Contemporary Christian Music

Laura Kaczor – Restore Me

Laura Kaczor Restore Me LifeThirst Music (release date: July 10, 2015) www.laurakaczor.com By Bob Marovich Restore Me is Laura Kaczor’s (pronounced kuh-ZORE)’s fourth album and first in five years. It extends her work as a Christian songstress who knows just how to craft Billboard-charting gospels. Kaczor’s voice is lovely to listen to, passionate and pretty, a mashup of Katy Perry sass and Sheryl Crow clarity. She is backed by a thoroughly-produced pop rock sound, courtesy of Dove Award-winning producer Ian Eskelin, and the melodies are likeable if somewhat similar, not wavering much from today’s familiar CCM vibe. The ten selections ...

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Jason Alvarez – Time for Miracles

Jason Alvarez Time for Miracles (release date: March 23, 2015) www.jamm.org By Bob Marovich Ever wonder what happened to the bearded guy who sang alongside Sylvia Robinson on the 1975 proto-disco hit “Shame Shame Shame?” The guy who “got my sun roof down, got my diamond in the back” and implored you in a high-pitched shout to “put on your shaky wig, baby?” Jason Alvarez became a music star, but with that came an unfortunate addiction to drugs. With the help of his wife, Gale, Alvarez got clean, got saved, signed a record deal with Light Records, but then forsook ...

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AsOne – s/t

AsOne AsOne 360 MusicWorx/Capitol Christian Distribution/Universal Music Group (release date: June 23, 2015) www.AsOneOfficial.com By Bob Marovich Interracial gospel/sacred singing groups go back more than a century—from the days of Polk Miller & the Old South Quartette at the turn of the twentieth century to Homer Rodeheaver’s singing with the African American Wiseman Sextette; and from Gene Viale (of Puerto Rican heritage) in the Cleveland Singers, Elizabeth Meagher in the Exodus Singers, and the multicultural Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. The color of the skin counts less than the color of the voice, and there are rich hues in the voices and ...

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Mike Lee – All I Need (EP)

Mike Lee All I Need Mike Lee Music (release date: June 16, 2015) www.mikeleemusic.com By Bob Marovich Fort Wayne, Indiana. worship leader and mixed martial arts gym owner Mike Lee follows up his full-length national debut LP Awakening Hearts with a seven-track acoustic EP called All I Need. With a final push, courtesy of crowdfunding, the EP was released to the public on June 16. Despite juggling several challenges, notably a father in chemotherapy for lung cancer and a brand new baby, Lee makes the world sound bright and breezy on the EP with his simple melodies, introspective lyrics, and ...

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NewReleaseTuesday is now NewReleaseToday

(BOISE, Idaho) — Christian music’s largest site online, NewReleaseTuesday.com, got its name from the day new music releases in the U.S. But with the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s impending move to a global release day on Fridays beginning July 10, the media outlet had a decision to make: Hang on to history or embrace the future? The site–known as NRT to its fanbase–chose the latter, and became NewReleaseToday as of June 5. Despite having owned NewReleaseFriday.com for years, NRT Founder/President Kevin McNeese said the release day change was a perfect opportunity to reassess his media company’s identity and ...

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Sada K – Long Story Short

Sada K Long Story Short (released January 2015) www.sadakmusic.com By Bob Marovich “Everyone has a story,” Sada K says in the opening moments of her solo CD, Long Story Short. Her story, she admits, was stained with tears, but it’s “time to shine the light.” And for forty minutes, that’s what Sada (like Jayda with an S) does. The album is a fourteen-track testimony that chronicles the singer’s ups and downs, and her ultimate victory. The testimony is real. The Kansas City-raised Sada, lead singer for Christian pop band Press Play, had her singing career nearly derailed when she developed ...

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Jimmy Needham – Vice & Virtue

Jimmy Needham Vice & Virtue Platinum Pop Records (released May 4, 2015) www.jimmyneedham.com By Bob Marovich Christian artist Jimmy Needham gives us plenty to ponder on Vice & Virtue, his seventh album and first for his own imprint, Platinum Pop Records. Needham’s music is youthful and rhythmic, a playful potpourri of melodic pop and R&B that will put listeners in mind of fellow blue eyed soul children Bryan Popin, Sam Smith, Mayer Hawthorne, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, and Justin Timberlake. “Thank You,” a breathless ode of gratitude, has vestiges of the muscle twitching 1980s Minneapolis Sound pioneered by Prince. Another devotional, ...

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Brad + Rebekah – All You’ve Done

Brad + Rebekah All You’ve Done Discovery House (release date: June 2, 2015) http://bradandrebekahmusic.com By Bob Marovich On their national debut album, All You’ve Done, Brad + Rebekah, a husband-and-wife praise team, loft their admiration and gratitude melodically, and vertically, to the Most High. The album opens, appropriately, with “Wake Up.” It is a Brad-led clarion call about resurrection day that uses power pop as a brisk slap, reminding listeners to be spiritually ready for the end of times at all times. The duo’s tuneful “When We Gather,” “Be Here Now,” and “Body of Christ” set the table for worship, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 18, 2015

“Hero” AsOne feat. Lamar Campbell & Spirit of Praise From the Capital Christian Music Group CD AsOne (release date: May 23, 2015) www.asoneofficial.com By Bob Marovich Lisa Wright and Theresa Bailey are AsOne, billed as the first interracial gospel duo. Backed by the estimable strength of Lamar Campbell & Spirit of Praise, “Hero” is the duo’s brisk, melodic paean to God as the ultimate warrior and superhero. Neither of the ladies is a stranger to gospel music. Wright has written songs for the likes of the Colorado Mass Choir and Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Bailey, also a songwriter, is an experienced ...

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