Avery Stafford - Undignified
By Peggy Oliver
From leading his first song in church at age two (with prayer and guidance from his mother) Avery Stafford eventually wanted people to see Jesus personified. For his latest CD, the self-released Undignified, the California native meshes classic and contemporary urban stylings.
Despite an obvious vocal talent, the current worship pastor for Valley Church in Cupertino, California pursued extensive education from Abilene Christian University, and Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, Oregon. Though his voice echoes Luther Vandross, Stafford’s musical inspirations run from Tonex to Stevie Wonder. One of several accomplishments in his career was receiving the MP3.com’s Top Gospel Artist in 2003. Both radio and the internet have embraced Stafford’s latest effort, especially the music video, How Sweet It Is (2b Loved By You).
The aforementioned song, the huge Motown hit How Sweet It Is (2b Loved By You), covered by Marvin Gaye and James Taylor amongst others, receives a synthesized, funky 80s treatment. Stafford adds jazzmatazz phrasing, while Jared Duba (aka Jesus Disciple) delivers a spicy rap breakdown, followed by a thunderous “Thank You Lord” for the final punctuation.
Switching from full throbbing to a romantic love type ballad, Everything I Own accounts the ultimate sacrifices our Lord has made on our behalf: “The total bid came from a man named Jesus as tender and kind.” All the angels and creation bow down to the great I Am, including “the peaks of Kilimanjaro.” Lending vocal adoration is The Undignified Choir (consisting of friends from Portland, Oregon).
Get My Praise On kicks in high gear, reminding us in the process, patience equals dividends: “They say that good will come to those who wait on it”. For those who learn to wait, then we Hold On as loneliness is dispelled and self becomes futile: “I will never deny Your power.” The backing harmonies give a massive power surge.
Stafford works his musical savvy with a smooth-jazz interpretation of Listen To Our Hearts, a Geoff Moore/Steven Curtis Chapman composition originally recorded by Moore and Chapman in the nineties.
- Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago's Best of Both Worlds
- Myron Butler's "Worship"
- Amber Bullock's "Thank You"
- Theresa Pinkney - "Me Against the World"
- Martha Munizzi - "Make It Loud"
- Donald Lawrence's "Your Righteous Mind"