Contemporary Gospel

Dawn Turner – God’s Thoughts

Dawn Turner God’s Thoughts (EP) Story Book Music, Inc. (2016) www.cdbaby.com/cd/dawnturner By Bob Marovich Buffalo, New York, native Dawn Turner is a fine church singer. She’s not a shouter, squaller, or melismatic artisan but, as she demonstrates on “God’s Name,” one of the five cuts on her God’s Thoughts EP, she can sure enough deliver blue notes while singing flatfooted. Turner is also a songwriter, and all but one of the tracks on God’s Thoughts are her own compositions. One, “Giving is a Ministry,” is an ode to the importance of tithing and the blessings that come from grateful giving. It ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 10, 2016

“Walking in Victory” Angela “Missy” Billups E’Mazin Entertainment (2016) www.cdbaby.com/cd/angelamissybillups6 New York-based singer Missy Billups returns to her traditional roots on her latest single, “Walking in Victory.” This uptempo call-and-response piece, which Billups introduced at gospel conventions this summer, contains a calypso-sounding chorus that offers a vivid image of Billups strutting across the platform in a victory walk. Traditional soul notwithstanding, the song wears a contemporary vibe as Billups exuberantly celebrates spiritual release and declares victory over her family and her future.  I personally enjoy when Missy puts the P&W aside and gets her old school on, as she does ...

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Christopher Williams – Stepping Out

Christopher Williams Stepping Out (private release, 2015) www.cdbaby.com/cd/christopherwilliams24 By Bob Marovich Stepping Out by Christopher Williams, a Jacksonville, Florida, singer, songwriter, worship leader, and Rhythm of Gospel Award nominee, showcases a contemporary gospel stylist with more than a dash of smooth jazz in his veins. Most of the album’s ten songs contain pop melodies that ride along on a smooth jazz accompaniment. Not to be confused with the R&B singer of the same name, Williams is a religious vocalist with a bright, optimistic tenor not unlike other young gospel industry stars such as Jonathan McReynolds, Maurice Griffin, and Todd Dulaney. Williams interjects exquisite falsetto notes whenever he wishes ...

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Northern Delaware Chapter GMWA Recording Choir: God Be Glorified

Northern Delaware Chapter GMWA Recording Choir God Be Glorified (self-produced; release date: May 14, 2016) www.ndcgmwa.com By Bob Marovich Gospel choirs trained under the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) umbrella possess a certain style that non-GMWA choirs do not necessarily have. It’s spit-polish combined with passion, thunderous voices that can sing at a whisper, lively leads, and contemporary arrangements anchored in tradition. If GMWA was handing out seals of approval to choirs that met these standards, the Northern Delaware Chapter’s Recording Choir would get one. On the choir’s debut effort, God Be Glorified, it demonstrates a consistent command of hymns, ...

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Grammy® Award Nominated Artist Tamela Mann Drops New Album “One Way” Friday, September 9

Click on the image above to purchase One Way. Sponsored Post: DALLAS (September 8, 2016) – Grammy® Award Nominated, NAACP Image Award Winning Artist and Billboard Chart-Topping Singer TAMELA MANN releases her highly-anticipated new album ONE WAY Friday, September 9 on her Tillymann Music label through RED Distribution. One Way features the power ballad single “God Provides,” which is currently No. 4 on the Billboard Gospel Radio Chart this week. “God Provides” is written and produced by long-time friend and collaborating partner, Gospel Music Icon Kirk Franklin. Tamela is currently touring the country in support of the new album with ...

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Denise Josiah – Songs For the Heart

Denise Josiah Songs For the Heart JoDah Ministries, LLC (2016) www.jodahministries.org By Bob Marovich Denise Josiah titled her debut album Songs For the Heart, but it could easily have been titled Songs From the Heart. The ten lovingly intimate sacred selections on the CD were penned or arranged over a period of more than twenty years by the singer, her husband Dr. Donnell Josiah, or written together. Born on the beautiful island of Saint Maarten but now residing in Maryland, Denise is a worship singer whose light soprano is thickened with resonant echoes of alto, no doubt the result of ...

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“I’m Good” – Ryan Rutley feat. Erica Lancaster and Jason Rutley

“I’m Good” Ryan Rutley feat. Erica Lancaster and Jason Rutley Psalms Group Studios (released April 8, 2016) www.cdbaby.com/cd/ryanrutley2 When asked how they are doing, Ryan Rutley, Erica Lancaster, and Jason Rutley update the sentiment of the late Reverend Paul Jones’ “I Won’t Complain” with a simple “I’m Good.” Of course, “I’m Good” can be used to mask inner struggle and hurt, but the trio uses the response as an affirmation instead of an evasion. “I should lose my control, but I won’t,” they sing. The single’s chirpy pop sound, vivacious lead trading between the trio, and insistent electronic rhythm distinguish it ...

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Eloho – Unrestrained

Eloho Unrestrained (self released, 2016) www.elohoefemuai.co.uk By Bob Marovich Americans might be surprised to learn that there is a vibrant gospel music community in the UK. Given the way in which the music was introduced there, and when, the UK style—indeed the mode of gospel music throughout Europe and Scandinavia—has more in common with CCM and Andrae Crouch-style jazz-pop gospel than the churchy clap-and-stomp sounds of traditionalism. At the same time, it stands in refreshing contemporary contrast to the staid hymns of the Anglican Church. Case in point is Eloho Efemuai, better known simply as Eloho. The Nigerian-born worship leader ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 1, 2016

“The Master’s Calling” Deborah Joy Winans Malaco Records www.malaco.com “The Master’s Calling” by singer and actor Deborah Joy Winans is at turns haunting, electrifying, and inspiring, and quite possibly one of the best gospel songs of the year. Written by Thad Cockrell, the song opens with a solemn piano and organ and features an earnest and delicate Winans answered by a commanding gospel choir. “Listen while you still can hear / The Master’s calling.” The daughter of contemporary gospel pioneer Carvin Winans, Deborah plays Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) drama, Greenleaf, from whence the song comes. Although most know ...

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