Janna Long


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It's always exciting to see how fans of a popular ensemble will respond to the first solo recording by a key member, but the powerful voice and solid material choice by Janna Long should be enough to convince Avalon's fans she's for real. The group has won both Grammys and Doves (their Christian counterparts), and Mark Hammond and Brown Bannister's productions here reflect the same type of dual approach the group's recordings have -- slick, funky, and hooky anthems and ballads loaded with deep spiritual conviction and passion. Most likely, lighthearted pop confections like the opening track, "Greater Is He," and the rock gospel of "Overjoyed" are more likely to catch on with the group's younger fans, but the real power of this disc comes from the torchy ballads like "Somebody Loves You," "Call," and the classic in the making "In Christ Alone." Lyrically, none of these truly rise above the typical spiritual encouragement of many similar songs, but coming from Long, they sound like fresh communications from God to her to her listener, who may be down at the moment.

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