CDs

Instruments of Musick – Determination (EP)

Instruments of Musick Determination (EP) Independent (release date: June 20, 2020) By Bob Marovich “Psalm 33:2,” a track from the Instruments of Musick’s Determination, is a rousing sacred steel-led and non-vocal interpretation of “Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.” While the track, evocative of a Campbell Brothers jam, evokes the musical excitement of a praise break, it also serves as a motto for the ensemble’s stringed-instrument music ministry. Blood brothers Garvin and Gary “Fatman” McKinney of Detroit comprise the gospel band Instruments of Musick. Although Determination is not their ...

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Mali Music – The Book of Mali

Mali Music The Book of Mali RCA Inspiration (release date: August 14, 2020) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich The Book of Mali is aptly titled. Mali Music’s fifth album, released in a partnership between his own imprint, K Approved Enterprises, and RCA Inspiration, is a study in self-awareness. Much of the album has a confessional quality, a series of private-made-public conversations between Mali and his Lord. For example, on “Let Go,” Mali dizzyingly delineates the temptations he has left behind. The hypnotic current single, “Mo Lo” (Like You),” is about getting closer to God by humbling one’s self in His presence. ...

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Elder Arlester Washington & the Anointed Central Kentucky Mass Choir – Thank You

Elder Arlester Washington & The Anointed Central Kentucky Mass Choir Thank You Time Now Records (2020) By Bob Marovich On the morning of April 9, 2019, Elder Arlester Washington was involved in a two-car accident that claimed his life. The tragedy devastated Lexington, Kentucky’s Now Faith Worship Center, where Washington was pastor. It also stunned the gospel music community. In addition to being a church leader, Washington had had a career in professional gospel music as a member of the Gospel Crystals and the Chicago Gospel Cavaliers. He had traveled with the Caravans and Jessy Dixon, and in 1990 founded ...

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All Nations Music – Come Alive (EP)

All Nations Music Come Alive EP RCA Inspiration (release date: July 3, 2020) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Dr. Matthew L. Stevenson III needn’t worry about his sacred music bona fides. Stevenson’s great-grandfather was the Reverend Elijah Thurston, founder of Chicago’s historic 44th Street Baptist Church, which produced many pioneering gospel singers and musicians. Thurston was also one of Mahalia Jackson’s favorite preachers. Stevenson’s great-grandmother, commanding gospel vocalist Ora Lee Hopkins, was a member of the Willie Webb Singers, the original Caravans, and director of the city’s New Nazareth Missionary Baptist Church choir. While acknowledging and respecting his family’s roots in ...

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Nashville Life Music – Here for Jesus

Nashville Life Music Here for Jesus Integrity Music (release date: July 17, 2020) www.nashvillelifemusic.com By Bob Marovich Nashville Life Music follows up last year’s Taylor House Sessions EP with even more delightful selections on its debut full-length album, Here for Jesus. Nashville Life Music is a young multicultural choir/group out of Nashville Life Church, a congregation led by husband-and-wife team Alvin Love and multi award-winning gospel singer CeCe Winans Love. In its diversity and musical architecture, the troupe reflects the church’s mission. It offers hope that amity is not only preferable and possible, but is actually happening. This polished group ...

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Lawrence Hancock – Who I Am

Lawrence Hancock Who I Am Bishop Lawrence Hancock (release date: July 24, 2020) By Bob Marovich Amid a kaleidoscope of electronic beats and mostly introspective melodies, Christian hip hop artist Bishop Lawrence Hancock tells you who He is, and who you should be—a Child of God. That’s what you discover on the hypnotic title cut of the Toledo, Ohio, native’s sixth album. Who I Am is atmospheric and vulnerable, not aggressive or extroverted. With electronic puffs like asthmatic organ pipes, “Ride,” the album’s first (and finest) selection, gives the message of “Walk Around Heaven All Day” a twenty-first-century face lift. Hancock ...

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Myron Butler – My Tribute

Myron Butler My Tribute Fair Trade / Columbia / Red Alliance Media (release date: June 26, 2020) By Bob Marovich Together with several of today’s top-flight gospel artists, singer-songwriter Myron Butler pays homage to one of his chief inspirations, Andrae’ Crouch, with a feature-filled album called My Tribute. All but one of the selections are Crouch originals, but with modern augmentations to make them relevant to today’s audience. And in all but one case, Butler duets or trades leads with the guest vocalists. That one cut, “All Things Well,” is a praise ballad and the album’s debut single. It’s a Butler ...

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The Chosen Wonders – I Know a Man

The Chosen Wonders I Know a Man Independent (release date: October 15, 2019) By Bob Marovich The Chosen Wonders, a gospel quartet from Central California, refashions a few gospel chestnuts for their seven-selection mini-album, I Know a Man. For example, the title track is a contemporary harmony version of Brother Joe May’s 1950 hit, “Do You Know Him.” Likewise, “Main Line” is the old standard, “Jesus is on the Main Line,” also rendered in a steady-moving modern quartet vibe (I wonder how many remember when there was a “main line!”). Opening with classic quartet guitar flourishes before settling into a ...

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Dawn Thomas Wallace – Live in Luxembourg

Dawn Thomas Wallace Live in Luxembourg Zoe Records (release date: 2020) By Bob Marovich UK Christian singer Dawn Thomas Wallace deserves major props for pulling on classics from the contemporary gospel canon for Live in Luxembourg. Recorded before a polite but appreciative audience at Luxembourg’s Oasis Church of God (Pastor Pietro Colaci), Wallace’s release contains material from top-shelf songwriters such as Richard Smallwood, Andrae Crouch, Walter Hawkins, James Cleveland, Travis Greene, and William McDowell. It’s a refreshing change from the current trend of writing and recording sound-alike vertical praise anthems. At the same time, the lyrical content of vertical praise, ...

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Look to the Hills – Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir

Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir Look to the Hills Shanachie Entertainment / SRT Entertainment (release date: May 29, 2020) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich Listening to the title track and lead single of Reverend Luther Barnes’ latest album, I revisited a thought I’ve had for some time: Barnes has emerged as today’s most important representative of traditional-flavored gospel music. The heartwarming and optimistic “Look to the Hills,” made all the more heartbreaking by the recent passing of its co-writer, Derrick Adams, is the latest in a string of hits crafted in the southern choir-tet sound, pioneered by ...

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