Contemporary Christian Music

“Tender and Mighty” – The Wood Drake Sessions

“Tender and Mighty” The Wood Drake Sessions feat. Tammy Bullock Independent (release date: March 11, 2021) https://thewooddrakesessions.com/ By Robert M. Marovich In lyric and melody, “Tender and Mighty” has the soul of an ancient hymn wrapped in contemporary clothing. With the support of an angelic-voiced choir, lead vocalist Tammy Bullock gives The Wood Drake Sessions’ charmingly simple second single a sunniness that complements the portrayal of God as friend to the friendless and hope for the hopeless. It delivers its message as tender and mighty as its subject suggests. Paul Ranheim and Kirk Sauers are The Wood Drake Sessions. Their ...

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Carrie Underwood – My Savior

Carrie Underwood My Savior Capitol Nashville (release date: March 26, 2021) www.umgnashville.com By Henry Carrigan for JGM My Savior is an album Carrie Underwood was born to make. Listening to her sing these songs carries us back to Sunday mornings in country churches where the vibrant beauty of these gospel hymns shines brightly. Underwood herself says, “This is an album I have always wanted to record. When I set out to choose these songs, I wanted to include the beautiful, familiar hymns I grew up singing in church. There are several songs I have performed in the past, like ‘Softly ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 16, 2021

“Remember Me” Eleanor Dubinsky Touch the Sky LLC (release date: March 12, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Based on a true story, “Remember Me” was written by Sally Ponzio, her brother Frank Ponzio, and Eleanor Dubinsky, though the most critical contributor was Sally’s late son, Travis. Six months after Travis succumbed to an overdose, Sally was driving when she heard his voice saying “Fly high, fly free / Spread your wings / Remember me.” She pulled over, wrote the words he spoke on a napkin, and presented them to Frank, a jazz musician and composer. Frank, in turn, recruited his ...

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Katy Crawford – Dwell (EP)

Katy Crawford Dwell (EP) Devotion Music (release date: June 11, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Dallas-based singer-songwriter Katy Crawford was inspired to read from Psalms every day and set some of the verses to music. Her EP Dwell is the first, but hopefully not the last, of her musical explorations of the ancient lyrical poems. Crawford gives the EP’s six psalms a dash of folk, country, and Celtic lilt. Their memorable melodies are supported by a delicate acoustic ambience, one that never overpowers Crawford’s earnest vocals, which are reminiscent of Sandra McCracken and Lauren Daigle. Although the rhythmic and engaging ...

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RIP: Carman, GMA Gospel Music Hall of Famer

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (February 16, 2021) – GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame member, CARMAN, passed away Tuesday, February 16, 2021, at a Las Vegas, Nevada hospital, after fighting a series of complications resulting from surgery to repair a hiatal hernia. Carman Dominic Licciardello, known to fans worldwide as “Carman,” was 65. Born January 19, 1956 in Trenton, New Jersey, Carman began his musical career playing drums in his mother’s band at the age of 15. Carman holds the world record for having the largest audience to see a single Christian artist. He set the record for the largest concert ...

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“Never Shakes, Never Will” – The Wood Drake Sessions

“Never Shakes, Never Will” The Wood Drake Sessions (Independent; release date: January 19, 2021) https://thewooddrakesessions.com/ By Robert M. Marovich Taking their text from Psalm 121 (“I lift my eyes to the hills”), the Wood Drake Sessions offers a word of personal encouragement in “Never Shakes, Never Will.” The song is bathed in an acoustic, laidback Levon Helm-meets-Southern-Gospel vibe. Crisp production makes for a peaceful, easy listening experience. Paul Ranheim and Kirk Sauers, aka The Wood Drake Sessions, are friends who met initially in Nashville. Today, Paul is a minister and songwriter in Colorado, and Kirk is a worship leader in ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 8, 2021

“Judgement Day” Jules Schroeder Jules Schroeder Music (release date: November 17, 2020) https://julesschroedermusic.com/ On “Judgement Day,” inspirational singer-songwriter Jules Schroeder offers a poignant anthem of freedom. Evoking current times (“a world of hate”) in melody, mood, and lyric, she sings: “In the last hour when you’re standing by the gate, there will be no one left to blame for every choice that you’ve made.” Assisted by the Marcus Mosely Choir, Schroeder sounds like Neko Case when singing the declarative “live free or die” refrain. For those who peddle hate, she has but one message as they gingerly approach the pearly ...

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Sandra McCracken – Patient Kingdom

Sandra McCracken Patient Kingdom Integrity Music (release date: October 9, 2020) www.sandramccracken.com By Robert M. Marovich Whether or not Sandra McCracken penned the ten songs on Patient Kingdom before or during the pandemic, they certainly express well the disquiet of the times. But the world-weariness welling from deep within the Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s throat expresses not helplessness but hopefulness, as if giving testimony to the cyclicality and potentiality of life. And that is what, I believe, the new album is all about. Songs on Patient Kingdom that are particularly attuned to the times include the gentle and tuneful “You Are With ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 13, 2020

“Your Love Is” People of the Earth WeArePOTE Records (release date: September 18, 2020) www.wearepote.com By Bob Marovich The pop-flavored “Your Love Is” draws on metaphors from nature to describe the beauty and the promises of the Lord. The five-piece ensemble People of the Earth demonstrates its eclectic musical inspirations in abundance, as the song could easily air on American Top 40 and nobody would bat an eye. The music and melody are as sunny and optimistic as the message. If ever there was a Christian song that could also be categorized as a summer anthem, it’s “Your Love Is.” ...

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Nashville Life Music – Here for Jesus

Nashville Life Music Here for Jesus Integrity Music (release date: July 17, 2020) www.nashvillelifemusic.com By Bob Marovich Nashville Life Music follows up last year’s Taylor House Sessions EP with even more delightful selections on its debut full-length album, Here for Jesus. Nashville Life Music is a young multicultural choir/group out of Nashville Life Church, a congregation led by husband-and-wife team Alvin Love and multi award-winning gospel singer CeCe Winans Love. In its diversity and musical architecture, the troupe reflects the church’s mission. It offers hope that amity is not only preferable and possible, but is actually happening. This polished group ...

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