Song Review ~ Heal Our Land (2020)
By Bob Marovich
“On her new single, ‘Heal Our Land,’ Chicagoland-based singer-songwriter Kassandra McGhee takes for her text 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Without mentioning the pandemic once, you know instinctively that this gentle, acoustic ballad is a prayer for global healing during COVID-19. In many ways, it doubles as a mantra for such a time as this.
Despite being written and recorded during the pandemic, with all of the stay-at-home measures to accommodate, this is McGhee’s best song to date. John King at Manifested Works gave the song its final touches. Goes to show that creativity flows best during a crisis.”
CD Review ~ HeavenScape: A Call to Worship (2015)
By Bob Marovich
“Ten tension-taming tracks comprise Evangelist Kassandra McGhee’s latest album, Heavenscape: A Call to Worship. True to its title, and in keeping with McGhee’s work as a praise and worship singer in and around Chicago, the songs in lyric and arrangement are all about vertical praise.
It is clear from the opening selection, “Prelude of Worship,” that McGhee’s songwriting and voice have matured greatly since her 2009 release,Completely. First off, she is a more confident soprano, showing greater strength and support, but not to the level of an evangelist’s iron lungs. She’s just not that kind of singer. Rather, McGhee sings sweetly, gracefully. She delivers a delicate song such as “Surrender to Destiny” in an almost lullaby voice. At other times, she approaches grace notes like Faith Hill or the late Whitney Houston, and glides on a melody like Yolanda Adams, but without the melisma.
While a spirit of meditative calm envelops the album, “Worship At Your Throne” possesses a pop sensibility that demonstrates an understanding of modern song construction. The best example of McGhee’s craft is “Upraised,” which has the kind of melody you swear you’ve heard before, yet all the songs on the project are McGhee’s own and have not been covered by anyone else to date.
Heavenscape: A Call to Worship is Kassandra McGhee’s best work yet: a meditative, hypnotic collection of songs that one might assume are part of a whole, given the title and the project’s overall ambience, but they can certainly stand on their own.”
Four of Five Stars
Artist Feature ~ HeavenScape: A Call to Worship (2015)
You won’t believe how Kassandra McGhee prays each day—wow!
The December issue of Simple Grace features Kassandra McGhee’s beautiful new worship album. We caught up with Kassandra and she shared the intense prayer routine that helps her stay close to God.
Kassandra says her daily prayer practice has provided the inspiration for many of her songs. “Typically, I wake up early in the morning,” she shares. “I sing praise and worship songs unto [God] and as I pray, I always offer praises and thanksgiving to Him before asking for any blessings for others or myself.”
Kassandra also finds inspiration in the little signs she sees throughout the day of God’s love. “While watching creatures in nature gathering food this morning, I was reminded of Matthew 6:25–33 and God’s love for us as well as His faithful provision,” she says. “He cares and provides for all His creations, especially His children.”
Pick up Kassandra’s new album HeavenScape: A Call to Worship available now. You can see her in the December issue of Simple Grace on newstands nationwide.
Journal of Gospel Music (formerly The Black Gospel Blog)
CD Review ~ Completely
By Bob Marovich
“Singer-songwriter Kassandra McGhee of Forest Park, Illinois, a suburb west of Chicago, has sung background or shared the stage with such notable contemporary gospel and praise and worship artists such as Edwin Hawkins, Phil Tarver and Vanessa Dukes of the Brown Sisters.
Not surprisingly, given McGhee’s performance experience and service as a praise and worship leader, her self-produced debut CD Completely is an assemblage of P&W songs she composed. Her sweet, breathy soprano reminds me of Deniece Williams, who started singing gospel as a member of the COGIC church in Gary, Indiana before moving into the pop scene. During “Song of Moses,” a track from her debut album, McGhee even hits some Williams-style off-the-stave high notes.
McGhee has an astute ear for melody and, like John Denver, favors a high tessitura in her songs. But she is more vocally flexible than such a tessitura would suggest, since the lower-toned sopranos who handle the contrapuntal background vocals appear to be McGhee multi-tracked.
The best compositions on Completely are the melodic P&W ballads, particularly the title track and “Whole in You,” though the mid-tempo “Sunshine From Here” has an appealing repetition.
“You’ve Been Right There,” with Leon Dubose accompanying on piano, is the album’s attention-getter and crown jewel. As is often the case in gospel, whether contemporary or traditional, less is more. Such minimal and flexible accompaniment lets a soloist feel her way emotionally through a song, and that is what McGhee does here. A follow-up album where McGhee sings more of her songs with only piano or organ and bass as accompaniment would showcase her music the best.
Overall, Completely is a fine debut and introduces a promising new P&W songwriter.”
© 2002 Kassandra McGhee