Contemporary Christian Music

Sandra McCracken – Psalms

Sandra McCracken Psalms (2015) www.sandramccracken.com By Bob Marovich Nashville singer-songwriter Sandra McCracken —more accurately described as a singer-hymnist—is breathing new life into traditional church music. On Psalms, her latest in a string of solo albums going back fifteen years, McCracken demonstrates that the austere melodies and lyrics that served as the soundtrack to Sunday mornings for centuries are just as relevant today. On record, McCracken sounds like the artistic sister of the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers who holed up in her room listening to Laura Nyro when they were digging the drive tempo selections of the Canton Spirituals and Dixie ...

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URIM7 – The Assignment

URIM 7 The Assignment JOSJOI Productions (2015) https://www.reverbnation.com/urim7band By Bob Marovich Not all Jamaican music is reggae, dancehall, rock steady, or any of the other popular sounds associated with the country. In fact, with rare exception, as Mike McGonigal pointed out in his notes to the reissue collection, Noah Found Grace, Jamaican gospel music was inspired by white southern gospel singing heard after hours on U.S. AM radio. Although a connection to the contemporary gospel music scene has added more soulfulness to the Jamaican sacred sound over the years, gospel from that country still has more in common with the softer ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 7, 2015

“Nada me Faltara’” Denyse Bittencourt From the CD Um Minuto Mais www.denysebittencourt.com.br “Nada me Faltara’,” from Brazilian songstress and songwriter Denyse Bittencourt’s Um Minuto Mais, envelops the listener in an easy warmth of mood and tone. Bittencourt’s crystal clear soprano is tinged with just enough passion to bring the song to an intense apex. The title translates from Portugese to English as “I Shall Not Want,” from the first line of Psalm 23 (“The Lord Is My Shepherd”).  But as with any good song, well rendered, you don’t necessarily need to know what the words mean to get the message. Denyse Bittencourt ...

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Appointed2 – This Journey

Appointed2 This Journey (2014) www.appointed2.com By Bob Marovich Husband-and-wife music evangelists Randy and Amy Nichols are part of a tradition going back nearly a century, and perhaps longer. The difference is that back in the day, evangelists sang and played stringed instruments on street corners. The Nichols’s, known as Appointed2, perform at pulpits and on stages, just as they did at the recent Rhythm of Gospel Awards, where they took home two honors, including CCM Artist of the Year. Their ten-track, thirty-minute album This Journey provides a flavor for Appointed2’s down home evangelism. Again, like their forebears, Randy and Amy ...

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Nominees for 46th Annual GMA Dove Awards Announced

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (August 12, 2015) — The Gospel Music Association (GMA) announced today, from the campus of Lipscomb University, the nominees in 41 categories for the 46th Annual GMA Dove Awards. The theme of this year’s award show is “Better Together,” which focuses on the strength in unity. The conference was also streamed live on CMM MAGAZINE and YES Lord Radio. The awards show will take place on Tuesday, October 13, 2015, at Allen Arena on the campus of Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN at 6:30pm CT. Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) will exclusively air the awards show on Sunday, ...

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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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