Contemporary Gospel

Ricky Dillard & New G – Amazing

Ricky Dillard & New G Amazing Light Records/eOne Entertainment  (release date: June 10, 2014) www.rickydillard.net By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Ricky Dillard was once the young turk on the gospel block.     Beginning in the late 1980s, Dillard and the New Generation Chorale, a Chicago gospel choir steeped in the full-throated tradition of Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, Rev. James Cleveland, and Dr. Charles G. Hayes, offered up high-octane songs such as “More Abundantly” that other choirs were quick to emulate. Twenty-six years later, Dillard is a member of a circle of venerable choir directors that includes Pastor ...

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‘Wanna Be Close” – J Kingdom

“Wanna Be Close”J Kingdomwww.jkingdom.com In 2009, Pastor Michael J. Fisher (aka J Kingdom) led Compton, California’s Voices of Destiny choir to the Verizon How Sweet the Sound competition, where the group took top honors as “the best church choir in America.” J Kingdom puts as much of a non-traditional spin on his solo work as he does on his choral duties. Fueled by a galloping rhythm and embraced by EDM, his new solo single, “Wanna Be Close,” is about a desire to be part of God, who makes all things possible.  The arrangement plugs the high voltage intensity of the ...

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Pastor David Wright & the N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir – Next Generation

Pastor David Wright & the N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir Next Generation Godfather Records (released February 2014) godfatherrecordsinc@gmail.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Recorded live at Brooklyn’s historic First Church of God in Christ, Pastor David Wright and the N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir’s Next Generation does more to preserve the legacy of Bishop Timothy Wright than any of their music projects to date. Several songs on the album are in fact Timothy Wright compositions.  One of the most popular, “Jesus Jesus Jesus,” closes out the CD.  “Come Thou Almighty King,” “Presence of the Lord,” and “Who’s On the ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: June 2, 2014

“Turning Away” Bryan Andrew Wilson EchoPark JDI (2014) www.echoparkjdi.com Maybe it’s me, but less can be more, especially in gospel music.  Gospel started with only piano for accompaniment.  Nine decades later, piano and voice (and organ, of course) are still the ideal combination for a Zion song. Proof is Bryan Andrew Wilson’s introspective piano-accompanied single, “Turning Away.”  It is a personal declaration to forsake the “things that had me bound” and “the hurt and the shame” and move toward a better life.  The deft production has Wilson trading leads with himself and harmonizing with himself.  By not drowning the singer ...

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“Word of God Speak” – Perfection

“Word of God Speak” Perfection 4 Winds Records (released October, 2013) www.malaco.com The modern gospel quartet Perfection covers MercyMe’s 2002 hit “Word of God Speak” with delicately smooth harmonies, soulful lead singing, and an arm-waving sing-a-long at the conclusion. On the album version, Perfection adds a snippet from Thomas Whitfield’s “We Need a Word from the Lord.” The interpolation blends well with the arrangement but, most importantly, with the message of seeking the Lord’s guidance. Comprised of Steve Maples, Gerrod Allen, Chris Williams, and Kevin Lake, Perfection hails from Jackson, Tennessee.  The quartet gained national visibility after winning the Allstate ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: May 26, 2014

“Better”The ShowersA&P Records (2014) Nothing like being pushed to the edge of the fire, metaphorically speaking, to produce a good gospel song.  “I’m tired of my life / I’m tired of the pain / I’m tired of my past / the guilt and the shame,” the Showers sing on “Better,” their second single, written and produced by Deon Kipping. To an appealing but intense arrangement, the Showers pray for the ability to change their lives for good. The ten sibling singers from Louisiana plan to release their national debut album this summer. Watch the video to “Better” here:  :

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TBGB Pick of the Week: May 19, 2014

“Only God Can”Danetra Moore Tyscot Records (2014) www.tyscot.com Danetra Moore’s anthem “Only God” sings the praises of He who can do anything and everything, including move the mountains, calm the raging sea, and “take someone like me to use for His glory.” Introduced by a delicate acoustic piano, the song traverses through a robust contemporary arrangement and concludes with Moore’s bluesy testimonial vamp.  By the end, Moore has demonstrated a vocal range from cooing gentleness to evangelistic shouting and squalling. Originally from Stockton, California and now living in Atlanta, Danetra Moore is a singer, actor, and model who appeared on ...

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Deitrick Haddon’s LXW (League of Xtraordinary Worshippers)

Deitrick Haddon’s LXW (League of Xtraordinary Worshippers) Tyscot Records (released April 22, 2014) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Deitrick Haddon and Tyscot Records want to bring the choir back.  To make manifest their pledge, they’ve released Deitrick Haddon’s LXW (League of Xtraordinary Worshippers).  The album not only celebrates the youthful verve of the gospel choir but features the talent of some of today’s most acclaimed directors. The League of Xtraordinary Worshippers sounds like a team of superheroes—indeed, those who purchase a hard copy of the DVD get an LXW comic book—but it’s a choir led by ...

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What Happened to the Sons of Thunder?

In 1972, the Sons of Thunder were a teenage, interracial gospel group that toured with the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, and Dorothy Norwood as part of the Stones’ STP Tour.  Two years later, Word Records was interested in recording the group, but by 1975, the Sons of Thunder was no more.What happened? Member Roger Wood wants to answer that question via a retrospective DVD and television series. Want to learn more?  Check out this interview: http://www.vinylradionw.com/music/sons-of-thunder-spin-that-45-vinyl-radio-editon/.

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TBGB Pick of the Week: May 12, 2014

“Sunday A.M.” Karen Clark Sheard Karew Records (2014) www.karewrecords.com I knew “Sunday A.M.” had all the makings of a fine gospel single the minute I heard Karen Clark Sheard sing it at her September 2013 live recording session in Chicago.  Unlike Mary Mary’s 2012 “Sunday Morning,” which anticipates services with tambourine-shaking glee, “Sunday A.M.” is the quiescent yearning of a world-weary soul who looks forward to Sunday worship as a time for much-needed refilling and refreshing. The delicate choral touch of Donald Lawrence, who co-wrote the song with Rudy Currence and produced the session with Daniel Weatherspoon, is ever present.  ...

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