Author Archives: Bob Marovich

Jamie Lee Rake Reviews Milwaukee Quartet Program

Originally written for publication in online contemporary Christian and gospel music magazine The Phantom Tollbooth (http://www.tollbooth.org/) Lee Williams & The Spiritual QC’s Lisa Knowles & The Brown Singers The Golden Bells The Christland Singers The Fabulous Luckett Brothers Tiffany Terry P. Wilson & Pure Worship Abundant Faith Church of Integrity, Milwaukee, WI 15 September 2018 An argument could be made that Lee Williams shouldn’t have been on the platform. Lord knows, the lanky elder statesman of traditional male quartet soul gospel, with his distinguished salt-and-pepper hair, once a paragon of nigh stoic cool with an authoritative baritone that could sound like ...

Read More »

Shunice Hill-Sullivan – He Won’t Leave Me Alone (EP)

Shunice Hill-Sullivan He Won’t Leave Me Alone (EP) Independent (release date: September 1, 2015) www.ShuniceHillSullivan.com By Bob Marovich On her EP He Won’t Leave Me Alone, Christian singer Shunice Hill-Sullivan eschews gospel music histrionics for understated lyrics and arrangements. A gentle electric piano guides a small quiet storm combo through the four-cut project, which features prayer closet conversations with God. For example, on “Breakthrough,” Shunice speaks to God from a place of unspecific personal trials. She seeks forgiveness and a return to discipleship, knowing that a breakthrough is possible only after she is back in God’s good graces. “Draw Me ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: September 18, 2018

“Unto the Lamb” Kim Stratton Kingdom Records (release date: May 15, 2018) By Bob Marovich On “Unto the Lamb,” Chicago-based gospel songstress Kim Stratton sings “a brand new song.” Although she’s referencing salvation, in another sense, “Unto the Lamb” is itself a brand new song – her first in six years. After focusing  on growing her catering business, the powerhouse church singer tears into Julie Meyer’s “blood” composition with the dramatic vitality that listeners have come to expect from the powerhouse church singer. The radio edit concludes just as Stratton is getting fired up, so I’d recommend the full length version. Regardless, a new ...

Read More »

Bonita Burney Simmons – This Time

Bonita Burney Simmons This Time Bursimslow Music (release date: August 6, 2016) www.bonitaburneysimmons.com By Bob Marovich Bonita Burney Simmons has been compared to Tramaine Hawkins, but I hear more than a touch of Gladys Knight in her voice on her most recent album, This Time. Especially on the opening track, the mid-tempo “God’s People Arise.” Simmons possesses a creamy voice that only moves into evangelist territory when the spirit hits her, as on “I Must Tell Jesus.” This track finds her singing at her most inspired as she shares how she almost gave up. When she became too tired to fight, ...

Read More »

Jonathan Nelson Wants Listeners to be “Inspired, Encouraged, and Empowered” by New Album

By Bob Marovich In 1776, the Declaration of Independence freed American people from the oppression of the Royal Crown. In 2018, Jonathan Nelson’s seventh studio album, Declarations, is intended to free all people for salvation under the Holy Crown. The Stellar Award-winning singer and songwriter releases Declarations (Entertainment One) nationwide and through digital outlets today, Friday, September 14. “I want the album to leave listeners inspired, encouraged, and empowered,” Nelson told the Journal of Gospel Music. “If they sing these songs of themselves, they can see the results of what they say. If they say ‘I’m healed,’ they can be free ...

Read More »

Elder Arlester Washington & the Anointed Central Kentucky Mass Choir – Thank You

Elder Arlester Washington & the Anointed Central Kentucky Mass Choir Thank You (EP) Pure Harvest Entertainment, 2014 859-233-4876 By Bob Marovich For decades, the mass choir movement has gathered together men and women of all ages and from a variety of denominations to fellowship in song. Though small in comparison to most mass choirs, the Anointed Central Kentucky Mass Choir fits this definition. Organized in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1990, the choir’s most recent recording is a five-track EP called Thank You. The 2014 release features its leader, gospel music veteran Elder Arlester Washington. Back in the day, Washington sang and ...

Read More »

Joel Smith Homegoing Services Posted

By Bob Marovich As many readers already know, gospel drummer, bass player, bandleader and producer Joel Smith passed away on September 8 at age 58. Smith cut his teeth on gospel music by accompanying his uncles Edwin and Walter Hawkins. In 1977, at age thirteen, he played drums on Edwin’s Wonderful album. That was only the first; Smith would participate on many other Edwin Hawkins albums, including the classic Christmas album for Birthright. He participated in Walter’s historic Love Alive series and accompanied Tramaine Hawkins on bass and drums for her solo recordings. Smith also played bass guitar on Kurt ...

Read More »

“Laughter (Just Like Medicine)” – BeBe Winans feat. K.S.

“Laughter (Just Like Medicine)” BeBe Winans featuring K.S. (release date: September 4, 2018) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich BeBe Winans and K.S. paraphrase Proverbs 17:22 on the mid-tempo “Laughter (Just Like Medicine).” This appropriately easygoing song is quintessential BeBe in its liberal doses of R&B to deliver an inspirational message. Here, the point is to deal with trials and tribulations by minimizing them. Laughter can heal your soul just as medicine can heal your body. “Just like Pepto Biz!” BeBe sings. BeBe and K.S. are on to something. Laughter releases endorphins, the “feel good” chemicals in your brain that, in turn, ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: September 10, 2018

“You Say” Lauren Daigle From the Centricity Music album Look Up Child (release date: September 7, 2018) www.laurendaigle.com By Bob Marovich “You Say,” by multi-award-winning CCM songstress Lauren Daigle, is a stunning piano-led ballad about God’s positive response to every one of our doubts and insecurities. When we are lonely, God is there. When we feel weak, God is strong. Especially encouraging words in an era of anxiety and uncertainty. Daigle’s energetic, full-throated delivery on this selection falls somewhere between that of Adele and Lady Gaga. Its universal message gives the song plenty of crossover pop potential, especially if it ...

Read More »

JGM Music Hour – Episode 127

              Playlist for Episode 127: I owe God a praise – Jimmy Hicks & ACOJ So glad – Lady Voncile Belcher This is the day – Fred Hammond Oh how I love you – Zacardi Cortez You reign – Deanna Ransom Weather the storm – Dorothy Norwood Give it all to Him – Oladipo Sisters You lift me up – Javen feat. Christine Bell With all my heart – Marlon McDaniel How – PJ Morgan Totally – Fresh Anointing Love somebody today – Genessis & Nikki Ain’t gonna whistle Dixie anymore – Paul Metsa, ...

Read More »