One Place Live (Tasha Cobbs)

One Place LiveHeralded as one of the most gifted urban young gospel singers of our time, Tasha Cobbs hails from the small town of Jesup, Georgia. Cobbs has been singing all of her life, but she cultivated her call to ministry while serving as worship leader at Jesup New Life Ministries under the tutelage of her father. After relocating to Atlanta, Cobbs began serving as worship leader at the dReam Center Church of Atlanta before finding a new home with the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship.

In 2010, Cobbs stepped out on faith and launched a solo career. She released an independent album, “Smile.” This album, though not connected with a major label, pushed Cobbs closer to the mainstream arena. In 2012, Cobbs recorded her freshman album “GRACE” on the Motown Gospel label. “GRACE,” a compilation of worship songs and the hit single, “Break Every Chain,” catapulted Cobbs into the international spotlight. “Break Every Chain” remained as Billboard’s number one song for more than three months, and Cobbs subsequently won three Stellar Gospel Music awards, a Dove award and a Grammy. Cobbs suddenly lost her father in January of 2014 – the same week that she won the Stellar awards and just days before winning a Grammy for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance. Cobbs continued to minister to people all across the world while grieving internally. She attests to this account every chance she gets and owes all of her stamina to God and God’s unmerited Grace.

Cobbs’ newest album, “One Place Live,” is a compilation of praise and worship songs that continue in the same vein as “GRACE.” In October of 2014, I traveled to Greenville, South Carolina, to the One Place Live recording held at Redemption Church. More than 3,000 worshippers from all over the country gathered with a spirit of expectancy, a longing for the certain delivery of musical excellence and to offer support to one of the best voices in gospel music. Some of the biggest names were in attendance: Kiera Sheard, Bishops William Murphy and Paul Morton, Johnathan Nelson, Jamie Grace and James Fortune.

“One Place Live” incorporates the musical gifts of mother, mentors, spiritual fathers and spiritual sisters and brothers. Many of the songs are written by her friends in the ministry. Her mother, Bertha Cobbs, actually wrote the title song, “One Place” and is featured on the single.

Cobbs pours her energy, zeal and enthusiasm into this album. “One Place” is a song about being in the presence of God – a longing, a yearning desire to be in God’s everlasting presence. It is the place where one finds peace, joy, humility and true relationship. Cobbs says, in reference to losing her father, that she had two options: either run away from God, the church and the ministry as she grieved, or run to God and be filled with God’s peace and joy. Having to grieve and mourn in public and still minister to God’s people allowed her to bring forth this fresh sense of liberation and maturity.

In one place
In one tabernacle with Jesus
There is no other place where I’d rather be than
In one place, in one tabernacle with Him
I’m here because I wanna be
I’m here because I choose to be
I’m here because I love to be in Your presence

Another one of my personal favorites from this album is “Jesus Did It.” This psalm of exhortation is a testimony to God’s grace and faithfulness. Cobbs prophesies about the miracles, signs and wonders that God has promised. Many times we are deterred from thinking about the good things that are happening in life and discredit what God is doing, but we should remain content knowing that God is still doing great things! She declares that miracles are still taking place; your denial will turn into a yes – and with that yes, your only testimony should be that “Jesus Did It!” Cobbs displays her absolute best vocal artistry and ability in this song.

In my opinion, “Solid Rock” is the most culturally diverse song on the album. The song incorporates the use of a variety of percussive instruments not commonly used by mainstream gospel artists. Cobbs replaced her microphone stand with a headpiece and joins in on the bongos. Though the song largely consists of acoustic instrumentation, Jamie Grace joins on the vocal lead and guitar. The lyrics affirm that Christ is the rock upon which our faith lies. When it seems as though the foundation around you is crumbling, remember that Jesus is always there. That is one thing that I have to keep reminding myself when I find that things are getting a little tough. The song simply says:

You are my solid rock
When everything around me tries to crumble and shake
Your consistent reputation is what holds me in place
You’re always there to comfort me
So I will stand upon a mystery that I can’t explain
I can lean on you and you won’t move
I can cry to you and you won’t move
I can trust you ‘cause you’re my solid rock

As a classically trained musician with an interest in a variety of music, this album is one of the very few that I listen to throughout. Each song exhibited Cobbs’ main goal to lead listeners into God’s presence. She diligently uses her platform to complete this task, and her faithfulness to her assignment shows her faithfulness to God. Cobbs’ humble beginnings, diligent willingness to serve and assist others and her dedication to ministering and leading others is what makes her such a jewel on the main stage. She is, arguably, one of the best gospel artists that has graced the stage, our CD players and our churches. I wholeheartedly recommend this album to anyone who wants to explore something new and refreshing.

FelderJOHNNIE J. FELDER is a native of South Carolina and holds bachelor and graduate music degrees from Benedict College and the University of South Carolina respectively. Currently on the music faculty at the Columbia Arts Academy, he also serves as choral scholar and music assistant at Shandon Presbyterian Church in Columbia.