A Praise In The Valley

Since her beginning days on Lection Records back in the 1980's (Call Her Lexi), and moving forward to her recent projects on Real Deal Records, Lexi has CDbeen one of those artists who has always brought something special on her albums.

On her latest project, A Praise In The Valley, the Detroit-rooted singer again digs deep into her heart and soul to deliver an album that could very well be definitive of her career.

Released on Holy Music (with Evander Holyfield at the label helm), Lexi describes the project as "praise and worship, live in Detroit". She goes further, offering an explanation of the album's title:

"It's of course near and dear to my heart, because it's the last project that my husband [Michael Allen] and I were able to collaborate on before he passed. So this project has a ridiculous meaning to me. I'm raising our 3-year old son and everyday is a triumph! I praise God for lifting my head. People are saying that they are being blessed. Mike wrote almost every single song on this record."
Indeed, the entire project expresses great scriptural depth, all the while exuding joyfulness as expressed in Lexi's heart-rendered praise —a true testimony of Christ's all sufficiency in even the deepest of life's valleys.

Songs to mark include "Testify", which features Lexi singing and ad libbing all the way into the powerful vamp that closes out the jam. "Whole Heart / Clap Your Hands" is a spirited, brass-filled composition that quickens the hands and feet to accompany in praise.

LexiOn "Wherever The Lord Is", the tempo is more laidback, with the song laced with a gentle, acoustic rhythms, piano work and guitar. William Murphy tags on a few licks onto the song's final bars.

Kim Burrell is featured on "Not Until", a song written jointly by Lexi and Michael Allen, along with longtime collaborator, Gary Crawford. After a tender, soft jazz beginning with Lexi and her background singers, Burrell enters to add her vocal texture to the mix. The song is a testimony about the importance of moving beyond tradition to find God for ourselves, thereby establishing a relationship with Him.

On "My Heart Belongs To You", David and Nicole Binion add in their praise. Wonderful harmonies mark this praise cut, which is reprised by Lexi in a follow-up track. "Lord I Lift My Hands" is perhaps Lexi at her very best, her rich vocal texture rising above everything else.

Other songs to star are the balladic "As Long As I Have You" and "I've Been Redeemed", penned by RFC alumni, David Ivey.

A Praise In The Valley is Lexi's first live-recorded album, and goes down as a unqualified success.

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Producer: Michael Allen
album release date: March, 2005
Holy Music

— reviewed by Stan North

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