Cheri Louise Anderson was born on August 29, 1968 in Los Angeles, California. She married Phil Keaggy’s nephew Eddie, and released her solo debut CHILD OF THE FATHER, as Cheri Keaggy in 1994. She was nominated for ‘New Artist of the Year’ at the 1995 Dove Awards, but lost out to Jars of Clay. She put out her second album MY FAITH WILL STAY in 1996 on Sparrow Records. It was produced by Charlie Peacock and executive produced by Peter York. In 1997 it was nominated for ‘Inspirational Album of the Year’ at the Dove Awards.
The title track, ‘My Faith Will Stay’, is up first. Brent Bourgeois, Molly Felder, and Michael Mellett sing backing vocals on this upbeat adult contemporary number. It speaks of spiritual resolve no matter what comes: “The water comes, I try to float/I feel alone without a boat/But then I look across the sea/And find a rope reaching to me/And in that moment there’s no doubt/When You come in, the fear goes out/And then the truth, I finally see/Through the storm, I still believe/My faith will stay, my faith will grow/Sometimes fast, sometimes slow/Through the wind and through the rain/By Your grace, my faith will stay”. ‘Keep on Shinin’’ is the only song Cheri has a co-writer on, that being Randy Stonehill. This is a country-pop tune of spiritual encouragement: “Keep on shinin’/Remember what you believe/Keep that light in your eyes/When the world has you down on your knees/Hold on to the hope of heaven/Don’t lose sight of the/Glory above/Keep on shinin’, shinin’ love”.
‘Lay it Down’ is the only song over 5 minutes long. It offers hope to the hurting: “It’s things like pride and anger and bitter seeds/They rob us of our freedom and keep us from peace/But things like love and patience and a forgiving heart/That’s where the healing can start/God won’t let go of your heart/He won’t let go of your heart/He won’t let go, no/’Cause there’s a source of help in every need/There’s a place to dwell down on your knees, yeah/And if I could tell you just one thing/You’ve got to lay it down/Come on, come on”. ‘Sweet Peace of God’ is a lovely ballad that is prayerful: “Sweet peace of God/Come over me like a gift from heaven/Sweet peace of God/Take hold of me before I lose it forever/For I haven’t been thinking much about You/And I know I live my life in vain/If I live without You/Sweet peace of God, come over me”.
On ‘He Will Look After You’ the players are: Steve Brewster (drums/percussion), Jimmie Lee Sloas (bass), Gordon Kennedy (electric guitars), Gary Burnette (acoustic guitars), and Pat Coil (keys). It is an adult pop song that assures us in times of doubt: “I see the sparrow sitting in a tree/And in the eyes of God/He looks a lot like you and me/Well, if God can see the sparrow and meet its every need/Don’t you think He can take care of you and me?/He made the sun and the moon/And the land and the sea/God will look after you and me/With the mountains high and the oceans wide/Can’t you believe that it’s true?” ‘Heavenly Father’ is a simply beautiful song all around: “Father, Heavenly Father/Have I told You I love You today?/Have I told You I need You?/Father, Heavenly Father/If I have not, then I’m telling You now/I love You, I need You/I know I would be lost without Your love/Father, You are my God/You are my God/Heavenly Father, be God again today”.
Tim Akers plays Rhodes and B3 on the warm praise and worship song ‘We All Need Jesus’. Here are some of the words: “We come to this place of worship/We come with a heart of praise/We know that the Lord is with us/We’ve come to hear what He might say/He’s calling us, can’t you hear it?/The angels rejoice above/He’s sending His Holy Spirit/And opening His arms of love/He’s opening His arms of love/For we all need Jesus more than anything/Only He can free us/So we lift our voices up and sing/We lift our voices up and sing”. ‘Beautiful Little Girl (Sarah’s Song)’ is a song gratefully dedicating Cheri and Eddie’s daughter back to God: “Lord, help us do our part/To give her a godly start/Teach her what she must learn/And guide her until she’s ready to turn/Into a woman who loves her Maker/And who knows what she’s living for/So that nothing can harm or take her from You”.
Michael Mellett, Tabitha Fair, and Joey Richey sing backing vocals on ‘The Love of God’. It is a pop song that celebrates who God is and what He’s done for us: “The love of God is an endless river/Flowing down to our hearts/Reaching high as the sky/The love of God goes on forever/We need the ever staying, never changing love of God/We need the love of God/All of us carry some scars/But He has given us new life/All of us have come so far/Cause we have seen a Holy Light”. The album closes with ‘In Remembrance of Me’. Tom Howard conducts The Nashville String Machine on this wonderful communion song: “This is my body given for you/This is the cup that holds the blood of the new covenant/This is forgiveness, simple and true/This is the way that I have made for you/Before you eat, before you drink/Take a long look inside/And tell me what you see/He said ‘Do this in remembrance of Me (2X)’”.
MY FAITH WILL STAY is an amazing album that combines light pop music with worship and adult contemporary sounds. Cheri’s vocals are sweet, warm, and inviting. One really could listen to these ten songs all day long just for that reason alone. The messages most conveyed here are that God loves us all and that in return we should love Him with our words and deeds. Our love for God should not be motivated by an unhealthy fear of what God will do if we don’t love Him, but by gratitude for who He is and what He has done for us and continues to do on our behalf. The pictures of Cheri included with this CD are pretty. I’m rating MY FAITH WILL STAY 95%. For more info visit: www.cherikeaggy.com.