CDs

David Wright – Let the Organ Play

David Wright Let the Organ Play Godfather Records (release date: February 12, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Typically, we hear Pastor David Wright leading the New York Fellowship Mass Choir. For Let the Organ Play, the choir takes a rest and Wright lights up the Hammond B3 to play an instrumental litany of church favorites. The album’s song selection includes COGIC favorites (a variation on the “Yes Lord” chant and the infrequently-recorded “This is the Church of God in Christ”), classic gospels and hymns, and contemporary pieces, such as “Oh Happy Day,” the New Jersey Mass Choir’s “Praise Him,” and ...

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Kelontae Gavin – The N.O.W. Experience

Kelontae Gavin The N.O.W. Experience RCA Inspiration / Marquis Boone Enterprises (release date: March 5, 2021) www.rcainspiration.com By Robert M. Marovich Some gospel artists you meet outside of the church environment startle you when you witness their artistic presence in the spotlight. One is Jekalyn Carr—quiet and measured in informal conversation and a marvel of evangelistic motive force when ministering in music. Another is Kelontae Gavin. A Marquis Boone client, Gavin is a humble and amiable soul, a young man who conquered dark moments with healthy doses of sunny optimism and faith. But when he enters the spirit realm, Gavin ...

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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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Katy Crawford – Dwell (EP)

Katy Crawford Dwell (EP) Devotion Music (release date: June 11, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Dallas-based singer-songwriter Katy Crawford was inspired to read from Psalms every day and set some of the verses to music. Her EP Dwell is the first, but hopefully not the last, of her musical explorations of the ancient lyrical poems. Crawford gives the EP’s six psalms a dash of folk, country, and Celtic lilt. Their memorable melodies are supported by a delicate acoustic ambience, one that never overpowers Crawford’s earnest vocals, which are reminiscent of Sandra McCracken and Lauren Daigle. Although the rhythmic and engaging ...

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Latisha Johnson Montgomery – Issues of My Heart (EP)

Latisha Johnson Montgomery Issues of My Heart (EP) Independent (release date: January 1, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Gospel singer Latisha Johnson Montgomery’s high notes evoke the crackly rawness of Jennifer Hudson. I wouldn’t be surprised if Montgomery finds inspiration in Hudson’s singing, as the latter’s sometimes gruff delivery, along with  electronic swagger drawn from pop, R&B, and hip hop, dominate Issues of My Heart. Following her single, “Take Me Back,” recorded at the iconic Sound of Birmingham Studio—no stranger to gospel over the decades—Issues of My Heart is the Alabaman Montgomery’s debut EP. “Message” is the declaration of a ...

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Chrysann Moore – Cover Us

Chrysann Moore Cover Us Independent (release date: January 1, 2021) www.chrysannmoore.com By Robert M. Marovich On Cover Us, singer-songwriter Chrysann Moore of south suburban Chicago offers samplings of both sides of the hyphened adjective. The nine album selections range from contemporary to P&W to traditional foot-stomping gospel and summarize her musical career over the past few years. “Jesus, I’m Depending On You,” a 2020 single, is a lovingly-rendered call for divine assistance in times of special trouble, because “I can’t make it without you.” Starting out in a quiet storm mood, the song concludes with percussive explosions of evangelistic singing. ...

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Shyne On Me: What a Year (EP)

Shyne On Me What a Year (EP) (Release Date: November 26, 2020) https://shyneonme.bandcamp.com/ By Robert M. Marovich The year 2020 wasn’t over when DC-based Christian rapper Shyne On Me, like most sentient beings, was ready to stick a fork in it. Nor was the trouble the year wrought, as we witnessed on January 6 in the rapper’s own hometown. His EP, What a Year, encapsulates the emotional rollercoaster that was 2020 through rhymes he renders to a mix of acoustic guitar, laidback beats, and a cacophony of other voices, like friends gathered (masks on, of course) to share collective empathy. ...

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The Frierson Brothers – Breakthrough

The Frierson BrothersBreakthroughJ.E.F. Records (release date: November 23, 2020)www.friersonbrothers.com By Robert M. Marovich There are so many links to gospel music history on the Frierson Brothers’ Breakthrough that it would be hard for the album to not feel a little like a church revival. First, the album, produced by Derrick Lee and east coast gospel stalwart James Perry, was recorded live at Newark’s Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church under Pastor Elton T. Byrd. With his wife Louberta “Lady” Byrd, Pastor Byrd has ministered for years over records and radio. Second, Rev. Milton Biggham offered the use of his Mount Vernon Baptist ...

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Geneatha Wright – In the Room

Geneatha Wright In the Room Godfather Records (release date: October 22, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Reverend Timothy Wright and First Lady Betty Wright may be gone, but their music and pastoral legacies live on through family members, their son John David and his wife, Geneatha, in particular. Geneatha (nee Doughtry), a singer before she joined the Wright family, has maintained a fairly consistent, if somewhat protracted , recording schedule, releasing Just As I Am in 2013, In His Presence in 2017, and re-issuing the song “Everything Will Be Alright” from her 2013 album in response to the pandemic. All ...

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Avis Marie Bickham – I Am Sure

Avis Marie Bickham I Am Sure Independent (release date: July 5, 2019) https://avismariebickhamministries.com/ By Robert M. Marovich The title track of Louisiana indie gospel artist Avis Marie Bickham’s latest recorded effort was named CCM Christian Song of the Year at this year’s Rhythm of Gospel Awards. It reinforces the notion that the expansive-voiced Bickham is at her best with more measured, melodic songs. The up-tempo songs on I Am Sure are conventional. “Where They At” rolls along to a techno hip hop foundation, and “Release the Sound” is a thunderous R&P that pushes Bickham to the upper reaches of her ...

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