CDs

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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Imari Tones – Nabeshima

Imari Tones Nabeshima Sliptrick Records (release date: July 6, 2021) www.imaritones.net By Robert M. Marovich “Japanese Traditional Christian Metal” are four words you rarely see joined together, unless you know about the Imari Tones. Nabeshima is the trio’s latest release, a two-CD set of songs in Japanese and English that combine Japanese Samurai and Christian imagery and beliefs. This trio (two men and one woman) doesn’t fool around. They rock relentlessly. Lead singer Tone wails, shouts, and evangelizes in a high-pitched tenor voice. Snarling guitars, thumping bass, and pounding drums ricochet off the walls, and for Nabeshima, that means for ...

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Pastor Mike Jr. – I Got It: Singles Ministry

Pastor Mike Jr. I Got It: Singles Ministry Blacksmoke Music Worldwide (release date: August 13, 2021) www.pastormikejr.com By Robert M. Marovich Marriage as the ultimate culmination of a love relationship has been a mainstay of artistic expression for longer than anyone can remember. It’s the happy ending in Broadway and Hollywood musicals. Jukeboxes are packed with songs sung by men and women with marriage on their mind. Pastor Mike Jr. has something to say about that. His personal and ministerial experience suggests that the talk about coupling as the be-all and end-all to life can give singles an undeserved case ...

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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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Kisha Grandy – Epitome

Kisha Grandy Epitome K.J. Productions (release date: June 22, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Epitome is a solo album by actor and singer Kisha Grandy, an alumna of Kirk Franklin and the Family going back to the group’s debut album in 1993. Indeed, it’s a Kirk Franklin reunion of sorts, as the album’s solitary churchy track, Jessy Dixon’s “God is Standing By” (popularized by Walter Hawkins), finds Grandy in a fiery duet with Family alumna “Mother” Sheila Brice. The background vocalists support the two on the drive-tempo vamp that could have kept on going. “More Than Ever,” featuring Family member ...

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Travis Greene – Oil & Water

Travis Greene Oil & Water RCA Inspiration (release date: August 20, 2021) www.rcainspiration.com By Robert M. Marovich Listening to Travis Greene’s Oil & Water reminds me of a quote ascribed to hymnist John Newton: “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.” On multi-Grammy Award nominee Greene’s new studio album, and particularly on its title track (with Anthony Hamilton), ...

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Dottie Rambo – It’s the Soul of Me (remastered)

Dottie Rambo It’s the Soul of Me (remastered) Original release: Heart Warming Records 1968 Provident Distribution/Sony Music (release date: July 30, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich In the year the Recording Academy introduced the Grammy Award category for Best Soul Gospel Performance, the nominees were the Swan Silvertones, the Staple Singers, the Reverend James Cleveland and the Angelic Choir, the Davis Sisters, Willa Dorsey, and singer-songwriter and guitarist Dottie Rambo. Rambo, the sole Caucasian in the category, took home the statuette for her Heart Warming Records solo album It’s the Soul of Me. Although the other nominees would have been ...

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Various Artists – Gospel Songs by Lee Hawkins, Volume One

Various Artists Gospel Songs by Lee Hawkins, Volume One Devine Jamz (release date: July 2021) www.devinejamz.net By Robert M. Marovich Here’s something you don’t see that often: an “…and then I wrote” compilation of gospel and praise & worship songs. Produced, arranged, and composed by award-winning songwriter Lee Hawkins, by day a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Gospel Songs Volume One is a collection of well-produced demos of eight Hawkins songs delivered by young and talented artists. Hawkins’ thoroughly contemporary compositions are unvarying, introspective, serious, lyrical, melodic, and with a hint of classical influence. For example, both the unplugged and ...

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Reba Rambo – Lady Live (Digital Reissue)

Reba Rambo Lady Live Entertainment One (original release: 1982; reissue: July 30, 2021) www.rebarambo.com By Robert M. Marovich In June 1981, just months after winning her first Grammy for co-writing and performing on an all-star gospel album called The Lord’s Prayer, Christian singing star Reba Rambo appeared at the Anaheim Convention Center in California for a solo live recording. The product, Lady Live, came out the following year and garnered Rambo yet another Grammy nomination, one of nine in total for the singer thus far. Remastered from the original tapes, the album is being reissued in digital form July 30. ...

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