Contemporary Christian Music

Elvis Presley – Where No One Stands Alone

Elvis Presley Where No One Stands Alone RCA / Legacy Recordings (release date: August 10, 2018) www.legacyrecordings.com By Bob Marovich When Elvis Presley became a national sensation in the mid-1950s, there were those who thought he was the devil personified, what with the hip shaking, sneering, and rock ‘n’ roll music. They did not realize that the twisting and sneering phenom from Memphis grew up listening to southern gospel quartet singing on the radio and hung out by New Trigg Baptist Church to hear the choir of the Reverend W. Herbert Brewster. And in December 1956, when Elvis and fellow ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 30, 2018

“Give It All to Him” The Oladipo Sisters From The Rebirth (release date: June 10, 2018) www.oladiposisters.com By Bob Marovich Boston’s Oladipo Sisters—nineteen-year-old Oladunni and seventeen-year-old Olayeni-make a joyful noise on “Give It All to Him.” Though born in Massachusetts, the sisters’ combination British and Nigerian heritage is on display in the song’s simple melody and harmonies, and its lyrics of praise and worship. Their American experience comes through their gospel vocal techniques, including some delightfully improvised soprano notes at the end. The song is on the sisters’ sophomore project, The Rebirth, which follows their 2011 debut The Mighty One and a couple ...

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Firma Collective – Songs for Every Soul

Firma Collective Songs for Every Soul Firma Music Group (release date: May 4, 2018) www.firmacollective.com By Bob Marovich Songs for Every Soul introduces the public to the Firma Music Group, a new Christian label organized by Hollywood execs Joel Weldon and Tom Mgrdichian. The project, which falls somewhere in length between and EP and a full album, offers seven tracks led by Lexi Jones and Matthew Scott, young worship leaders for large churches in the Los Angeles area. The selections are characteristic of current CCM, which draws more deeply from hook-laden rock and pop than in the past. This is ...

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Various Artists – Worth of Souls

Various Artists Worth of Souls Stone Angel Music (release date: April 27, 2018) www.worthofsoulsproject.com By Bob Marovich On “Come as you Are,” the opening selection of the Worth of Souls project, former American Idol contestant Kenz Hall quotes Thomas Moore: “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” To paraphrase Moore, Worth of Souls also believes that there is no sorrow that heavenly music cannot heal. The restful, relaxed quality of this collection of Christian songs is not by accident. It was produced on the premise that we are what we hear—and that those who struggle with depression can benefit from listening to uplifting music with ...

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Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir – I Am Reminded

Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir I Am Reminded Brooklyn Tabernacle Music (release date: April 6, 2018) www.brooklyntabernacle.org By Bob Marovich Recorded live at Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York, I Am Reminded is the 30th album by the multicultural and multiple Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. It features the choir’s time-honored majestic harmonies that, propelled by a symphonic orchestra, wash over the listener like warm ocean waves crashing on a beach. As with all Brooklyn Tabernacle albums, the overall vibe of I Am Reminded is one of happiness and contentment, perpetually positive and uplifting. Smiling voices render melodic songs of thanksgiving to the Lord for blessings ...

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Renee’ Austin – Songbirds & Angels

Renee’ Austin Songbirds & Angels (Release Date: April 7, 2018) www.reneeaustin.org By Bob Marovich In 2005, blue-eyed blues and soul songstress Renee’ Austin was a rising star in the music business. She had signed a record deal with Blind Big Records, shared the stage with top charting artists, and was featured in a PBS special called Blues Divas, hosted by Morgan Freeman. But finding a lump in her throat, Austin underwent surgery. The result left her with a paralyzed left vocal cord and the diagnosis that she would never be able to sing again. Heartbroken, Austin cauterized music from her life but ...

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Brittani Scott – Fight for Us (EP)

Brittani Scott Fight For Us (EP) (Release date: April 6, 2018) http://brittaniscott.com By Bob Marovich Fight For Us is a fistful of power praise from Seattle-based singer-songwriter and worship leader Brittani Scott. Recording previously with the Finley United Pentecostal Church, Scott debuts as a solo recording artist with this four-track EP.  The songs are balls of energy that feature driving drums, enthusiastic singing by Scott and the background vocalists, and megachurch-sized musical largesse. On “Come Move,” Scott shares the mic with Cortt Chavis, pastor of Truth Chapel in Loganville, Georgia, who adds beefy vocals to this invitation for the spirit ...

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Jennifer Shaw – Nothing to Fear

Jennifer Shaw Nothing to Fear This Side Up, LLC (release date: February 20, 2018) www.jennifershaw.com By Bob Marovich Jennifer Shaw is a Christian singer-songwriter who doesn’t limit her lyrics to vertical praise. In fact, she traverses socially-relevant issues on Nothing to Fear, her first full-length album in six years. There appear to be three connecting threads holding together the album’s combination of new song compositions and a hymn arrangement. One, and perhaps the greatest of these, is love—Shaw’s love for children, for God, and God’s love for all creation. For example, “How Far Love Goes” looks in wonder at a God who would trade “a crown ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 19, 2018

“Awaiting My King” Mrs. Inspire Inspire Be You Beauty, LLC (release date: January 17, 2018) www.mrsinspire.com By Bob Marovich Mrs. Inspire lends her enchanting voice to “Awaiting My King,” a lovely melodic CCM ballad that exposes the singer’s own struggles and vulnerability in hopes of encouraging others similarly burdened to do what she has done: “cast your cares on Him.” The Texas-based singer-songwriter discovered her talent for singing, and her love for Christian music, around the age of five, and has been involved in music ministry her whole life. She has also worked as a model and promotes “modeling with a message,” ...

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New Heart Band – A Spirit Journey

New Heart Band A Spirit Journey First Love Publishing (2017) www.newheartband.com By Bob Marovich A Spirit Journey, the independently-produced album by the New Heart Band, evokes the folk music I used to listen to on the Ozarks-based radio program Sing Out! It contains confident, laidback string band interpretations of Christian themes. The style is sometimes referred to as country gospel, a style that goes back, at least commercially, to the earliest recordings of the Carter Family. Hailing from the State of Washington, the New Heart Band consists of singer-songwriters Gregg and Elaine Christenson, producer and multi-instrumentalist Gary Ballard, singer Tina Jones, and fiddler Paul Elliott. Gregg ...

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