The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir – O The Blood

Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir ‘O the Blood’ from HayleyCatt on Vimeo.

The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir:


btcThe Grammy Award winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir wowed a billion people around the globe when it belted out “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” at President Barack Obama’s second inaugural swearing-in ceremony in January. Over 800,000 people on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol witnessed the dynamic ensemble up close and personal and the other billion watched from their home TV screens. The New York Times called it a “stirring moment” and NBC News anchor Brian Williams remarked on-air, “Probably not the most artful phrase, but the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir just killed it.” Even in the home of the iconic Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Salt Lake Tribune newspaper columnist Peg McEntee wrote, “That choir, not ours, then set off into the most beautiful rendition of `The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ I’ve ever heard.”

That soul-stirring rendition of the patriotic hymn is featured on The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir’s 27th album, “Love Lead the Way,” which hits iTunes, and other digital platforms on April 9, 2013. The physical CD is scheduled for a May 7th release. The fifteen song set was produced by choir founder Carol Cymbala and music director Jason Michael Webb. The album boasts the majestic orchestrations that have become the choir’s trademark. Their in-house team of writers composed most of the songs. There are soul-stirring ballads such as “Faithful to the End” and “Breathe,” as well as, up-tempo tracks like the title song and the rock-edged “Let Your Kingdom Come.” They also feature full-throttle hand-clappers such as “The Man” and “Working It Out.” The set is rounded out with new renditions of William McDowell’s #1 hit “I Won’t Go Back” and Preashea Hilliard’s “Oh, How We Love You.”

The 300-voice choir is a blend of ethnic and economic backgrounds, with members ranging from lawyers and doctors to former drug addicts.  Over the years, the choir has performed at major venues such as Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden. They’ve appeared on “Good Morning America” and other national television programs. Their amazing legacy includes six Grammy Awards, seven Dove Awards, two #1 Billboard charting CDs and over four million albums sold. Visit for more news on the choir.

Lyrics to “O The Blood” Love Lead The Way, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir:

O The Blood
Thomas Miller and Mary Miller Soloist: Karen Melendez
O the blood, crimson love Price of life’s demand Shameful sin placed on Him The hope of every man
O the blood of Jesus washes me O the blood of Jesus shed for me What a sacrifice that saved my life Yes, the blood, it is my victory
Savior Son, Holy One
Slain so I can live
Oh, see the Lamb, the great I AM Who takes away my sin
O the blood of the Lamb
O the blood of the Lamb
O the blood of the Lamb
The precious blood of the Lamb
What a sacrifice that saved my life Yes, the blood, it is my victory

O what love, no greater love Grace, how can it be?
That in my sin, yes, even then He shed His blood for me!

(Written by Carol Cymbala, Jason Michael Webb and Onaje Jefferson)
The album opens with a burst of sunshine on the rousing pop-rock number featuring an urgently straightforward tenor lead from the choir’s new kid on the block, the 26 year old Brandon Camphor, who joined the choir in autumn 2012 and has his own contemporary gospel quartet, Brandon Camphor & Oneway. The song is a call to the faithful to evangelize a generation and usher in the Kingdom of God amid a flurry of horns, revving guitars, dancing strings, thumping drums and the choir’s signature harmonies.


(Written by Preashea Hilliard)
This lush ballad of praise was written and first recorded by Houston, TX-based worship leader Preashea Hilliard in 2011. Longtime Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (BTC) soloist Joanne Brown, who first soloed on the choir’s “God is Working: Live CD” in 2000, possesses a booming, textured soprano. She wraps her Celine Dion-like notes around this tune like a quilt on a cold night as the choir’s celestial vocals add another layer of warmth and coziness.
(Written by Carol Cymbala, Jason Michael Webb and Onaje Jefferson)
Onaje Jefferson, who’s currently touring as a vocalist with the gold-selling gospel band Israel & New Breed, leads this rocking declaration of faith with an earnestly soulful vocal. It boasts a similar energy to “Let Your Kingdom Come” and provides a platform for the choir to vigorously echo the chorus of “We are not ashamed to lift your name, Jesus! Shout it out again!”
(Written by William McDowell)
William McDowell took “I Won’t Go Back” to the top of Billboard’s gospel chart in 2012 as a follow-up to his #1 career breakthrough smash, “I Give Myself Away.” In this setting, BTC infuses McDowell’s unplugged arrangement with a full, orchestral reading that makes the song a powerful anthem for redemption and renewal. Kevin Lewis, who has been a member of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church since he was a child, is front and center with his rich second tenor that pours over the encouraging lyrics like hot maple syrup on griddlecakes, rendering this an ardent declaration.
(Written by Jason Michael Webb)
“Lord, here I am waiting on you,” the choir sings in unison over softly cascading acoustic guitars and gentle strings. “Come Holy Spirit, fill me anew.” It’s a choral entreaty for the spirit to “breathe” as the instrumentation conjures a mental image of soft winds, misty air and clouds against skies of blue.
(Written by Thomas Miller and Mary Elizabeth)
A warm remembrance of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, soloist Karen Melendez’ pristine voice soars on this majestic song of gratitude and adoration. “What a sacrifice that saved my life. Yes, the blood it is my victory,” she sings midway through the song before rejoining the choir for an astounding adrenaline rush of high notes and counter melodies.
(Written by Darius Brooks)
This composition was written by Darius Brooks, a singer better known for writing #1 hits like “If I Be Lifted” and “My Mind is Made Up” for Milton Brunson & The Thompson Community Singers in the nineties. It’s an obscure track originally recorded by The First Assembly of God Praise Choir in 2001. BTC gives it a bold revamp with heavy horns and perhaps the most hard gospel performance on the CD. Karen Melendez leads this track that shows the choir tackling some of the vocal styling that Chicago black gospel choirs are known for on the dramatic musical breakdowns, stretching notes; and the tenors, altos and sopranos singing different verses simultaneously.
(Written by Carol Cymbala, Jason Michael Webb and Onaje Jefferson)
The entire choir sings this ethereal mid-tempo pop tune in unison. It’s a simple acknowledgement of God’s great love for mankind. Amid electric guitar, a stirring orchestra and shimmering tambourines BTC creates a fresh flavor with a retro tone.  “How wide, how deep, how great is your love – the love you’ve shown to me,” they sing. “How wide, how deep, how great is your love – you gave your life for me.”
(Written by Caleb Collins and Stephan Conley Sharp)
A future evergreen, this inspiring mid-tempo was co-written by Caleb Collins, a worship leader at The Brooklyn Tabernacle Church. His warm vocal tone is reminiscent of that of Michael W. Smith but with its own unique phrasing and character. He smoothly leads this pop-styled song that recognizes God’s faithfulness to mankind throughout the ages.
(Written by Carol Cymbala and Jason Michael Webb)
“Lord, my heart is open, needing you again. Humbled now and broken, take me as I am,” Karen Melendez sings in the opening of this sweet plea. The mix of violins and airy vocals from the choir blend with Melendez’ plaintive lead to create a meditative mood.
(Written by Carol Cymbala, Jason Michael Webb and Onaje Jefferson)
Onjae Jefferson leads this up-tempo pop song of fraternity and brotherhood. “Let love lead the way, every nation, every land, every woman, every man,” he calls. “Let love lead the way. Everybody hand in hand. All together, love will lead the way.”
(Written by Jason Michael Webb and Lelund Durond Thompson)
Pam Pettaway’s earthy voice cuts through this churchy handclapper with rich, velvety, down-home call and response from the choir. Jonathan Woodby, who’s been playing the Hammond B3 organ on various BTC projects for over twenty years, adds to the song’s spirit of jubilation. There’s a dynamic exchange between Pettaway, whose voice grows more gritty and liberating as the song drives on, and the choir half way through before the song ending with a big bang.
(Written by Carol Cymbala, Jason Michael Webb and Onaje Jefferson)
A heart-pumping praise and worship offering, this song bounces with verve and intoxicating joy. The cross-section of horns, guitar, grand piano and the high hat on the climatic modulations only deepens the song’s ferocity.
(Arranged by Carol Cymbala and Jason Michael Webb)
The novel rendition of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” was arranged by the choir’s founder, Carol Cymbala, and its music director, Jason Michael Webb, with majestic orchestral accompaniment that’s punctuated with innovative new harmonies while maintaining the classic feel of the anthem. Alicia Olatuja, a mezzo-soprano who has performed at Carnegie Hall, leads the song with an operatic purity that won her national acclaim when she sang the song with the choir at President Obama’s second inaugural swearing in ceremony. The New York Daily News’ pop critic Jim Farber wrote of her performance, “That Brooklyn gives birth to a new musical star.”
(Written by Carol Cymbala, Jason Michael Webb and Onaje Jefferson)
The set closes with an epic score befitting a Disney movie soundtrack. As one voice, the choir sings this grandiose proclamation as a classical prayer. “Turn our hearts towards you God,” they sing. “Show us your way. Lord, we need your spirit guiding us today.
Executive Producer for The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir: Carol Cymbala
Produced by Carol Cymbala and Jason Michael Webb
Mixed by Randy Poole at The Poole Room, Franklin, TN
Assistant Engineer: Casey Barker
Mastered by John Mayfield for Mayfield Mastering, Berry Hill, TN
Rhythm tracks recorded at The Poole Room, Franklin, TN
Percussion Overdubs recorded at The Playground, Berry Hill, TN
Engineer: Randy Poole
Assistant Engineer: Casey Barker
Keyboard Overdubs recorded at JMW Studio, Bronx, NY
Choir and Soloists recorded at The Brooklyn Tabernacle, Brooklyn, NY
Engineers: Randy Poole, Casey Barker and Doug Bull
Assistant Engineers: Doug Bull, Ricardo Lezama and Sharon Marsh
Orchestra performed by the Nashville String Machine
Contracted by Carl Gorodetzky
Orchestra recorded at Ocean Way Studios, Nashville, TN
Engineer: Randy Poole
Assistant Engineer: Jacob Murry
ProTools Editing: Casey Barker & Jason Michael Webb
Jason Michael Webb – Acoustic Piano, B-3 and Keyboards
Jonathan Woodby – B-3 on “Working It Out”
Dave Cleveland – Electric and Acoustic Guitars
Craig Nelson – Bass
John Hammond – Drums
Eric Darken – Percussion

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