Byron Cage

Memoirs of a Worshipper

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A possible explanation for Byron Cage's declining star in gospel may have something to do with audience perception. As the music fades in the tender worship ballad "You," from 2012's Memoirs of a Worshipper, Cage asks his audience, "Do you love him?" The audience seems to misunderstand his reference to God, prompting a clarification: "Not ‘Do you love me?' but ‘do you love him?'" This awkward exchange is in some ways indicative of the trouble Cage has had reconnecting with listeners, particularly after plateauing with An Invitation to Worship, but especially after hitting rock bottom with Live at the Apollo: The Proclamation. Memoirs of a Worshipper is a return to form for Cage but is not a comeback -- nothing here quite reaches the heights of "The Presence of the Lord Is Here" or "I Will Bless the Lord." Cage still can't shake off the frenetic gospel workouts, songs a bit too chaotic to qualify for corporate praise. It's not long, though, before Cage gets a handle on the proceedings and begins to actually lead worship the best way he knows how. That means he does more singing than sermonizing, more worshipping than showboating, more balladeering than floor-stomping -- in essence, more of God and less of him. It is when Cage doesn't lose sight of the fact he is a worshipper first and a celebrity last -- he was once heralded as "the prince of praise" and ran with it -- that the praises roll off his tongue. Like pages from a diary, here's hoping Cage looks back on Memoirs of a Worshipper as a point when things took a turn for the better.

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