Contemporary Gospel

Various Artists: Motown Gospel Presents 1 Mic 1 Take

Various Artists Motown Gospel Presents 1 Mic 1 Take Motown Gospel (release date: June 3, 2016) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Imagine having one shot at getting it right in front of The Microphone in one of the most iconic recording studios in America: Capitol Studios in Hollywood, California. It is not unlike having one turn at bat at Yankee Stadium and the fans are expecting an out-of-the-park home run. Members of Motown Gospel’s current artist roster took their chances and came up with a solid third base hit on 1 Mic 1 Take. Although this album of stripped down gospel ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 5, 2016

“Closer to You” Carrington Gaines From the EP The Process (released November, 2015) www.cdbaby.com/cd/carringtongaines Cut from the same musical mold as current gospel vocalists Jonathan McReynolds and Travis Greene, Carrington Gaines offers “Closer to You.” It’s an introspective ballad led by acoustic guitar and propelled by a delicate finger-popping beat. At one point, the song possesses the lyrical and melodic gravitas of a hymn.  At other times, it unfolds like an informal prayer closet conversation. Throughout, Gaines declares that he will seek restoration of his connection with God after a past marked by separation. A native of Buffalo, New York, ...

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Livre’ – Jericho: The Tribe of Joshua

Livre’ Jericho: The Tribe of Joshua Glory 2 Glory Records / MBK Records / Sony RED Association Labels (release date: May 20, 2016) By Bob Marovich If part of today’s political rhetoric is about building walls, Livre’ is about knocking them down. Eliminating life’s barriers is the premise of the group’s sonically delightful Jericho: The Tribe of Joshua. At times, the five-member power vocal group from the Bronx (their name is pronounced LIVE-ray and means “free” in Latin) delivers its message in bright, optimistic tones, and at other times, it speaks from a relatable vulnerability. Regardless, the group argues that ...

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Domonique Mitchell Presents Inspiration Music for the Soul, Vol. 1

Various Artists Domonique Mitchell Presents Inspiration Music for the Soul, Vol. 1 Gospel Rhythm (release date: April 29, 2016) Available from digital media stores By Bob Marovich Presented in the guise of a gospel radio program hosted by the smooth-voiced DJ Mac Cummings, Domonique Mitchell Presents Inspiration Music for the Soul, Vol. 1 is a mixtape that surveys independent artists working in several subgenres—from contemporary gospel and urban contemporary to Christian hip hop and traditional. Mitchell has a fascinating background. His career includes A&R work for Coastal Records and Sounds of Atlanta /Universal Records, project coordinator and co-producer of BET’s ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 13, 2016

“Glory to the Lamb” Micah Stampley From the Interface Entertainment album To the King. . .Vertical Worship Live www.micahstampley.org I recognize that “Glory to the Lamb” is not the current single from Micah Stampley’s latest album—that honor belongs to the equally persuasive “Be Lifted”—but nevertheless, it is one of Stampley’s best selections since his cover of “Come to Jesus.” The song demonstrates his passionate singing better than any other track on the album. With instrumentation held to a minimum and the vocals set at high intensity, “Glory to the Lamb” is exactly the kind of song we anticipate from Stampley. It ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 6, 2016

“You Covered Me” Pastor Marlon Lock Available digitally www.pastormarlonlock.com Stellar-nominated gospel artist Pastor Marlon Lock of Milwaukee delivers a gentle contemporary ballad about how he got over: it was all because of God’s protective covering.  Lock delivers this forthright declaration with melodic tenderness but he’s moved by the end to shout a little for having gotten over. Lock’s quartet-flavored “He Delivered Me” was not only a Pick of the Week last year but became one of the Journal of Gospel Music‘s top 10 gospel singles of 2015. “Pastor T,” as Lock is affectionately known, pastors the church his grandfather founded: ...

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Latice Crawford – Diary of a Church Girl (EP)

Latice Crawford Diary of a Church Girl (EP) EchoPark ARTS Entertainment (release date: May 20, 2016) www.laticecrawfordonline.com By Bob Marovich The word “testimony” could be substituted for “diary” in Diary of a Church Girl, Latice Crawford’s introspective and autobiographical follow-up EP to her self-titled debut album. Many know Crawford as second runner-up on BET’s Sunday Best during the show’s second season.  The five-track Diary of a Church Girl is a chronicle of the singer’s journey to overcoming loss, financial issues, and anxiety through a renewed spiritual commitment.  Most importantly, Crawford notes, the EP is “my desire to be accepted and ...

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Anthony Nelson & the Overcomers: Love Jesus, Love People

Anthony Nelson & the Overcomers Love Jesus, Love People New Heavens & New Earth Music (January 29, 2016) www.antheovercomers.com By Bob Marovich Earlier this year, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, contemporary gospel group Anthony Nelson & the Overcomers released its debut album, Love Jesus, Love People. Nelson, an engineer by training and an ordained deacon and multi-instrumentalist by calling, organized the ensemble three years ago after going through tough personal challenges, including losing both his parents. Despite the ensemble’s Louisiana roots, don’t expect any fais do do on the album. Evoking an eclectic variety of music influences—from Shirley Caesar to Hillsong Worship to ...

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Charlin Neal, “The Little Girl with the Big Voice,” Goes Solo

By Bob Marovich Nearly a decade ago, singer Charlin Neal stood on a stage in Trinidad as a member of Israel & New Breed. It was her first official program with the multi-award-winning group. “I was excited and intimidated,” Neal told the Journal of Gospel Music. “Of the 30 [Israel songs I learned], we maybe did eight of them—and two other songs I had no idea even existed!” Israel Houghton liked Neal’s sound and invited her to travel to Nigeria with the group. “I’ve been going since then,” she said. Trinidad and Nigeria are a long way from Bakersfield, California, where Neal ...

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Mighty Men of Faith – Believe in His Promises

Mighty Men of Faith Believe in His Promises N2L Records (2016) www.mightymenoffaith.com By Bob Marovich Since forming at a 2009 Men’s Day Celebration in Palo Alto, California, Wendell Basey and the Mighty Men of Faith have recorded a handful of albums and have garnered several honors, including two at last year’s Rhythm of Gospel Awards, one being for Quartet CD of the Year for 2014’s Nothing But Grace. The Mighty Men of Faith’s new album, Believe in His Promises, finds the indie group working within its trademark neo-quartet sound—bright, chirpy arrangements with plinky piano and frequent lead vocal exchanges between ...

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