Author Archives: Bob Marovich

JGM Pick of the Week: December 19, 2017

“This Far” Half Mile Home (release date: September 29, 2017) www.halfmilehome.com By Bob Marovich Half Mile Home’s single, “This Far,” sounds global and acts local. The opening church phrases, cloaked as they are in expansive Take 6-like harmonies, sound as if they are coming from a choir loft, signifying a call for communal faith and encouragement. But when the music slides into an intimate R&B groove, you realize the message is far more personal. The song, different from the track of the same name from their 2010 project Change My Lyfe, was inspired by two tragedies that forever changed the life of Half Mile Home’s Todd ...

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Curtis Fondren – You Are My Everything (EP)

Curtis Fondren You Are My Everything (EP) GreCur Entertainment (2017) By Bob Marovich Those who know the Chicago gospel scene know Curtis Fondren. A percussionist who has worked with untold numbers of gospel artists, the Reverend Dr. Clay Evans’s Fellowship M.B. Church Choir in particular, Fondren has participated in more recordings than one can count. Most recently, he was holding down the beat for the artists on Lift Him Up: Chicago Gospel Keyboard Masters, a 2016 release by The Sirens Records. You’ll hear Fondren on his new EP, You Are My Everything, as a musician and songwriter. He has trotted ...

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JGM Christmas Hour

              Playlist for Christmas Hour 2017: 1. Joy to the world – Chris Byrd & True Victory 2. Savior of the world – The Ginyards 3. Have yourself a merry little Christmas – E. L. Williams 4. O come Emmanuel – Mike McCoy & Voices United 5. Don’t take Christ out of Christmas – Angelo and Veronica 6. Carol of the bells – MARi 7. Make room for Jesus – Volunteer State Mass Choir 8. Angels we have heard on high – DOE 9. Oh what a pretty little baby – Liz McComb 10. ...

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Soul Survivor: A Biography of Al Green (Jimmy McDonough)

Soul Survivor: A Biography of Al Green. By Jimmy McDonough. Da Capo Press, 2017. 432pp. (hardcover). Index, illustrations. ISBN 978-0-306-82267-4. $28 By Bob Marovich “This was a very challenging project,” journalist and biographer Jimmy McDonough concedes in the acknowledgements of Soul Survivor, his biography of Al Green. You can almost hear McDonough heave a sigh of relief after writing that statement. Chronicling the life of such a defiantly inscrutable entertainer and minister as Green would be difficult enough with the protagonist’s participation. Instead, McDonough had to proceed essentially without Bishop Green’s blessing, relying for his information on decades of existing taped ...

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Bill Hearn, Christian/Gospel Music Executive, Dead at 58

NASHVILLE, December 11, 2017—William Ray “Bill” Hearn, a highly admired and revered music industry executive who led the Nashville-based market-leading Capitol Christian Music Group (CCMG) as its Chairman & CEO, passed away yesterday at age 58 in Nashville, Tennessee. Hearn successfully combined an unwavering vision, a commitment to excellence, and an arsenal of exceptional talent to make CCMG the leader in the Christian/Gospel music industry. Hearn was instrumental in the formation and leadership of that company, having played a leading role in the sale and highly-successful transition of family-owned Sparrow Records – founded by his father, Billy Ray Hearn – ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 11, 2017

“Go Tell It On the Mountain” Dr. Ray Berryhill & the Celebration Choir of RLCI KNEntertainment LLC (digital release date: Dec 19, 2017) By Bob Marovich The Celebration Choir of Resurrected Life Church International on Chicago’s North Side gospelizes this cheery Christmas spiritual with powerful doses of 1980s church choir energy. Dr. Ray Allen Berryhill preaches during the vamp as the choir responds with lethal attack harmonies. Senior Pastor Berryhill comes from strong gospel mettle, having worked as minister of music for the late “Singing” Sammy Lewis, who was an early member of the Roberta Martin Singers before he became a solo artist ...

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“Thank You Lord” – Melody and Harmony

“Thank You Lord” Melody and Harmony From the EP Greater Purpose (2017) http://smarturl.it/mel-harm By Bob Marovich There’s no harmony like sister harmony. Sibling Christian music duo Jeannette Hunte and Samantha Saul were born in Guyana, a country just east of Venezuela on South America’s North Atlantic Coast. The sisters accepted Christ at a young age and have been singing together all their lives. “Thank You Lord,” one of the four songs on their new EP, Greater Purpose, is a simple song of gratitude.  They deliver it with an emphasis on melody over rhythm that is emblematic of European gospel groups, itself a result of the ...

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Various Artists: Family Bonded – Musical Stage Play Soundtrack

Various Artists Family Bonded: Musical Stage Play Soundtrack Sea Fields Productions (release date: October 6, 2017) http://seafieldsproductions.wixsite.com/2013 By Bob Marovich In October, theatergoers in Sacramento, California, were treated to a gospel musical called Family Bonded about four siblings who, being abandoned by their mother, are raised by their sister. Not long after the show ended its October run, Chris Fields, author of the stage play and composer of the featured songs, released a soundtrack starring the original cast. In addition to Fields, talented cast members Yvette Pennington, Leticia Woods, Gregory Allen, Teresa Perea, Josette Williams, and Donnell Gray get turns at ...

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Check Out the Trailer for “Detroit: The Gospel Journey”

By Bob Marovich If you think the story of music in Detroit begins and ends with Motown, think again. Detroit’s gospel music legacy goes back many decades, way before Berry Gordy started Hitsville, USA.  The contributions that Detroiters have made to gospel music continue to enrich the genre today. The story of gospel music in Detroit was just waiting to be told by the right person.  That right person is Marcel West.  With great passion and diligence, West spent years mining archival photos, videos, and other rare ephemera, and interviewing the living legends who took gospel music around the world. The result is a documentary DVD called Detroit: The Gospel Journey. The ...

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“Silent Night” – Pastor Alyn E. Waller

“Silent Night” Pastor Alyn E. Waller From Christmas with Pastor Alyn E. Waller (release date: November 27, 2017) By Bob Marovich Don’t let the introductory avalanche of synthesized sound stop you from hearing Pastor Alyn E. Waller’s affecting take on this timeless carol. He improvises skillfully—not too much, not too little—to excavate the gospel within the soul of this simple melody. The dreamy sax that you hear leading the interlude becomes the second voice on the second verse.  Nicely done. Dr. Waller is Senior Pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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