Third Culture Worship
Third Culture—Vaughn Jr, and Irene Thompson—are back with stellar guest artists Shiela E., William McDowell and Steve Crawford, plus the Cathedral of Faith Choir on Invade, their second album and latest release. The live/studio hybrid clearly demonstrates that “independent” does not mean a reduction in production values or creative excellence. The vibe is pop, gospel, and urban soul/r&b radiating both joyful energy and worshipful reflection. A little bit Houghton-Sanchez, a little bit Andre Crouch, and Irene’s solid vocal interpretation is reminiscent of Jackie Velasquez. The album supplies listeners and leaders with plenty of get-down praise-ups, worships songs and special music. All are solid and most adaptable to any worship style or setting. The album starts out with “You Deserve” featuring the talents of Sheila E. and foreshadowing the weave of urban, gospel, and pop that infuses the album. Next the lovely “Vol 1: Flow” reprising the theme of Vol. I’s lead-in track “You Are Exalted,” with vocals shared by Thompson and William McDowell is a simple proclamation resonating with power and presence. “You Love Me Still” is testimonial and affecting choice for special music leading up to an altar call. In the same vein, “The Question” is a pop ballad that serves for both an altar call or a baptism; Irene mirrors Vaughn’s English with Spanish making it a fit for Spanish/English speaking congregations. “Immanuel” is service-ready, proclaiming the truth that God is with us, while “How Great is Your Love,” testifies of his enduring, redeeming love. The foot-tapping, hand-clapping joy of “Throwback Medley: This is the Day/There is Power” with Steve Crawford is irresistible, and the atmospheric beauty of “Faithfulness,” a change-up/remediation of the classic Chisolm/Runyan hymn “Great is thy Faithfulness” shows Third Culture’s ability to connect to an array of listeners across the generational and stylistic spectrum.
More: A variety of music across moods and styles to serve you and your service of worship. Strip down the more complex arrangement and you’ll find a song you can share.
Less: Would appreciate lyrical content that spoke directly to the “Third Culture” view that informs Vaughn and Irene’s ministry and music.