Breaking News

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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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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The Recording Academy Announces 60th GRAMMY Nominees

Congratulations to the 60th GRAMMY nominees in the Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music categories: 36. Best Gospel Performance/Song • Too Hard Not To Tina Campbell; Tina Campbell & Warryn Campbell, songwriters • You Deserve It JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise Featuring Bishop Cortez Vaughn; David Bloom, JJ Hairston, Phontane Demond Reed & Cortez Vaughn, songwriters • Better Days Le’Andria • My Life The Walls Group; Warryn Campbell, Eric Dawkins, Damien Farmer, Damon Thomas, Ahjah Walls & Darrel Walls, songwriters • Never Have To Be Alone CeCe Winans; Dwan Hill & Alvin Love III, songwriters 37. Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song • Oh ...

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RIP: Della Reese, Sang with Mahalia Jackson, the Meditation Singers

By Bob Marovich Although better known as a television actor and pop singer, Della Reese made her early foray into professional music as a gospel singer. As a teenager, she worked with Mahalia Jackson and, later, with Brown’s Inspirational Singers (Indianapolis) and the Meditation Singers (Detroit). Maureen O’Donnell’s obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times offers a look at the decades-spanning career of Della Reese. Read it here: Della Reese. The Journal of Gospel Music salutes the late Della Reese with this clip of her singing “Lonelyville” in the 1958 film, Let’s Rock.

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RIP: Pastor Shawn Jones

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Pastor Shawn Jones of the Alabama quartet Shawn Jones and the Believers. Here is the group’s biography, from their Facebook page: “Pastor Shawn Jones (Formally of The Alabama Spirituals) & The Believers started singing in the year of 2000 at the First Baptist Church in Rockford, AL. They appeared on shows with gospel great like Lee Williams & The Spiritual QC’s, Rev. Andrew Cheers & The Song Birds, Darrell McFadden & The Disciples, Slim & The Supreme Angels, and Dorothy Norwood. “After a ...

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“How They Got Over” Receives Award at Chicago Film and Music Festival

How They Got Over, a documentary film by Robert Clem about gospel quartets and their contribution to rock and roll, received the “Best Killer Soundtrack” Award from the ninth Chicago International Movies and Music Festival, better known as CIMMFest. The documentary was shown at the Davis Theater last Saturday afternoon as part of the festival. Gospel legend Willie Rogers of the Soul Stirrers joined Clem, co-producer Jerry Zolten, and gospel historian Bob Marovich for a brief Q&A session afterward. How They Got Over features interviews from singing stars such as Clarence Fountain (Blind Boys of Alabama), Rev. Thomas Spann (Brooklyn All Stars), Ira ...

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RIP Shea Norman, Gospel Singer

JGM was saddened to learn of the passing of gospel singer Shea Norman of Memphis.  The gospel singer passed away Thursday at age 45 as a result of diabetes. Reported the Memphis Commercial Appeal: “Norman, whose real name was Alen VonShea Norman, began a career in gospel music in 2004. His album, My Heart Depends On You, put him on the Billboard Gospel Albums chart at No. 17. His single, Tis So Sweet, was included on the WOW Gospel 2005 compilation album.” Read more about Mr. Norman here: Shea Norman.

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MercyMe Named Artist of the Year at 48th Annual GMA Dove Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (October 17, 2017) – Tonight, the Gospel Music Association (GMA) handed out honors in 39 categories at the 48th Annual GMA Dove Awards plus special industry recognitions at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena in Nashville. Kari Jobe and Tasha Cobb Leonard hosted the sold-out show and Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) will exclusively air the awards show on October 22 at 8 p.m. CST. Visit www.doveawards.com for more information. MercyMe was named Artist of the Year and Zach Williams took home New Artist of the Year. Gospel music legend Pat Boone received the SoundExchange Fair Play Award. From first-time nominees ...

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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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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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