REVIEW: James Fortune & FIYA–Grace Gift

James Fortune-Grace GiftIt’s been a decade since the music world turned to Houston, TX for an ensemble of gifted singers led by a gifted songwriter who would impact gospel radio significantly. Enter James Fortune & FIYA, whose hits began with their debut single “You Survived” and include songs such as “I Believe”, “I Trust You”, “Hold On”, and “Live Through It”.

Perhaps the least highlighted of their seven releases is their 2012 Christmas release titled Grace Gift. Twelve tracks strong, this project features a mixture of reworked holiday classics along with original tracks that all contain that signature FIYA sound.

The strength of James Fortune & FIYA has always been the combination of Fortune’s pen and FIYA’s amazing vocalists. Perhaps no project demonstrates that more expertly than Grace Gift.

The project kicks off with with the original song “Holy Night” featuring Josiah “Jojo” Martin. The arrangement of this song coupled with Martin’s incredible vocals creates an incredibly memorable musical moment. Speaking of musical moments, don’t miss “Christmas Time”. It’s a fun song with a throwback to James Brown and the sounds of Motown.

James Fortune picThe great vocalists continue to make their way to the forefront as Lisa Knowles and Shawn McLemore join Fortune on the medley of “Go Tell It” and “Wonderful Child”. It’s churchy! It’s Sunday Morning! It’s FIYA! (Pun-intended…)

Isaac Carree and Minon Bolton join forces on the Donny Hathaway classic “This Christmas”. The musical twists and turns on this one will definitely make you hit repeat, coupled with the incredible skills of these two artists. Worship leader Todd Galberth makes an incredible impression with “Love Came Down”, as does D’Shondra Rideout on the traditional presentation of “The First Noel”.

Even Fortune’s children get in on the mix with the adorable “Fortune Kids Christmas Interlude”, while the matriarch of the family, Cheryl Fortune, presents the story of Mary in an incredible way on the track “Mary’s Song”.

From start to finish, Grace Gift is a fantastic release that deserves premium shelf space in your Christmas playlist and throughout the year.

James Fortune & FIYA: Grace Gift
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