Artist: Jonathan Nelson
Special Appearances: Sonnie Badu, Dorinda Clark-Cole, Kim Burrell, Jade Nelson, Jason Nelson, Tye Tribbett
Reviewer: Hasan James
Baltimore Maryland native, Jonathan Nelson’s fifth album and eOne debut “Fearless” is indeed his best work to date. Prior to hearing this offering my favorite Jonathan Nelson album was “Better Days” but “Fearless” has officially knocked it to second place.
The title track “Fearless” featuring rapper DA Truth, is a sound that has been orchestrated by Nelson and his musical family like Tye Tribbett, VaShawn Mitchell, Tasha Cobbs, Anthony Brown, Travis Greene and others. It is a bold sound that has been put in the atmosphere that reaches outside of just the African American church. On the other hand my favorite song (as well as Jason Nelson’s) “My Hope” builds quickly from Praise and Worship song to that choir sound that Jonathan was birthed in. He definitely didn’t stray away from his roots on this one. The Estee Bullock (Souled Out) penned “Name of the Lord” is a perfect call and response song that any Praise and Worship team or choir would be happy to sing. The first single “Anything Can Happen” is a slow burn and is finally getting its footing at Gospel radio. However, it is a beautiful ballad that reminds us that anything can happen in the house of the Lord if you allow him to change your life. If you ever had the urge to go to the Motherland, once you experience “Baba Oh” with Jonathan Nelson and South African crooner Sonnie Badu, you will be looking for flights so you can experience the pure worship that goes on in a continent that needs the Lord in every sense of the word. “You Are Good” is a song that I like to call flawless worship. You, the listener, will be singing the drive “Your love and mercy has captured me completely” long after the song is over.
Ok so at about Track 8 is where the album shifts, as the incomporable Dorinda Clark-Cole let’s you, me and the world know that God’s word is “Forever Settled.” This was a song written just for DORINDA CLARK-COLE and she immediately took us back to church. The jazz infused “Brand New” can only be sung by the one, the only, THE VOICE, Ms. Kim Burrell and boy did she deliver. By this point in the project you realize that Jonathan Nelson’s pen is pretty amazing. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, that simply means that he is an amazing songwriter. 🙂
If you have been watching Jonathan’s periscopes and videos posted from his church worship services, chances are you already experienced the Caribbean flavor of “I Believe.” By summer, every church in America will be singing “Goodbye to my trouble”!
As the album comes to a close, “Fearless” becomes a family affair as Jonathan’s niece, Jade beautifully interprets “Amazing Love” complete with a full orchestra. And then we move to the “Everything You Are (Jesus Chant)” that Jonathan’s twin brother, Jason Nelson, masterfully reprises. The finale takes us back to church with the words “I give you glory, I give you praise, cuz my enemy did not triumph,” with a little help from Grammy® Award winner, Tye Tribbett. The album fades into the sunset with Nelson dancing in victory with his entire family, and rightfully so, as “Fearless” is the best album of 2016 thus far.