Jason and Tori Peoples are locked into a super serious mission for God. While they pastor the youth in their local church, they are faithful servants in administering the gospel as singer/songwriters. With music in the vein of progressive urban gospel messengers like Mali Music, what distinguishes this husband and wife’s creativity are their ingenious soundtracks, each conveying a passion for spiritual truths. Their namesake, Truthful Justice, has sparked the T.J. Movement. Inspired by jazz masters like Ella Fitzgerald and gospel/neo-soul stylist Lisa McClendon, their vision is that one’s spiritual journey “will not be renewed but rediscovered.” For instance, their debut single in 2011, “Stop Killin’ Me” released by their production company, Evoleap, Inc., reminds the body of Christ about the mindfully destructive repercussions behind sin.
Their latest project, Let There Be, is simply a continuation and extension of this duo’s radical ministry for Christ.
T.J.’s full-length bow, Let There Be, is a spiritual cleansing immersed in a high energy, engrossing collage of world music, funk, jazz, acoustic and neo-soul gospel. The title track firmly establishes T.J.’s ministry platform through spoken word, declaring God’s ultimate power: “From the dust of my ground and the palms of my hand/You were constructed carefully.” “Not Enough” uplifts the Lord with a Spanish flair, highlighted by a brief but joyous breakdown that Jason Peoples adamantly dubs “jazz talk,” and an intense neo-soul mix of keyboard, strings and drums enhancing the worship mood for “I Call You God.” Fierce and funky drum/bass rhythms frame “What Should I Do,” where the battle of the mind is bombarded with handling crucial decisions. Let There Be reflects several of T.J’s unapologetic teaching moments. “Show It,” loosely accented by ‘20s Dixieland jazz, challenges Christians about the choices they make: “You say that you choose me/ And put nothing above me/Why don’t you show it?”
Although most of Let There Be thrives and succeeds on its pure, energetic vibe, T.J.’s quietest moment also deeply touches the heart. Set to a gentle acoustic canvas, “Mountain Top” offers encouraging words to those who deal with frustrating circumstances, including children whose “fathers never came home,” reassuring listeners of the heavenly Father’s love.
No matter what subject matter T.J. addresses or what musical method they approach, Let There Be connects on all cylinders. Thanks to insightful ministry points and sharp musicianship, the Peoples are undoubtedly serious and extremely comfortable in their missionary skin to please God without compromise.
Vocals: 3.5 stars
Music: 3.5 stars
Lyrics: 3.5 stars
Production: 3.0 stars
SoulTracks Call: Highly Recommended
By Peggy Oliver