REVIEW: Sheri LaFontaine – Honest

Producer: Marty Funderburk and Sheri LaFontaine
Record Label: Independent Release

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Sheri LaFontaine is a stellar talent.  She is a tremendous songwriter having songs recorded by the Hoskins Family, Brian Free & Assurance, Whisnants, Michael Booth, Kim Hopper and others.  Sheri is also a force to be reckoned with as a singer.  She has so much personality in her voice and has an infectious spirit, that you can’t help but be taken in as she sings.  It’s been several years since she has released a mainline recording, and with this latest effort, she dug deep within herself to bring us some of her best material to date that was birthed during a time of depression and personal loss.  “Honest” shares what is deep in her heart and has produced one of the best recordings of 2020!

With its soulful feel, the recording starts off with the self-penned declaration, “I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE”.  As if she is talking to Satan himself, she proclaims, “I’m not going anywhere, this is more than just a prayer, though the winds may blow, my soul belongs to God alone…I’m not going anywhere!”

The mood changes to a melancholy feel as Sheri shares her heart with the candid, “PRETEND (The PK Song)”, which is a song I am sure many PK’s (Preacher’s Kids) can relate to on many levels.

The tempo switches back to a more soulful vibe with the brutally honest song, “MAKING UP OUR OWN GODS”.  This song will preach all day long (and twice on Sunday!) and is a highlight of the recording, before the tempo picks up a bit for the Southern Gospel feel of, “ALL PRESENT AND ACCOUNTED FOR”.  Penned by Sheri along with Donna King, the song features Sheri along with her family (the LaFontaines) and is a highlight of the recording.

Sheri is joined by Mitchel Jon (remember when he sang with Three Bridges?) on the fun, “ONE DAY WHEN I GO TO HEAVEN” before the tempo slows back down for “NO RECORD OF WRONG”, reminding us that “forgiveness is better than bitterness…love keeps no record of wrong”.

“ONLY YOU CAN SAVE” keeps things in slow mode, before the tempo picks up for the MercyMe hit, “GREATER”.  The Teddy Huffam classic, “I’M RICH” keeps the mood electric as Sheri delivers a fantastic rendition of this great song.  Teddy Huffam would be proud!

Sheri’s interpretation of the great song, “PEACE IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM” is the true triumph of the recording.  You can tell she has lived the song, and she knows where the peace comes from!

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING RIGHT NOW” may sound familiar because it was recorded about 17 years ago by the Hoskins Family and Sheri does a great job singing her own song before the tempo slows down as she closes out with the soulful anthem, “CAN’T GIVE UP NOW”.  Sheri is joined by Wesley VanWyk and complete with a black choir feel, wraps up the recording with a grand finish.

This recording goes where your average Southern Gospel recording doesn’t.  Daring and honest lyrics, authentic vocals and delivery that is set to a bed of outstanding music tracks, excellently produced by Sheri, along with Marty Funderburk.  Sheri wrote/co-wrote several of the songs on this recording, and they are some of her greatest work, both lyrically and vocally.  Singer/songwriters are a wonderful bread of artist, as we get to truly hear their heart as they unabashedly sing what is in the deepest parts of their heart and soul, and Sheri does a remarkable job giving us a glimpse of what God has revealed to her in this season of her life.  As God has changed her, He changes us with these songs.

Track Listing:
(stars denote personal favorites)

I’m Not Going Anywhere**
Pretend (The PK Song)**
Making Up Our Own God**
All Present and Accounted For**
One Day When I Go to Heaven**
No Record of Wrong**
Only You Can Save
I’m Rich**
Peace in the Midst of the Storm**
What Are You Doing Right Now
Can’t Give Up Now

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James Hales

James Hales, from Durham, North Carolina, has been a writer for since 2000. James is our featured reviewer and also contributes to monthly features periodically.
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