Gospel Music

JGM Pick of the Week: December 4, 2019

“Okay” Rahdyah Renee’ Mike2Mike Music (release date: October 29, 2019) www.rahdyahrenee.com By Bob Marovich “Okay,” the debut single by Philadelphia-born vocalist Rahdyah Renee’, latches onto your subconscious in the first few bars and doesn’t let go until you sit up and take notice. It’s a well-crafted, and well-sung, sacred pop song that reassures listeners life will get better, no matter how bad it seems. God has your back. Michael R. Stokes and Johana McCoy are the writers on “Okay.” A background vocalist for Jekalyn Carr, Rahdyah has also performed with the Voices of Zamar gospel group. Her sound is evocative ...

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Vetrea Slack Ruffin – Rain Down on Me

Vetrea Slack Ruffin Rain Down on Me Heavenly Spirit Music (release date: March 30, 2019) www.VetreaSlackRuffin.com By Bob Marovich Some people celebrate turning sixty years old by throwing a party. Others go on vacation, or buy themselves something special. Evangelist Vetrea Slack Ruffin celebrated her 60th year of life by releasing an EP. Rain Down on Me is about twenty minutes of singing by the award-winning gospel singer-songwriter from Alabama and an eight-minute lesson from the pulpit, courtesy of her pastor-husband, Dr. Paul Ruffin. The two opening song selections are modern and boisterous. “Raise Up Judah” is a conventional call-and-response ...

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RIP: Rev. Dr. Clay Evans – Pastor, Civil Rights Icon

The Journal of Gospel Music was saddened to learn of the passing today of the Reverend Dr. Clay Evans, founder and pastor emeritus of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago. Our deepest sympathies to Ms. Lou Della Evans Reid, Rev. Pharis Evans, the rest of the Evans family, and the Fellowship M.B. Church community. The following is a short bio that I wrote for the Malaco Music Group website, with the generous assistance of Ms. Patty Nolan-Fitzgerald: Reverend Dr. Clay Evans An iconic pastor, singer, songwriter, recording preacher, community organizer, and civil rights leader, the Reverend Dr. Clay Evans was ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 25, 2019

“Do You Know Him” The Fantastic Bibletones From the CD Just As I Am (release date: July 22, 2019) https://www.thefantasticbibletones.com/ By Bob Marovich Former Pick of the Week recipients the Fantastic Bibletones are back with a spirited redux of Brother Joe May’s 1950 breakout hit, “Do You Know Him.” The female quartet from St. Louis takes the Mary Lou Coleman Parker original and turns it into an aisle-walker, fueled by steady drums, pounding piano, and a marvelous power-packed vamp fueled by call-and-response. Organized in 1971 and active until 1998, after which they took a break from the arduous gospel highway, ...

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Don Rutherford – Chronicles 16

Don Rutherford Chronicles 16 Thousand Generations Records (release date: January 19, 2019) www.donrutherfordmusic.net By Bob Marovich Hearing Don Rutherford’s Chronicles 16 reminded me of the concept albums produced in the 1970s by Canadian rock band Rush. This was confirmed with the one-two punch intro to the album’s “Canaan / The Few,” which evokes the opening to Rush’s 2112. Rutherford’s Christian concept album, subtitled “A Psalm in Rock,” is a clever conceit, a rock oratorio based on David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving in 1 Chronicles 16 (King James Version). A hard-charging rhythm section, screaming guitar solos, and ever-shifting motifs are reminiscent of ...

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Whosoever South – Backroads & Small Towns

Whosoever Sourh Backroads & Small Towns Pit Bull Productions (release date: October 3, 2019) www.whosoeversouth.com By Bob Marovich Backroads & Small Towns, the new album by Whosoever South, the self-proclaimed “country crunk” trio from Southeast Georgia, pulls few punches as it expresses quintessentially American Christian values like hard work, faith in God, righteous living, and believing in the Golden Rule and the rule of law. Like a faith-based version of the country superband Alabama, the trio of husband-and-wife team Rowdy and Sarah Eunice, and Mike Mitchell adopts socially-conservative allegiances to southern mores in “Georgia,” and in the swampy “That’s Country,” ...

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Various Artists – No Other Love

Various Artists No Other Love: Midwest Gospel 1965-1978 Tompkins Square (release date: November 8, 2019) www.tompkinssquare.com By Bob Marovich Its playlist culled from the seemingly-limitless catalog of indie artists and labels, Tompkins Square’s various artists collection No Other Love is full of honest, unbridled soulfulness. There is no large record company smoothing out the rough edges for commercial viability. Unlike the top gospel stars of the day who sustained their ministries by singing full-time, the artists on No Other Love typically limited their appearances to weekends because they had day jobs (that included the pastors). They appeared on local programs, ...

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Ray Holland & the New Boyz of Triumph – Keep on Running

Ray Holland & the New Boyz of Triumph Keep On Running Sharp Records (release date: May 23, 2019) www.sharprecordsusa.com By Bob Marovich With notable exceptions (e.g., Thomas Spann of the Brooklyn All Stars), bass voices in gospel quartet have been gone for quite a while. That’s why it’s a delight to even hear a low baritone voice in a quartet. That’s what you get with Ray Holland & the New Boyz of Triumph. Keep on Running is the latest CD from the New Boyz of Triumph, a group that hails from Talladega, Alabama. Besides Holland, members are Wesley Haley, the ...

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Jesse Cann – A New Song

Jesse CannA New SongJordan Line Music (2019)www.jessecann.com By Bob Marovich At the Rhythm of Gospel Awards this summer, a distinguished-looking bearded gentleman named Jesse Cann sat down at a keyboard. In the midst of a musical program featuring thunderous choirs, ecstatic groups, and spirited singers, he offered up an unassuming but nevertheless earnest solo. The audience loved it. Later, Cann, a cancer survivor, took home the Special Event / Instrumental Artist of the Year Award. Cann’s latest album, A New Song, does include an instrumental track and highlights his talent on keys, flugelhorn, and trumpet, but it is a vocal ...

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