CDs

Janice Gaines – Lead Me

Janice Gaines Lead Me (release date: March 22, 2019) www.janicegaines.com By Bob Marovich Janice Gaines’ Lead Me is a brief but satisfying journey through the hymnbook. It is also a far better showcase for her affecting vocal delivery than Greatest Life Ever, her 2015 album for Motown Gospel. Whereas that album aimed to attract a mass audience by offering generous helpings of bumping bass and electronica, it seemed ill-fitted to Gaines’s more grounded talent. This album, on the other hand, employs the less is more philosophy, meaning it is more authentically rooted in gospel’s one foundation: the church. As if ...

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Elsa Harris – I Thank God

Elsa Harris I Thank God The Sirens (release date: March 15, 2019) www.thesirensrecords.com By Bob Marovich Chicago is the birthplace of gospel music and, in many respects, it’s also the home of the genre’s most ardent preservation efforts. In addition to the forthcoming National Museum of Gospel Music, the vitality of traditional gospel in the Windy City can be heard on veteran gospel artist Elsa Harris’s mostly instrumental CD, I Thank God. Harris’s piano proclivities, forged in the practice room as well as the church, recalls the jauntiness of traditional gospel, a distinctive sound too often obscured in the wake ...

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Zion’s Joy! – What Would Heaven Look Like

Zion’s Joy! What Would Heaven Look Like Habakkuk Music (release date: March 8, 2019) www.zionsjoy.com By Bob Marovich Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, the multicultural small choir called Zion’s Joy! made national news in mid-2018 when the video for their single, “What Would Heaven Look Like,” was erroneously blocked by Facebook. From the “no good deed goes unpunished” department: it was only after the group paid to boost their Facebook post of the video that it was flagged by the social media giant as “political content” and subsequently blocked. The company ultimately apologized and restored the video on its platform, noting ...

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The Lee Boys – Live on the East Coast

The Lee Boys Live on the East Coast M.C. Records (release date: April 19, 2019) www.mc-records.com By Bob Marovich Live on the East Coast, the Lee Boys’ first album since 2012’s Testify and the group’s first for Mark Carpentieri’s M.C. Records, is a smoking hot sanctified-meets-steel workout. Recorded in late 2018 at three live appearances—Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina—the Lee Boys’ album could just as easily have been titled Live in the Southeast. Name aside, the album combines traditional gospels and spirituals, newly-composed songs such as the title track from the group’s Testify album, and soul classics such as the ...

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Marie Knight – The Gospel Truth Live

Marie Knight The Gospel Truth Live M. C. Records (release date: March 23, 2018) www.mc-records.com By Bob Marovich On a rainy October 19, 2007, in North Adams, Massachusetts, after a passel of church choirs appeared at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Gospel Fest, the audience warmly received the headliner, an eighty-seven-year-old music veteran. Marie Knight, a gospel and R&B star and well-known collaborator with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Sister Rosetta Tharpe, was the veteran, and Mark Carpentieri’s M. C. Records captured her complete song service on tape. Released last year, The Gospel Truth Live is the ...

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Rezurected – The Prodigal Son

Rezurected The Prodigal Son Dubbstarr LLC (release date: March 19, 2019) www.rezurected.org By Bob Marovich The Prodigal Son is an appropriately titled album for Rezurected. It depicts, in nine bite-sized tracks, his personal story from the consequences of an early life of bad decisions to salvation and victory. The Christian hip hop artist Rezurected is Brent Reusch (pronounced “rush), an Atlantan who now lives in Cleveland, Ohio. The Prodigal Son tells his tale through a mix of urban street vernacular and biblical quotes buoyed by beats that are sometimes gothic, sometimes melodic, and other times minimalist or infused with fuzzy ...

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Powerhouse Fellowship Soul Choir featuring Shawn Cotterell – It’s Not Over LIVE

Powerhouse Fellowship Soul Choir featuring Shawn Cotterell It’s Not Over LIVE Impact Gospel (release date: September 21, 2018) www.powerhousefellowship.net By Bob Marovich Canada has been, and continues to be, home to some very solid gospel choirs. The Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir, the Quebec Celebration Gospel Choir, and Sharon Riley & Faith Chorale are a few that come to mind. Here’s another: from the greater Toronto area comes the Powerhouse Fellowship Soul Choir. It was formed, like many mass choirs, for a specific program or purpose, but in 1988, two years after its birth, it became an official entity under its ...

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Apostle Thomas – The Resurrection (EP)

Apostle Thomas The Resurrection (EP) T&T Ministry Records (release: December 20, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/apostlethomasthesanktifi By Bob Marovich Unlike the doubting Apostle Thomas of the New Testament, the Christian rapper Apostle Thomas of South Carolina is fully certain who Christ is. Apostle Thomas, born Thomas Leroy Morrison and also known as “The Sanktified Soulja,” gets candid about his life before and after salvation on a respectable independently-released four-track EP called The Resurrection. The rhymes on the appropriately-titled EP are well-articulated—Thomas rarely embellishes his vocals with daredevil speed work so the message gets full attention. Nor does Thomas employ clever metaphors and analogies, ...

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“Selfie Song” – Jada Redmond

“Selfie Song” Jada Redmond From the 4Red Music EP My Season (release date: January 4, 2019) https://tpministries.wixsite.com/jada By Bob Marovich For decades, gospel music has mined spiritual metaphors out of the latest technology. Bessie Griffin sang about Heaven’s radio, Charles Taylor about God’s television, and the Friendly Brothers called Jesus through the intersession of the telephone operator. And speaking of telephones, there’s the congregational favorite, “Jesus on the Main Line.” The latest example is teen singer Jada Redmond’s single, “Selfie Song.” To an unrelenting Jamaican beat and a hook-laden chorus with a percussive “Snap! Snap!” that just aches for a ...

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Sanctified Soul – Joyful

Sanctified Soul Joyful Rampart Street Music (release date: 2018) www.rampartstreetmusic.com/cd-joyfulss.htm By Bob Marovich Gospel saxophonist Harold Rayford once said that jazz and gospel are first cousins. If that’s so, New Orleans produced some of the first cousins’ earliest progenitors—from King Oliver and Louis Armstrong to Mahalia Jackson and Bessie Griffin. There’s also the New Orleans ensemble Sanctified Soul, which offers helpings of jazz and gospel, as well as soul and R&B. The group lives up to its name on its latest album, Joyful, and the collection of gospel, inspirational, and classic jazz songs lives up to the album title (which, ...

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