Contemporary Gospel

Spirit 2 Spirit – Messages

Spirit 2 Spirit Messages Shekinah Records (release date: April 24, 2015) www.spirit2spiritmessagemusic.com By Bob Marovich Messages, Michael and Denny Jenkins’s latest album as the duo Spirit 2 Spirit, is as much about the music as the message. That’s not surprising, considering Spirit 2 Spirit is best known for its musicianship.  The  Jenkins’s are dubbed the “Earth Wind & Fire of Gospel” for how they blend smooth jazz, sweet soul, funk, R&B, and gospel with inspirational commentary.  Spirit 2 Spirit is EWF in a mellow mood, however, as its guitars offer introspective jazz riffs while chimes tinkle, a flute pipes delicate ...

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“Jesus” – Rodriquez Linson & Ministry

“Jesus” Rodriquez Linson & Ministry Linson Enterprise & BigBoyMusicGroup www.cdbaby.com/Artist/RodriquezLinsonMinistry Detroit organist Rod Linson & Ministry’s single, “Jesus,” is an intense call-and-response invocation of the Lord’s name and goodness. With flourishes of thunderous harmony, the ensemble sings in a minor key but resolves the motives in a major key. Nominated for four 2016 Rhythm of Gospel Awards, the group released its debut album, Oh Lord, Hear My Cry (Psalms 141) in late 2014. Fellow Detroiter Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver contributes two lead solos on the album.

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New Friendship Anointed Voices – Legacy Fulfilled

Pastor Royce F. Thompson Sr. Presents New Friendship Anointed Voices A Long Time Coming: Legacy Fulfilled (released December 12, 2015) www.nfmbcofgary.org By Bob Marovich A Long Time Coming: Legacy Fulfilled may be the first gospel CD to recommend itself solely on the basis of its praise break alone. Not that the other tracks on the Gary, Indiana, church’s debut album aren’t quality—they certainly are—but the nine minute praise break that follows Anthony Hardin’s hand-clapper “Just Like You” represents the exuberant Holy Ghost experience better than any project has in a long time. The listener feels as exhausted as those who ...

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Dr. Karry D. Wesley Presents the Antioch Fellowship Church Voices of Praise: Speak to My Heart

Dr. Karry D. Wesley Presents the Antioch Fellowship Church Voices of Praise Speak to My Heart Antioch Fellowship MBC (release date: January 15, 2016) www.afmbc.org By Bob Marovich Big churches need big choirs, and big choirs need a big sound to fill a big church. The Voices of Praise choir envelops the 54,000 square-foot Worship Center of the Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas—a state where big is boss—with its thunderous timbre. That, and a contemporary flourish with no small amount of traditional flair. The choir’s self-produced debut album, Speak to My Heart, offers up examples of their ...

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Conrad Miller – Thankful

Conrad Miller Thankful Millcon Music Ministries (release date: January 15, 2016) www.conradmillermusic.com By Bob Marovich If you don’t know Conrad Miller from his relatively newfound career in the sacred music field, you may remember him as a member of 1970s smooth soul groups the Soulful Seven or the Softones. Miller’s throaty croon that helped to float the Softones’ “Carla, My Love” onto the airwaves can be heard on his latest gospel album, Thankful. Like his previous release, Keep Pressing, Thankful rides in a musically conventional lane.  True to the album’s title, most of the songs contain straightforward lyrics of praise and ...

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Trinity Dawson – With All I Am

Trinity Dawson With All I Am New Day (2015) www.trinitydawsonmusic.com By Bob Marovich Flexibility is a critical asset for a running back. It certainly helped Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Trinity Dawson. When he was a running back for the University of Toledo, flexibility helped him to enter the school record book for rushing yards. Dawson’s beguiling tenor voice is just as flexible. It is, in fact, the ideal vehicle for the easy, ambient religious music that he has embraced and showcases on his debut album, With All I Am. Dawson’s sound falls somewhere between Jonathan McReynolds and John Legend, the latter an acknowledged ...

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Jon Plair – Can You Imagine

Jon Plair Can You Imagine (self-released) www.jonplair.com By Bob Marovich Jon Plair surrounded himself with talented musicians and singers for his latest album, Can You Imagine, and it’s telling in the quality of the project. Plair, a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, who now calls Detroit home, functions on the album as a master of ceremonies, a bandleader, or even a preacher, for that matter.  His authoritative interaction with his background vocalists, as well as the messages of hope and encouragement in his songs, evoke James Fortune & FIYA. In fact, Plair’s music is so evocative of Fortune & FIYA that ...

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“Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child – The Walls Group

“Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child” The Walls Group From the EP Sounds of Christmas With “Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child,” The Walls Group puts a contemporary lacquer on Margaret Allison and the Angelic Gospel Singers’ Christmas classic, “Glory, Glory to the New Born King.” Once the most popular Christmas song in the African American community, it was overtaken by Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.” Still, as The Walls Group demonstrates, you can bring an old carol back to life by lifting the tempo and tossing leads back and forth like the Harlem Globetrotters pass the ball around.  They sing ...

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Kirk Franklin – Losing My Religion

Kirk Franklin Losing My Religion Fo Yo Soul Recordings / RCA Inspiration (release date: November 15, 2015) https://www.facebook.com/KirkFranklin By Bob Marovich The church, like corporations and labor unions, started out revolutionary and ended up a bureaucracy. How did that happen when Jesus stated that the key to life is simple: “Love one another?” Yet over the centuries, man in his arrogance and vanity has weighted down this universal dictum with so many asterisks that the world has sunk to the bottom of a pool of perpetual confusion. Along these lines, and articulated in an unaccompanied poem that serves as the opening and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 30, 2015

“God’s Got Me” Dexter Walker & Zion Movement https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dexterwalkerandzionmovem From the Chicago choir that won the 2012 Verizon How Sweet the Sound search for the Best Church Choir in America, “God’s Got Me” is a confident declaration of soul comfort sung from within the everlasting arms of the Lord. It’s an embrace that feels so inviting to lead vocalist Minister Tim White that he revs up to testifying by the conclusion. This Percy Bady-produced single, from Dexter Walker & Zion Movement’s forthcoming full project release, is less frenetic than we are used to hearing from ZM and Min. Tim White, ...

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