Contemporary Gospel

Bri (Briana Babineaux) – Keys to My Heart

Bri (Briana Babineaux) Keys to My Heart Tyscot Records / Marquis Boone Enterprises (release date: March 25, 2016) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich You probably know Briana Babineaux (Bri), the pompadour-wearing fashionista, from her Instagram singing segments that racked up such significant interest among the hoi polloi that she garnered attention from Marquis Boone, the man who transformed Casey J from schoolteacher to Billboard charting artist. Bri’s twelve-track debut album with Boone and Tyscot, Keys to My Heart, answers the growing “Bri Nation’s” encore cry and offers further proof of the singer’s, and soon to be college graduate’s, talent. The album has a hybrid production sound ...

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Kalind Haynes – “One Angel Short”

Kalind Haynes “One Angel Short” www.cdbaby.com/artist/KalindHaynes At six foot, eight inches tall, Kalind Haynes of south suburban Chicago stands out physically. He also stands out vocally. An alumnus of BET Sunday Best, where he made it to the top ten in 2009, Haynes was praised by Tina Campbell of Mary Mary for his clean and smooth delivery. On “One Angel Short,” Haynes delivers Donald Smith’s pop-inspirational love ballad in that clean and smooth delivery, a silky touch reminiscent of Luther Vandross and Peabo Bryson. The song’s premise? To quote Tavares: Heaven must be missing an angel: she is here on earth, ...

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“Let It All Go” – Anthony Faulkner feat. Nikki Potts

“Let It All Go” Anthony Faulkner feat. Nikki Potts 7th Chapter Music (2015) http://afaulkner.com/ Like a gentler James Fortune, internationally-renowned singer Anthony Faulkner introduces his new single, “Let It All Go,” with a spoken admonition to let go your cares and cast them on God during times of trouble. From there, he joins L. A. Mass Choir alumna and Kurt Carr Singer Nikki Potts on an extended sung improvisation on the theme. Potts’s extroverted singing, which takes zero-to-sixty flights into a higher register during the song’s apex, contrasts well with Faulkner’s smooth, even delivery and the straightforward flow of the ...

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“My All and All” – Derrell Thomas

“My All and All” Derrell Thomas Full Circle Records www.fullcirclerecords.us Commencing with a compelling piano intro that resonates with Elton John’s deftness for encircling a melody with bright and shiny musical jewels, Derrell Thomas’s “My All and All” offers a melody and chorus that combine to be one heck of an earworm. Lyrically, the single gushes with simple statements of praise to the Lord. The Lord is not just a friend, Thomas sings, but “the very air that I breathe…my everything.” There’s not much to it, but the song works largely because of that relentless earworm melody. Born in Florida, Derrell Thomas ...

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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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