REVIEW -- Anita Bryant's newest CD: encouraging & memorable

CUMMING, Ga. (BP)--If you appreciate music with a strong scriptural message and tunes that are catchy and memorable and that you can quickly sing along with, you'll enjoy Anita Bryant's latest CD, "I Am What I Am."

The Christian entertainer, who had number one singles on the pop charts in the 1960s and '70s, wrote all the music and lyrics on this CD, and she and her husband, Charlie Dry, produced it. The songs are a mix of music styles, including jazz, pop and show tunes. Some are fast and peppy, while others are slow and poignant. Some appeal quickly to children, while others carry deep spiritual messages.

"Trusting and Believing" demonstrates Bryant's versatile vocal range while sharing a message about trusting God and his Word. "Peace, My Father Will Give Peace" is a slow selection that talks about the peace that only comes from the Father and could only be written by someone who has been through the trials Bryant has experienced. In "If We Let Him," she sings about God's faithfulness to his promises.

Two selections are easily understood and remembered by children, as well as adults. "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Which Strengths Me" is an easy way for children to memorize Philippians 4:13, Bryant's life verse. In fact, when performing on stage, she calls children from the audience and teaches them the song, which she calls her "10-finger prayer." You won't be able to get this tune out of your head after listening to it once.

Children also will enjoy "It's Always Sunny," while adults will be encouraged by the strong message of hope in times of trouble. Bryant wrote the song after her husband told her not to worry about an approaching thunderstorm when they were about to board an airplane. "It's always sunny on the other side of the clouds," the former NASA astronaut told her. The song says God will see us through to the other side of life's problems.

Most of the songs are personal for the singer/songwriter, but two are particularly so. "I'm Just Going on Down the Road" was inspired by her father as he was facing death and comforting his family. And "The Devil Made Me Do It" is a fun look at Bryant as a strong-willed child.

The most poignant piece on the 12-song CD may be the last, "God Have Mercy on America." This woman who sacrificed so much when she took a stand against normalization of homosexuality begs the Lord to have mercy on our country which has left his standards. When she performs the song on stage, she and the audience often have tears in the their eyes.

Bryant is talking with several record producers about wider distribution of this CD, but it's currently available on her website, www.anitabryant.com, along with "From Anita With Love," Volumes I and II. The first includes Bryant singing 20 hit tunes from the '60s and '70s, and on Volume II she sings wonderful old hymns and gospel songs.


(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: FAITHFUL FRIENDS.

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