Michael English was born on April 12, 1962 in Kenansville, Indiana. He has been a member of The Singing Samaritans, The Singing Americans, The Goodmans, The Gospel Couriers, and The Gaither Vocal Band. In 1991 he released his self-titled CCM solo debut album. It included the songs ‘Mary, Did You Know?’ and ‘In Christ Alone’. In 1992 he won the Dove Award for ‘New Artist of the Year’. Four years later he had some success with ‘Your Love Amazes Me’, which reached #10 on the mainstream Adult Contemporary Chart. I quite like his 2012 album SOME PEOPLE CHANGE. Fast forward to 2015 and Michael has returned with his 10th studio album, WORSHIP (Daywind). Of it he says: “I have chosen praise songs that touched me as I worshiped in church. I feel if these songs really touched me, they are probably going to bless others as I pour my heart into them”. WORSHIP was produced by Michael and Kevin Stevens, and executive produced by Dottie Leonard.
Starting things off is ‘Blessed Be Your Name’ which is one of my favourite praise and worship songs of all time. Matt and Beth Redman wrote this happy song of one determined to praise God no matter what one’s circumstances are: “Blessed be Your Name in a land that is plentiful/Where Your streams of abundance flow/Blessed be Your Name/Blessed be Your Name when I’m found in the desert place/Though I walk through the wilderness/Blessed be Your Name.../You give and take away (2X)/My heart will choose to say/’Lord, blessed be Your Name’”. Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin wrote ’10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)’. It is a sweeping modern worship anthem that declares who God is and offers a fitting response: “You’re rich in love and You’re slow to anger/Your Name is great and Your heart is kind/For all Your goodness I will keep on singing/10,000 reasons for my heart to find/Bless the Lord O my soul, O my soul/Worship His holy Name/Sing like never before/O my soul/I’ll worship Your holy Name/Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul/Worship His holy Name”.
‘A Little More Jesus’ has a peppy, countrified vibe to it with good use of harmonica. It declares reliance on Christ: “I need just a little more Jesus/To help me along my way”. Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio wrote ‘Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)’. This one is a powerful ballad of personal testimony: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound/That saved a wretch like me/I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.../My chains are gone, I’ve been set free/My God, my Savior has ransomed me/Like a flood His mercy rains/Unending love, amazing grace”.
Next up is ‘Everybody Clap Your Hands’, a joyful black gospel number that exalts Jesus: “Everybody clap your hands/This is the way we praise Him/We praise You O Lord/We magnify Your Name/We worship You O Lord”. Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Miller wrote ‘O The Blood’. It is a reverent song that expresses deep gratitude for salvation: “Savior, Son/Holy One/Slain so I can live/See the Lamb, the Great I Am/Who takes away my sin/O the blood of Jesus washes me/O the blood of Jesus shed for me/What a sacrifice that saved my life/Yes the blood, it is my victory”. ‘Let it Rain’ is a prayerful, soulful gospel song that includes these words: “Open the floodgates of heaven/Let it rain/Lord I need Your rain/I feel the rain”.
Fred Hammond and Alvin Moore wrote ‘No Weapon’. It is the song of one who is confident and ready for spiritual battle: “No weapon formed against me shall prosper/It won’t work/God will do what He said He would do.../He will stand by His Word/He will come through.../I won’t be afraid of the arrows by day from the hand of the enemy/I will stand my ground with the Lord on my side/For the snares they have said will not succeed”. ‘He’s Able’ is a light pop song of encouragement: “Exceedingly, abundantly above all, all you could ask or think/According to the power that worketh in you, in you/God is able to do just what He said He will do/He’s gonna fulfill every promise to you/Don’t give up on God cause He won’t give up on you/He’s able”.
Jennie Lee Riddle’s ever popular ‘Revelation Song’ follows. It is an all out rousing song of praise: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty/Who was and is and is to come/With all creation I sing/’Praise to the King of kings/You are my everything and I will adore You’”. Last up is ‘Hallelujah For The Cross’ which was the title track from Newsboys’ 2014 hymns project. The song reflects on the crucifixion and the atonement: “Up to the hill of Calvary/My Savior went /And there He bled and died for me/Hallelujah for the cross/And on that day the world was changed/The final perfect Lamb was slain/Let earth and heaven now proclaim/Hallelujah for the cross!/Hallelujah for the war He fought/Love has won, death has lost/Hallelujah for the souls He bought/Hallelujah for the cross”.
Michael English has long been one of my all-time favourite male vocalists. WORSHIP solidifies my admiration. He is truly a talented singer! The backing vocals on this CD are great too. WORSHIP blends the best of modern worship, black gospel, and pop sounds. The result is an artistic masterpiece! The lyrics clearly tell of a deep trust and faith in God the Father and Jesus Christ. All glory is given to God. This is an album full of hope and life-giving messages. It truly is anointed! It should appeal to young and old alike. The CD booklet includes some great classy photos of Michael. I’m rating WORSHIP a perfect 100%. For more info visit: www.michaelenglishmusic.com and www.daywindrecords.com.