A Call To Worship
Stephen Hurd has been a best-kept secret among praise and worship afficianados. His previously-released independent albums have long been treasured by those who've found them.
Respected among worship leaders nationwide, Hurd’s penchant for articulating a felt sentiment is what distinguishes him. He goes to the very heart and this go-round, Integrity Gospel takes the opportunity to harness some of the gift on wax.
In his debut release on the label, a live recording titled A Call to Worship, Hurd pulls together some familiar songs and introduces some new ones. All are bound together by the common thread of praise and worship, with production from Steven Ford, and tight vocal support from Hurd's longtime crew, Corporate Worship.
“Let It Rise”, an uptempo standard scripted by Holland Davis, is given an urban twist complete with resplendent horns, courtesy of Baltimore’s own Mo’ Horns. Right away, Hurd sets himself apart with a mix of singing and commentary that manages to not be obnoxious (as many post-Kirk Franklin leaders can tend to be). His heart for praise and worship translate as genuine and sure. It’s not just palatable, but inviting.
Hurd exhibits his songwriting ability on “Your Glory”, a simple praise verse backed by piano and guitar that swells to poise for full-on worship. Bishop George Searight and Hurd share the lead on “Philippians 4:13 (Stand)” which was previously recorded on the 1995 GMWA Torchbearers of Excellence. A defiant proclamation (also written by Hurd), it speaks to the fortitude the promises of God provide, and it remains a powerful anthem.
“Lead Me To the Rock” is yet another sample of Hurd’s purposed pen, and his “We Magnify Your Name” is quietly becoming a standard for praise and worship sets. The clarity of the sentiment in his music proves to be his hallmark.
A Call to Worship
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The racing “Cry Out O Zion”, done before by Hurd on a previous project, is a welcome and familiar song. Clint Brown’s companion cut, “Zion”, is a sort of praise hymn with a simple verse. Jonathan Dubose’s inflections are pretty additions to the short melody.
Look for the radio hit "Undignified Praise" (written by UK singer Matt Redman and spruced up for Gospel stylings by Hurd) to get the feet moving.
The Integrity label has rightly made a name for themselves over the decade, for their ability to nurture and bring foward praise psalmists to the body of Christ. Take note, add Stephen Hurd to that list, and heed the call.
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Producer: Steven Ford
album release date: June 8, 2004
reviewed by Melanie Clark —
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