In my years of being a part of the Detroit Gospel Music community, I’ve attended many recording sessions. Eric Deon’s “Live In Worship” is one of the best recording sessions that I’ve had an opportunity to witness in this city in a long time.
Some of Detroit’s gospel finest filled the sanctuary of Citadel of Praise, where Spencer T. Ellis serves as pastor. Bill Moss Jr., Ernest Lee, Calvin Golder, Peggy James, Derrick Milan, Deborah Smith-Pollard from radio station WJLB, comedian Anterell McCoy, R&B artist Elijah Connors along with many family and friends all came in expectation of an worship experience.
The service was opened with prayer and scripture by Elder Timothy Dye, followed by a powerful worship service led by Detroiter Stephanie Tate. Following the usual recording session handclaps, screams etc., it was time for the former “Superman of Gospel” to take the stage. Introduced by his pastor, Elder Harvell, the session opened with the groove of the Eric Deon and Mark Holley composition, “Praise With Me.” The band, the musicians, and Eric had the audience on their feet from the opening bars of this one. Next Eric began to lead us into worship with the powerful Marc Stringer song, “In This Place.”
Still in worship, Eric encouraged us with the composition of Elder Timothy Dye, “A Song of Comfort (Go Through).” This has to be the first single for this project. Showcasing the traditional side of his talent, Eric was joined by his father, Pastor Robert E. Taylor, Sr., on the church standard, “The Lord Will Make A Way,” The first half of the session ended with another Marc Stringer song, the churchy, “I Got A Feeling,” featuring the vocal styling of Grammy Award winner Twinkie Clark.
The 2nd half of the session opened with the label founder and producer of the session, Mark Holley, leading the audience in the medley, “How Great Is Our God / How Great Thou Art.” Then, Eric took the stage again, rocking the house with his own song, “Can’t Nobody,” incorporating the line “been around the world and I, I, I, I can’t find nobody.” Eric proved his point about nobody being able to do you like Jesus.
Eric made the comment he wanted to get to the “Worship.” He started that journey leading us into worship with the Fred Abney masterpiece, “I Will Rejoice,” a duet with Kendrick Jackson. Next on the worship journey was the medley of Marc Stringers’, “It All Belongs To You,” the traditional, “I Need Thee,” and “Beyond The Veil” written by Elder Tim Dye and Eric Deon, which also featured the vocal talents of Lena Starks.
The highlight of the night was the composition written by Eric Deon, his cousin Tony Striggles, and gospel saxophonist Tim Reeves. The song, “Beautiful God,” did not leave a dry eye in the house nor a hand not lifted in worship. After this selection those of us in attendance knew that Eric Deon would be the next great gospel artist to come from Detroit. The session ended with the high energy song, “Forever Praise,” also written by Marc Stinger.
Detroit has given birth too many great gospel artists; Eric Deon’s “Live In Worship” will definitely place Eric in that same category.