Review | James Fortune & FIYA’s Christmas album “Grace Gift”

James Fortune & FIYA have become a go-to for gospel hits the past few years with smash hit singles like I Believe burning up the airwaves. Now, Fortune is releasing his first Christmas project, Grace Gift.

Oh Holy Night begins the project with a majestic sound, the accompanying horns ring in the holiday spirit and wraps up the song with the on time vocals of Josiah “JoJo” Martin. Christmas Time is a feel-good song describing the special time of year, giving the listener a reason to be cheerful during the Christmas season, “So much love around this time of year…The season is here!” It goes on with the celebration and turns into a Terence Vaughn musical jam session. The title track Grace Gift goes into worship and introduces the focus of this release (the gift of Jesus Christ).

Mary’s Song features Cheryl Fortune’s sweet musical offering, describing the birth of Jesus from Mary’s point of view. It can easily be the soundtrack to a holiday movie with the strings and harp sounds adding a magical effect to the piece.

Love Came Down, featuring Todd Galberth, is an energetic song that can be a part of praise & worship during a contemporary Sunday service.

¬†Go Tell It (On The Mountain) features Shawn McLemore and Lisa Knowles, keeping its traditional chorus but with a contemporary flare. Knowles’ vocal runs helps the song move along during its drive, then transitions into the well-fitting Christmas gospel classic Jesus What A Wonderful Child. The song stays churchy and continues to its end with energy.

The First Noel, featuring D’Shondra Rideout, is the traditional arrangement that stays in the spirit of Grace Gift’s focus.

 

 

Worship the King is about Jesus’ birth and the reason to worship him during the holiday.

Donny Hathaway’s classic This Christmas, featuring Isaac Caree and Minon Bolton, is a refreshing update to the original. Their vocals compliment each other and are filled with the warmth that sets holiday music apart from other categories & genres.

Wrapping up the project is I Believe Part II, featuring Shawn McLemore and Zacardi Cortez. It is lead vocals driven more on this arrangement than on part I. It sounds like an extended reprise of the original and offers a modulation.

Overall, Grace Gift is an above average Christmas album with great production quality, unlike many others like it. Some holiday projects are rushed and done early in an artist’s career to have a release that “never gets old” and can get airplay annually. You can tell that plenty of work went into the project, as it would with one of their regular releases. Grace Gift doesn’t necessarily introduce anything new to Christmas music but it keeps in line with the successful James Fortune & FIYA formula for an easy listening/hit project.

It is now available on iTunes and Amazon.com for pre-order and is releasing nationwide, Oct. 16.

You can get it on Amazon.com below.

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