Contemporary Christian Music

Reba Rambo – Lady

Reba Rambo Lady Provident Label Group / Sony Music (re-release date: December 13, 2019) By Bob Marovich Provident Label Group / Sony Music has just made a beloved recording by Christian singer Reba Rambo available once again, digitally remastered. By 1977, when she released her fifth solo recording, Lady, on Greentree Records, Reba Rambo, the daughter of gospel singers Buck and Dottie Rambo and a member of the Singing Rambos, had been in and out of recording studios for the better part of a decade. Despite initial hesitancy by Reba’s record company to put her solo album out, Lady earned ...

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The Many – Love > Fear

The Many Love > Fear Plural Guild (release date: November 15, 2019) www.themanyarehere.com By Bob Marovich The Many is a multicultural vocal group based in Chicago and comprised of the talents of Darren Calhoun, Hannah Rand, and Leslie Michele. On their latest release, Love > Fear, they offer their distinctive brand of relaxed Christian pop, complete with warbling organ, tinkling electric piano, a solid rhythm section, and sugary sweet harmonies. As on the group’s 2017 album, All Belong Here, love is the focus of this collection. In “Extravagant Love,” for example, love is abundant and changes everything. On the title ...

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New Heart Band – Forever Yours

New Heart Band Forever Yours (2019) www.newheartband.com By Bob Marovich The New Heart Band’s latest release, Forever Yours, is a collection of breezy, folksy love and worship songs to the Most High sung by husband and wife team Gregg Christenson and Elaine Carter Christenson. Gregg, whose voice has a craggy fragility (think Keith Carradine of “I’m Easy” fame), handles most of the lead spots. Exceptions are when he and Elaine duet on the Latin-tinged “I Love Your Presence,” and when Elaine’s conventionally pretty soprano takes over on “Every Day.” Most of the songs, such as “Only You” and the melodic ...

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Melanie Penn – Immanuel: The Folk Sessions

Melanie Penn Immanuel: the Folk Sessions (EP) Equally Well Music, LLC (release date: October 25, 2019) www.melaniepenn.com By Bob Marovich A different kind of Christmas album, Immanuel: the Folk Sessions tells the story of the Nativity from the perspective of several Biblical personae. It is an acoustic version of some songs originally available on Melanie Penn’s 2017 release, Immanuel. “All Things are Possible” reflects on the miracle of a virgin woman giving birth, while “Great Things” finds Mary praising God for this inexplicable miracle. On the sprightly “Gift of Love,” the angels tell Mary not to be afraid, to go ...

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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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