Father’s Day, hair appointments, work events and such, made for a very busy weekend. I decided to treat myself and go to the PJ Morton show on Saturday. You do know him, don’t you? If not, read my interview with him at Clutch. (It’s fairly dated, but still relevant.)
Long story, short, PJ is the son of a preacher—Bishop Paul Morton, Sr., the father of the Full Gospel denomination, to be exact. He’s been on tour promoting his new album, Walk Alone, so how fitting that in his return to Memphis, he’s brought by a Christian promotions company, Preacher Kid Promotion (PKP) Agency.
The PK Agency’s goal, according to its website, is to “build churches and ministries through our talent roster and providing you with gospel talent of every level from urban, contemporary, traditional, neo soul and hip-hop gospel.”
I’d known that PKP Agency was behind the show from the start, but when I entered the club, it totally slipped my mind. Music was blasting and people were posted at the bar. No biggie. There were two opening acts who turned out to be Christian/Inspirational artists. I didn’t think much about it until a guy asked me if he should be ordering alcoholic drinks at the bar. By the time the first second act finished, I realized that the intermission music consisted of “Ego” and a few other “secular” songs. Wait, what kind of event was this? I thought. I felt like my old Sunday School teacher was asking me, “Who are you going to serve? God or the world? **Cringe**
So it was a Christian show. Maybe not? I mean, Sheri Jones-Moffett (Memphian and “Encourage Yourself” lead), was in a corner booth, vibing to the music. I felt different suddenly. Is there a switch that we constantly flip on and off depending on the situation, when in fact, being a Christian is a way of life? And then again, who says you can’t thank God in any setting? It’s always been my philosophy that God’s people can have fun, too. We don’t have to be in floor-length skirts, quoting scripture all day to receive the peace and blessings of God. That doesn’t make for a “heaven bound” soul. **Steps down off soapbox**
The whole scenario was a perfect illustration, possibly, of the war Morton’s critics try to place him in the middle of: secular vs. church. When you hear him, you definitely know his roots are in the church, but he’s a soul singer. His music reminds you of Stevie Wonder and sometimes even James Brown. It’s just good music that doesn’t make you pick a side. However, he’s written for gospel greats and R&B singers alike (One of his singles, “Love You More”, is a duet with Tweet. Come back Southern Hummingbird!!), as well as a music director for the house band on BET’s gospel talent show, Sunday Best. This time last year, a huge debate followed Morton’s release of his first book, Why Can’t I Sing About Love? From the website:
Why Can’t I Sing About Love deals with the age-old argument of sacred vs. non-sacred music. Many of the doctrines we as Christians are taught have been man-made and not Biblically based. A number of writers, producers, artists, and musicians have been shunned from the church for doing music outside of gospel. This book will show that love songs are not only inspired by God, but are in fact Biblical!
How different is Morton’s place in the music industry from Al Green, the legendary soul singer turned preacher (minus the drug addiction)? Because his music is timeless and universal, Reverend Green still sings his classics “Love and Happiness” and “Let’s Stay Together” for adoring fans and then returns to the pulpit of his church to talk about Jesus. There are countless other artists who perform both genres of music.
Despite my own personal confusion about the event itself, I quickly moved past that. I was there to hear good music, and as usual, PJ and his band didn’t disappoint. They rocked! From songs like “How We Were” and “The One” to the inspirational “Mountains and Molehills” and “I Need You,” he put on an awesome show.
He was feeling it.
There’s nothing like live music.
With PKP Agency’s owner, LaQuinton Alston.
After only an hour, he had to go, but ended the set as he always does, with the theme song from Cheers. He cut the music and we all sang it soulfully, and dare I say, it felt like we were at church. I guess it’s something that will never go away.
From Dallas show
The highlight of the night was meeting him (again). Before I went into my spiel about meeting and interviewing him, he quickly let me know he remembered me from Twitter. Oh, the power of social media! Order Walk Alone at Amazon.com or iTunes.com.