CDs

Jermaine Dolly – The Dolly Express

Jermaine Dolly The Dolly Express DarkChild Gospel / By Any Means Necessary LLC (release date: June 9, 2017)                 By Bob Marovich The Dolly Express, the main conceit of Jermaine Dolly’s debut full-length album of the same name, bears similarity to the storied Gospel Train, the subject of old hymns, with a couple important exceptions. First, while only the saved are welcome on board the Gospel Train, Dolly’s locomotive invites everyone on this free trip. And second, the conductor is not Jesus but Dolly himself. His duty, like a good Christian, is to lead his ...

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Bigger Than Me – Le’Andria

Bigger Than Me Le’Andria RCA Inspiration (release date: July 21, 2017) By Bob Marovich Bigger Than Me, Le’Andria Johnson’s fifth album, is her best album since her 2011 debut, the chart-topping Music World Gospel release, The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson. Best because the songs, for the first time since Awakening, feel right for her, melodically and lyrically. This album is direct and honest rather than focused on inspirational messages with an undercurrent of crossover aspiration. Song lyrics like “I’ve tried every shortcut” and have “gone through hell” (“Come Through”) and “I took on way too much…now I have to pay the cost” ...

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Sherwin Gardner – Greater

Sherwin Gardner Greater Flow Masters / Tyscot Records (global release: May 26, 2017) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Those who follow my reviews know I’m not typically sold on an album’s selected single, and often feel other tracks on the CD are far stronger. But “Because of You,” the first American single from Sherwin Gardner’s album Greater, deserves to be the one. I couldn’t get the melody and lyrics out of my head 24 hours after listening to it. Of the live and studio versions of “Because of You,” both offered on the CD, I prefer the live version. Here, the song’s lyrical apex, ...

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Jeanette Jones – Dreams All Come True

Jeanette Jones Dreams All Come True Playback Records (release date: May 19, 2017) www.playbackrecords.net By Bob Marovich The title of Playback’s compilation of every known secular and sacred solo recording by San Francisco singer Jeanette Jones is deliberately ironic. All the more so in that Jones’ beautifully-sung ballad, “Dreams All Come True,” which gives the album its title, was recorded in 1968 but did not see the light of day until 2000. As Alec Palao’s well-crafted and sympathetic essay for this compilation suggests, whatever career aspirations the comely alto may have had seemed never to materialize, despite her obvious vocal talent. So one released pop single ...

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CASS: Genesis – Second Season

CASS Genesis – Second Season http://officialcass.com By Bob Marovich Genesis – Second Season is the debut full-length solo album for New Zealand-based Christian singer/producer CASS, aka Cassandra Kanda. It follows on the heels of the Season 1 EP she produced to test the waters of recorded music ministry while completing a three-year church internship. To support her unpretentious lyrics of praise and love for God, CASS leaps more confidently into the pool of hook-laden, beat-built pop music than most gospel artists dare. Viscous keyboards burble in space. Electronic riffs transition into Cinemascope-sized blossoms. Beats, hooks, riffs, and rhythmic lyric lines come ...

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Adam Everett – If You Are Weary

Adam Everett If You Are Weary Polytone Records (release date: May 11, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/adameverett By Bob Marovich If John Hiatt made a gospel album, it would sound like Adam Everett’s If You Are Weary. This eight-track collection of hymns and newly-composed songs is the product of a new breed of young alt-gospel artists such as the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers (who opened for Everett’s album release party), Liz Vice, and Eli “The Paperboy” Reed. Together, they are taking to church the Americana soul-country-rock melange rekindled by the Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes, and Neko Case (who has covered some gospel on ...

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De’Leon – Church Boy Soul (EP)

De’Leon Church Boy Soul EP We Here Now Music Group (release date: April 14, 2017) www.deleoncarr.com By Bob Marovich A member of some of the top gospel choirs of their day and now a 2017 Rhythm of Gospel Award winner, De’Leon Carr offers a cornucopia of sounds, styles, and messages on his EP, Church Boy Soul. The EP’s high point is the brisk opening track, “He Will Take Care.” De’Leon and his choir reach back to classic gospel for this one, which I first heard a church choir sing in 1984, likely taking its lead from the Thompson Community Singers’ ...

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Men of God’s Heart (self-titled)

Men of God’s Heart self-titled Independent release; release date: March 24, 2017 Available at digital music retail outlets By Bob Marovich Men of God’s Heart is a six-member contemporary quartet that can easily draw comparisons to the Rance Allen Group, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, and the Winans. In fact, on “Wilderness,” a track on their self-titled album, the group pays tribute to the Winans, suggesting that the Detroiters are direct influences on the Columbus, Ohio, male vocal group. Men of God’s Heart delivers the meatiness of traditional gospel quartet—the hard singing, the shouting, the preaching moments—with heavy instrumentation and ...

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William E. Johnson III – One God

William E. Johnson III One God WEJ Music (release date: January 28, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/williamejohnsoniii By Bob Marovich The Latin words on the Great Seal of the United States, e pluribus unum (out of many, one), could be the subtitle of William E. Johnson III’s One God. Unified praise by a community of worshipers to one God with many names is the thematic and musical thread running through the Los Angeles-based Praise and Worship leader’s album, recorded live at Antioch Church of Long Beach, California. Johnson’s high tenor is pulpit-honed, big and bold. It lends muscle to the album’s energetic opening ...

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Darrell McFadden & the Disciples – Covering All Areas: Phase One (EP)

Darrell McFadden & the Disciples Covering All Areas: Phase One (EP) DMDMG (release date: April 25, 2017) http://dmdaccess.com/ By Bob Marovich This five-track EP by Brooklyn quartet Darrell McFadden & the Disciples may not, as its title suggests, cover all areas, at least in terms of musical styles. What it does, however, is uplift the traditional sound in some instances and modernize it in others, and that’s good enough for me. Name checking another beloved Brooklyn group, Big Nick and the Gospel Heavyweights, the quartet covers the latter’s “Come On and See About Me,” complete with a slow strutting rhythm ...

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