Contemporary Gospel

JGM Pick of the Week: June 18, 2018

“Are You Ready” Jason Champion My Block Records (release date: October 27, 2017) By Bob Marovich To a mid-tempo boogie-woogie rhythm, gospel singer Jason Champion asks the ultimate salvation question: are you ready for Jesus when He comes? He then lets loose with a couple of Sam Cooke yodels and declares he’s ready – in fact, he already has his bags packed. Now that’s ready. The song’s loose and engaging doo-wop drive is given Technicolor treatment in Derek Banks’ video, which depicts Champion dressed in retro clothes, driving a retro car, and playing a retro upright piano at an old farmhouse in ...

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Bruce Parham – Your Presence

Bruce Parham Your Presence We Here Now Music Group (release date: June 15, 2018) By Bob Marovich An early impetus for Bruce Parham’s solo career came from his grandmother, who instructed her grandson in no uncertain terms to “Open up your mouth and sing!” Sing he did, before church congregations and annual gatherings at the Mt. Sinai Holy Churches of America convention. Bishop Bruce V. Parham Sr., PhD. parlayed his grandmother’s admonition into an integral part of his ministry. Your Presence, available this month, is the latest example of his beefy tenor and love for contemporary and traditional songs and ...

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Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir – I Am Reminded

Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir I Am Reminded Brooklyn Tabernacle Music (release date: April 6, 2018) www.brooklyntabernacle.org By Bob Marovich Recorded live at Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York, I Am Reminded is the 30th album by the multicultural and multiple Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. It features the choir’s time-honored majestic harmonies that, propelled by a symphonic orchestra, wash over the listener like warm ocean waves crashing on a beach. As with all Brooklyn Tabernacle albums, the overall vibe of I Am Reminded is one of happiness and contentment, perpetually positive and uplifting. Smiling voices render melodic songs of thanksgiving to the Lord for blessings ...

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Jason Nelson – The Answer

Jason Nelson The Answer RCA Inspiration (release date: May 18, 2018) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich What makes Jason Nelson’s The Answer the finest of his five solo albums to date is the quality of the songs. Several of the melodic and biblically-based worship ballads on this live project are not only infectious, but they have a timeless quality. Outstanding songs on The Answer include the current single, “Forever,” as well as the quiescent “In the Room,” which demonstrates that an artist can get a message across—in this instance, that everything one needs can be sought through prayer—without thunder and fury. “Help Me,” which features ...

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“Can’t Wait to See Mama” – Prez Blackmon

“Can’t Wait to See Mama” Prez Blackmon Pearl’s Son Music (originally released in 2017) By Bob Marovich Stellar Award-nominee Prez Blackmon may be the biggest fan of holidays. His prior single releases include songs about Christmas, his birthday, and Mother’s Day. The latter, a 2010 JDI Records selection called “Happy Mother’s Day,” finds Blackmon sharing vocals with songstress Renee Spearman. Blackmon’s new release, “Can’t Wait to See Mama,” is another Mother’s Day ballad, this time an a cappella ode to his mother and all she did for him. To a familiar hymn melody, Blackmon improvises as a backing choir of voices supports ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 8, 2018

“Blessing Me” Dr. F. James Clark Presents NextGeneration Choir From the City of Peace CD Sure. Focused. Centered (2017) By Bob Marovich Despite the jaunty piano intro and thunderous singing of the NextGeneration Choir, “Blessing Me” belongs to its fiery lead vocalist, Meaghan Williams-McNeal. Her feisty shouts and squalls lead the group on this churchy offering of thanksgiving for blessings bestowed. It is one of those songs that seems to anticipate a praise break.  Not surprisingly, Williams-McNeal is pursuing a solo career. Dr. F. James Clark and the NextGeneration Choir hail from the Shalom Church (City of Peace) of Florissant, Missouri. Their debut album, 2015’s Simply Amazing, ...

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Jason Nelson Provides The Answer May 18

By Bob Marovich May 18 marks the day Bishop Jason Nelson will release his fifth album, The Answer (RCA Inspiration). Recorded live at Greater Bethlehem Temple Church in Randallstown, Maryland, the album marks Nelson’s tenth anniversary as pastor of Greater Bethlehem Temple, the church his father, Bishop James D. Nelson Sr., once shepherded. JGM asked the Stellar Award-winning singer and songwriter about a few of the songs on The Answer. Though the hymnbook-like “Jesus Is the Answer (For the World Today)” opens the album, it was not intended to be the lead-off song. “Originally, the song fell [in sequence] after ...

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Kendrick Evans – Live Therapy Session

Kendrick Evans Live Therapy Session Rock the Cause Records (release date: September 29, 2017) By Bob Marovich Appearing on the CW docu-drama My Last Days, award-winning gospel singer Kendrick Evans of Quincy, Florida, opened up about his acute sleep apnea that doctors said would give him about three more years to live. Eschewing the surgery that would probably have ruined his voice, Evans chose to find other remedies so he could sing. And sing he does. Evans uses his Live Therapy Session as a musical variant of the mental health counseling the title suggests. He puts all of his stuff out ...

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Various Artists: JDI Classics – Gospel Music for All Occasions

Various Artists JDI Classics: Gospel Music for All Occasions JDI Records (release date: April 6, 2018) By Bob Marovich JDI Records founder and CEO James Roberson has been doing some spring cleaning. In the case of The Essential Beverly Crawford, Vol. 2 as well as with this new JDI Classics release, Robertson has been reissuing items from the company’s estimable catalog. JDI Classics: Gospel Music for All Occasions is a clever repackaging conceit and something of a greatest hits collection for the Los Angeles-based label. Some of the songs are older. For example, Norman Hutchins’ “Emmanuel” (the Christmas choice) is ...

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Genesis of a Gospel Song: “You Deserve It”

By Bob Marovich This year’s Stellar Awards Song of the Year went to “You Deserve It.” Written by David Bloom and co-authored by Bishop Cortez Vaughn, Demond Reed, and JJ Hairston, the song also received a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance/Song. Bloom explained to the Journal of Gospel Music how the song was birthed. *      *      * I was first exposed to gospel music as a child. My parents were pastors, so as soon as I was born and we left the hospital, we went straight to church! My mom was a musician and a praise and worship singer. ...

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