Contemporary Gospel

I Made It Out – John P. Kee

John P. Kee I Made It Out Entertainment One Music (release date: September 13, 2019) www.eOneMusic.com By Bob Marovich In little more than a generation, Pastor John P. Kee has gone from the new kid on the block to the Prince of Gospel Music, a leading light whose name is frequently invoked by the current generation of gospel artists.as an inspiration. I Made It Out is Kee’s first album for Entertainment One since joining the label earlier this year. It’s also his first release since 2015’s Level Next. Those who grew up on Pastor Kee with the New Life Community ...

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James Fortune – Dream Again

James Fortune Dream Again eOne Music / FIYA World Music (release date: August 23, 2019) www.entertainmentone.com By Bob Marovich I admit to having had significant misgivings when I was approached to review James Fortune’s new album, Dream Again. The gospel artist’s guilty pleadings to assaulting his wife Cheryl Fortune and earlier, to felony injury to his stepson, left me profoundly disappointed and angry. Why condone such behavior by acting as if it didn’t happen? My inkling was to never review his music again. Later, I read an article in which Fortune expressed remorse for what he had done and indicated ...

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Nikki Berry – Journey to Restoration

Nikki Berry Journey to Restoration Reviving Dreams Enterprises (release date: November 8, 2018) www.nikkiberrymusic.com By Bob Marovich Houston, Texas-based singer-songwriter Nikki Berry is one of the only gospel singers I know who also has a degree in mechanical engineering. I met Berry this summer at the Rhythm of Gospel Awards celebration in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she was crowned Ms. N.I.G.M.A. (National and Independent Gospel Music Awards). Journey to Restoration is her latest album. Striving and overcoming are the thematic strands that hold the project together and are, in her hands, the motive forces of achieving restoration. For example, “The ...

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Who is Titus Showers? The Answer Is On His New EP

By Bob Marovich If the leaders of Hammond, Louisiana, ever decided to change the town’s name, one contender in the running would be Showers, Louisiana. This Tangipahoa Parish town with a census of about 21,000 residents boasts no less than seven businesses owned and operated by members of the Showers Family. Gospel fans also know the Showers as a popular family band. The singing group, which made its national recording debut in 2009, is but one example of the family’s commitment to religious ministry. Family patriarch Dr. Bobby R. Showers Sr. pastors Rose Valley Missionary Baptist Church in nearby Roseland. ...

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Gene Moore – Tunnel Vision

Gene Moore Tunnel Vision Motown Gospel (release date: August 23, 2019) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich The nine radio-sized songs on Tunnel Vision, Gene Moore’s second album for Motown Gospel, focus on the importance of keeping the faith and maintaining hope that things will get better. While faith is a staple of Christian belief, it is a mainstay of human life, regardless of religious belief or lack of belief. The opener and radio single, “Won’t Be Moved,” begins laying out the album’s message of personal encouragement by riffing on the lyric motive of “I Shall Not Be Moved,” the gospel hymn ...

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BeBe Winans – Need You

BeBe Winans Need You Malaco Music Group / Regimen Records (release date: August 30, 2019) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich The gospel voice is not homogeneous. It is as varied in texture as the genre itself. While the paradigm of the gospel sound is the shouting or melismatic voice, smooth balladeers have been around since the beginning. Homer Quincy Smith of the Southernaires quartet and one of the first male African American gospel singers to record as a soloist, delivered his songs of Zion with operatic sonority. From there sprang the soothing sacredness of Robert Anderson, Bishop Charles Watkins and, in ...

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“Give Him Glory” – Dr. LaTonya Earl

“Give Him Glory” Dr. LaTonya Earl Latonyaearl1@gmail.com By Bob Marovich Houstonian Dr. LaTonya Earl’s sassy single “When I Stopped Playing with Jesus” is distinctive in melody and lyric, but it’s her work on the worship ballad “Give Him Glory” that best sells her skills to the gospel music public. This simple song, with its singularly singable melody, finds Earl at her unbridled best. Like a seasoned gospel soloist, she raises the song’s temperature from cool and even to a breathless apex without coming close to going off the melismatic cliff. The independent artist Dr. LaTonya Earl has earned honors at ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 20, 2019

“In My Name” Ruth La’Ontra ALJR Music Group/Tyscot Records, LLC Available on all digital outlets By Bob Marovich Ruth La’Ontra, the Stellar Award-nominated artist from Aberdeen, North Carolina, is going after radio play with her new single, “In My Name.” From her 2017 album I Got You, Ruth’s marvelous cover of the Thompson Community Singers’ 1992 hit evokes Kim McFarland’s original solo nearly note for note as the background vocalists update the song without taking away one ounce of the original flavor. It’s refreshing to hear a classic redone with as much fidelity as forward-looking fashion. Music and ministry run ...

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Zak Williams & 1/Akord – The Next Chapter

Zak Williams & 1/Akord The Next Chapter Enon Music Group (release date: July 12, 2019) By Bob Marovich While the name Zak Williams & 1/Akord sounds like it might be a male-led gospel group, the group is actually a small choir. And on the group’s latest offering, The Next Chapter, the ensemble sings with the full-throated and thunderous sonority of a choir twice its size. The album, presented by Dr. Alyn E. Waller, Pastor of Philadelphia’s Enon Tabernacle Church and produced by Zak Williams, features songs written by a variety of songwriters, including Williams himself. “Unpredictable God” is the radio-friendly ...

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Reverend Lawrence Thomison – Going to Church

Reverend Lawrence Thomison Going to Church Dherico Music (release date: May 26, 2019) www.revlawrencethomison.com By Bob Marovich Going to Church, the latest release by the Reverend Lawrence Thomison, lives up to its billing. Produced by Derrick Lee for Dherico Music, Going to Church is an album of songs rendered in an older style by the full-throated Cedric Sesley & Out 4 Souls choir and soloist Thomison, who demonstrates that he can shout and squall like a quartet singer-turned-Baptist preacher. Despite the album’s old-school modality, the rhythm section, and especially Kenny Jackson’s thumping bass, keeps the musical body firmly fixed in ...

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