Review: The Sanctuary with Ms. Anita Wilson, Featuring Special Guest Avery*Sunshine

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anita wilson the sanctuary

Ms. Anita Wilson: Live & Uplifting

I caught the pre-show excitement bug without even knowing it. Sitting in the audience of the soul music experience, The Sanctuary: Ms. Anita Wilson featuring special guest Avery*Sunshine, felt like the initial runway taxi before takeoff. I’d never seen Ms. Wilson perform live before, but with a beautiful, packed Oasis Buckhead church filled with supporters from near and far, I knew the final destination was about to knock my socks off.

There were no instructions to buckle our seatbelts, but there was one request that Ms. Wilson so poignantly announced before take-off:

“Check all troubles and negativity at the door; this place is for positive vibes only.”

Take Off with a Testimony

What better way to start the evening than with a testimony in song, “That’s What He’s Done for Me”, from Ms. Wilson’s sophomore album and latest release, Vintage Worship. Before long, those positive vibes were flowing freely from the stage to the audience, from heart to heart. Clearly this Grammy®, Stellar, and Dove-award nominated singer is a worshiper at heart, and the words it’s “All About You” are more than mere lyrics – they’re the artist’s lifestyle.

Good News Music is God’s Music

While some may prefer that gospel music walk the straight and narrow of mentioning Jesus, God, or a scriptural reference in every verse, hook, or vamp, the truth is there is good news and good times to be had by all in the simplest words of encouragement.

Ms. Wilson’s detour to the land of Stevie Wonder and his “Higher Ground” did just that – encourage and moved the crowd to their feet for a funky good time. And for an intimate moment with God, when simple words aren’t nearly enough, when we can’t find the words to describe God or how in awe we are of Him, Ms. Wilson’s “Speechless” / “Everything” medley took us to the throne.

It’s All in the Family

Such a powerfully positive stage is meant to be shared with like-minded artists with dope vibes, and that’s exactly what Ms. Wilson did. In true “Auntie of the Year” fashion, Ms. Wilson’s niece, Jaz McClendon, mounted the stage clad with acoustic guitar, stylish ripped jeans, and endearing nervous energy. But the gifted 15-year-old quickly lost herself in Tori Kelly’s “Confetti”, and impressed the crowd with her smooth, honest vocals and skills with the strum. With continued grooming by her talented aunt, and more gigs under her belt, Jaz is sure to be a rising star and one to watch behind the mic.

A Sister from Another Mother: Avery*Sunshine

Cut from the same musical tapestry as Ms. Wilson, with mean keyboard chops and a fierce, sneak-up-on-you vocal range, Avery*Sunshine was a great complement to the night from the moment she took the stage. Comical and real, Avery*Sunshine lifted us even higher with “See You When I Get There” and the Urban/UAC chart-topper “Call My Name” from her latest release, The Sun Room. We were quickly transported to Sunday morning with her rendition of “Safe In His Arms” and “He Keeps On Doing Great Things for Me.”

Flashing the bling on her left hand, Avery*Sunshine declared her love to musical partner, Dana Johnson (on guitar), and made us realize the importance and excitement of celebrating love – God is love!

Mission Accomplished

The night couldn’t end without Ms. Wilson’s acclaimed “Jesus Will”, and undoubtedly sent the masses home with a little more faith for the journey. If the intent of the evening was to encourage hearts, uplift spirits, and share God’s love, I’d have to say mission accomplished! All of us in the audience were no longer strangers or random attendees, but fellow participants in an evening where positivity triumphed, and negativity was defeated.

With it being the BMI Trailblazers 2016 weekend in Atlanta, it’s always awesome to see artists come out and support one another, as “Team Jesus” does! Shout out to Ledisi (who took the mic for a hot moment), Willie Moore, Jr. (and his awesome testimony), Kelly Price, James Hall, Chuck Harmony, Zebulon Ellis, and many others in the house.

If you’re ever looking for a place to check your troubles at the door and feel the freedom of soulful worship, catch Ms. Anita Wilson in concert near you. “Jesus will” definitely keep blessing this inspirational artist with good success.

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