Israel Houghton
Israel Houghton (Courtesy photo)

“We need to take the mask off our face … before God,” said six-time Grammy winner Israel Houghton about the meaning behind the title of his new album, “Road to DeMaskUs” (RCA Inspiration).

It also refers to the Biblical tale of Apostle Paul’s Spiritual change from Jewish man Saul to Christian Saint Paul — the main writer of the New Testament in the Bible. Houghton’s “Road to DeMaskUs” project features popular gospel acts, Travis Greene, The Walls Group, gospel/reggae artist Chevelle Franklyn and Adrienne Houghton (“The Cheetah Girls”).

“It’s for everyone, believers and non-believers, all of us have protective mechanism,” Houghton pointed out.

Houghton, also a worship leader, said people wear masks and pretend everything is all right, not allowing God to help them turn things around.

“Road to DeMaskUs” was released Sept. 28 to his eager fan base that helped Houghton garner six Grammy wins, 11 Grammy nominations, 11 GMA Dove Awards, 11 GMA Dove Award nominations, 17 Stellar Award nominations and two Stellar wins.

Greene gives assistance on the album’s eighth song, “Promise Keeper.” That and Houghton’s powerful style makes “Road to DeMaskUs” worthy of a listen.

“The way people come to church every week, know the songs and be hurting on the inside,” Houghton said about the masks we all wear for different reasons. “We miss the moment to really encounter God … bring healing.”


Jazz guitarist Denny Jiosa released his eighth album, a Latin/jazz fusion project titled “Mueve Tu Cuerpo (Move Your Body)” (Sonic Canvas Records/BFD).

“Mueve Tu Cuerpo” features Grammy-nominated Phil Keaggy on guitar and drummer Chester Thompson (Frank Zappa).

Denny Jiosa (Courtesy photo)

“I have always had a love and passion for Latin music,” Jiosa said. “I love Santana … the rhythm and passion. I was attracted to it my whole life.”

“Mueve Tu Cuerpo (Move Your Body)” features Latin singer/percussionist John Santos on a song titled “Freedom Tower” and Keaggy on “Dance in Heaven.”

“Phil Keaggy is big in Christian music and a fine guitar player — and friend,” Jiosa said. “I produced his last album. He picked up my guitar and said he’d like to play on my album… ‘Dance in Heaven’ is big in Christian world.”

The first selection on the album, “Fumarlo Bebe,” was produced by Jiosa for a cigar commercial.

“I did one and a half minutes … and I said this song has great potential,” he said with a slight laugh.

The album’s 10th cut, “From the Fire,” also appears on the soundtrack of the Christian film “Believe: The Misfit Pawn.” With plenty to push the project forward, I see it making big waves in the Smooth Jazz and Latin Jazz worlds, because this album is fire.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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