The Ohio-based gospel group Half Mile Home has released Church Muzik & Inspiration Deluxe Edition, offering music fans and supporters an enhanced experience with their highly-successful CD. The new offering includes new songs, remixes and renowned guest artists. The album, which includes a wide range of music from traditional church music to contemporary gospel with and urban twist, was released in April, 2014.
The three members of the musically self-contained group—Terence Burton (lead vocalist, drummer and songwriter), Todd Burton (pianist, songwriter and producer), and Darryl Brownlee (lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter)—grew up as “church boys” in Ohio, before embarking on a career in R&B music in the 1990s. In 2004, they returned to their gospel roots, but brought some of their R&B and hip-hop vibe with them, resulting in a unique and engaging musical style, with a message of hope and encouragement. That inspirational musical blend is on full display in the new version of Church Muzik & Inspiration.
Half Mile Home’s powerful sound defies categorization. The album features praise and worship songs; traditional and contemporary gospel; and inspirational music, and the group’s singles have been popular on both gospel and urban radio formats. All of the songs on the CD were written by Half Mile Home members, particularly the musically gifted brothers, Terence and Todd. The album has been successful, with both the original and the reissued version landing in the top 20 on Billboard’s Gospel charts—peaking at #14 and #16, respectively. Their first two singles charted in the top 25. “Change My Life” peaked at #10 and “So Good” peaked at #24.
The deluxe version of the CD has been remixed and remastered by industry veterans Pete Tokar and Danny Leake of Urban Gorilla Engineers. It contains two new songs: “Paid,” a contemporary ballad featuring celebrated gospel artist LeJuene Thompson, and “My Soul Has Been Anchored,” featuring gospel legend Douglas Miller, who wrote and first performed the song, which has become a main-stay in gospel music. This song has been recorded by numerous artists, but this is the first time he is featured on a recording of the song with other artists.
The new album also includes a new version of “Anything,” which adds the exceptional vocals of gospel artist April Nevels to the mix in this R&B style love song. “Anything” is the current single from the album, and it is finding success on both gospel and urban radio formats. A new video for the song was released in May, 2014. Finally, the group has added a Euro Mix version of the album’s effervescent second single, “So Good,” which uses the tune from Billy Preston’s 1970s hit, “Nothing from Nothing,” as the bases of a song that celebrates how good God is. The song has resonated with European audiences, who are downloading the song in significant numbers.
The album’s first single, “Change My Life,” with its R&B style and uplifting message that with God’s help, we can turn our lives around, was released as a single and was a hit on both gospel and urban radio. “Super Jesus” blends a contemporary gospel sound with the classic cultural theme of super heroes to convey the message that Jesus is who you call on when you are in need. “We Worship Only You,” a simple but compelling contemporary praise and worship song, is followed by the foot-stomping, hand-clapping, traditional gospel quartet style song, “Won’t Let Him Go,” and “Call Him Up,” a traditional gospel Sunday morning worship song. “Testimony,” a song the group wrote together, riffs off of the testimonies that have traditionally been a part of the Sunday worship experience, but does it with an up-to-date, harmonic R&B musical style. “What Would You Do” is a powerful and provocative song that challenges listeners to consider whether they would be willing to do what Jesus did—give their lives for the sake of the whole world. The other songs on the album are offerings with a decidedly urban twist. Half Mile Home members describe the energetic and up-tempo “Let’s Get It Going,” as a “straight up praise party for Jesus song”, and it features local rapper 52 Keys. The hip-hop style “Even” attests to the power of a loving and forgiving God.”
Half Mile Home members have no regrets about their decision to walk away from their R&B dreams and use their talents to serve God. “At the end of the day, the idea is to bless people by using your art to tell what God is doing for you,” says Darryl. Todd agrees. “R&B wasn’t where we felt we needed to be. We knew that we were supposed to be doing something different. We came back to do it for the glory of God, and we’re here to stay.”