Hope in Front of Me
Danny Gokey’s experiences as an American Idol finalist and country artist lend a certain confidence and polish to his debut Christian release, Hope in Front of Me. But really, the album is best seen as a new beginning for a singer/songwriter who's endured his share of setbacks and tragedies. Gokey’s appealing voice—at once strong, gritty, and yearning—is matched with an outstanding batch of songs cowritten with such notables as Matthew West and Marcus Hummon. With production input from Keith Thomas (Amy Grant, Chris Mann), Josh Crosby (Owl City, Matt Kearney), and Bernie Herms (Natalie Grant), the album has a crisp, assertive sound. Gokey connects with classic soul/pop grooves on “Take It to the Limit” and tempers his gruff style with sweet falsetto highs on ballads like “Pretty Beautiful.” The Spirit-centered tunes are vulnerable and resonant, with “More Than You Think I Am” and the title track striking particularly deep. If there’s an emotional center to the album, it’s “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again,” a survivor’s anthem that touches on Gokey’s loss of his wife Sophia, even as it strikes a universal chord of healing.