Author Archives: Bob Marovich

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 ...

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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 ...

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1st Annual Independent Gospel Artists Alliance Awards Announced & Submissions Open January 1, 2019

National nonprofit education and mentorship organization recognizes excellence in Gospel, Christian, and Inspirational music by independent label owners and independent artists. Independent Gospel Artists Alliance Awards will take place at Mount Lebanon Baptist Church on Friday, July 12, 2019 at 7:00 PM at 215 Las Gaviotas Blvd, Chesapeake, VA 23322 Washington, DC — The Independent Gospel Artists Alliance, Inc. (IGAA)  announced the 1st Annual Independent Gospel Artists Alliance Awards celebrating independent Gospel, Christian, and Inspirational artists and their music. Artists can submit entries for award consideration starting January 1, 2019. Award-winning gospel artists Phillip Carter and Earl Bynum are the ...

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Earl Bynum – This Song is for You

Earl Bynum This Song is For You Lrae Entertainment / Tyscot Records / HBK Media (release date: October 5, 2018) www.EarlBynumMusic.com By Bob Marovich Gospel music enthusiasts can be forgiven if they are so accustomed to hearing Minister Earl Bynum appearing with the Mount Unity Choir of Chesapeake, Virginia, that they forgot he is also a solo recording artist. This Song is For You is Bynum’s third solo album and first in nearly a decade. It showcases his meaty, muscular male voice, a sound that dominated gospel music until recent years, though the trend among males now seems to favor ...

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“Turn Right and Go Straight” – Roscoe Robinson

“Turn Right and Go Straight” Roscoe Robinson ABKCO Music & Records (release date: June 29, 2018) By Bob Marovich On the subject of veteran travelers of the gospel highway, Roscoe Robinson has been singing gospel quartet, with a notable side trip as a national soul artist, since the early 1950s. “Turn Right and Go Straight” is Robinson without his recent quartet, the Birmingham Blind Boys, and with a roadhouse band, rocking electric guitar riffs, and righteous background vocalists.  In solid voice, Robinson employs travel directions as a metaphor to help the sinner guide his way to “the pearly gate.” The ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 24, 2018

“He Picked Me Up” The Highway Q.C.s feat. Spencer Taylor Jr. Ruff Boyz Records (release date: December 14, 2018) By Bob Marovich On the road in one iteration or other since 1945, the Highway QCs continue to traverse the gospel highway, led by the Godfather of Gospel, Spencer Taylor Jr., who has been with the group since Dwight D. Eisenhower was President of the United States. “He Picked Me Up,” the quartet’s latest single, is a bundle of sanctified energy. The quartet strings together beloved lyric lines from classic gospels and hymns to celebrate of God’s power to save one ...

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Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis – Super Excited

Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis Super Excited EmptyMe Entertainment (release date: July 20, 2018) www.vtkonline.com By Bob Marovich Recorded live at Hope Church of Memphis, Super Excited is the latest full-length project by that city’s Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis. For a decade, the rhythm and praise group and its singer-songwriter leader have worked within the high-spirited and dense choral sound of fellow Memphian the late O’Landa Draper. Super Excited follows the same extroverted musical path as the group’s 2012 Live in Memphis. The album’s eight songs are uncomplicated but their vocal and instrumental arrangements are anything but. The group’s singing is ...

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Calvin Simon: From Gospel to Funk and Back Again

By Bob Marovich Few gospel artists can claim to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Only one, to my knowledge, can also boast that a major prop from his former band is now on display in the Smithsonian. Calvin Simon can lay claim to both. As a founding member of the popular funk group Parliament Funkadelic, Simon is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. The P Funk Mothership, an iconic stage prop, is part of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Although Simon has laid those days to the ...

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JGM Music Hour – Christmas 2018 Mixtape

Merry Christmas!  Here is the playlist for the Journal of Gospel Music’s special Christmas 2018 Mixtape: Something’s happening – CeCe Winans It must be Christmas time – Courtney Franklin & Sierra Ward-Pope Tis the season – Tony & the Essential Band That time of year – Lee Walker & Spirit Merry Christmas – Prez Blackmon Joy – Bishop J.D. Means Sr. This time of year – Anthony Faulkner It’s Christmas – CeCe Winans O Come, O Come, Emmanuel – Audrey DuBois Harris Greatest gift – Shonda English Have yourself a merry little Christmas – Herb Middleton feat. E.L. Williams Christ ...

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Bishop Leonard Scott – Jesus Love Legacy

Bishop Leonard ScottJesus Love LegacyTyscot Records (release date: August 31, 2018)www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich At times, gospel artists start their own independent record company to promote their talent. At other times, it’s the label owner who becomes the talent. The latter applies to Professor James Roberson of JDI Records and to Bishop Leonard Scott of Tyscot Records. Scott has stepped from behind the executive desk (and the dentist’s chair) to become the face and one of the voices of the Indianapolis, Indiana-based record company. On Scott’s latest project, Jesus Love Legacy, he surrounds himself with top-shelf singers, songwriters, and musicians, many culled ...

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