Jewish gospel” is a genre of music most people are unfamiliar with. It borrows from both the Jewish and the gospel idioms, yet it is a sound all its own. Some of it approaches a klezmeresque feel; as if it were written for a new production of “Fiddler on the Roof.” Then there is also the hint of “old time religion” spirituals in the themes of heaven, forgiveness, redemption and personal peace.
For a good breadth of messianic music, Susan Mendelson belts out a great selection of songs from some of the top Jewish gospel music composers: Lamb, Israel’s Hope and The Liberated Wailing Wall. She brings her own interpretation to these tried and true “favorites.”
Mendelson, an accomplished songwriter in her own right, is a graduate of the Crane School of Music. Her own odyssey of faith is unusual, inasmuch as she grew up as a “nice Jewish girl from Long Island” who pursued a country music career. Though she had a national release that made the charts, Susan battled devastating stage fright for years. Finally, she cried out for God’s help in 1990. That’s when she met Jesus and her life took on a new purpose and direction.
She has recently completed an international solo tour to the United Kingdom, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, which showcased her warm-hearted blend of messianic music, humor and story.