Gospel Music

Elsa Harris – I Thank God

Elsa Harris I Thank God The Sirens (release date: March 15, 2019) www.thesirensrecords.com By Bob Marovich Chicago is the birthplace of gospel music and, in many respects, it’s also the home of the genre’s most ardent preservation efforts. In addition to the forthcoming National Museum of Gospel Music, the vitality of traditional gospel in the Windy City can be heard on veteran gospel artist Elsa Harris’s mostly instrumental CD, I Thank God. Harris’s piano proclivities, forged in the practice room as well as the church, recalls the jauntiness of traditional gospel, a distinctive sound too often obscured in the wake ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 23, 2019

“Hold My Hand Lord” Donny Pomerlee feat. Paul Porter BBG Entertainment, LLC (release date: February 24, 2019) www.wrightmusicgroup.org By Bob Marovich On “Hold My Hand Lord,” Donny Pomerlee’s lithe tenor and Paul Porter’s gritty growl are like sugar and salt, and are just as addictive together. A native of Chicago, Pomerlee honed his vocal and instrumental skills in city churches. He was named Praise and Worship Artist of the Year at the first Chicago Gospel Music Awards. In lyric and style, however, “Hold My Hand Lord” is about as far from P&W as you can get. Pomerlee’s fourth single has ...

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Lineup for 34th Chicago Gospel Music Festival

Check out the link below for a Chicago Sun-Times article that offers the lineup of artists for the 34th Chicago Gospel Music Festival, to be held at the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park May 31 and June 1, 2019. The lineup was announced this past week by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Among the festival’s highlights this year are a tribute to the late Aretha Franklin and a collaboration with the Stellar Awards, which will honor Black Music Month and the National Museum of Gospel Music by bringing Stellar Award-winning artists to the main stage. ...

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Zion’s Joy! – What Would Heaven Look Like

Zion’s Joy! What Would Heaven Look Like Habakkuk Music (release date: March 8, 2019) www.zionsjoy.com By Bob Marovich Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, the multicultural small choir called Zion’s Joy! made national news in mid-2018 when the video for their single, “What Would Heaven Look Like,” was erroneously blocked by Facebook. From the “no good deed goes unpunished” department: it was only after the group paid to boost their Facebook post of the video that it was flagged by the social media giant as “political content” and subsequently blocked. The company ultimately apologized and restored the video on its platform, noting ...

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The Lee Boys – Live on the East Coast

The Lee Boys Live on the East Coast M.C. Records (release date: April 19, 2019) www.mc-records.com By Bob Marovich Live on the East Coast, the Lee Boys’ first album since 2012’s Testify and the group’s first for Mark Carpentieri’s M.C. Records, is a smoking hot sanctified-meets-steel workout. Recorded in late 2018 at three live appearances—Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina—the Lee Boys’ album could just as easily have been titled Live in the Southeast. Name aside, the album combines traditional gospels and spirituals, newly-composed songs such as the title track from the group’s Testify album, and soul classics such as the ...

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Melvin Williams Seeks Photos for Mother’s Day Video Tribute

Melvin Williams of the Williams Brothers and, since 1988, a best-selling gospel solo artist, is putting together a video tribute for Mother’s Day.  He invites you to submit a photo of your mother for potential use in the video. If interested, please email the photo to melvinwilliamsentertainment@gmail.com. Submission deadline is May 3. Here’s the song, taken from his 2018 Emmy-nominated PBS special.

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 15, 2019

“You Don’t Know” Zacardi Cortez Black Smoke Music Worldwide (2019) By Bob Marovich “You don’t know my story,” is a frequently uttered church aphorism. “I don’t look like what I’ve been through” is another. On the appropriately-titled “You Don’t Know,” the popular gospel singer Zacardi Cortez (“Oh, How I Love You,” “1 On 1”) offers his own testimony. His big, rough-as-sandpaper shouting tenor, introduced to a national gospel audience on James Fortune & FIYA’s 2007 album The Transformation, is on full display on this deceptively powerful song, as much a recitative of gratitude as a cathartic expression of trials endured ...

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Marie Knight – The Gospel Truth Live

Marie Knight The Gospel Truth Live M. C. Records (release date: March 23, 2018) www.mc-records.com By Bob Marovich On a rainy October 19, 2007, in North Adams, Massachusetts, after a passel of church choirs appeared at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Gospel Fest, the audience warmly received the headliner, an eighty-seven-year-old music veteran. Marie Knight, a gospel and R&B star and well-known collaborator with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Sister Rosetta Tharpe, was the veteran, and Mark Carpentieri’s M. C. Records captured her complete song service on tape. Released last year, The Gospel Truth Live is the ...

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Rezurected – The Prodigal Son

Rezurected The Prodigal Son Dubbstarr LLC (release date: March 19, 2019) www.rezurected.org By Bob Marovich The Prodigal Son is an appropriately titled album for Rezurected. It depicts, in nine bite-sized tracks, his personal story from the consequences of an early life of bad decisions to salvation and victory. The Christian hip hop artist Rezurected is Brent Reusch (pronounced “rush), an Atlantan who now lives in Cleveland, Ohio. The Prodigal Son tells his tale through a mix of urban street vernacular and biblical quotes buoyed by beats that are sometimes gothic, sometimes melodic, and other times minimalist or infused with fuzzy ...

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“There’s No One Like You” – Kelontae Gavin

“There’s No One Like You” Kelontae Gavin From the Tyscot album The Higher Experience www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Success couldn’t happen to a nicer guy than Kelontae Gavin. Part of Gavin’s appeal is his genuine spirit, which shines through in his singing, such as on the P&W ballad “There’s No One Like You.” He and his background vocalists take this unabashed prayer of praise, a follow-up to the hit “No Ordinary Worship,” from smooth to sanctified and back again. The congregation, captivated by the chorus, sings the song to its conclusion. I’m not a big fan of P&W except when ...

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