Gospel Fusion

“Benediction” – The Paula Boggs Band

“Benediction” The Paula Boggs Band From the CD Elixir: The Soulgrass Sessions (release date: September 15, 2017) www.paulaboggsband.net By Bob Marovich Seattle’s Paula Boggs penned “Benediction” in the aftermath of the racist-fueled shooting that ended the lives of nine members of the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. The song expresses her grief over the tragedy and her desire for a productive end to the divisiveness and violence that have scarred the United States for centuries. Boggs, who in addition to being a guitar-wielding singer-songwriter, is an Army veteran and a former general counsel for Starbucks and Assistant U.S. Attorney for ...

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n•i•a•s•h•a – Gospel Mixtape Vol. 5

n•i•a•s•h•a Gospel Mixtape Vol. 5 Loveworld Life (released in August 2016) hulkshare.com/niashaMawerez By Bob Marovich If you need confirmation that gospel music is an international phenomenon, n•i•a•s•h•a’s Gospel Mixtape Vol. 5 is proof that praising God in song is global. Snippets of music from U.S. artists such as Tasha Cobbs, James Fortune, Zacardi Cortez, and California’s Jesus Culture can be heard alongside songs by a handful of artists you’ve probably never heard of, but should. By and large, the other artists represent Nigeria and South Africa, and while they sing in English, they frequently incorporate other languages into the lyrics. ...

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Monae Miller – #ForeverAlive (EP)

Monae Miller #ForeverAlive (EP) Monae Miller Music www.monaemillermusic.com By Bob Marovich The writer Anton Chekhov admonished his fellow writers: “If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.” This quote hung in the air while I was reviewing Kansas-born and Texas-based singer-songwriter Monae Miller’s #ForeverAlive EP. The photo on the front and back covers, as well as photos within the CD booklet, show her holding a guitar. So I anticipated that ...

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withLove (self-titled)

withLove withLove (released October 15, 2016) https://withlovemusic.bandcamp.com/album/withlove-deluxe-edition By Bob Marovich It is appropriate to begin 2017 with a post about a group that has love in its name and sings about love. A love of God, a love for God, and a love for all of God’s creation frame the self-titled debut by Baltimore’s multicultural ensemble withLove. In addition to music, withLove, formed by David Warren in 2013, holds “Love Projects” around the Baltimore area, where they serve the sick and shut-in and feed the homeless. withLove, the album and group, offer an eclectic mix of symphonic CCM, rock (progressive ...

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Belle Carmen – Love, Dreams & the Space Between

Belle Carmen Love, Dreams & the Space Between Chrispel Records (2016) www.bellecarmensplace.com By Bob Marovich Part song, part spoken word, and part instrumental, Belle Carmen’s Love, Dreams & the Space Between chronicles the ebbs and flows of her love story with Jesus Christ. Unlike some sacred love songs, there is no ambiguity about the object of Belle’s love focus. It’s Jesus, who is perfect.  She (and by extension, we), the imperfect and flawed, struggles to maintain her part of the bargain. At the same time, Belle wants to do better, and she articulates this in song on “Love You Right” and “Good ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 17, 2016

“Give Thanks” Doe Jones (release date: October 20, 2016) www.doeforeverjones.com Listeners will be familiar with Dominique “Doe” Jones from the family band foreverJONES, for whom she co-wrote and sang the hit single, “He Wants It All.” There’s much more to this singer-songwriter and musician, and if listeners didn’t figure it out with her outstanding power pop-inspirational “Most of All” (from foreverJONES’ Musical Revival), her latest solo single, “Give Thanks,” provides ample demonstration of her unfiltered, untampered-with talent. The song’s self-confident expression of gratitude for victory through God is buoyed by an acoustic funky soul evocative of Corinne Bailey Rae and ...

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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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The Abyssinian Mass – Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra With Wynton Marsalis Featuring Damien Sneed and Chorale Le Chateau The Abyssinian Mass Blue Engine Records (release date: March 18, 2016) www.blueenginerecords.org By Bob Marovich During the sermon section of The Abyssinian Mass, Rev. Dr. Calvin O. Butts III welcomes congregants with a statement that is the underlying theme of the piece: “Everybody has a place in the house of God.” Unity in diversity under one supreme deity is the binding agent of The Abyssinian Mass, written in partnership with Harlem’s historic Abyssinian Baptist Church by Pulitzer Prize-winning jazz musician, composer, and educator Wynton Marsalis. Blending ...

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Jae Jerome – Inner Man EP

Jae Jerome Inner Man EP (release date: November 2015) SouthBreeze Music www.jaejerome.com By Bob Marovich Inner Man, Jae Jerome’s self-described “gospel fusion” EP, embraces messages of inspiration and love lyrics—for God? for a person? Sometimes it’s ambiguous but it’s always positive —with the quiet storm sounds of Maxwell, Brian McKnight, and other R&B male crooners. Born Jerome Stovell, Jae Jerome is an artist from Bermuda whose style evokes the smooth soul, jazz, pop, reggae, and R&B music he soaked up as a teenager, despite his church’s strict warnings about listening to “worldly” music. Jerome worked with a number of contemporary gospel ...

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Gurrumul – The Gospel Album

Gurrumul The Gospel Album Skinnyfish Music (release date: July 15, 2015) www.skinnyfishmusic.com.au By Bob Marovich Gurrumul’s The Gospel Album is historic for the Journal of Gospel Music: the site’s first review of sacred music sung by an Australian indigenous artist. That artist is Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, a blind singer and musician whose artistic underpinning comes from the traditional music of the Gumatj clan and the hymns of the Methodist church on Elcho Island, off the coast of Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. The indigenous Gumatj made the music of Christian missionaries their own, and Gurrumul, a former member of the popular ...

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