If you think Shirley Caesar intends to slow down any time soon, you’ve got another thing coming. One listen to her new album, Good God (Light Records/eOne Music; March 26), says it all. The First Lady of Gospel is resoundingly back.”I know one day someone will come along to take my place / But they’re gonna have to wait / There’s a fire in my spirit / And I still got pep in my step,” a joyous Caesar testifies on “I’m Not Through, Not Yet.” Accompanied solely by piano and organ at the song’s start, Caesar is off and running once the spirited backing choir jumps in–and brings listeners right along for the triumphant ride. And that’s just one of the 12 riveting songs comprising Good God, written and produced by two more of gospel music’s shining lights: Kurt Carr and James Fortune.

“I’m grateful for the message that’s coming out of this particular album,” says Caesar, who is also senior pastor of Mount Calvary Word of Faith in Raleigh, NC. “Good God speaks to everybody: red, yellow, black or white; young and old. When they listen to these songs, they will hear more than a sob or sad story. They will hear and feel something that will help change their lives.”
A case in point is the set’s powerful lead single, “God Will Make a Way.” It’s one of two songs (including “You Stayed”) written and produced by Grammy nominated artist Fortune, best known for the hit single “You Survived”. Fortune’s skillful meshing of contemporary and traditional gospel melodies and uplifting lyrical message on “God Will …” go hand-and-hand with Caesar’s still commanding vocals. “God will make a way / He knows exactly what you’ve been feeling / So don’t doubt and don’t you give up now / The God I’m serving is already working it out,” teaches Caesar.

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