Greg O’Quin & iPraize | After The Storm

Greg O’Quin & iPraize – After The Storm

CD in stores June 30th, 2009!

There are different scenarios as to why an artist takes a furlough from the recording business.  One reason may be just refreshing one’s creative juices.  Other times it may be a get-away from the industry for simple R&R-AKA rest & relaxation.  Greg O’Quin’s reasoning is exercising a long time gift in waiting by ministering to a church congregation from the pulpit.   He
never lost his confidence about what God had in store to share
musically, even during an eight-year hiatus after his last release, Cliches in 2001.
Dallas, Texas born and raised producer/arranger/musician is best known
for the smash song about surviving spiritual storms – “I Told The
Storm,” from Conversations, a 1999
Dove Award nominee for Contemporary Gospel Record of the Year, and the
follow-ups “God Can! God Can!” & “Unh Unh!” from Cliches was also steady fare at gospel radio.
variety pack musical stamp works just about every urban genre possible:
hip-hop, blues, roots gospel, jazz, and the popular new jack swing that
swept the country during the nineties.

man affectionally known as ‘The Maestro’, spent much of his recording
hiatus investing into his ministry future by establishing The Church
Without Walls International in Dallas
: which simply emphasizes there
are no walls nor boundaries when serving or loving God.
the time came to hook up again in the recording industry, he was plenty
rested to take his musical gifts to the next plateau when he signed
with Ruben Rodriguez, the CEO/founder of Pendulum Records.
label who first brought us the refreshing hip-hop sounds of Digible
Planets & 90’s R&B star Chris Walker (former musical
director for Regina Belle), was quiet for several years after its
initial beginnings in 1991 & is now in a resurgence period.
   Pendulum’s new era includes R&B icon Belle, who released her debut gospel disc Love Forever Shines in 2008; and the following year signified the long-awaited return of Greg O’Quin – this time with his new vocal band iPraize.

Whether it’s under the umbrella of Joyful Noyze or iPraize, O’Quin is comfortable balancing different musical settings.  Yet
he keeps it all focused on God’s goodness and of course letting the
body of Christ know that the Lord can help us through any storm. After The Storm might be considered another sequel to O’Quin’s previous discs.
with a difference of eight long years and some changes to how urban
music is presented, Q’Quin and iPraize have not lost a step in their
vocal excellence.
  They also take advantage of
applying the gospel message for these unstable economic times and
frankly they are unashamed worshippers.
  Most of After The Storm
is well worth the listening, but I would like to direct the Urban Music
Scene readers to a few tracks that first sparked my attention.


The opener “Convinced,” a song about breaking out of our weakened self-esteem, features riveting vocal solo and ensemble work.  “Every Little Step” offers encouragement and accountability in our daily walk: “I need you to order me.”  The hypnotic drum pattern and dainty keyboards add sweet ambient background dressing. O’Quin’s reputation relies mostly on the newer dimensions of gospel.  The
rare exception –“Lead Me Jesus” (see video box above), the debut single, delivers foot
stomping roots blues/gospel in the first degree and is somewhat similar
to the Belle’s hit “God Is Good.”
  Back to the other side of the musical meter, the Reggae dancehall driven “Pray” reminds us “He will supply our every need.”  There’s
a humble spirit behind “I Appreciate You,” but the song’s sentiment
resonates loudly for the ones who are thankful for living through the
Hurricane Katrina turmoil and other situations that could make or break
their attitudes toward life.
  “I Say A Little
Prayer For You”
, originally covered by Dionne Warwick & Aretha
Franklin, is sprinkled with a disco funk flair but always mindful of a
praise and worship opportunity.
  Transforming a
pop or soul classic is familiar territory for O’Quin as the Isley
Brothers’ smash hit – “For The Love Of You” was covered on Conversations.
  Another knockout vocal performance; “Breakthru,” declares to the enemy “that I’m sick and tired of your games.”  “He’s Worthy of Worship” provides a steppers groove touch and some agile vocal phrasing from iPraize.  I also include their reprise of “God Can!” to my list.

Despite its positive qualities, there are a couple of minor bumps in the road on After The Storm.  The
biggest issue comes from O’Quin seeming to compete with his soloists on
a couple of tracks when leading worship, which can be a major
distraction on listener’s ears.
  I can safely
say, however, that Gospel radio and fans alike should welcome back
O’Quin – who has not missed one beat in his recording career – and
continue to chase the spiritual storms without any regrets whatsoever.

Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene

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