CDs

The Gospel Angels – Turn It Around

The Gospel Angels Turn It Around (2012) www.thegospelangels.com By Bob Marovich The Gospel Angels of Washington, DC, have traveled the country and the world for more than three decades, serving up heaping helpings of church wisdom with a savory traditional gospel quartet flavor. Some of the songs on the group’s current album, Turn It Around, are newly composed, but all have an old school vibe. The whole CD rolls along like a live performance without an audience. Opening with the hip-slapping “Let Me Lean on You,” the quartet blends bright tempo numbers with songs that stretch out for several minutes—just as the ...

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Casey J – The Truth

Casey J The Truth Marquis Boone Enterprises/Tyscot Records (released April 21, 2015) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich The next best thing to a live gospel music program is listening to a live gospel music program on a recording. That’s why it was smart for Casey J to release her debut album, The Truth, as a live worship experience.  And on home turf: the recording took place on January 30, 2015, at Fresh Start Church in Duluth, Georgia, where Casey is morning worship leader. Casey J. Hobbs, known as Casey J, is the newest rising star in gospel music. Her debut single, ...

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Robert E. Person – Love Divine

Robert E. Person Love Divine REP Music (2015) www.roberteperson.com By Bob Marovich The first thing you notice when listening to Robert E. Person’s new album, Love Divine, is the bigness of the singer’s voice. It’s Broadway musical big, regardless of whether Person is summoning deep bass notes or launching into falsetto. His repertory reflects his vocal blend, a veritable consommé of jazz, pop, gospel, and classical influences. On Love Divine, his fourth album, Person celebrates the sacredness of love, mankind’s most essential but most misunderstood emotion. The album’s dozen selections come from the pens of talented songwriters—from Allyn Johnson’s ethereal ...

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The Naddiks – 21CB

The Naddiks 21CB Manga Republic (2014) www.thenaddiks.com By Bob Marovich Inspiration comes from every direction, from around the world, and through all styles of music. On their EP 21CB (i.e., 21st Century Believer), Canberra, Australia rock trio the Naddiks blend the proto-punk of Stiff Little Fingers and the Undertones (or fellow Aussies Midnight Oil without the social agenda) with inspirational lyrics that chronicle lead singer Joel Steenbergen’s journey from potential self-destruction to redemption through Christ. Unlike the hair metal of Stryper or the mainstream sound of many Christian rock bands, the Naddiks give their lyrical tales a straight ahead pounding. ...

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The Fairfield Four – Still Rockin’ My Soul

The Fairfield Four Still Rockin’ My Soul Fairfield Four Records (2015) www.thefairfieldfour.com By Bob Marovich In 1925, when the Fairfield Four organized in Nashville, Tennessee, quartet singing was done a cappella. No instruments, just the human voice.  And God saw that it was good. No–great. Over the years, quartets added to the mix an ever-expanding combo of guitar, piano, organ, drums, electric bass, and synthesizer until the music threatened to overpower the vocal harmonies. Whether or not you are a fan of quartet singing with music, we can agree that there’s something seriously magical about hearing a cappella vocal singing. ...

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Various Artists: An Evening with the Legends of Quartet Live

Various Artists An Evening with the Legends of Quartet Live Malaco/4 Winds www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Malaco Records and its 4 Winds subsidiary are the main standard bearers for gospel quartet singing, a style that once dominated the gospel charts but has since fallen behind mass choirs and small choirs in radio play and album sales. But unlike their secular peers in vocal harmony who retired and only gather for PBS retrospectives, many gospel quartet singers from the golden age are still working the road, albeit with groups comprised of new personnel. Some of the lead singers from quartet’s golden age gathered ...

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Damien Sneed feat. the Levites – Broken to Minister: The Deluxe Edition

Damien Sneed Featuring the Levites Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition LeChateau Earl Records (release date: March 3, 2015) www.lechateauearl.com By Bob Marovich Recorded live in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2013, Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition builds on Damien Sneed and the Levites’ previously released Broken To Minister EP. The classically- and church-trained Sneed is a member of the orchestral school of gospel music populated by artists such as Richard Smallwood, Donald Lawrence, and the late Thomas Whitfield. In this school, lush, dense vocal harmonies combine with astute songwriting and arranging to present gospel music at its most contemporary while ...

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Jor’Dan Armstrong – 52 Weeks of Summer

Jor’Dan Armstrong 52 Weeks of Summer Power Move Management (release date: March 31, 2015) www.jordanarmstrongmusic.com By Bob Marovich If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is nigh upon you. Jor’Dan Armstrong’s new CD, 52 Weeks of Summer, is an aural siren signaling the warmer, better days ahead, literally and figuratively. Armstrong’s songs are meant to be entertaining, breezy, and spirit-inspired, aimed at a young demographic wanting to pray and play. “With this project, I wanted people to know that you can have fun and still be a Christian,” Armstrong says. “52 Weeks Of Summer is the soundtrack for that.” ...

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Page CXVI – The Church Calendar Series

Page CXVI The Church Calendar Series: – Advent to Christmas – Lent to Maundy Thursday – Good Friday to Easter (new release) www.pagecxvi.com By Bob Marovich I discovered the intriguing music of Page CXVI via an email from Noisetrade about Good Friday to Easter, the trio’s latest and final release in their Church Calendar Series. There they were—husband-and-wife team Reid and Latifah Phillips and Dann Stockton—rendering church hymns with humble melodies and a pop underlay of gently jangling guitars, emotional violin, and contemplative keys.  The group could just as easily direct a meditation service as make a college radio playlist. It turns out ...

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Tay Clemons – Journey to Love

Tay Clemons Journey to Love We Dream Entertainment Group (December 2014) www.tayclemons.com By Bob Marovich No love song written and performed by a woman is nearly as powerful and heartfelt as those she has written to express her affection for Jesus. Proof of this hypothesis can be found among the songs on Shantavia “Tay” Clemons’s debut album Journey to Love. Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Clemons wraps her clear, pop-inflected voice around a stack of love songs to the Most High. She receives ample support in the first few cuts by processed electronic urban AC and solid rap interludes from ...

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