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Johnny Sanders - "Lifetime"
By Peggy Oliver
A immensely gifted singer and thespian who has toured with many of R&B & Gospel's major names, Johnny Sanders finally makes the leap to the solo heights. "Lifetime" from still another fledging label, Platinum Records, takes the listener to straight-ahead worship decorated with smooth urban soundscapes. Sanders has been seen and heard in many avenues. He has toured with Ann Nesby, Isaac Hayes, Dorthy Norwood, amongst countless others. On television, appearances include Bobby Jones Gospel and a cable special, "We Remember Jesus". Sanders stage experiences are also deep with Gospel productions: i.e. "Money Can't Buy You Love", "Secret Lover". If that's not enough, he received college degrees including Journalism and Mass Communications from Miami Dade Community College, and has served in the areas of entertainment programming, marketing and advertising.
On "Lifetime", Sanders combines encouraging advice for the church body and adoration towards Christ. The intricacy of "In Your Presence O God" presents positive results when anchored and firmly connected to our Lord and Savior: "seeking Your face, touching Your grace." A trio of backing vocalists interacts throughout with lead vocals from beginning to end.
Sometime mere words get lost in the shuffle. "Because of You" cuts to the quick: "Words cannot describe this feeling in my heart." Sanders' exhilarating voice fills in the rest.
Here's another call for brothers and sisters to avoid turning our back on the hurting and the needy. "It Takes The Whole Body" states it is unrealistic to function completely alone: "No one is an island, We need each other to survive." The riveting and bouncy hook repeats: "working together."
On the title track, Sanders sums up how much time should be spent thanking Jesus: "It's going to take a lifetime to show my love for dying for me."
Throwing in a pinch of "Have A Little Talk With Jesus", "He Lifted Me" becomes a testimony that brought Sanders to a new place: "I was caught up in some crazy stuff."
"I've never seen the righteous forsaken" (Psalms 37:25). That is the ultimate reward in "I Trust God", and there are more scriptural remedies when dealing with trust: "Lean not to our own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5).
So many items to ponder, so little time. "For The Rest Of My Life", set to solid disco funk, sets our minds on Jesus sovereignty: "Sometimes I think about how you're always there to comfort me, Sometimes I think about how You've given me a song to sing."
While we are bound and determined to plow through life as we know it, "Stand" provides legs to stand on: "All around this sinking sand, I'm gonna' stand." Through the toughest of times, "Stick your chest out wide, Hold your head up high."
"Quiet Storm" can be viewed as twofold. There are the storms that seem brutal and are brewing inside us as the song conveys: "Promise You'll receive me as your own." In the aftermath, however, those "storms help us grow."
In the slightly retooled version of the worship favorite, "In The Garden", a few lyrics are tweaked. Yet after experiencing the effervescent soul of Sanders and company, the garden tour sounds "so sweet."
"If I Knew" explores the 'what if' scenarios, one example being: "If I knew that we were laughing for the last time, I would have told more jokes so we could laugh the whole day through". After dedicating the memory of loved ones for this CD, Sanders indicates this sentiment on the liner notes.
Platinum Records President/CEO Drexel Mitchell wears several hats on "Lifetime" - musician, producer, even much of the behind the board duties. Drexel's mission at the label stresses "ethics and integrity" of all involved. He hit the bullseye with Sanders and the supporting players, such as labelmates Kemrrin 'KB' Blalark and Anthony Perry from Urban Soul, Drexel, and others who provide a pleasing jazz-R&B hybrid. Background vocalists Maia Wilson and Denise Minifield help accent the proceedings. Sanders flex his demonstrative voice whether rich and sentimental or cascading to the heavens. His songwriting (he contributed roughly half the selections) shines best on "If I Knew". Overall "Lifetime" is a dynamic launching pad for Sanders as he expands the line of Gospel's growing new arsenal.
Two singles are being released on this CD, which comes to stores June 29th: "I Trust God" and "In Your Presence O God." Check out information on Sanders, Drexel, and Platinum Records on www.realplatinumrecords.com.