There is a lot of buzz about Isaiah Templeton’s new album This Life. I can be a cynic sometimes, so the buzz admittedly prompted me to keep a distance from all the hoopla surrounding this new artist from Dayton, Ohio. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover Templeton’s sound. His latest release This Life bears a fresh, new approach to the contemporary worship style of today’s Gospel music.
The 11-song album features selections that I loved at first listen. From the beginning, the album offers various notes that may put you in the mind of Travis Greene, Todd Dulaney or Smokie Norful (Templeton spent some time with Norful and is the second artist to emerge from his ministry, Todd Dulaney is the other). Though you may initially think of those artists, those thoughts will quickly dissipate because the intrinsic delivery of these songs stand apart from his contemporaries. Make no mistake about it, Templeton is his own man with his own sound!
“Our God Reigns,” “Be God Here” and “Head of My Life” comprise the perfect introduction to the Templeton way, but “Everything Will Be Alright” is the biggest treat on this album. This was the “aha” moment for me, the “big ticket” song, if you will. This anthem and declaration stopped me in my tracks; at that moment, I knew I was listening to a great album.
I always judge an album by how long it takes me to repeat a song after the first listen. “Everything Will Be Alright” was the first song on the album to do that- a mere four songs in. I’m late to the party, though, as this is the album’s lead single. I should have already heard it, but I hadn’t! Pastor Smokie Norful tags on at the end, singing one line and then switching gears to exhort from scripture (Galations 6:9). I heard the music fading and couldn’t believe my ears; I wanted more from that moment – and still do!
After the replay of “Everything Will Be Alright,” I resumed listening and thoroughly enjoyed “Never Alone,” “This Life” (the title track re-tooled and re-purposed from his 2014 album Roll in the Dirt) and “He Can Fix Anything.”
Templeton’s interpolation of “The Lord’s Prayer” at the end of “This Life” was a welcomed moment. “Only See My Son,” “So Easy” and the nostalgic sounding “Never Say Goodbye” round out a refreshing and consistent album comprised of both studio and live recordings.
The often arcane phases of Gospel music have burrowed many artists and their amazing projects. While you may be tempted to do the same with This Life and surmise that you’ve heard an album like this, trust me – you haven’t. This album deserves your ear and support! Songs like “So Easy” and “Everything Will Be Alright” are perfect for radio and could serve as CCM and Gospel singles, respectively.
This Life has an overall freshness that makes it a great listen. It’s easy for artists to fall into the trap of mediocrity by trying to sound like what’s hot, but Templeton has crafted a masterpiece that is hot right now, and is sure to stand the test of time.
This Life is available on all digital music retail and streaming sites.