Christmas

JGM Pick of the Week: December 26, 2016

“Away in a Manager” The Wardlaw Brothers Available on iTunes Appropriately, the final Pick of the Week for 2016 is a beloved nineteenth-century Christmas carol given a contemporary flourish by the Wardlaw Brothers. Cascading harmonies introduce a slight variation on the carol’s traditional melody, giving the piece even more of a lullaby-like quality. A delicate string-led arrangement underpins the group’s ensemble and solo work. But what makes the Wardlaw Brothers’ singing on this carol especially appealing is a prominent bass vocal line that complements the complex high register harmonies. By the conclusion, one can understand why the Wardlaw Brothers have been nicknamed ...

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“Oh Come Emmanuel” by Jason Nelson and LIVV: An Interview

By Marianne Richard, Special Contributor to the Journal of Gospel Music Jason Nelson just released his Christmas song, “Oh Come Emmanuel,” featuring LIVV, a new gospel singer with a unique voice and a beautiful spirit. When LIVV shared details on the “behind the scenes” of the making of the track, we realized that this Christmas single is more than it presents.  It is a heavy collaboration between Jason Nelson and LIVV. Now, in full confidence, we can say that the song truly exemplifies all that Christmas stands for. Of course, we were not going to keep what we learned from LIVV ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 21, 2015

“Oh Come All Ye Faithful” Grace Covenant Worship From the CD Christmas With Grace: A Mosaic in Song www.gracecov.org Grave Covenant in Chantilly, Virginia, is a “multi-ethnic, multi-site, multi-racial” church with a dynamic music and arts department. “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” from the church’s Christmas release, is delicately orchestrated with strings but also features a firm rhythm section. You can feel the lush harmonies, with flourishes of big round gospel chords, washing over the congregation. Soloists Candice Hinton, Robert Ellis, and songwriter Tifani Wilson assist in raising the carol’s temperature from the first note to the last. Rendered with ...

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Candi Staton – Christmas In My Heart

Candi Staton Christmas In My Heart Beracah Records (2001) www.candi-staton.com By Bob Marovich Many music fans first heard Candi Staton when she was a disco diva, filling dance floors with her 1976 hit, “Young Hearts Run Free.” Others discovered her a few years earlier when, as a Muscle Shoals recording artist, she was dubbed the “First Lady of Southern Soul.” But two decades before disco and Muscle Shoals, young Canzetta Staton and her sister Maggie started their professional singing careers as two-thirds of the Jewel Gospel Trio. By the 1980s, following a series of personal challenges, Candi left pop music ...

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JGM Music Hour – The Sounds of Christmas, Gospel Style, 2015

    Playlist: Jesus, oh what a wonderful child – The Walls Group Go tell it – Calvin Bridges Time to celebrate – Voncile Belcher Bethlehem morning – Caleb Collins feat. Morris Chapman God rest ye merry gentlemen – Livre’ O come all ye faithful – Grace Covenant Worship This Christmas – Tony McClendon Silent night – Immeasurable The Christmas song – Deon Robertson Don’t take Christ out of Christmas – Angelo & Veronica Worship the newborn king – Tim Spady Carol of the drum – Robert Person O holy night – Kevin Riley Savior of the world – The ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 14, 2015

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” Livre From A Classic Holiday…Presented by MBK Entertainment (2015) http://smarturl.it/AClassicHoliday No disrespect to the many fine gospel musicians out there, but it is surely nice to hear a cappella harmonies every once in a while. That’s what the gospel group Livre gives us in their rendering of the classic Christmas carol, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”  The group’s Take 6-like blend sounds effortless but is harmonically complex. Still, less is more, and during a season when every retailer is yelling to be heard over the din of other retailers, and a steady dose of over-amplified musical cheer ...

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“Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child – The Walls Group

“Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child” The Walls Group From the EP Sounds of Christmas With “Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child,” The Walls Group puts a contemporary lacquer on Margaret Allison and the Angelic Gospel Singers’ Christmas classic, “Glory, Glory to the New Born King.” Once the most popular Christmas song in the African American community, it was overtaken by Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.” Still, as The Walls Group demonstrates, you can bring an old carol back to life by lifting the tempo and tossing leads back and forth like the Harlem Globetrotters pass the ball around.  They sing ...

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Caleb Collins – Caleb Collins Christmas

Caleb Collins Caleb Collins Christmas Caleb Collins Music (2015) www.calebcollins.com By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter Caleb Collins of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir hits a long ball home run with Caleb Collins Christmas. Evoking modern day crooners Michael Buble’ and Harry Connick Jr., Collins sails with verve through lushly orchestrated versions of sacred and secular chestnuts, such as “Let It Snow,” “Joy to the World,” and particularly dramatic arrangements of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” and “What Child is This.” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” gets a Latin workover with a James Bond-ish open. “Silent Night” has a bluesy feel. Rachel Williams-Baggett ...

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Page CXVI – The Church Calendar Series

Page CXVI The Church Calendar Series: – Advent to Christmas – Lent to Maundy Thursday – Good Friday to Easter (new release) www.pagecxvi.com By Bob Marovich I discovered the intriguing music of Page CXVI via an email from Noisetrade about Good Friday to Easter, the trio’s latest and final release in their Church Calendar Series. There they were—husband-and-wife team Reid and Latifah Phillips and Dann Stockton—rendering church hymns with humble melodies and a pop underlay of gently jangling guitars, emotional violin, and contemplative keys.  The group could just as easily direct a meditation service as make a college radio playlist. It turns out ...

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JGM Christmas Pick of the Week: December 22, 2014

“Tis the Season for Miracles” Tarralyn Ramsey Nylarrat/Heartstrings Music (2014) www.tarralynramsey.com Tarralyn Ramsey translates the wonderment of Christmas  into a word of encouragement to people who don’t need presents under the tree—they need real miracles in their lives. Embellishing the melodramatic melody with melismatic runs from the Whitney Houston toolkit, Ramsey reminds the downhearted to keep steadfast in their belief: “Tis the season for miracles, tis the season for breakthrough.” Ramsey launches a note towards the end that is so high it may have taken out a star or two on its trajectory northward. Tarralyn Ramsey is a recording artist and the winner of the ...

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