Prime Cuts: Walking Free, What Mercy Did For Me, New Today (Stripped)
Overall Grade: 4/5
Micah Tyler has a voice that commands attention. His powerhouse tenor has a way of rousing our spirits in holy abandonment when the tempo accelerates. And in the more tender moments, he brings out a soulful disposition that strums upon our hearts' strings. With such a voice like that, Tyler can tackle any genre of Christian music without any trouble. This is definitely the case with "New Today." Not only will you hear gritty Gospel romps, you will also find those ear-grabbing pop-centric numbers well as those gloriously belted out ballads. "New Today" follows on the heels of Tyler's debut EP cum album both entitled "Different." The debut effort led to three No. 1, a GMA Dove Awards® Best New Artist nominee (2017), multiple songwriting awards, and a tour across the U.S.
Many of the songs on this record were inspired by the odyssey of Tyler's younger brother bout with stage four colon cancer. For those of us who have been through a similar path will know how suffering can throw us in all directions emotionally. Writing with this first hand experience, the piano and string-laced title cut "New Today (Stripped)" captures snapshots of those trying moments--- from the helpless to the frustrations to our cries for God whose mercies are new every day. With the intro that calls to mind those 60s Ray Charles classic, "What Mercy Did For Me" is a sequel to "New Today (Stripped)" testifying to God's faithfulness. Rendered acapella by Tyler with a chorus of accompanied voices, "My God Fights for Me" showcases what a great vocalist Tyler is.
Then there are songs that speak of the other side of Tyler's brother's diagnosis, when God did show his healing. Leading the charge to tell of this great news is the joyous Gospel-ish "Love Lifted Up." "AMEN," the album's lead single, continues the praises. Despite having a decent hook and possessing a primly radio-likeable polish, "AMEN" is on the nondescript side. The same can be said about "Life Up Ahead." Much better for a lead single is the thumping "Walking Free." The killer Ed Sheehan piano riffs and the irresistible catchy chorus are enough to crown this one of Tyler's signature cuts. For those who like some old fashioned rock n' roll, check out "Welcome to the Family."
Thanks to the versatility of Tyler's vocals, "New Today" canvases many genres, from pop-CCM to bluesy-mallard to old-fashioned Gospel, making it an extremely listenable album. Tyler has never sounded better and regardless of the song, he always shows mastery over them. Yet, he sings with great emotive depth. For those who want a quality album from a stellar artist, check this one out.