CDs

Mike Lee – All I Need (EP)

Mike Lee All I Need Mike Lee Music (release date: June 16, 2015) www.mikeleemusic.com By Bob Marovich Fort Wayne, Indiana. worship leader and mixed martial arts gym owner Mike Lee follows up his full-length national debut LP Awakening Hearts with a seven-track acoustic EP called All I Need. With a final push, courtesy of crowdfunding, the EP was released to the public on June 16. Despite juggling several challenges, notably a father in chemotherapy for lung cancer and a brand new baby, Lee makes the world sound bright and breezy on the EP with his simple melodies, introspective lyrics, and ...

Read More »

E. L. Williams – Where Sin Met the Blood

E. L. Williams Where Sin Met the Blood Tate Music Group (2015) www.tatemusicgroup.com By Bob Marovich There was a time when bass singers were compulsory for any self-respecting quartet, but today they are as rare as hen’s teeth, save for classical music and opera, where the basso profundo remains the voice of maturity and wisdom, and retro doo-wop groups. Gospel quartet was once notably gifted with such legendary bottom-supporters as George McCurn (Pilgrim Travelers), Jimmy Jones (Harmonizing Four), Dickie Freeman (Fairfield Four, Skylarks), and Thomas Spann (Brooklyn All Stars), the latter being among the last of his breed still on ...

Read More »

Sada K – Long Story Short

Sada K Long Story Short (released January 2015) www.sadakmusic.com By Bob Marovich “Everyone has a story,” Sada K says in the opening moments of her solo CD, Long Story Short. Her story, she admits, was stained with tears, but it’s “time to shine the light.” And for forty minutes, that’s what Sada (like Jayda with an S) does. The album is a fourteen-track testimony that chronicles the singer’s ups and downs, and her ultimate victory. The testimony is real. The Kansas City-raised Sada, lead singer for Christian pop band Press Play, had her singing career nearly derailed when she developed ...

Read More »

Jimmy Needham – Vice & Virtue

Jimmy Needham Vice & Virtue Platinum Pop Records (released May 4, 2015) www.jimmyneedham.com By Bob Marovich Christian artist Jimmy Needham gives us plenty to ponder on Vice & Virtue, his seventh album and first for his own imprint, Platinum Pop Records. Needham’s music is youthful and rhythmic, a playful potpourri of melodic pop and R&B that will put listeners in mind of fellow blue eyed soul children Bryan Popin, Sam Smith, Mayer Hawthorne, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, and Justin Timberlake. “Thank You,” a breathless ode of gratitude, has vestiges of the muscle twitching 1980s Minneapolis Sound pioneered by Prince. Another devotional, ...

Read More »

Fannie Lou Hamer – Songs My Mother Taught Me

Fannie Lou Hamer Songs My Mother Taught Me Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (release date: June 30, 2015) www.folkways.si.edu By Bob Marovich While it took a recent act of domestic terror for the polarizing Confederate flag to begin coming down throughout the South, let us not forget that much of the way was paved more than a half-century ago by such freedom fighters as Fannie Lou Hamer. Hamer, who died in 1977 at age 59, is renowned for her leadership in the Civil Rights movement and specifically for her work with the Mississippi Freedom Party. Equally well known, albeit a sidebar to ...

Read More »

The Gospel Angels – I Still Remember

The Gospel Angels I Still Remember Next Level Publishing (2004) www.thegospelangelsdc.com By Bob Marovich I Still Remember has been around for more than a decade—it was released the year the Journal of Gospel Music was born, in fact—but this album by the Gospel Angels of Washington, DC, is worth revisiting because it is emblematic of how much musical fun saving souls can be. First, of the eleven tracks, five are up-tempo selections, more hip-slapping than just about any gospel quartet CD I’ve heard in a long while. One might conclude that the high percentage of “drive tempo” songs is because ...

Read More »

J. B. Smith: No More Good Time in the World for Me

J. B. Smith No More Good Time in the World for Me Dust to Digital (2015) www.dust-digital.com By Bob Marovich There is something bone chilling about hearing lonesome blue notes echoing off prison walls. That’s what folklorist and historian Bruce Jackson captured when he recorded the unaccompanied singing of Mr. J. B. Smith, Prisoner No. 130196, at Ramsey State Farm in Rosharon, Texas, in 1965 and 1966. Only three of the many field recordings Jackson made of Smith were released at the time. Thanks to No More Good Time in the World For Me, from Lance Ledbetter’s Grammy Award-winning Dust ...

Read More »

Mr. Del Presents Holy South: Memphis in Mayhem

Mr. Del Presents Holy South: Memphis in Mayhem DMG (2015) www.noisetrade.com/holysouth/memphis-in-mayhem By Bob Marovich Quite possibly taking its title from a deliberate word play on the annual Memphis in May festival, the Memphis in Mayhem mixtape is available free of charge on Noisetrade (use the link above) by Holy South, a self-proclaimed “militia” of prayer warriors comprised of hip hop artists signed to Mr. Del’s DMG (Dedicated Music Group) label. Murk, Fro, Ty Brassel, Yung Titan, and Young Memphis join the “Hope Dealer,” Mr. Del, on the mixtape. Acknowledging the sorry state of affairs in today’s society, Holy South is ...

Read More »

Lonnie Hunter feat. Structure – #GETITDONE

Lonnie Hunter feat. Structure #GETITDONE Tyscot Records www.tyscot.com Syndicated radio host, choir director, worship pastor, former model, Stellar Award winner, recording artist, CEO, educator, and now clothing line owner, Lonnie Hunter is gospel’s Renaissance Man. Despite his busy schedule with “The Lonnie Hunter Show” and as host of the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour, Hunter and his choir, Structure, recently rolled out their fifth release, #GETITDONE. The album features P&W lyrics set to creamy choral arrangements, some of which evoke the rich church choir tradition of Hunter’s Chicago upbringing. Paying indirect tribute to Hunter’s prior work with Chicago’s Voices of St. ...

Read More »

Brad + Rebekah – All You’ve Done

Brad + Rebekah All You’ve Done Discovery House (release date: June 2, 2015) http://bradandrebekahmusic.com By Bob Marovich On their national debut album, All You’ve Done, Brad + Rebekah, a husband-and-wife praise team, loft their admiration and gratitude melodically, and vertically, to the Most High. The album opens, appropriately, with “Wake Up.” It is a Brad-led clarion call about resurrection day that uses power pop as a brisk slap, reminding listeners to be spiritually ready for the end of times at all times. The duo’s tuneful “When We Gather,” “Be Here Now,” and “Body of Christ” set the table for worship, ...

Read More »