Mighty Clouds of Joy

Mighty Clouds of Joy

The world best-selling gospel quartet

It's not hard to divide the world of Gospel quartet music into categories. In fact, there are really only two. There's the Mighty Clouds of Joy, and then there's everybody else.

After 44 years and 35 albums, three Grammys and trophy-case full of almost every award imaginable; shows that have run a gamut from the church-house to the White House, and top-billings with a dazzling roster of superstar artists from nearly every genre of popular music (the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire, Luther Vandross, Ray Charles, and Paul Simon are but a few), The Mighty Clouds of Joy are more than a Gospel legend. They are nothing less than a national treasure.

Still, one must choose his words carefully when describing the Clouds. "Icons?" Absolutely. "Pioneers?" Without a doubt. "Venerable?" Most certainly. "Forefathers" of modern Gospel, R&B, rock and pop? It's just the straight fact of the matter; but don't let founding member and lead vocalist, Joe Ligon, or any of the other five Clouds hear you referring to them with any synonym that even hints at greatness in the past tense.

At a career point where any act would be honored and happy to simply kick back and ride on its reputation, the Mighty Clouds of Joy today find themselves not only back in the recording studio, but signed to the hottest label in contemporary Gospel, produced by one of the hippest hit-makers on the charts today, and delivering one of the strongest collections of new material in their already immense catalogue of classic songs.

So give their preeminent past its due, but get ready for a new and potent shot of classic and contemporary Clouds, with their newest release, In the House of the Lord-Live in Houston. Produced by Sanchez Harley (Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin, Shirley Caesar, Rizen), the sound is pure Mighty Clouds of Joy, and as mighty as ever.

"Sanchez told me going in that he intended this to be the greatest Clouds album yet," says Joe. "There are a lot of different styles that have come together over the years to create what people know as the 'trademark' Clouds sound, and we wanted to hit on a lot of those high spots on this album. Sanchez, myself and the entire group, were all absolutely intent on making this the definitive Mighty Clouds of Joy album to date."

One listen to House of the Lord confirms that the Clouds have achieved and even surpassed that lofty goal. On an album featuring one classic-in-the-making after another, it's hard to even pick individual standouts; still Joe has several that resonate with him in particularly powerful ways.