Contemporary Christian Music

Whosoever South – Backroads & Small Towns

Whosoever Sourh Backroads & Small Towns Pit Bull Productions (release date: October 3, 2019) www.whosoeversouth.com By Bob Marovich Backroads & Small Towns, the new album by Whosoever South, the self-proclaimed “country crunk” trio from Southeast Georgia, pulls few punches as it expresses quintessentially American Christian values like hard work, faith in God, righteous living, and believing in the Golden Rule and the rule of law. Like a faith-based version of the country superband Alabama, the trio of husband-and-wife team Rowdy and Sarah Eunice, and Mike Mitchell adopts socially-conservative allegiances to southern mores in “Georgia,” and in the swampy “That’s Country,” ...

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Jesse Cann – A New Song

Jesse CannA New SongJordan Line Music (2019)www.jessecann.com By Bob Marovich At the Rhythm of Gospel Awards this summer, a distinguished-looking bearded gentleman named Jesse Cann sat down at a keyboard. In the midst of a musical program featuring thunderous choirs, ecstatic groups, and spirited singers, he offered up an unassuming but nevertheless earnest solo. The audience loved it. Later, Cann, a cancer survivor, took home the Special Event / Instrumental Artist of the Year Award. Cann’s latest album, A New Song, does include an instrumental track and highlights his talent on keys, flugelhorn, and trumpet, but it is a vocal ...

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Out of the Dust – Now More than Ever

Out of the Dust Now More than Ever Independent (release date: September 13, 2019) www.outofthedustmusic.com By Bob Marovich If the Swell Season’s Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova made a Christian album, it would sound like Out of the Dust’s Now More than Ever. The sophomore release for the husband-and-wife duo Chris and Stephanie Teague offers eleven songs with their trademark bracing rhythms, shimmering music, candy-coated melodies, and pop-oriented harmonies. Their relationship transitioned from marriage to separation, divorce, and remarriage. The journey from devastation to deliverance was the underlying element of their self-titled 2017 debut album. But on Now More Than ...

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Peg Luke – Psalm Space

Peg Luke Psalm Space Peg Luke’s Cool Projects Records / New Day Christian Distributors (release date: August 16, 2019) www.psalmspace.com By Bob Marovich Over about a two-year period, flutist and composer Peg Luke created the oratorio Psalm Space from her favorite Psalms, hymns, and prayers. In addition to applying her classical music background—Luke’s flute recitals have sold out Carnegie Hall twelve times—she adopts the French Taize model for her methodology. This means restful, repetitive melodies delivered in a hypnotic chant-like manner. Like Taize, Psalm Space is orchestral music for a candlelit church, designed to lower blood pressure and allow the ...

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Camille Nelson – Sacred Lullabies

Camille Nelson Sacred Lullabies Heart Dance Records (release date: August 23, 2019) www.camillenelson.com By Bob Marovich Religious music comes in many shapes and sizes. It can be thunderous or austere, passionate or quiescent, joyful or somber. Regardless, for sacred music to be effective, it must, as Father of Gospel Music Thomas A. Dorsey once said, “prick the heart.” Sacred Lullabies, Utah musician Camille Nelson’s new collection of acoustic music, pricks the heart by drawing on folk, CCM, country, and Celtic influences. The album is as comforting as a loving embrace. In keeping with the title’s premise, many tracks are soothing ...

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Zion’s Joy! – What Would Heaven Look Like

Zion’s Joy! What Would Heaven Look Like Habakkuk Music (release date: March 8, 2019) www.zionsjoy.com By Bob Marovich Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, the multicultural small choir called Zion’s Joy! made national news in mid-2018 when the video for their single, “What Would Heaven Look Like,” was erroneously blocked by Facebook. From the “no good deed goes unpunished” department: it was only after the group paid to boost their Facebook post of the video that it was flagged by the social media giant as “political content” and subsequently blocked. The company ultimately apologized and restored the video on its platform, noting ...

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Danny Gokey: A Career that God Built

By Bob Marovich Twenty-seven-year-old Sophia Martinez Gokey was a big fan of American Idol. She taped the program so her husband Danny Gokey, also an enthusiast of the singing competition, could watch it after he returned home from work. Sophia eventually encouraged Danny to audition for the show and, in his final year of age eligibility for the program, Danny decided to go for it. But on July 9, 2008, four weeks before the American Idol audition was to take place in Kansas City, Sophia passed away. “It was tragic. It was heartbreaking,” Danny told the Journal of Gospel Music. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 11, 2019

“Haven’t Seen It Yet” Danny Gokey Sparrow / Capitol Christian Music Group (release date: January 11, 2019) www.dannygokeymusic.com By Bob Marovich After a two-year hiatus, American Idol finalist and CCM star Danny Gokey is back with a new single, “Haven’t Seen It Yet.” The single evokes in melody and arrangement the pop hits of Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran, while the lyrics about the force of faith have the kind of dance-ready beat that propelled Jamie Grace’s equally motivational 2014 single, “Do Life Big.” Gokey’s album of the same title is scheduled for release in April.

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Kimberly Kaye – Old Time Gospel

Kimberly Kaye Old Time Gospel www.kimberlykayebachman.com By Bob Marovich Listening to Kimberly Kaye Bachman’s Old Time Gospel EP is like listening to an early Sunday morning radio broadcast emanating from an AM station in her native Iowa. The only thing missing is an encouraging emcee to introduce the singer and the songs. Kimberly does everything on the EP but engineer it; that task is entrusted to Eric Domkowski of Firewheel Audio. Otherwise, she deftly handles the lead vocals, the close country harmonies, and plays all of the stringed instruments (guitar, banjo and mandolin). The track list includes classic hymns as well ...

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The Many – All Belong Here

The Many All Belong Here Independent (release date: July 10, 2017) www.themanyarehere.com By Bob Marovich The title track of The Many’s All Belong Here could be the group’s official anthem. Everyone is welcome at the table of humanity, sings this Christian vocal harmony group from Chicago. Featuring the talents of Darren Calhoun, Hannah Rand, and Leslie Michelle, The Many walks the talk. It is as intentionally diverse and inclusive as the songs the group sings. Their harmonies may be sublime and their musical arrangements mostly laid back and delicate, but the singers are woke when it comes to acknowledging reality. ...

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