Contemporary Christian Music

Avalon Worship – s/t

Avalon Worship Avalon Worship Red Street Records (release date: May 20, 2022) www.redstreetrecords.com By Robert M. Marovich The artist formerly known as Avalon that recorded for Sparrow Records starting in 1995 has rebranded itself as Avalon Worship and just released its first album under the new moniker for Red Street Records. The name change positions them among the worship collectives that have been making noise in gospel music as of late. Produced by Don Koch, the eleven-track self-titled package combines currently-popular worship favorites with original compositions, all radio-sized and radio-ready, and done in the thunderous and dramatic CCM pop ballad ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week – June 6, 2022

“Majestic One” Katy Weirich Independent (release date: January 14, 2022) https://katyweirich.com/ By Robert M. Marovich A life filled with ups and downs, joys and sorrows, depression and happiness informs the songs and singing of Katy Weirich. A young vocalist and worship leader who evokes Lauren Daigle and Hillsong’s Brooke Fraser, Weirich offers the praise power ballad “Majestic One.” Set to a panoramic arrangement and grounded by pounding drums, “Majestic One” is an anthem that articulates, in twenty-first century musical language, the gushing litany of Isaiah 9:7. More to come from Weirich, as her EP, Out of the Blue, is slated ...

Read More »

Steven Curtis Chapman to be Named First BMI Icon at the 2022 BMI Christian Awards

Top Christian Songwriters and Publishers to be Honored at June 14 Event June 1, 2022 – Nashville, TN – Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI®) will celebrate the extraordinary and inspirational career of Steven Curtis Chapman by presenting him with the BMI Icon Award at the Company’s annual BMI Christian Awards, to be held at BMI’s Nashville office on June 14, 2022. Chapman will be the first Christian music artist to be honored with the prestigious BMI Icon Award. BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill will host the ceremony with Leslie Roberts, BMI AVP, Creative, Nashville. The BMI Icon Award is presented ...

Read More »

Tommy Walker – Generation Hymns 3

Tommy Walker Generation Hymns 3 (release date: March 18, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich On Generation Hymns 3, worship leader, singer, and songwriter Tommy Walker teams with the Bethesda Community Church Choir and several featured vocalists to bind the hymnbook in a new cover. The Bethesda choir has a smiley Jesus People vibe. Indeed, the choir, Walker, the featured vocalists, and the robust rhythm section are uniformly upbeat, even on the album’s more sensitive selections like “He Leadeth Me” and “At the Cross.” For his part, Walker possesses a warm, friendly baritone voice that conjures Michael Buble and Harry Connick ...

Read More »

Damara Melissa – Beginnings (EP)

Damara Melissa Beginnings (EP) (release date: February 24, 2022) www.damaramelissa.com By Robert M. Marovich From Whitby, Ontario, singer-songwriter Damara Melissa evokes CCM singers Jamie Grace, Tori Kelly, and Nicole C. Mullins. Following a few recent singles, Beginnings is her first EP. Commencing her writing career to channel her emotions after the passing of her father, Damara expresses in the pop-flavored songs on Beginnings the intimacy of a soul transitioning from hurting to healing, from vulnerability to victory. The prayerful and self-empowering “Brave” is the current streaming favorite, but to my ears, “Invisible” is the EP’s highlight. This ballad about a ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week:  February 14, 2022

“I See a King” The Wood Drake Sessions feat. Liz Vice Independent (release date: January 21, 2022) www.thewooddrakesessions.com By Robert M. Marovich As Christian group The Wood Drake Sessions, Paul Ranheim and Kirk Sauers keep pumping out fine singles. The duo’s latest, “I See a King,” featuring lead vocalist Liz Vice, may be their best release to date. To a retro-soul foundation buoyed by a chirping organ, Vice and the ensemble reveal the true nature of Jesus, not the one morally disfigured by the far-right. The Jesus of this song is the one we know, the one who welcomes refugees, ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week – January 24, 2022

“On and On” The Collective UG From the C19 Music album The Sound of Revival (release date: December 3, 2021) www.thecollectiveug.com By Robert M. Marovich Though “On and On” is a lovely praise song by the Ugandan worship band Collective UG, it is clearly influenced by American Christian pop music. The delicate arrangement is crowned with simple lyrics and a singalong chorus sweetly sung by a female lead vocalist. Toward the end, the group seamlessly interpolates the 19th century hymn “’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus” to such a degree that the songs sound like they are second cousins. ...

Read More »

Harriet Fraser – Peace

Harriet Fraser Peace Independent (release date: October 8, 2021) www.harrietfraser.com By Robert M. Marovich On her brief but touchingly lovely debut album Peace, soprano Harriet Frasier harmonizes with herself, two-parts unaccompanied, a touch of echo evoking the sense of being recorded in a stone-walled cathedral instead of the California studios that served as the true sites of production. Shawn Kirchner’s ambient arrangements of a dozen folk songs, classical pieces, and sacred fare are designed to lull the listener into a state of relaxation, calmness, peacefulness. Delivered with Fraser’s soothing voice(s), the album delivers on its premise. Of the sacred selections, ...

Read More »

“Leave It at the Cross” – Jenn Bostic

“Leave It at the Cross”Jenn Bostic(release date: October 15, 2021)www.jennbostic.com By Robert M. Marovich Singer-songwriter and musician Jenn Bostic’s atmospheric “Leave It at the Cross” instructs that all difficult problems, whether producing hurt, shame, or pain, are best dropped at the foot of Jesus. Their heaviness drags us down and we can’t solve them alone, anyhow. Bostic’s expansive voice foregrounds a pop-oriented melody and arrangement evocative of Lauren Daigle and Nichole Nordeman. Much of the song’s crossover vibe can be credited to co-writers and producers Benj Heard and Lauren Christ, no strangers to the pop music scene. Educated at Berklee ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: October 18, 2021

“There Will Be a Light Again” Kali Joy From the CD Real Life (release date: September 24, 2021) www.kalijoy.com By Robert M. Marovich Christian singer Kali Joy’s “There Will Be a Light Again” may not be the single from her album Real Life, but it certainly ought to be. It’s a gorgeous song of hope that, in its graceful delicacy and empty spaces, exudes the wistfulness of the autumn season, when it’s “time to die, time to let go of what you’ve known and journey on into the dark of the winter.” Kali delivers the life-sustaining optimism in the refrain, ...

Read More »