“This amp sounds so good! Genzler really figured it out.” – Israel on the Acoustic Array Pro
Israel Houghton is a six-time GRAMMY®-winning gospel singer-songwriter, band leader, and innovator whose 20-year career with the musical collective NewBreed has taken him around the world, growing and adapting in surprising ways over a very transformative stretch of music and cultural history. Most recently, as the isolation and danger of a global pandemic rocked the music industry, Houghton, renowned for his live performance and live albums, became an early champion of the livestream format by sharing a regular livestream combining music and worship services for a stay-at-home audience alongside his wife Adrienne, co-host of The Real and his frequent musical collaborator. Now, the upcoming live album Feels Like Home: The Quarantine Worship Experience immortalizes the stay-at-home NewBreed experience, breathing electricity into the intimate #WorshipWednesdays series with a communal vibe that blurs the lines between band, family, and audience.
Feels Like Home was streamed live from Houghton’s sister-in-law’s house in New York last November with an impressive group of musicians both familiar and new to NewBreed, taking all necessary testing and quarantine precautions prior to recording. Performing the entire show facing one another in a circle, the improvisatory looseness and sheer inspiration of the session is a warm and glowing reminder of gospel’s intimate roots as a communal religious celebration and experience, as well as the band’s 20-year history in the live arena. Digging deep, Houghton’s performance leading the group alongside his wife Adrienne is inspired and inventive while the fly-on-the-wall perspective highlights the lyrical comfort of the supporting musicians and numerous special guests who take an easy grip of the performance during their features.
“NewBreed celebrated our 20th year together in 2020.” Houghton explains. “Though the entire landscape changed with how we do concerts and touring, we knew it was still very important to come together. I’m grateful for the sacrifices made by everyone on our team to carefully come together and participate in this offering. Truth be told, it’s one of the most rewarding worship experiences I’ve ever been a part of.”
Since the release of his first studio album in 1997, Houghton has looked to the live performance format as a means to that very end, including 2004’s Live From Another Level and 2005’s Alive in South Africa, the latter of which won the GRAMMY® Award for Best Traditional Gospel Album. Houghton would later take home three awards for Best Pop / Contemporary Gospel Album and eventually a Best Gospel Album award for 2015’s Covered: Alive In Asia, his previous live album. Feels Like Home: The Quarantine Worship Experience becomes an important part of that canon, and a symbol not only of the innovative and inspired streak that runs through Houghton and NewBreed’s live work, but also of the tenacity of the communities around the world who have found novel ways to stick together and support one another even in the midst of the most unexpected and disorienting year.