Author Archives: Bob Marovich

RIP: Archbishop Lucius Hall

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music was saddened to learn this morning, via a posting by Pam Morris-Walton and the Chicago Crusader, of the passing of Archbishop Lucius Hall. Archbishop Hall was born and raised in Chicago. Prior to forming his own church, the First Church of Love and Faith, in 1980, on Chicago’s south side, he was associated with the First Church of Deliverance, led by Reverend Clarence H. Cobbs. Hall grew up in First Church and gained renown as its radio announcer. For many years, Hall was heard every Sunday evening on the church’s legendary radio ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 30, 2020

“Without Condition” Ashy Akakpo Independent (release date: February 16, 2020) https://www.ashyakakpo.com By Bob Marovich From North-West London, England, indie gospel artist Ashy Akakpo tests industry waters with her debut single, “Without Condition.” Understated and focused wholly on lyrics about God’s unconditional love, “Without Condition” introduces a young woman who sounds for all the world like an emerging Christian version of Alicia Keys. Don’t think so? Check out the harmony section at the single’s end and get back with me. It’s like we are spying on a late night solo happening on a half-lit church altar. Yes, less is more.

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Greg Harris – Reaching

Greg Harris Reaching KNEntertainment / Sabbath Day Records (release date: January 5, 2020) By Bob Marovich Reaching, the new studio CD by Pastor Greg Harris of Little Rock, Arkansas, features a handful of songs of praise, inspiration, and gratitude sung in several styles by Harris and a small choir. JGM’s introduction to Pastor Harris happened in 2009 with his appearance at the Gospel Music Workshop of America and a subsequent review of his live album from the same year. Reaching demonstrates Harris’s growth as a gospel singer. The two album standouts hearken back to old-fashioned Sunday morning singing. “He’s Coming ...

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Enon Music Group Creates “The Levites Relief Fund” To Support Philadelphia Area Musicians

Enon Music Group Creates Fund To Financially Support Musicians Whose Employment Is Affected By Covid-19 Pandemic Philadelphia, PA — Enon Music Group (EMG) is an independent record label established by Dr. Alyn E. Waller, Senior Pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA. The growing label has supported a diverse and dynamic roster of Stellar Award Nominated artist as well as new and developing artists. Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic crisis the world is experiencing, EMG has created a relief fund to support Philadelphia area musicians who have lost employment due to the mandatory closure of churches. EMG has ...

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The Best is Yet to Come – James C. Birdsong Jr.

The Best is Yet to Come: A Testimony of One Young Man’s Redemption. By James C. Birdsong Jr. T & J Publishers, 2017. 362pp. (softcover). ISBN 978-0-9994121-7-6 By Bob Marovich Too often, memoirs written by members of famous families paint a rosy portrait of their lives. Not so in James C. Birdsong Jr.’s earnest The Best is Yet to Come. He is unashamed to talk about the travails he and his family have endured. Indeed, he hopes his tale will help inspire others struggling under similar circumstances. James comes from the Birdsong family that has provided the world such luminaries ...

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“Just One Plague” – Esther Igbekele JP

“Just One Plague” Esther Igbekele JP By Bob Marovich To my knowledge, Nigerian gospel singer Esther Igbekele is the first music minister to release a song about COVID-19. Set to a buoyant West African rhythm, “Just One Plague” is a folk ballad that chronicles the impact Coronavirus has had on the world. Schools are closed. Businesses are closed. Sports are postponed. Economies are stalled. Governments are humbled. People need to stay a meter apart. Most astonishingly, she points out, the virus has also forced calm in the midst of international violence and political unrest. Ultimately, however, Igbekele commands the virus ...

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Leo V. – Best Love

Leo V. Best Love Independent (release date: 2009) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/leov By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter and musician Leo Valladares, aka Leo V., brings the musical richness of his Latino culture to bear on some of the Christian songs packaged on his 2009 debut CD, Best Love. Teeing up a Latin beat for “Come Away with Me” and “Lost in Love,” Leo twangs notes on the electric guitar in earnest emulation of Carlos Santana. But as a vocalist, Leo evokes a garage band rocker from the 1960s. The team of musicians, which includes Sam Valladares on classical guitar, Eric Robert on keyboards (set ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 23, 2020

“Out of This” Jason Williams Paper City Records (release date: March 20, 2020) By Bob Marovich “Out of This” has one of the smoothest, mellowest grooves I’ve heard in gospel this year. Despite the contemporary setting led by acoustic guitar, the lyrics cut right to the soul like an old church gospel song. “Maybe someone who cared for left you out in the rain,” Jason Williams sings in a baritone straight out of quiet storm programming. “Someone you sent up some prayers for caused you so much pain.” Williams encourages listeners that notwithstanding the personal anguish, “a blessing is coming ...

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Avalon – Called

Avalon Called Red Street Records (release date: February 14, 2020) www.redstreetrecords.net By Bob Marovich Called is Christian power group Avalon’s fourteenth album but its first in a decade. It is also the group’s debut CD for the Red Street imprint, an enterprise formed several months ago by Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts and Don Koch, both of whom produce the new album. If the lyrics are laser-focused on the universal themes of praise, worship, and encouragement, the musical foundation shifts from song to song in a well-crafted sequence. The title track is a high-energy ballad about discipleship. The current single, ...

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Sheltering in Place? Watch Episodes of “Jubilee Showcase”

By Bob Marovich On Sunday mornings from 1963 to 1984, Jubilee Showcase treated television viewers in Chicagoland with 30 minutes of gospel music programming featuring local and national artists. Before BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel, Jubilee Showcase was the longest-running gospel television show. Steven Ordower, whose father Sid Ordower was the show’s host and producer, provides three ways to enjoy this historic Emmy Award-winning program from your home: 1. YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCe1QRZ2XvcfU8OTJ77OOeg You can also go to YouTube and search: Jubilee Showcase 2. The Jubilee Showcase DVD is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Classic-Moments-Jubilee-Showcase-Andrae/dp/B00KPPHGKW/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=jubilee+showcase+DVD&qid=1584392303&sr=8-1 The DVD has four full episodes plus several bonus short-documentary ...

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