Gospel music followers are about to discover what aficionados of country and bluegrass music have known for years: Donna Ulisse can flat-out sing — and write — a gospel song. As her warm, pure voice caresses ten heartfelt songs reflecting her lifelong faith, she transports you to a welcoming, down-home church that you won’t want to leave (even if you’re getting hungry and thinking
“I am trying to use my music to honor Him and to spread the word of His love through song,” says Ulisse, who wrote or co-wrote all but two of the songs on this career-spanning collection. Gospel songs have figured prominently on previous albums, and this CD culls the best of those, plus two newly recorded chestnuts.
While earning worldwide kudos for her singing, Ulisse has consistently been building a first-rate reputation (and catalog) as a writer. Artists including Claire Lynch, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, The Bankesters and Nu-Blu have recorded her songs, with two of those on Nu-Blu’s recent gospel album (the Bankesters and Lynch cuts were also gospel songs). And Ulisse earned a 2012 nomination for IBMA songwriter of the year.
I Am a Child of God has its eyes on an eternal prize, and it’s clear Ulisse believes what she’s singing. From the soulful testimony of the title song to the irresistible mountain harmonies of “Everything Has Changed,” through fresh spins on “Wait a Little Longer Please Jesus” and “This Is My Father’s World,” to the urgent confession of need in “I’m Calling Heaven Down,” Ulisse delivers confident, convicting gospel that, like the best of the genre, feels timeless, impervious to trend.
The accompaniment, of course, is sublime, with stalwarts including Keith Sewell and Bryan Sutton (both of whom produced songs here) on acoustic guitar; Viktor Krauss and Byron House on upright bass; Andy Leftwich on fiddle, Rob Ickes and Randy Kohrs on Dobro; and Scott Vestal on banjo. The Isaacs lend their unmistakably gorgeous harmonies to “This Is My Father’s World.”
By turns jubilant, prayerful, reflective, pleading and emphatic, I Am a Child of God shines as a uniquely personal expression of a believer’s spiritual journey. There’s not a false note here, lyrically, vocally or instrumentally. And that’s the gospel truth.
The CD is available on Donna's website store at www.donnaulisse.com, CDBbaby, Amazon.com, iTunes and County Sales.