Author Archives: Bob Marovich

RIP Howard Carroll – the “Dean of Gospel Guitar”

By Bob Marovich The Reverend Joe Williams informed JGM this morning that Mr. Howard Carroll, longtime singer and guitarist with the Dixie Hummingbirds, and long considered the dean of gospel guitar, passed away this morning in Philadelphia’s Mount Airy community. He was 93. “He did things with the guitar that no one ever did,” Williams told a crowd at Philadelphia’s Clef Club in 2016 during a presentation of the Gospel Guitar Award to Carroll. “No one ever did it in gospel music. He actually changed the way gospel music became because of the original things he did with the guitar. Then some ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 16, 2017

“Just Like You” Freewill Available October 20, 2017 http://hyperurl.co/f07w9w By Bob Marovich Will Robinson, aka Freewill, teams up with producer Jor’Dan Armstrong on “Just Like You,” an inspirational song about the importance of moving beyond the cultural divide, “past the drama and the issues,” to the realization that we are, deep down, all the same. A schoolteacher from Atlanta, Georgia (and a Chicago White Sox fan, apparently), Freewill explains the song’s concept: “I believe we have a lot more in common than we think, but our differences sometimes stop the opportunity for us to have an open dialogue.” He gets this ...

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Various Artists – Jesus Rocked the Jukebox

Various Artists Jesus Rocked the Jukebox Craft Records / Concord Music Group (2017) http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/albums/jesus-rocked-jukebox-small-group-black-gospel-1951-1965/ By Bob Marovich In addition to its estimable contributions to the religious, social, and political life of African Americans, the church has also been an effective music training school. Untold numbers of men and women have learned to sing or play instruments before discerning but sympathetic church communities. While some singers and musicians committed their musical talent wholly to God, others sought fame in the financially lucrative world of rock and roll and R&B. This exit caused no small amount of consternation among churchgoers who felt that ...

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Darnell Davis & the Remnant – Live Again

Darnell Davis & the Remnant Live Again D Davis Entertainment / MVP Productions (release date: August 11, 2017) www.darnelldavismusic.com By Bob Marovich Those who know Darnell Davis’s story—those who don’t can read it here—will understand why the overarching theme of his new album with the Remnants, Live Again, is spiritual survival. From the opening selection, “I Am a Miracle,” to the devil’s dirty dealings in “No You Can’t Have It,” to the churchy call-and-response of “I’m Still Here,” the lyrics speak of the battle one wages against the insistent and persistent force of evil. The title’s double meaning helps hammer home this ...

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Half Mile Home’s Todd Burton’s Son Killed by Gun Violence

AKRON, OH (Wednesday, October 11, 2017) — Prayers and condolences to Half Mile Home’s Todd Burton. This past Saturday his son DeAndre Andrus, 21, was shot and killed in what police believe to be a drive-by shooting that involved his cousin. Todd’s son was found dead the next morning from the gunshot wounds in Akron’s Goodyear Heights neighborhood. This is the second time that one of Todd’s kids was shot. His son Trey was shot in the head at the end of last year after an altercation with a man and his girlfriend. Please keep Todd and his family in ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 10, 2017

“I’ve Got to Win” Tonya Lewis-Taylor From the EARS Entertainment Group I’ve Got to Win 2.0 (EP, released August 24, 2017) www.tonyalewistaylor.com By Bob Marovich “I’ve Got to Win” is Tonya Lewis-Taylor at her most expressive. This slow burner of a title track is a modified and more radio-ready version of the title track and emotional highpoint of her 2014 live album, Delayed but Not Denied. Like its predecessor, the inspirational “I’ve Got to Win” benefits from delicate musical accompaniment that provides Lewis-Taylor ample room to emote about how she has persisted in her journey despite almost insurmountable odds. A ...

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Patrick Lundy & the Ministers of Music – By Faith

Patrick Lundy & the Ministers of Music By Faith New Day Distribution (release date: October 27, 2017) www.plundymom.com By Bob Marovich By Faith, the latest full-length release by Patrick Lundy & the Ministers of Music, contains the group’s finest work to date. The quality of the MOM vocalists, individually and collectively, make By Faith strong, but so does the selection of songs and songwriters. While Lundy contributes original compositions, such as “It’s On the Way,” a powerfully-rendered ballad of encouragement, other songwriters include top-shelfers V. Michael McKay (“Rest”), Byron Cage (“From the Rising”), and Stephen Manders (“Under His Wings”). The songs dip frequently into ...

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Debbie Cochran – Born Again Wildflower

Debbie Cochran Born Again Wildflower Independent Release (release date: June 16, 2017) www.debbiecochran.com By Bob Marovich Debbie Cochran, the Arkansas singer whose “Faith Can” was a JGM Pick of the Week in September 2016, scores big by landing Dolly Parton as a duet partner on the title track of her new album, Born Again Wildflower. Cochran, a self-described “classic country” singer, has a voice that is wizened, expressive, and passionate. Her rich, low warble evokes another classic country singer, Kitty Wells, and her aggressive vocal projection reminds me of Opry stars. Her street-level lyrics are like country poetry, not unlike Dolly ...

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Mighty Gospel Inspirations – In Black and White

The Mighty Gospel Inspirations In Black and White Independent Release (2009) http://theboguesound.com/mgi.html By Bob Marovich A cappella quartet singing may not be nearly as widespread in today’s gospel music market as it once was, but it hasn’t gone away completely. For nearly half a century, the Mighty Gospel Inspirations of Durham, North Carolina, have kept the tradition alive. The biracial group’s 2009 release, In Black and White, is a sampling of their harmonistic approach. Representing the quartet on the album are brothers Mike and Ken Sanders, Larry Perry, James Bailey, and Robert Waldrop. In Black and White sounds like someone turned ...

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