Gospel Music

“He Kept Me” – Lamont Sanders

“He Kept Me”Lamont SandersFrom the Bear Tag / DarkChild Gospel EP He’s a Keeper(release date: February 20, 2020)www.lamontsanders.com By Robert M. Marovich On “He Kept Me,” Lamont Sanders expresses his gratitude to God who never left him despite his doubts, mistakes, and lack of focus on the Word. Sanders sings with a confidence and muscularity equaled only by the insistent thumping of a drum that opens the song and ultimately folds itself within the rhythm section. At the end of last month, “He Kept Me” received love from Billboard, where it hit the number one spot on the mag’s Gospel ...

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“Holy” – Maritza Rico

“Holy” Maritza Rico P&L Records (release date: August 28, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Maritza Rico’s “Holy” is quintessential P&W, with its easy-to-learn lyrics, catchy melody, and congregation-inviting chorus. Written and produced by Dee Jones, the song is reminiscent of praise anthems by Michael W. Smith and Chris Tomlin. It’s Rico’s expansive and tuneful voice that sells it. Born in East Los Angeles, Maritza Rico began her music journey participating in talent shows on Latin television and a background singer for Beatriz Solis, daughter of Latin music star Marco Antonio Solis. Rico joined the worship team at Abundant Living Family ...

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JGM Presents the Best CDs, Singles and Historic Reissues of 2021

By Bob Marovich As is our custom for this time of year, the Journal of Gospel Music presents its “best of” lists in the category of CDs, songs, and historical releases. The recordings were not chosen as “best of” based on sales, chart status, promotion, voting, fan popularity, number of likes or retweets, committee decisions, throwing darts, reading tea leaves, arm twisting, or anything other than 1) JGM was serviced with the music for review and 2) JGM believes they best represented gospel/sacred music in 2021 in terms of overall music quality. Artists whose music does not appear here: please ...

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“Truth” – Charles Martin

“Truth” Charles Martin Chuck’s Room (release date: September 2020) By Robert M. Marovich A singer, songwriter, actor, and former member of Deitrick Haddon’s Stellar Award-winning group Voices of Unity, Charles Martin flexes his melodious tenor voice on “Truth,” an atmospheric ballad he co-wrote with Rachard “Chardyroc” Williams. The song is partly a prayer seeking wisdom and guidance, and partly a prayer of gratitude for the freedom of salvation. It’s inspired by Martin’s own struggles as well as those of the nation. The freedom theme can be heard not only in Martin’s unfettered vocals during the vamp, but also in the ...

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“Jehovah Jireh” – Zak Williams & 1/Akord

“Jehovah Jireh” Zak Williams & 1/Akord Enon Music Group (release date: September 17, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich “Jehovah Jireh” celebrates God and old-school (’80s) gospel, Philly style. Representing the City of Brotherly Love, Zak Williams & 1/Akord offer a praise song with an agile arrangement noted for full-throated staccato choral singing, evangelistic exhortations from Williams, a flowing melody, and a hard-hitting rhythm section. Williams namechecks GMWA Mass Choir and Wilmington Chester Mass Choir alumnus Kevin Pringle, not only for added Philly cred but because the recording is a cover of Pringle’s composition. I first learned of Zak Williams & ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – December 27, 2021

“Covered” Anisa Fowler RNU Records (release date: November 12, 2021) www.anisafowler.com By Robert M. Marovich “Covered” identifies Long Island’s Anisa Fowler as an emerging gospel singer-songwriter of note. The melodic ballad, which Fowler co-wrote with Joshua Arnoux, reckons with the anxiety of the times by reminding listeners that no matter how close they are to giving up, Jesus is the remedy. The lyrics follow Kenneth Morris’ formula of presenting a problem in the first half of the verse and offering a solution in the second half (I call it the Kenneth Morris “But”). The shift from problem to solution is ...

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Gemstone Records Presents the Celestial Stars

Sponsored Post: Gemstone Records Presents the Celestial Stars Traditional gospel at its best The Celestial Stars:Organized in 1995, the original members were Lawrence Preston, mother Gwendolyn Williams, and father Lawrence Williams. Gwendolyn passed in 2009 and the group reorganized in October 2011. The group now consists of Lawrence Preston (also the bass player), his father Lawrence Williams, and cousins Barry Franklin and Richard Kinney. The Celestial Stars are a group with a sound that bridges the richness and tradition of traditional gospel quartet music with contemporary gospel music. The blend is the product of songwriter and producer Lawrence Preston, inclusive ...

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“Someone Has to Care” – Christian Scharen

Someone Has to Care: The Roots and Hip-Hop’s Prophetic Calling. By Christian Scharen. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books. 130 pp. (paperback). Illustrations, Notes, Bibliography. ISBN 978-1-5326-1217-6. $18.00 By Robert M. Marovich As Christian Scharen observes in his new book, Someone Has to Care, the titles of albums by hip-hop group The Roots exist on three levels: as a barometer of The Roots’ personal and creative state, as a commentary on the current status of hip-hop as an expressive art, and as a socio-political critique of longstanding oppression and suffering. Employing the same rule of three, Scharen, author and pastor of St. ...

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“I’m Gonna Say Thank You Lord”

“I’m Gonna Say Thank You Lord” Ricky Paul From the independent CD Just a Country Boy (release date: March 26, 2020) https://www.heavensound.com/artists/rickypaul.htm By Robert M. Marovich Gospel quartet music and country music are not as dissimilar as one might think. Artists from each genre heard one another on the radio and copied the best of what they heard. Their southern roots and branches go back decades. Still, African American gospel soloists who consider their style “country” are few and far between. The last one JGM encountered was Alice McAfee Williams (Al Mac Will). Her 2009 introduction at the Gospel Music ...

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JGM Music Hour: Christmas 2021

Christmas 2021 Playlist Go tell it – Calvin Bridges We three kings – Melody and Harmony The Christmas song – Rufus Johnson Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Kerry Douglas feat. Monica Lisa Stevenson Hope is alive – Tevis Harris & Favor Immanuel – Beverly Heath He brought joy – Bryan Andrew Wilson & the Wilsonettes Wonderful child – Matthew Donaldson Celebrate it’s Christmas time – Sounds of Imani Christmas joy – Anthony Clark This Christmas – Shawn Millz This year – Michelle-Lee Home with you – VaShawn Mitchell & Chante’ Moore Hope is here – Stefan Green No ...

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