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RIP: Clay Graham of the Pilgrim Jubilees

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music learned that Mr. Clay Graham of the legendary gospel quartet the Pilgrim Jubilees has passed away. One of thirteen children born to Columbus and Josephine Chandler Graham, Clay Graham was born August 26, 1936. He would go on to fame as lead singer and sermonette spinner for the Pilgrim Jubilee Singers. Formed in 1944 in Houston, Mississippi, the Pilgrim Jubilee Singers (later shortened to the Pilgrim Jubilees, or the “Jubes”) began as a family quartet consisting of brothers Theophilus “Hoppy” Graham and Elgie C. B. Graham, cousin Monroe Hatchett and cousins-in-law Willis ...

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GMA Announces Hall of Fame Inductees and Honor Recipients

GMA FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES AND HONORS RECIPIENTS FOR 5TH ANNUAL GMA HONORS AND HALL OF FAME CEREMONY Ceremony will take place Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena NASHVILLE, Tenn. (February 16, 2018) – The GMA (Gospel Music Association) Foundation announced its inductees and honorees for the 5th Annual GMA Honors and Hall of Fame Ceremony set for Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena. This year’s GMA Hall of Fame inductees include CCM artist Carman, award-winning Southern Gospel artist Karen Peck Gooch, legendary Gospel family group The Staple Singers and acclaimed producer ...

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RIP: Dr. James C. McLean of the Bethlehem Gospel Singers

Angelo Breeden and Archie Swindell Jr. informed JGM that Dr. James C. McLean, a founding member of the Bethlehem Gospel Singers, passed away in a Charlotte, North Carolina, hospital yesterday evening, February 5, 2018. Hailing from Laurinburg, North Carolina, the Bethlehem Gospel Singers were organized in the late 1950s by Dr. McLean and Archie Swindell Sr. The group enjoyed recording success on Hoyt Sullivan’s HSE label starting in 1969, making noise in 1972 with their two-part “My Bible is Right.” Listen to the track below and please keep Dr. McLean’s family, friends, and fans in prayer.

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RIP, Ronald Greer; Wrote Book on Roberta Martin Singers

By Bob Marovich JGM is saddened to report the passing of Mr. Ronald Greer of Bay City, Texas. He passed away in his sleep sometime last night or early this morning. Ron was the number one fan of the Roberta Martin Singers. Over the years, he kept in touch with the Martin Singers’ manager, Eugene Smith. Before Eugene passed, he shared with Ron many stories about the Roberta Martin Singers. Many went into Ron’s book, Only a Look, a history and appreciation of the pioneering gospel group. Subsequent to the publication of Only a Look, Ron helped secure a place for the Roberta ...

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CeCe Winans Wins Big at Grammy Awards

Congratulations to the winners in the 60th Grammy Awards Gospel and Christian categories: Best Gospel Performance/Song: “Never Have to Be Alone” — CeCe Winans; Dwan Hill & Alvin Love III, songwriters Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song: “What a Beautiful Name” — Hillsong Worship; Ben Fielding & Brooke Ligertwood, songwriters Best Gospel Album: Let Them Fall in Love — CeCe Winans Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: Chain Breaker — Zach Williams Best Roots Gospel Album: Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope — Reba McEntire

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Edwin Hawkins’ “Oh Happy Day” Back on Billboard Charts, Hits #1

From a press release: A week after the death of four-time Grammy® Award-winning recording artist, Edwin Hawkins, The Edwin Hawkins Singers’ 1969 million-seller, “Oh Happy Day,” has charted at #1 on Billboard Magazine’s Gospel Digital Song Sales chart for the issue week ending January 27, 2018. The classic song had a 999% sales increase following worldwide news coverage of the celebrated artist’s passing from cancer last week and it also amassed over 173,000 streams during the same period. In recent months, Hawkins and his management team had begun to plan activities surrounding the 50th anniversary of “Oh Happy Day” which was ...

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33rd Annual Stellar Gospel Music Award Nominees

From The Stellar Awards website: The 2017-2018 33rd Annual Stellar Gospel Music Award Nominees Category #1 ARTIST OF THE YEAR – Anthony Brown & group therAPy, A Long Way from Sunday, Key of A/FairTrade/Tyscot Records – JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise, You Deserve It, JamesTown Music/Entertainment One – Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Heart. Passion. Pursuit, Motown Gospel – Travis Greene, Crossover Live in Music City, RCA Inspiration Category #2 SONG OF THE YEAR – Anthony Brown, Trust in You – A Long Way from Sunday, Key of A/FairTrade/Tyscot Records – David Bloom, Cortez Vaughn, Phontane Demond Reed & JJ Hairston, You ...

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2018 Absolutely Gospel Music Award Nominees Announced

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (January 18, 2018) – The administrators and staff of AbsolutelyGospel.com are proud to announce the nominees for the 2018 Absolutely Gospel Music Awards. As in years past, the nominees were chosen by the staff of AbsolutelyGospel.com and select media representatives. Starting on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, the fans will get a chance to vote for their favorites in several categories. “It’s hard to imagine that we’ve been doing this awards program for 17 years,” mentioned Deon Unthank, President/CEO of AbsolutelyGospel.com. “We believe that our staff does such a fantastic job of choosing nominees and winners, and this ...

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RIP: Edwin Hawkins, Architect of Contemporary Gospel

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music has learned that Edwin Hawkins, whose arrangement of the nineteenth-century hymn “Oh Happy Day” became a crossover success and signaled the emergence of contemporary gospel music, passed away today (Jan. 15) in Pleasanton, California. Here is a brief biography I put together: Born August 19, 1943, to Mamie and Dan Lee Hawkins, Edwin Hawkins grew up in music. Trained by his elder brother, Edwin began playing piano at age five and accompanied the family group. By the time he was sixteen, Edwin had sung at a variety of churches in the Bay Area and was part ...

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JGM’s Best CDs, Singles, and Historic Reissues of 2017

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music presents its Best of 2017 list in the categories of CDs, songs, and historical releases. The recordings were not chosen based on sales, chart status, promotion, voting, fan popularity, number of likes or retweets, committee decisions, throwing darts, reading tea leaves, arm twisting, or anything other than JGM: 1) was serviced with the music for review and 2) believes they best represent gospel/Christian/sacred music in 2017 in terms of overall quality of music, message, and presentation. Artists whose music does not appear here: do not despair. These lists were compiled from many hundreds of releases ...

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