Author Archives: Bob Marovich

Gospel music’s impact on rock and soul music is focus of new radio documentary

“Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul” will be broadcast by US public radio stations during Black History Month (February) Note: Journal of Gospel Music’s Editor-in-Chief Bob Marovich is honored to have been interviewed for this remarkable radio documentary. PHILADELPHIA (JANUARY 15, 2019): A new radio documentary that explores the history of black gospel music and illustrates its significant influence on the formation of rock and soul music will be broadcast by US radio stations in February, during Black History Month. Hosted by GRAMMY award-winning gospel singer CeCe Winans, Gospel Roots of Rock and Soul is produced by Philadelphia public radio ...

Read More »

Jonathan McReynolds Leads 2019 Stellar Gospel Music Awards with Nine Nominations

(CHICAGO, IL) January 15, 2019 – Central City Productions announces the nominees in 28 categories for the 34th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards, hosted again this year by history-making artist Kirk Franklin on Friday, March 29. Contemporary gospel artist Jonathan McReynolds leads the field of nominees this year with nine nominations. The powerhouse singer earned recognition for his work on the album “Make Room” (Entertainment One) as well as in the key categories of Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, CD of the Year, Producer of the Year, Contemporary Male Vocalist of the ...

Read More »

Moving Forward and Facing the Future in the Black Church Worship Experience – Dr. Antonia M. Arnold-McFarland

Moving Forward and Facing the Future in the Black Church Worship Experience. By Dr. Antonia M. Arnold-McFarland. EFlat Major Productions, 2018. 155pp. (softcover). Appendices. ISBN 9-781732-336506 By Bob Marovich An engineer by training, Dr. Antonia Arnold-McFarland earned certification in Six Sigma, a process improvement technique developed at Motorola in 1980. As a practitioner and consultant in music and worship arts ministry, she had an idea: what if the principles of Six Sigma could be applied to improve the effectiveness of African American church music ministries? After all, people are people, whether in the church or on the factory floor, and ...

Read More »

“It’s Like Fire” – Lady Bartee

“It’s Like Fire” Lady Bartee BRG Records (2018) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/ladybartee By Bob Marovich Lady Bartee sounds a little like Janelle Monae or the late Amy Winehouse on the amalgam of sonic intensity that is her latest single, “It’s Like Fire.” Raised Pentecostal, Bartee knows a thing or two about Holy Ghost fire, and she expresses it with barely restrained passion on this haunting and atmospheric minor-keyed song. Less a melody than a repeated riff that ebbs and flows in intensity, “It’s Like Fire” marches fearlessly forward and ends with sky-raking crackles of thunder that presuppose the lightning. A native of Poughkeepsie, ...

Read More »

“I Wanna Know You” – Intimate Praise

“I Wanna Know You” Intimate Praise From the Downbeat Records CD I Wanna Know You (2018) https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/IntimatePraise By Bob Marovich The California gospel duo Intimate Praise, comprised of Allyson Ross Moses and Dennis Flannigan, lives up to its moniker on “I Wanna Know You.” From their album of the same title, this love song to the Lord has that cozy California sound, complete with delicate taps of cymbals and sound effects of chirping birds straight out of Minnie Riperton’s “Loving You.” The soft, alluring melody and arrangement evoke smooth soul/R&B duos of the 1980s, though the lyrics make it plain that ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: January 8, 2019

“Go” Trin-i-tee 5:7 From the DarkChild Music CD A Project of Healing (2018) By Bob Marovich In the context of A Project of Healing, Fred Jerkins’ various artists CD from which it comes, “Go” represents more than a reunion of Angel and Chanelle of Trin-i-tee 5:7. It also represents, in lyric and arrangement, the unsettling emotions that come with moving forward on faith. The ladies are like two voices in one’s head, trying to come to terms with the shock of the present and the uncertainty of the future. Jerkins and DarkChild Gospel’s various artists album is as much a bear ...

Read More »

“Going” – Christina Bell

“Going” Christina Bell Malaco Music Group (2018) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich When I first heard the Shreveport, Louisiana, female gospel group Zie’l singing a Ward Singers classic a cappella at the 2005 Gospel Music Workshop of America, I knew then it would be a group to watch. Though Zie’l tended to favor the smooth-and-sassy style of Virtue on their Genesis and Pronounced ZY-EL albums, their finest moments came when they worked within gospel’s firm foundations, such as on “Purify Me,” “Surely God is Able,” and “Is My Living in Vain.” Nevertheless, they always sounded better live. One of the principal ...

Read More »

JGM Music Hour: Episode 130

Episode 130 Playlist: On time – Bishop Larry Trotter & Sweet Holy Spirit Choir I’ve got joy – Reggie Campbell feat. Celia King Murray Bless the Lord – GMWA Detroit Chapter Choir Working for my good – Brandon Mitchell & S.W.A.P. feat. Lisa Knowles Smith Waiting on Jesus – True Believers He worked it out – Tommies Reunion Choir The great I am – Shree Isabell Open your mouth and say something – Brent Jones We’re ready – God’s Chosen Cycles – Jonathan McReynolds feat. DOE Into your heart – Jessica Dalla Torre In your presence – Puchi Colon When ...

Read More »

Will Downing – The Promise

Will Downing The Promise Shanachie Entertainment (release date: November 30, 2018) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich Listening to R&B crooner Will Downing’s first gospel album, The Promise, is like hearing Peabo Bryson, George Benson, or Al Jarreau making a sacred album. It’s not surprising. Called “The Prince of Sophisticated Soul,” Downing has been melting hearts with interpretations of top-selling R&B songs since his debut self-titled album in 1988. For a long time, Downing’s mother had wanted him to make a gospel album, but when the singer was diagnosed with an illness called Polymyositis that almost took his life, he made the ...

Read More »

Gospel Industry Exec’s Book Aims to Help Gospel Artists Grow, Develop

By Bob Marovich While her friends were listening to the singing stars of the day, a young Tracy Williamson was just as interested in who was producing the music, and how they did it, as who sung it. She charted the careers of legendary producers like Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy, Sean “P Diddy” Combs, and—closer to her Chicago home—Chicago Mass Choir producer and vocalist Percy Gray Jr. and her mother, Chicago Mass president Dr. Feranda Williamson. Her music business education continued while serving as A&R and label director at Tyscot Records, where she gained additional wisdom and inspiration from label ...

Read More »