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Music Review: Focus by Volney Morgan & New-Ye

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Updated June 01, 2017
Music Review: Focus by Volney Morgan & New-Ye
Volney Morgan Talks About New Album "FOCUS"

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Track Listing

Amazing God
After All
Superman (feat. Marcus Mcneish & Janine Edwards)
Seek Ye First
Fight This Battle (feat. Becca Folkes & Bishop John Francis)
What a Mighty God
How I Got Over/Baba Ose (feat. Muyiwa Olarewaju)
How Deep the Father's Love
Some How (feat. Melissa Moore)
Worship Medley (feat. Jay Todd)
Life (feat. Siany)

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Friday 16th December saw the release of the groups first album “FOCUS”, which is the live recording that was captured at their packed out show in November 2015. When putting the message of the album together, choir director Volney Morgan believed that, “by serving an amazing God, and no matter how much you may feel like you may have failed, He is a God of another chance. It is not where you have been but where you're going, which requires you to stay focused.”


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If you have ever looked across the pond to the USA and seen prominent Gospel worship leaders and choirs in the US like Kirk Franklin and wondered why we don't have that in the UK, then you need look no further. Volney Morgan and his Gospel choir New Ye are the UK's up and coming answer to that question. In fact Volney has been doing this for over 10 years and they have had some prominent performances including the BBC Gospel Proms in 2016 and an amazing performance at the 2016 MOBO awards pre-show which they were also nominated for Best Gospel, eventually losing out to Guvna B. This album, "Focus" was released in 2016 and I had the opportunity to speak with Volney about it earlier this year.

The album starts off with a crowd waiting for Volney and the Choir in the background, but Volney takes the time out to pray about what they are about to do. This is quite true to their actual performance having seen them back stage at a concert earlier this year they were the one group that I saw take time out for some prayer before their ministry that evening. The song then starts and this really is like listening to a proper concert from Volney and the choir. There is a lot of energy in each performance which if you have caught one of their performances you will know that this is a key aspect of their style. It would be very hard to imagine these guys just singing with no movement. So "Amazing God" is an all-out praise and worship track with Volney leading the vocals. The same is true for "After All", although the element of praise is more rooted in the ups and downs of life and is a declaration that no matter what we will continue to praise God for all of our lives.

For "Superman" the lead vocals are handed across to Marcus McNeish and Janine Edwards. This is a more soulful track which has a strong focus on the vocal which, it has to be said is very strong and clear from both Marcus and Janine. The gentle backing from New Ye adds a brilliant layer between the music and lead vocals which just sounds superb. The lyrics themselves manage to use the word Superman without any cheese and really without conjuring any image of the comic books hero, this is simply about Jesus, His abundant grace and love for us. It's a jaunty tune and a sound clip that are totally unexpected that start "Seek Ye First" which reminds us of those famous words from Matthew 6:33 to seek God first. This track continues the lighter sound after the storming opening couple of tracks, with gentle organ and other musical embellishments in the background.

The stonking beat comes back for the amazing track "Fight This Battle" which it has to be said is probably one of the most interesting arrangements on the album. This track is uses Psalm 23 and Isaiah 59 about God preparing a table for us, and God raising His standard when the enemy comes in against us like a flood. With God fighting our battles this becomes a victory celebration in the second half and features a couple of minutes of exciting organ and vocals working together to create a sound that might send your ears funny, before dropping into the praise anthems of "Crown Him Lord of All".

"How I Got Over / Baba Ose" starts off with a guest in the form of Muyiwa Olarewaju who is an incredibly established act in his own right, as well as with his own choir Riversongz. This song is a celebration of where and what God has brought us through. This is confirmed and repeated in a Nigerian chorus in the Yoruba language.

A surprise track on this album is "How Deep The Fathers Love" written by Stuart Townend is performed by an uncredited female vocalist that I suspect is Angel Morgan, as she was singing I kept wondering when a beat was going to drop and the style would change, but it didn't, the hymn was pretty much sung as written with some embellishments and quite clearly it is a live performance with the slightest of backing from the choir and instruments.

Following this there are a trio of guest featured artists starting with Melissa Moore singing "Some How" which is looking at how we know that Jesus is real, a matter of faith and experience, concluding "Somehow I know my God is real / Jesus I can feel / Yes I know my God is real." Jay Todd is the featured lead vocalist for the "Worship Medley" which starts with Jake Isaacs "I Fix My Eyes Upon The Cross" before dipping into a passionate version of "He is Lord, He is Lord" into the chorus of "Lord I lift your name on high" before finishing with a chorus of "All I want is you". The last track "Life" features Siany and is a positive word reminding us that we have life, hope, joy, love and favour of God.

There is no doubting from this album that this is an eclectic Gospel selection, and Volney is able to utilise a number of different styles to bring praise and worship ministry in an entertaining format. Having seen some of the live performances I thought that this album would be a full-on Gospel dance album, but it's not. There is real talent in the vocals and lyrics not just bringing focus to the performance but reflecting that back to God and giving glory to Him. It is those softer and more soulful moments that are the ones that I will most likely go back to again and again, in particular "Superman" which to me is the outstanding track on this album. If you like some great Gospel arrangements then this album will tick all the boxes for variety, tunes you can dance too, but mostly a great worship experience!

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