After months of experimenting with a remote quarantine setup, GRAMMY Award-winning singer/songwriter, producer and worship leader Israel Houghton is bringing the at-home intimacy of his Worship Wednesday sessions and the electricity of a live Israel and New Breed recording to listeners with Feels Like Home: The Quarantine Worship Experience.
The Feels Like Home project blossomed out of Houghton's idea in early 2020 to remotely stream worship services, the impetus behind what would become his "Worship Wednesdays," after seeing an opportunity to explore and reinvent group worship dynamics online throughout the pandemic.
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The album that we wanted and needed!| Posted February 26, 2021
What You Need To Know
The well-known band Israel Houghton and New Breed released their debut album, New Season 20 years ago. This was an album that continued the wave of Urban Praise and Worship that gospel singer Fred Hammond started back in the day. The album blazed a new trail started by New Breed.
Many great songs came from this group, such as “You Are Good,” “New Season,” “Again I Say Rejoice,” “Friend of God,” and “Jesus At the Center.” It had been a few years since the last New Breed album, and, while their bond was still strong, many members went their separate ways.
In 2020, Israel started having virtual bible studies and fellowship with New Breed members around the country. This ignited something major right in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic. So, in November 2020, Israel and New Breed came together to record, Feels Like Home in the living room of his sister-in-law and her husband. Thankfully, people were able to enjoy it as a virtual concert.
Israel and his wife, Adrianne Bailon Houghton, were getting countless messages of how this intimate event reignited their faith in a time where people’s faith was hitting new lows. Singers Danielle Stephens McMillan, Onaje Jefferson, Cristobal Clack, Charlin Neal (who recently had a baby), Tina Baker, as well as musicians Jordan Baker (Tina's 15-year-old son), and Kevin Camp are a few familiar names that were affected by this amazing concert.
What it Sounds Like
Feels Like Home is very organic and unplugged, which allows the listener to capture every intimate note. This album drops at a time when people need to reconnect with Christ or to go deeper in their relationship with Him. This record is full of new songs, old New Breed songs, and some fresh remixes of popular songs. Songs of worship, “Don’t Wanna Leave” and “Breathe Into Me” are combined into a stirring medley albeit both on their own.
The “Coritos Medley” is one of my favorite moments of the virtual concert and the album as well. Israel sang old hymns and praise songs in Spanish with his family: his wife, Adrianne, his sister-in-law, Claudette, as well as his father-in-law, Freddie. They were able to take it back to Spanish services with the bass guitar, hitting those same licks, and the vocalists singing in a way that is both anointed and fun. It's a family affair as Israel’s son, Jordan Jones Houghton, joins Israel to help give “Echo” the funky New Breed treatment. Like his father, Jordan has a high tenor voice--and the man can sing.
Many churches are still 100-percent virtual. Combine that with the loss of lives and jobs due to Covid-19 along with polarizing events that have left a nation divided. What we need is a revival? And, revival is what this album screams. Listening to the “How Great Medley” as they sing “How Great You Are” and the classic “Be Glorified” draws you in and helps to put your focus on Christ.
It's wonderful to hear vocal veteran Melonie Daniels helping to lead “Be Glorified.” Yes, the New Breed does sing familiar songs. But, it's so refreshing when you listen to them. “Hymn of Breakthrough” is a new power ballad that deserves a listen. Please be prepared to stop and praise God for healing and freedom: "My breakthrough is here."
Best Song on the Record
I cannot get enough of “Free Indeed (You Said I Am).” There's so much joy oozing from this song. From Justin Raines' bass line to the strumming of Israel and Jordan to the New Breed singing, this album is just the jam: “You called me out of the dark and pulled me into the Light/You said that I’m set apart and see me justified/You shook me out of my fear and took the limits off/Now that Your presence is near, I believe that, “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed.”
Music label Roc Nation and sibling music group Infinity Song came through to bless the folksy “Promise Keeper.” Infinity Song is like no other. If you have never heard their vocalist Victory Boyd sing, you'll be blown away.
Israel and New Breed really never left, yet they're back like never before. It's amazing to know that Israel’s wife, Adrianne, daughter Mariah, and son Jordan are all members. If the timing was an album, Feels Like Home would be the name. Be refreshed and get this album.