Vicki Yohe always dreamed of blessing others through the teachings of Jesus, on the biggest musical platform, in her own special way. As one of a few blue-eyed gospel voices who have excelled in the urban gospel market, Yohe grew up worshipping in a predominately black congregation in Hammond, Louisiana, listening to contemporary gospel legends like The Hawkins Family and Andrae Crouch and nursing dreams of spreading the good news from those lofty levels. After several years singing with her sister, her parents granted Yohe’s longtime childhood wish by funding her debut solo CD in 1992, Everlasting Love. With a finely tuned voice that exuded elegance and power, Yohe could mold any song into a joyful and riveting worshipful experience.
The doors opened widely for Yohe as she was invited to participate in numerous conferences hosted by mega ministers like T. D. Jakes and Juanita Bynum. Yohe developed a strong following on the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s (TBN) Praise the Lord series. Songs like “Something About My Praise” and her signature piece, “Mercy Seat,” continued elevating Yohe’s reputation as a seasoned music minister. Yet, with all these positives in her favor, Yohe became disillusioned in how her earlier recordings for small independent companies were not fully reaching her potential audience.
Seeking to find a label that would further support her urban gospel roots, Yohe connected with one of her heroes, CeCe Winans. Yohe was eventually signed to Winans’ PureSprings Gospel, which was an ideal fit for her soulfully sweet worship personality. Her PureSprings freshman release, I Just Want You, featuring a remake of “Mercy Seat” and “Because of Who You Are” was nominated for a Dove Award in 2004. Her follow-up, He’s Been Faithful, was nominated as the Praise & Worship CD of the Year in 2007.
Two years later, Yohe switched to Shanachie Entertainment and released two live concert discs: Reveal Your Glory and her latest, I’m at Peace. Together they represent the first opportunities for Yohe to completely exercise her creative skills. Longtime fans will not be disappointed as I’m at Peace offers plenty of opportunities to hear Yohe in her natural element as a live performer. The two-minute vamp that introduces the funk busting, “Somebody Worship,” echoes The Jacksons’ “Can You Feel It.” The southern-fried gospel blues of “Higher” and the old-fashioned church service fueled “I’ve Been Redeemed” showcases Yohe’s capabilities to kick it in high praise gear. “So Many Reasons” presents a curious yet very effective pairing with underground hip-hop/R&B stylist Canton Jones. On the solo side, the title track and “Saturate” illuminate the worship throne with Yohe’s vocal grace and flexibility.
Though there is a minor hiccup with the overextended “Heaven on Earth,” I’m at Peace is Yohe’s most satisfying work, both because of her musicality and her humble spirit. With twenty years logged in as a praise and worship leader, Yohe is indeed at peace knowing she has fulfilled her longtime childhood dream by blessing the masses with the soulful gift of gospel. Recommended.
By Peggy Oliver