Christian Rock

JGM Pick of the Week: May 11, 2020

“Better Days” Joe Daccache Independent (release date: April 3, 2020) By Bob Marovich “Better Days” is a pop-styled song with an inspirational message from Joe Daccache. A thumping beat with swatches of warbling organ, plunky piano, hand claps, and flourishes of brass give the impression of being in the church as well as in the park, as if Cee Lo Green and Kirk Franklin were jamming together. Inspired by his mother’s battle with cancer (she’s currently cancer-free), Daccache wrote “Better Days” with Autumn Marie Buysse and Tony Chetta. The song offers gratitude to God for blessings received, and brings a ...

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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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Don Rutherford – Chronicles 16

Don Rutherford Chronicles 16 Thousand Generations Records (release date: January 19, 2019) www.donrutherfordmusic.net By Bob Marovich Hearing Don Rutherford’s Chronicles 16 reminded me of the concept albums produced in the 1970s by Canadian rock band Rush. This was confirmed with the one-two punch intro to the album’s “Canaan / The Few,” which evokes the opening to Rush’s 2112. Rutherford’s Christian concept album, subtitled “A Psalm in Rock,” is a clever conceit, a rock oratorio based on David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving in 1 Chronicles 16 (King James Version). A hard-charging rhythm section, screaming guitar solos, and ever-shifting motifs are reminiscent of ...

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2019 Absolutely Gospel Music Award Nominees Announced

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (January 16, 2019) – The administrators and staff of AbsolutelyGospel.com are proud to announce the nominees for the 2019 Absolutely Gospel Music Awards. As in years past, the nominees were chosen by the staff of AbsolutelyGospel.com and select media representatives. Starting on Monday, January 21, 2019, the fans will get a chance to vote for their favorites in several categories. “Once again, another year has come and gone, and we start this process all over again,” said Deon Unthank, President/CEO of AbsolutelyGospel.com. “This will be our 15th live show that we’ve produced, and we know that they ...

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New Devin Williams CD Comes with Strings Attached…A Whole Quartet, In Fact

By Bob Marovich With seven of his singles, including the latest, “Like a Fire,” becoming Top 30 Christian Rock charting songs, Devin Williams has done what, to my knowledge, no Christian rocker has done to date: set his searing singles to the soothing sounds of a string quartet. Released August 31, Devin Williams with String Quartet was produced by Grammy Award-winning engineer Brad Blackwood, (Maroon 5, Korn, Skillet, Sara Bareilles, Alison Krauss). What has been the initial reaction of Williams’ fan base to the new project? “It’s still early, but the fans are digging it,” Williams told the Journal of Gospel Music. ...

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All Above North – How Great It Is To Be Broken

All Above North How Great It Is To Be Broken Northwest Records (2017) www.allabovenorth.com By Bob Marovich If Joy Division had made a Christian album, it might sound like How Great It Is To Be Broken. All Above North’s latest album is equal parts retro ‘80s and current-day EDM. Prayerful conversations with God—some cheerful, some expressing anxiety—receive ample helpings of electric confetti, at times bright and cheerful and at other times intense and dramatic. And thank God, the synth sounds like a synth and not like an artificial brass section or violins. From Sydney, Australia, the Christian indie rock band All Above ...

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SWEETEVERAFTER – Adoration Project (EP)

SWEETEVERAFTER Adoration Project (EP) (release date: February 2, 2018) www.sweeteverafter.net By Bob Marovich Nearly ten years ago, husband-and-wife team Ammee Pearl and Jay Huzil formed SWEETEVERAFTER, a Christian group with a hard rock center. They earned a Metal Song of the Year nomination from the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. The duo’s latest release, the Adoration Project EP, is decidedly mellower than their earlier output. They set aside their electronic gear to hone in on the nitty gritty of some urgent messages. Huzil’s acoustic guitar leads a low-key ensemble of strings, soft percussion, piano, a flute that floats around the music, and the high, lonesome ...

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Steven Cermele – HealThy Heart

Steven Cermele HealThy Heart SLC Records (release date: December 8, 2017) Available from Amazon.com By Bob Marovich Although a professional singer and drummer in secular music for more than 25 years, Steven Cermele has spent the past decade focused exclusively on singing and playing in church. In other words, he’s “divinely rearranged,” as he sings on the title track of his new album, HealThy Heart. Eleven self-penned selections combine the simplicity of southern gospel with the electric drive of country rock. Cermele’s best offerings on HealThy Heart are straight-ahead, no-nonsense southern gospel selections such as “If I Don’t Have Jesus.” The melody, ...

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Imari Tones – Jesus Wind

Imari Tones Jesus Wind (release date: November 7, 2017) https://imaritones.bandcamp.com/album/jesus-wind By Bob Marovich If you are not familiar with the Imari Tones, they are a Christian heavy metal band from Japan. Their latest release, Jesus Wind, is a concept album about the development of Christianity in Japan, a largely Buddhist nation. Although I listened to heavy metal in my youth, I never paid much attention to the lyrics, so it took some acclimation for me to get to the kernel of the message on Jesus Wind (the lyrics are, with rare exception, in English). What I distill from Jesus Wind is this: the group weaves ...

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Adam Everett – If You Are Weary

Adam Everett If You Are Weary Polytone Records (release date: May 11, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/adameverett By Bob Marovich If John Hiatt made a gospel album, it would sound like Adam Everett’s If You Are Weary. This eight-track collection of hymns and newly-composed songs is the product of a new breed of young alt-gospel artists such as the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers (who opened for Everett’s album release party), Liz Vice, and Eli “The Paperboy” Reed. Together, they are taking to church the Americana soul-country-rock melange rekindled by the Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes, and Neko Case (who has covered some gospel on ...

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