It’s been nine years since CeCe Winans has set foot inside a studio to work on a solo project.
She’s hardly been idle, though.
The 10-time Grammy-winning gospel artist has performed in concerts. The last few years, though, she and husband Alvin Love II have co-pastored Nashville Life Church, which started as a Bible study in their Tennessee home and now has about 250 members.
It was her son, Alvin Love III, who finally got her back in the studio to record a new CD, “Let Them Fall in Love.”
Listening to his mother’s powerful voice, Love thought, “Man, she doesn’t have an album out and she’s sounding like this! She was belting out songs and she has this huge voice still.”
Amazingly, it wasn’t an easy sell for a woman who grew up in one of the first families of gospel.
“Uhhh, no,” said Winans in a telephone interview from Nashville. “Alvin loves music more than I ever loved music. I knew he was gifted and talented, but at the same time I had never worked with him as a producer on a project. But when he started telling me his idea, I was like ‘OK’.”
“Let Them Fall in Love” was released earlier this month and offers listeners a rousing 10-track CD, most of which was written by Love. It features The Clark Sisters on “Hey Devil!” and Hezekiah Walker’s Love Fellowship Choir on “Dancing in the Spirit.”
The Nashville String Machine Orchestra performed on several tracks.
They wanted a live CD that was fresh and bold. It’s retro, gospel and rootsy. It was totally new for Winans, who wanted to reach a younger generation yet still have something for her longtime fans. It allowed her to stretch.
“It’s fun,” she said. “It’s a journey. It’s a ride … It allowed me to open up and have fun.”
She played it for her mother, who told her, “This is my kind of music. I love it!”
In addition to Love, the CD is produced by songwriter and performer Tommy Sims.
“I had to depend on him, it’s his generation now,” Winans said of her son. “I had been out of the loop for a while. Once I got the vision and he started playing me some of the stuff, I got excited. Oh, I get it, and once I got it, I was ready.”
Winans said she has many favorites on the CD and each carries a message.
“He’s Never Failed Me Yet,” for instance, is one song that is close to her heart.
“It tells my testimony,” she said. “I get a chance to reminisce how I was brought up hearing the mothers (in the church) pray and teach. Having those women go before me was pretty awesome. They helped mold me and shape me in my faith.”
Winans said they are working on a tour to support the project but she’s not sure what it will look like.
Meanwhile, when she’s not promoting the CD, you can find Winans back at church in Nashville.
“It’s been awesome,” she said. “We went from having two wonderful children to 250. It’s been great and we’re making disciples.”