Contemporary Gospel

“Holy” – Mark Hubbard & The Voices feat. Pastor Don Clark

“Holy” Mark Hubbard & the Voices feat. Pastor Don Clark Independent (release date: March 15, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Growing up in the Catholic church, we’d sing “Holy Holy Holy” with such lackluster spirit that I wasn’t sure whether we were worshiping God or putting Him to sleep. Since then, I’ve heard many arrangements from African American Protestant church ensembles that bring out the intended brightness of the nineteenth-century hymn. Arrangements like “Holy,” by Chicago’s own Mark Hubbard & the Voices, for example. Hubbard’s studied choir tucks the hymn neatly within Valencia Lacy’s original composition as Pastor Don Clark ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 5, 2021

“Fighter” Patreka Wortham (release date: March 5, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich “Fighter” is sufficient confirmation why North Carolina gospel singer Patreka Wortham took home top honors at the 34th Annual Stellar Awards Independent Artist Showcase in 2019. Written, she told Buzzmusic, at a point in time when she was “experiencing a big dose of ‘life,’” “Fighter” became her “pep talk” to herself. But the declarative power in her voice overwhelms the mantra-like lyrics. Patreka Wortham isn’t just singing a song of liberation, she’s proclaiming to the devil with her whole existence that messing with her comes at a significant ...

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The Clark Sisters Win Outstanding Gospel Album at the 52nd NAACP Image Awards

(DETROIT, MI) March 30, 2021— Karew Entertainment celebrates a major win at the 52nd Annual NAACP Image Awards. The legendary gospel group The Clark Sisters won “Outstanding Gospel/Christian Album” for their album, The Return. This is the group’s second NAACP Image Award win (first one being Outstanding Gospel Artist in 1983). The album has received praise from fans across the globe, and their current single “His Love” with Snoop Dogg, is charting top 5 on Billboard. “His Love” was written by group members Karen Clark Sheard and Dorinda Clark Cole, along with J. Drew Sheard II (producer), Kierra Sheard, R&B singer ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 23, 2021

“It Was the Blood” Minister James Willis & Nu Praze From the CD The Book of James V. 1 http://minjamesawillisjr.com By Robert M. Marovich Blood songs are especially relevant during the Lenten season, and Minister James Willis & Nu Praze deliver one in “It Was the Blood.” The musicians and singers embed bluesy notes in this simple but effective song that all but calls for congregational participation on the chorus. Powerhouse vocalist Treva Jones is her remarkable self as featured soloist, especially during the vamp, when she offers a litany of ills that Jesus’s blood has healed. Despite surges of ...

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CeCe Winans – Believe For It

CeCe Winans Believe For It Fair Trade (release date: March 12, 2021) www.cecewinans.com By Robert M. Marovich CeCe Winans’s Believe For It is the singer’s first non-holiday release in four years and her first live worship solo album. Listening to the album will lead one to consider the live recording environment as her sweet spot. Recorded in Nashville at Trinity Broadcasting Network, the album/worship service is delightfully long on melodic and heartwarming songs written and recorded by some of today’s top CCM and P&W stars and thankfully short on P&W filler. Although “Fire” is the type of aerobic P&W piece ...

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“It Won’t Be Long” – Dr. Waverly B. Bumbrey & Refuge Temple Cathedral Voices

“It Won’t Be Long” Dr. Waverly B. Bumbrey & Refuge Temple Cathedral Voices (release date: January 8, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Pandemic-wise, “It Won’t Be Long” feels more relevant today, in mid-March, than when it was released in early January by the award-winning choir Dr. Waverly B. Bumbrey & Refuge Temple Cathedral Voices. But “better days are coming,” the choir sings, and in the meantime they will shout and pray about it. Featured soloist Erica Lancaster improvises breathlessly on the theme as the Voices repeat the mantra, “It Won’t Be Long.” In his raw and craggy voice, Dr. Bumbrey ...

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“Get Ready” – Darwin Hobbs

“Get Ready” Darwin Hobbs FairTrade Services / Tyscot Records (release date: January 15, 2021) On “Get Ready,” singer-songwriter Darwin Hobbs quotes from 1 Corinthians 2:9 (“eye has not seen, nor ear heard”) to drum up excitement about the miracles just beyond his/your/our horizon. The new single features Hobbs’ husky voice, strong as it’s ever been, and an equally robust team of background vocalist and musicians, including ‘Mo Horns. Though stitched together from various studios in various locations, thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown, the production comes together effortlessly. Co-written with Apostle John W. Stevenson, who officiated at Hobbs’ 1993 nuptials, “Get ...

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“Heal Our Land” – Oscar Williams & the Band of Life

“Heal Our Land” Oscar Williams & the Band of Life Ft. C. Ashley Brown-Lawrence From the EP Speak Life – Vol. 1 (EP release date: January 14, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich “Heal Our Land,” introduced last year by Oscar Williams & the Band of Life, remains a relevant prayer even as the world looks with anticipation to the end of the global pandemic. The saline vocals of the sensational C. Ashley Brown-Lawrence contrast with the choir’s sweet harmonies as both build to a musically dynamic and lyrically intense apex. Like a technique out of the James Cleveland toolkit, Brown-Lawrence ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 8, 2021

“We Need You”Titus ShowersA&P Records (release date: January 15, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Alternately balladic and rhythmic, Titus Showers’ new single “We Need You” is a passionate, moving entreaty to the Lord to help the world search for peace, regain its faith, and answer the most fundamental question during a time of turmoil: “why?” Midway through, Titus shifts his prayer from global to local, seeking a word from up above to help resolve the questions troubling his own heart. He recognizes that God is the answer, for him, for everyone. Co-written by Titus along with Ernest Vaughan and Owen ...

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“Residue” – Jason Nelson

“Residue” Jason Nelson Tyscot / Fair Trade (release date: March 5, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Those who know Jason Nelson for his gospel balladry will be interested to hear his musical shift on “Residue.” Nelson’s first single in three years is more rhythmic in arrangement and vocals than his trademark songs “Shifting the Atmosphere” and “Forever.” His voice, meaty and muscular, seems more so when fronting a rhythm section in which his own bass guitar work is front and center. To describe in contemporary terms how God cleanses the soul completely and sets it free, Nelson pulls on dual ...

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