By Monica Watkins, contributing writer, gmclife.com
Nipping closely at the heels of his 2008 release, Free, Darwin adds a little "live" flavor to spice up his seasoned sound, distinguishing Champion from his last five releases. Champion is the first live recording of Darwin's career, and what better way to experience it than from the front row!
"I wasn't sure how I'd feel about the live experience," Darwin admits. "I had always and only done studio albums, so I was nervous about the overall professional 'sound' of the recording." But nervousness was obviously a non-issue, when this man begins to sing.
Accompanied by his family of superb background vocalists and band members, Darwin marched onto the stage and confidently announced, "We are here to encounter God. Amen? AMEN! Let's go!" From there, Darwin and company detonated a praise explosive with "Power in Praise," quickly setting the tone for the rest of the recording.
From the powerful hymn "He is God," to "Awesome and Holy," a song of adoration to the sound of thanksgiving in "God Restores, "featuring Sheri Jones-Moffett, all 10 songs on Champion seem to be infused with some sort of sanctified serum. Its potency is evident on top picks like "To the Lamb," "I'm In Love (More than a Conqueror)," and the infectious title track.
"My favorite song right now (because they change every week) is 'Champion,'" says Darwin. "This song is so full of powerful proclamations. It's hard to live in defeat and lack when you proclaim God's promises over your life! My life, at this point is a living testimony to the power of God's grace and deliverance. As the song says 'I've overcome by the blood of the Lamb!'"
I was ecstatic to find that Champion, the finished work, retains many of the elements that made the live recording so special. From Darwin, mid-song, giving a vocal "pat on the back" to one of his singers, to the authentic worship that erupts at the end of "To the Lamb," the live concert translates well to the record, giving listeners a near 'front row live' experience.
With Champion, Darwin arrives safely at another level of his music ministry, taking listeners from all walks of life with him. "Thank God for an amazing producer, Daniel Weatherspoon, who was sensitive to my concerns and who is just plain amazing at what he does," says Darwin. "I am more than pleased with the outcome."
Whereas his last project was appropriately introspective, Champion is an untamed celebration emanating from a free man. We're celebrating with you, Darwin, and hoping the future has more live experiences in store.
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