CDs

Crowns of Joy – Back to the Basics

Crowns of Joy Back to the Basics (private press – 2015) www.cdbaby.com/cd/thecrownsofjoy By Bob Marovich The Pheba, Mississippi-based Crowns of Joy’s Back to the Basics album promises “old school—new flavor.” It delivers on its promise, largely through its “Trumpology” medley of drive-tempo hits of the past. The Rhythm of Gospel Award-nominated Crowns of Joy was organized in 1980 by the late Reverend Tom Bill Avant, a veteran quartetter who was organizing singers back in the late 1950s when he presented a neighborhood group called the Five Gospel Wonders. Tommy and Victor Avant, Bud Townsend, and primary lead singer Wayne Wooten ...

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Denise Josiah – Songs For the Heart

Denise Josiah Songs For the Heart JoDah Ministries, LLC (2016) www.jodahministries.org By Bob Marovich Denise Josiah titled her debut album Songs For the Heart, but it could easily have been titled Songs From the Heart. The ten lovingly intimate sacred selections on the CD were penned or arranged over a period of more than twenty years by the singer, her husband Dr. Donnell Josiah, or written together. Born on the beautiful island of Saint Maarten but now residing in Maryland, Denise is a worship singer whose light soprano is thickened with resonant echoes of alto, no doubt the result of ...

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Gretchen Keskeys – Walking in the Spirit

Gretchen Keskeys Walking in the Spirit Creative Soul Records (released June 27, 2016) www.gretchenkeskeys.com By Bob Marovich For singer-songwriter Gretchen Keskeys, her debut album Walking in the Spirit is not only a vehicle for sharing her religious commitment, it is also a vehicle for personal catharsis. As a teen, Keskeys, the daughter of a famous psychiatrist, was suffering from anxiety, fear, and depression. A rededication to Christ was the way she relieved her insecurities. Seeking to share her good fortune with others, Keskeys began serving as a worship leader in Northern California churches. Her reputation for singing and songwriting spread outward ...

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Dayna Caddell – Push

Dayna Caddell Push Forty Entertainment / eOne www.daynacaddell.com By Bob Marovich Without knowing Dayna Caddell’s story, a listener can pick up some truisms just from listening to her debut full-length album, Push. First, the music has such a sunny, breezy disposition, it must have been crafted in Southern California. Indeed, Push, produced by the talented Warryn Campbell and Vann Clayton, was made and recorded in Los Angeles. The songs ooze with exuberance as they extol the greatness of God from a personal perspective: as friend (“You Got a Friend”), as true love (“Crazy,” “My One”), and as waymaker (“What He’s Done”). Second, ...

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Eloho – Unrestrained

Eloho Unrestrained (self released, 2016) www.elohoefemuai.co.uk By Bob Marovich Americans might be surprised to learn that there is a vibrant gospel music community in the UK. Given the way in which the music was introduced there, and when, the UK style—indeed the mode of gospel music throughout Europe and Scandinavia—has more in common with CCM and Andrae Crouch-style jazz-pop gospel than the churchy clap-and-stomp sounds of traditionalism. At the same time, it stands in refreshing contemporary contrast to the staid hymns of the Anglican Church. Case in point is Eloho Efemuai, better known simply as Eloho. The Nigerian-born worship leader ...

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William Murphy – Demonstrate

William Murphy Demonstrate RCA Inspiration (released June 24, 2016) www.williammurphy.org By Bob Marovich Recorded live in May 2015, in Douglasville, Georgia, at the Church at Chapel Hill, Bishop William Murphy’s Demonstrate is a worship service in a jewel case. Murphy’s husky vocals are commanding on this buoyant album, the singer’s fifth long-playing release. Whether as singer, worship leader, or preacher, Murphy keeps the spirit high and the program rolling, even during the more introspective moments. The melodies are memorable, the lyrics are intentionally simple, the harmonies are tight and spirited, and Murphy puts his stamp on all of it by ...

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Bill Moss Jr. Live With Third New Hope: Songbook of Praise & Worship

Bill Moss Jr. Live with Third New Hope Songbook of Praise & Worship Salathiel Records www.billmossmusic.com By Bob Marovich Motor City singer-songwriter Bill Moss Jr.’s newest release, Songbook of Praise & Worship, is exactly what it is advertised to be. It’s a collection of ready-to-learn P&W songs rendered by Moss and a small but melodious choir from Detroit’s Third New Hope Baptist Church, where the album was recorded live on December 20, 2015. Besides offering a collection of P&W songs, each distinct from one another and all suitable for devotionals, the album contains a thematic undercurrent: the restorative property of ...

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Viktory – Tomorrow Came

Viktory Tomorrow Came Viktorious Music Group (release date: June 17, 2016) www.r4ever.com By Bob Marovich The challenges of being different and the importance of overcoming the divisiveness of difference are at the heart of Tomorrow Came, a Christian hip hop project from the Chicago-born Viktory. Three tracks in particular address this issue in living color. Based on a true story, “Lunch Tables” features piercingly cool singing support from Ashliann (herself a mixture of cultures) as it tells the story of a “yellow kid” trying to find a seat in the school cafeteria, but nobody wants him because he’s neither black ...

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Various Artists: Motown Gospel Presents 1 Mic 1 Take

Various Artists Motown Gospel Presents 1 Mic 1 Take Motown Gospel (release date: June 3, 2016) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Imagine having one shot at getting it right in front of The Microphone in one of the most iconic recording studios in America: Capitol Studios in Hollywood, California. It is not unlike having one turn at bat at Yankee Stadium and the fans are expecting an out-of-the-park home run. Members of Motown Gospel’s current artist roster took their chances and came up with a solid third base hit on 1 Mic 1 Take. Although this album of stripped down gospel ...

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Shirley Caesar – Fill This House

Shirley Caesar Fill This House Entertainment One Music (release date: June 3, 2016) www.shirleycaesar.com By Bob Marovich From its days as a seedling in the American soil, black sacred music has been a balm to soothe the sin-sick soul as well as the soul beaten down by life’s humiliations and insults. Even in a time when praise and worship reigns supreme in gospel music, there is still a need, especially given the condition of the black man and woman in modern America, for inspiring songs of hope and encouragement. Pastor Shirley Caesar has been lifting such songs for more than ...

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