When I think of gospel music legends, names like the Clark Sisters, the Winans, Sandi Patti, Hezekiah Walker, and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir come to mind. These artists/groups have left a timeless impact on the industry, and have helped to lead many a believer (non-believers, as well) into worship, and to the cross. And while these artists continue to help people to see Jesus, there are some newcomers who are helping to appeal to an even younger generation. One such artist is 26 year-old Chicago native Jonathan McReynolds.

McReynold’s music spoke to me literally on a beach in St. Lucia. The streaming app I was using had been playing a blend of songs I knew, and songs that whatever algorithm they use determined I should know. So there, on the beach, “No Gray” came on, and I instantly became a fan of McReynolds’ sound. But it wasn’t just his sound, it was also the transparency and the clear look into the struggles faced by those of us walking this Christian life. As a thirty-something trying to navigate through life, these songs speak to the fact that sometimes things get difficult.

Recently, Jonathan McReynolds released his second studio album entitled Life Music: Stage Two, which contains a number of songs designed to encourage listeners to be deliberate in their worship, and in maintaining open lines of communication with Jesus. McReynolds’ brand of talent, which was introduced to us in Life Music remains consistent in Life Music: Stage Two. His falsetto is refreshing and pure, but what resonates the most with me is that you can hear McReynolds’ heart through his music.

“Whole,” which features India.Arie, is a song I typically listen to on repeat. The song essentially speaks of how Christ’s love makes our lives complete. One line says

“I couldn’t appreciate the light without the dark/Until you came in, I was only using half my heart.”

That line speaks to me each and every time I hear it.

“Pressure” is a song about being able to drown out all of the noise of how society dictates that we live our lives. It speaks of the need to strive to be who God has created us to be, not who the world, the church, and others think we should be.

“Limp” is another song that talks about staying the course of your Christian walk. “Limps” are worries, cares, concerns, weaknesses, etc. whatever keeps us from having an easy, carefree walk. What McReynolds stresses in this song is that we can still stay the course, and achieve our goals.

I’d been hopeful that Life Music: Stage Two would contain “part twos” of “No Gray” and “I’m Coming Out.” While this new album has a slightly different sound, it is still a gem. Through this new album we can hear McReynolds’ spiritual growth and maturity, as the situations and issues he sings about are reflective of a deeper phase of this Christian walk. Make sure you get Life Music: Stage Two; you will be glad you did.