Contemporary Gospel

L. Spenser Smith – Unstoppable

L. Spenser Smith Unstoppable Smithworx/eOne (2014) www.lspensersmith.com By Bob Marovich Recorded live on September 21, 2012, to an aurally appreciative audience at Northview Christian Church in Montgomery, Alabama, Unstoppable is singer-songwriter Bishop L. Spenser Smith’s debut as a solo artist.  It’s a strong debut, too. Smith is among the new generation of gospel male crooners, a group that includes Earnest Pugh, Brian Courtney Wilson, Micah Stampley, Keith Williams, and Jonathan Nelson. His tenor is as flexible as a gymnast.  Given such vocal elasticity, it is no surprise that the ballads and hymns on Unstoppable best showcase Smith’s skills. His falsetto flights, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 26, 2015

“Storms” Donald Malloy From LIVE. . .Finally Home www.donaldmalloyministries.com Recorded live a couple of years ago in Donald Malloy’s hometown of Cheraw, South Carolina, “Storms” leads the audience down the “don’t be discouraged” path about the storms of life. Just when you anticipate that Malloy will follow with, “but God will see you through,” he sings instead about the internal strength and character that storms bring to our lives. Now released as a single, “Storms” is a fine contemporary gospel performance that Malloy builds in dynamic intensity from husky, handsome crooning to preacher-like hard singing.

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Noreen Crayton – Divine Radiance

Noreen Crayton Divine Radiance Angel Star Music (release date: January 2015) www.noreencrayton.com By Bob Marovich Divine Radiance is the third sacred music album from New York-native Noreen Crayton. While her career includes significant musical stage work in the U.S. and overseas, Crayton has gospel roots and sings with the praise and worship team at Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem. Crayton nearly plays all the bases on Divine Radiance—from writer and arranger to performer and executive producer. She does employ a handful of musicians to assist her on some tracks. Musically, the album offers a sample of everything from an ...

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Detroit Mourns Death of Pastor Oscar Hayes; Homegoing Service Details

Gospel music historian and enthusiast Marcel West of Detroit informed JGM of the passing of Pastor Oscar Hayes. Here is Pastor Hayes’s bio, according to his LetsSingIt page: Stellar Award nominee Pastor Oscar Hayes was born October 12, 1967, in Detroit Michigan, to Ms. June Hayes. Oscar grew up on the fast track. Living on the north-end exposed him to the streets at an early age. The tragedy of losing his best friend to gun violence and coming close to death himself slowed him down. Hayes was captivated by another gospel legend, Marvin Winans. One night at a gospel concert, ...

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Andrae’ Crouch Service to Stream Live

(LOS ANGELES, CA) — A celebration of Andraé Crouch’s life will take place on Tuesday, January 20th and Wednesday, January 21st at West Angeles Church of God In Christ, located at 3600 Crenshaw Blvd in Los Angeles, California. Both services will be open to the public. Tuesday, January 20, 2015 Viewing: 2:00pm 5:00 pm Tribute Celebration: 7:00 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2015 Viewing: 9:00am 10:00 am Celebration of Life: 11:00 am Cable network BET will stream both services LIVE at BET.com/andraecrouchfuneral. West Angeles Church of God In Christ will also stream both services at watch.westa.tv. “People are coming from all ...

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Mighty Men of Faith – Nothing But Grace

Mighty Men of Faith Nothing But Grace N2L Records (2014) www.mightymenoffaith.com By Bob Marovich Nothing But Grace is the latest album by California’s Mighty Men of Faith, a quartet that rolls contemporary, musically and lyrically. Musically, the quartet paints a smooth patina—like an aural Dippity-Do—on their harmonies, giving the overall impression of a 1980s soul vocal group gone gospel. Likewise, the group’s vertical praise lyrics have more in common with the repertory of today’s small choirs than gospel quartets, which tend to stay faithful to verses about life’s trials and faith in God as a solution. The Mighty Men’s harmonies are ...

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“Amazing” – Rev. Julian Turner feat. the Turner Family

“Amazing” Reverend Julian Turner feat. the Turner Family Available on iTunes Reverend Dr. Julian Turner follows his exercise-inspired single, “Let’s Move for Jesus,” with another mover, “Amazing.” Produced by Michael Sutton and recorded with Rev. Turner’s family on harmonies, “Amazing” is a brassy praiser with a pop melody propelled by a vigorous island beat. It is unpretentious in lyric and easy in arrangement. Turner is Pastor of Temple #230, Church of the Living God, C.W.F.F., in Phoenix, Arizona. It is a treat to hear a song associated with the Church of the Living God, which in the beginning modeled its ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 30, 2014

“Can You Feel His Glory” foreverJONES From Prayer Tools, Vol. 1 (released November 2014) www.foreverjones.com Turns out that the shortest song on the two-and-a-half-hour Prayer Tools Vol. 1 by foreverJONES is the best. With only piano and organ as accompaniment, Djeniele evokes the majesty of yesterday’s church soloists with her flawless reading of her brother Judah Jones’ s “Can You Feel His Glory.” From its hushed opening and D’jeniele (Jones) Hooten’s increasingly expansive vocals to the achingly beautiful conclusion, this exquisite jewel of a hymn—one of the finest released this year—demonstrates how less is more.

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