5 Stars

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers – Somewhere Beyond the Blue

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers Somewhere Beyond the Blue Billy Blue Records (release date: May 7, 2021) www.radioramblers.com By Robert M. Marovich On the eleven-track Somewhere Beyond the Blue, Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers offer southern gospel singing bluegrass style in the tradition of the Louvin Brothers, Carl Story, and the Lewis Family. Tight harmonies, dynamic banjo solos, and keening fiddle runs support southern gospel songs from the pens of such stalwart songwriters as Vep Ellis, Bill Anderson, and Marty Stuart. In general, the songs are sermonettes on the virtues of a good life and the promise of ...

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Pastor David Wright & NY Fellowship Mass Choir – Miracles

Pastor David Wright & NY Fellowship Mass Choir Miracles Godfather Records (release date: July 15, 2021) www.gracetabernacle.info By Robert M. Marovich For fans of contemporary gospel choirs, and especially for those who wonder where the choir went (it hasn’t gone anywhere) Pastor David Wright & NY Fellowship Mass Choir’s new release, Miracles, will delight. Although the audience is mostly inaudible, Miracles was recorded live in Brooklyn’s Christ Fellowship Baptist Church. The husky-voiced Wright, son of the late Reverend Timothy and Betty Wright, has loaded his new album with feature vocalists. For example, the opener, “Justified,” written and led by David ...

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Jason Nelson – Close

Jason Nelson Close Jaelyn Song Music /Tyscot / FairTrade (release date: August 6, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich The mark of an excellent gospel album is not just the superiority of the singing or the talent of the musicians but the solidness of the songs. Especially the songs. Jason Nelson’s Close contains enough new songs for gospel artists to draw upon for the better part of a year. It’s been three years since The Answer (RCA Inspiration), but it is clear that Jason Nelson, twin brother of Jonathan Nelson, hasn’t tarried. His sixth album, Close, was written during the pandemic ...

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“Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus! Photographs from the Sacred Steel Community” by Robert L. Stone (book review)

Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus! Photographs from the Sacred Steel Community. By Robert L. Stone. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. 192 pp. (hardcover). Illustrations, Extended Photo Captions, Notes. ISBN 978-1-4968-3150-7. $40.00 By Robert M. Marovich With Can’t Nobody Do Me Like Jesus! Florida historian and folklorist Robert Stone presses into place the final puzzle piece of his years’ long audio-visual portrayal of the House of God and Church of the Living God steel guitar tradition. Having written Sacred Steel (University of Illinois Press, 2010), the definitive history of these Holiness churches’ distinctive music ministry, and produced, with support from ...

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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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San Franklin – The Free Project (Deluxe Version)

San Franklin The Free Project (Deluxe Version) Enon Music Group (release date: September 25, 2020) www.enonmusic.com By Robert M. Marovich From the spoken introduction, gospel singer San Franklin makes it clear that her debut solo CD, The Free Project, is about breaking free from self-bondage, from the chains of doubt, fear, and analysis paralysis we wrap around ourselves. After years of standing “twenty feet from stardom,” Franklin enters the spotlight for the entire program, demonstrating the vocal versatility that has made her a favorite featured vocalist. Even her act of stepping forward to occupy center stage fits with the CD’s ...

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DOE – DOE (EP)

DOE DOE (EP) Life Room / RCA Inspiration (release date: October 30, 2020) www.rcainspiration.com By Robert M. Marovich Gospel music enthusiasts first heard DOE (Dominique Jones) as lead singer and composer of “He Wants It All,” the debut single by twice GRAMMY-nominated forever JONES, her family’s gospel music ensemble. Since then, the winsome singer has gone solo, earning a third GRAMMY nomination for her collaboration with Jonathan McReynolds on the single, “Cycles.” Not surprisingly, as their musical styles are similar, DOE’s first solo EP is on McReynolds’ newly-formed label, Life Room, in partnership with RCA Inspiration. Like McReynolds, DOE is ...

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Jekalyn Carr – Changing Your Story Live!

Jekalyn Carr Changing Your Story Live! Lunjeal/The Orchard (release date: October 23, 2020) www.iamjekalyncarr.com By Bob Marovich Jekalyn Carr has achieved more by age 23 than most people will accomplish in a lifetime. With six Top 10 gospel singles under her belt, four hitting number one, plus several albums, a book, an e-course, acting credentials, Dove and Stellar awards, a GRAMMY nomination, and an endless stream of singing and speaking appearances, Carr is living proof of the power of her life-affirming messages. Recorded at Atlanta’s Praise in the Park event last October, Changing Your Story Live! is full of essentially ...

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Brian Courtney Wilson – Still

Brian Courtney Wilson Still Motown Gospel (release date: October 16, 2020) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Whether its messages are explicit or implicit, gospel music at its finest tells listeners of all beliefs—and even those with no belief—that hope is a beacon in the midst of hopelessness, encouragement exists for the discouraged, and comfort is available for the discomforted. Hope, encouragement, and comfort are in abundance on Still, GRAMMY-nominated Brian Courtney Wilson’s fifth and latest album. Its eight radio-sized and biblically-based songs are reassuring shoulder rubs, made all the more so by Wilson’s easy-on-the-ears baritone. For example, the contemplative title track ...

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PJ Morton: Gospel According to PJ

PJ Morton Gospel According to PJ Morton Inspiration / Tyscot (digital release date: August 14, 2020; physical release date: November 27, 2020) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Much is being made about Gospel According to PJ being PJ Morton’s return to gospel. But like the Reverend C. L. Franklin said of his GRAMMY-winning daughter Aretha, Bishop Paul S. Morton can say of his GRAMMY-winning son: he never really left the church. That’s because most of Gospel According to PJ is a re-introduction, in new arrangements, of sacred songs that Morton, a multi-genre musician, singer, songwriter and record producer, created for other ...

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