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Leanne Faine and Favor - The Conqueror
By Peggy Oliver
Gospel music has been the life and breath for Leanne Faine. You probably know her lifting the rafters in church choirs most of her cherished career. On the second-go-round as a soloist, Faine, along with vocal ensemble Favor, joins Serenity Entertainment for the invigorating The Conqueror. Just like the self-titled debut in 2001, she draws upon support of several guest cohorts. Faine’s musical history started in church at a young age. Mentors like the late Dr. Mattie Moss Clark (mother of The Clark Sisters) elevated vocal discipline and respect for gospel’s heritage.
Famine, whose vocals can roar or display reverence, led the Grammy award-winning Reverend Brunson & The Thompson Community Choir (aka The Tommies), to many traditional favorites such as Just A Prayer Away and the testimonial, The Holy Ghost. She has taken solo reins with Dr. Bobby Jones and The Nashville Super Choir. Then there are the many years in spreading the Good News with many fellow gospel artists, from Pastor Shirley Caesar to Daryl Coley. Yet even with a distinguished reputation, Faine truly attests to the Lord’s healing power, as she was stricken with arthritis that threatened her career.
One of Faine’s inspirations, Dorothy Norwood, duets on the opener, Don’t Give Up, as each patriarch trades wisdom pearls from “pressing the mark for the prize of the highest calling” (Philippians 3:13), to “not leaning on your own understanding”. (Proverbs 3:5). A tune Faine claims Melvin Williams would like, He’ll Be Right There states “problems and burdens will be over” if we fully trust Jesus.
Why feel depressed when blessings are surrounding us. “Blessing You”, soaked in blues ointment, reminds us there are countless people who don’t even have shoes or shelter.
“Guess You’re Wondering” turns the clock to ‘The Tommies’ days, and Faine growling with delight about a worry-free life: “He’s my Waymaker.” Go ahead lifting those hands and burst out with gratitude, because through His mercy and grace, we have been “Redeemed”. The title track provides revved up energy and renewed spirit: “I can do all things through Christ who straightens me” (Philippians 4:13).
To live Another Day should never be taken for granted. Once again Faine hands out thanks to the Creator, “for keeping the beat in my heart.”
For the next seven minutes, expect loads of lovin’ on Jesus, with doo-wop flair. I Love You is Faine’s love song, declaring “You touch me like no other.”
Something About God’s Grace is indescribable, but guest vocalist Inez Andrews, making an all too brief appearance, drives the point home, “Grace will see you through.”
This sanctified event unfortunately has to end, starting with Faine’s tribute to gospel pioneers who’ve kept it real from the beginning: Norwood, Alberta Walker, and Jessy Dixon, followed by the dance-till-you-drop, The Holy Ghost.
We might say The Conqueror entails many gospel conquerors. Besides Melvin Williams, Norwood and Andrews (the latter two from the Gospel Hall of Fame vocal group The Caravans), there are song contributions from Percy Gray, Percy Bady and Darius Brooks. This is all capped by sensitive production from multi-talented Nathan Young, both in the live (Fellowship Missionary Baptist in Chicago) and studio tracks. Sticking to Faine’s “stand on gospel” roots, the CD obliges with traditional quartet backing, foot-stomping encouragement and an absence of high-tech beats or rapping breaks. We also cannot overlook Favor with their passionate and mature approach.
For further info regarding Faine’s ministry, visit www.leannefaine.com.