fact that, in today’s day and age, you can record anywhere too. It was really important for this album — when you watch the videos and even when you just listen to the music — to feel like fans are truly immersed in the process, and I was like, ‘What is more immersive than 45 people in a circle in worship?’ Drop some mics into that – that’s immersive. So, while the recording process was very challenging, it was also extremely rewarding and fun, and I hope fans feel like they are alongside us at Camp New Breed when they listen to this new music.

Gospel/r&b/worship artist Israel Houghton, famous for hit songs like “Friend Of God”, “Your Presence Is Heaven”, “You Are Good” and “Jesus At The Center”; is one of the most inspiring, encouraging and inspirational worship artists I’ve heard within the last few years. His previous album Road To DeMaskUs, is an album where he was probably the most vulnerable… and this project really cemented me as a fan of his music and albums as a whole. If you want to read my review of the release, you can do so here; but let me tell you that Israel is now back with another new release- his worship project Worship Anywhere: Live From Camp NewBreed. Recorded live from Camp NewBreed in New York, Israel’s latest project is in the same vein as his previous 2 albums Feels Like Home Vol. 1 and Feels Like Home Vol. 2; and though the album is still lengthy in terms of album duration according to casual fans (though worship enthusiasts will reckon that this release isn’t long enough!); Worship Anywhere is full of heart, passion for Jesus as well as an air of honesty, raw emotion and vulnerability. Sure, it’s not as compelling as worship albums from Chris Tomlin, Phil Wickham, Kari Jobe, Meredith Andrews, or Passion; but Israel and co. really do a good job- and I find myself gravitated to many tracks here, as I worship alongside Israel, praising the living God.

Opening the vibrant and eclectic track list is the hard-hitting medley “New Breed Anthem”. A rousing, joyous, declaratory and celebratory worship anthem, Israel and his band passionately and energetically sing out Jesus’ praises, and relays with intensity that we’re ‘…still standing here today, alive in Jesus name, another breakthrough’s on the way, it’s a new season, now we’ve been saved by grace, our God forever reigns, rejoice, rejoice again I say, cause He is risen…’. Though the chorus is indeed repetitive in nature, there’s still no denying the love that Israel has for Jesus, nor the purpose that he has in bringing people into Jesus’ presence. And so, if this opening song is cliché (and it is!), it hardly matters- as Israel isn’t chasing clout nor sales numbers- he is instead winning souls for Jesus.

The rest of Worship Anywhere carries on with the theme of the album opener- singing out to Jesus and praising Him for who He is. The songs also encompass the heart of the album as well, as these songs are multifaceted. They can be sung in any situation, at any time and in any place… and so, this album is incredibly versatile. “Miracles Signs And Wonders”, an energetic gospel/R&B melody, is co-written by Maverick City Music’s Naomi Raine, and features Israel marvelling in amazement at the fact that Jesus is still doing miracles, signs and wonders around the world today; while “Fun”, featuring DOE on guest vocals, is a melody that speaks about God’s infinite qualities, and the fact that ‘…Your love is easy, Your love is free, Your love is simply wonderful, what an adventure, my life is on, Your love is faithful, Your love is fun and it’s wonderful…’. A stirring, acoustic guitar ballad, “Fun” is an album highlight, and as DOE passionately reiterates her love for Jesus simply because of who He is, this simple yet effective track speaks about Jesus’ unending qualities, and reasons to praise Him as well.

“Wrong About You”, a hard-hitting, inspiring acoustic guitar led melody, speaks about how at times we have this idea about God in our heads, as being this mean, angry, old person in the sky, and that can’t be far enough from the truth. The qualities of God have long often been described by Hollywood and mainstream society as being outdated and archaic… but if you read the Fruits of the Spirit and 1 Corinthians 13… then you can gain some idea and some understanding of who God is. “Wrong About You” shatters these preconceptions, and as Israel and guest vocalist Joe L Barnes attest that they’re so glad that they were wrong about Jesus; so too can we realise that we can be wrong in our assumptions, and that can be a good thing indeed. “Yes Jesus Loves Me”, a free worship/spontaneous part of “Wrong About You”, is Israel’s take on the age-old and classic children’s hymn “Jesus Loves Me”; while the 11-minute moving, powerful and reflective ballad “Witness”, features Cristabel Clack, and has Israel and Cristabel praising God because we are witnesses to His glory and moving power in our lives today- event though we weren’t there 2000+ years ago to witness His miracles first hand. “Blessing And Honour”, a vibrant, eclectic and resounding worship anthem, features Anna Sailors on guest vocals, and is a track where Jesus is glorified, and that we sing out ‘…blessing & honour & glory & power to our God…’; while the heartfelt and inspiring songs keep on coming with “Worthy” (a spontaneous/free worship melody attached to “Blessing & Honour”), “Flow Like A River” (a 16-minute long free-flowing prayer-like worship song where Israel asks Jesus to flow like a river to the whole world and to send revival to the nations!), and “Certainly” (a piano led ballad outlining that Jesus’s mercies and goodness will certainly find us in all situations and at all times).

“Need To Know”, a spontaneous free-worship melody tagged onto “Certainly”, is an unbridled, raw and emotional moment of praise to Jesus for who He is, with Israel declaring that we will follow Jesus wherever He leads us; while the title track, featuring Linny Smith and Chenee Campbell, is next, as Israel emphatically declares that we can indeed worship Jesus Christ anywhere we are, and that ‘…every time we come together, every time we gather here, as a Father You take pleasure, in the praises that You hear, I can worship anywhere, even when we’re not together, it can’t keep Your love from me, we will shout Your praise forever, from now until eternity, I can worship anywhere…’. Worship Anywhere then ends with the energetic and joyous “Campfire Coritos”, sung entirely in Spanish, and “Spirit Medley”, a medley of traditional worship songs that Israel has writtena dn sung over the years.

One could think that after Israel’s marriage breaking down in 2015, as well as his termination from the staff at Lakewood Church (headed by Joel Osteen); that he could’ve called it quits and retired from music altogether. However, that isn’t the case- and the result is the exquisite, brilliantly recorded Road To DeMaskUs. While Cory Asbury should be proud that his song “Reckless Love” is circulating the globe at a quick and frenetic pace; Israel Houghton should also be proud- of doing this song justice on the 2018 album, and subsequently creating an album worthy of multiple listens on iTunes- reminding us all that it doesn’t matter the genre of an artist, as long as they are praising God and drawing people into His presence. Israel’s first album in 3 years reminded me why Israel is such a respected icon in the worship music industry, and I feel that the latest album Worship Anywhere (although marketed as a ‘Israel And New Breed’ album, confirms this statement as well. Releasing the project on his newly launched District 11 music label (yet another new label which continues on his new chapter); Israel can be proud of his efforts, and I can’t wait to hear what God has in store for this coming year for Israel. Well done, Israel! You have recorded this admirable and commendable project to perfection!

3 songs to listen to: Fun, Blessing & Honour, Worship Anywhere

Score: 4.5/5

RIYL: Kirk Franklin, Tasha Cobbs-Leonard, Mary Mary, TobyMac, Michael W. Smith, Kierra Sheard, Donnie McClurkin, Natalie Grant

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