When Ryman Auditorium – then known as the Union Gospel Tabernacle – opened its doors on May 4, 1892, the brick building was designed as a gathering place for religious meetings, educational events and entertainment . The 131-year-old building has its origins in revival and worship, built after riverboat captain Thomas Ryman experienced a religious conversion from Sam Jones, a revivalist from Georgia. Raman then decided to build a center for religious gatherings.
On Saturday (May 27), the building was once again home to a revival of worship and soul – this time, for the It’s Time Tour, led by a group of leading female artists in gospel and Christian music: Natalie Grant, Tasha Cobbs Leonard , Tamela Mann, Naomi Raine and Katie Torvalds.
Each of the women delivered powerful, masterful renditions that elevated the evening into far more than just a concert, as the near-capacity audience remained on their feet for most of the time, raising their hands and joining in the song Because Women led to songs like Grant’s “Turn Your Eyes” (which she recorded with The Belonging Company) and Cobb Leonard’s “I’m Getting Ready.” The duration of the music lent itself to a free-flowing performance, with each woman joining and exiting the stage, for solo performances in between group moments.
Cobbs Leonard asked the audience to look around and take in the beauty of the diverse crowd that had gathered that evening, noting the “different shapes, different sizes, different colors, different languages”. There is one thing we have in common – the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us. Every night he continues to do something new and we expect nothing less tonight.”
Mann later told the crowd, “When we get to heaven, this is what it will look like.” “It’s just rehearsal.”
The 21-city tour began in April in Miami and visited cities including Washington, DC; Atlanta; and Houston. The tour will end on June 1 in Wyoming, Michigan.
Each of the women who headed that evening have stellar resumes: Since releasing her debut album in 2010, Cobbs Leonard has earned three Billboard Music Awards, 15 Stellar Awards, nine Dove Awards, and a Grammy win. He released his latest album, Hymn, in 2022. Grant is a nine-time Grammy winner, with multiple Top 10 Christian airplay hits including “I Won’t Be Moved” and “King of the World.” Raine is a five-time Grammy winner who goes on to be both a solo artist (along with her album cover the earth set to be released in June) and with his work as part of Maverick City Music. Singer-actress Mann has received numerous accolades including Grammys, Dove Awards and Stellar Awards, while Torvalds is known for her work as part of Jesus Culture and Kingsway.
And yet, even with the top-shelf lineup, it was notable that the women barely told the audience their names—instead, there was one name that was clearly and intentionally the center of the evening’s attention.
Cobbs was commanding and resonant on songs including his Grammy-winning “Break Every Chain,” while Mann was captivating and fiery on songs including “God Provides,” “Take Me to the King,” while Raine was at once hypnotic and understated. Maverick City Music skillfully led the audience through the hits “Jireh,” “Promises” and “Jubilee.” Grant performed a trio of his hits with “Greatness of God”, “My Weapon” and “Your Great Name”, while Torvald offered songs including Jesus Culture’s “Prophecy Your Promise”.
One of the most powerful moments in the show came when each performer was seated center stage, and Cobbs Leonard momentarily shifted from the vertical worship songs that filled much of the evening, and the well-crafted storytelling. The song “The Church I Grew” offered Up In,” a tribute to her small, childhood church in Georgia, with “No fancy signs, a service time / And the doors are always open… In the first place I found God.” saw the hand of
“I am a PK (preacher’s child). If you don’t know what that is, you ain’t one,” said Cobbs Leonard. “Then we have the PGKs – the pastor’s grandsons, where are you all? What would the world be like without us? Mess. My father started pastoring when I was 10 and I’m from a small town in Georgia. There were about 50 people sitting in the building, it wasn’t extravagant, but there was a power in that room. I saw miraculous signs and wonders in that room. I saw families being healed in that room. I believe that the same God that was in that building is in this room tonight.”
Knowing the diverse range of attendees, the setlist throughout the evening included radio hits, old-time gospel songs, modern classics like the MercyMe hit “I Can Only Imagine,” and tunes from old church hymns. “In the Garden” and “Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus”.
Taking into account the moment and the fact that the crowd may include a good number of people working through churches, church ministries, and the CCM and evangelical industries, Grant made it clear that the evening could be a cleansing palette. Is.
“I think because I’ve lived here so long… I’m proud to live in Nashville but there’s a lot of professional Christianity in this city. There are many things that people slap Jesus on that have nothing to do with him. Some of you are remembering that tonight you are going to be stripped of religion… and you are going to return to the simplicity of Jesus.
Witnessing the steady engagement of the audience throughout the evening, as they chanted, shouted, sang, stomped, clapped and rejoiced, the evening of worship music at Ramon drew the audience back to a singular focus on Jesus.