CDs

Reflections – Ryan D. Rutley, B.A.

Ryan D. Rutley, B.A. Reflections Psalms Group (2014) www.cdbaby.com/Artist/RyanDRutleyBA By Bob Marovich Ryan Rutley’s Reflections is an album of mostly instrumental smooth jazz, or call it inspirational jazz, if you prefer. Rutley’s band consists of Charles “Chuck” Clark on drums, brother Darick on bass, Darryl Bebee on saxophone, and Levi Baker also on drums. Ryan Rutley wrote the compositions, lends lead vocals on “Forgiven,” and produced the album. Brother Darick’s handsome vocal and Bebee’s effervescent sax solo on “Your Grace is Amazing” make the selection the high point of the album. The song riffs on the lyric of “Amazing Grace,” ...

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Noreen Crayton – Divine Radiance

Noreen Crayton Divine Radiance Angel Star Music (release date: January 2015) www.noreencrayton.com By Bob Marovich Divine Radiance is the third sacred music album from New York-native Noreen Crayton. While her career includes significant musical stage work in the U.S. and overseas, Crayton has gospel roots and sings with the praise and worship team at Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem. Crayton nearly plays all the bases on Divine Radiance—from writer and arranger to performer and executive producer. She does employ a handful of musicians to assist her on some tracks. Musically, the album offers a sample of everything from an ...

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Reverend Charlie Jackson – Lord You’re So Good

Reverend Charlie Jackson Lord You’re So Good: Live Recordings, Vol. 2 Fifty Miles of Elbow Room #6 www.50milesofelbowroom.com By Bob Marovich In 2003, Kevin Nutt’s CaseQuarter label issued the first comprehensive collection of vintage recordings by the guitar-toting Louisianan preacher Reverend Charlie Jackson. The CD compilation of impossibly rare 45 rpm singles produced by Robert Booker or Jackson himself showcased the fiery preacher, very possibly the last of his breed, lofting trebly licks and chugging away on his Fender Mustang. Most of us figured that was the first and last word on Rev. Jackson, who passed away in 2006. Not so. ...

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Mighty Men of Faith – Nothing But Grace

Mighty Men of Faith Nothing But Grace N2L Records (2014) www.mightymenoffaith.com By Bob Marovich Nothing But Grace is the latest album by California’s Mighty Men of Faith, a quartet that rolls contemporary, musically and lyrically. Musically, the quartet paints a smooth patina—like an aural Dippity-Do—on their harmonies, giving the overall impression of a 1980s soul vocal group gone gospel. Likewise, the group’s vertical praise lyrics have more in common with the repertory of today’s small choirs than gospel quartets, which tend to stay faithful to verses about life’s trials and faith in God as a solution. The Mighty Men’s harmonies are ...

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Stryper – Live at the Whisky

Stryper Live at the Whisky Frontiers Records (rel. September 23, 2014) www.stryper.com By Bob Marovich Jesus is the rock that makes Stryper roll. I wish I could take credit for such a clever line, but it is actually a paraphrase of a song title on Live at the Whisky by Stryper, the first Christian metal band to gain mainstream acceptance. As a young person, I loved all kinds of music, including heavy metal.  It was a treat, therefore, to hear on Live at the Whisky the familiar thunderous, auditorium-filling, zone-out music I remembered but with positive messages of encouragement, fidelity to ...

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Brian Courtney Wilson – Worth Fighting For

Brian Courtney Wilson Worth Fighting For Motown Gospel (release date: January 6, 2015) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Some singers are songwriters and some songwriters are singers. Brian Courtney Wilson is a songwriter—more appropriately a hymnist—who also sings. But make no mistake: the Stellar Award winning and Dove Award nominated Wilson is also a strong singer. One among a generation of male gospel crooners, Wilson has released a stack of quality selections ever since his breakout hit, “All I Need.” It is simply that his songwriting is doubly inspired. Produced by Motown Gospel VP and A&R man, Aaron Lindsey, and recorded ...

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foreverJONES – Prayer Tools, Vol. 1

foreverJONES Prayer Tools, Vol. 1 (released November 11, 2014) www.prayerproject.foreverjones.com By Bob Marovich With its latest release, Prayer Tools, Vol. 1, foreverJONES may well have heralded a new subgenre of black sacred music: ambient inspirational. It is the Shreveport, Louisiana-based family band’s first project after departing EMI Gospel and first on its own label. The more than 150 minute-long project, only available digitally at the moment, contains seven individual song compositions and a bonus track, with additional instrumental versions of four selections. Experimental in sound and structure, Prayer Tools, Vol. 1 is designed to help worshipers enter into an ongoing dialogue ...

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Meka King – Believe. The Live Recording

Meka King Believe. The Live Recording Sonflower Joy Music (rel. October 28, 2014) www.mekaking.com By Bob Marovich Those who attended Praise & Worship Leader Meka King’s live recording session at The Gathering Place Church in Sanford, Florida, on February 18, 2012, entered a gospel concert but exited a church service. Believe. The Live Recording is King’s sophomore CD and the product of the February 2012 recording session. The two-disc set is brimming with bold, dramatic P&W arrangements.  Most were recorded live, with a few final tracks sounding as if they were made in a studio. After a theatrical spoken word intro, the ...

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J Moss – Grown Folks Gospel

J Moss Grown Folks Gospel PAJAM (released November 25, 2014) www.pajam-music.com/jmoss.html By Bob Marovich The next generation of Detroit’s Clark-Moss gospel dynasty is growing up. For J Moss, son of Bill and Essie Moss, that doesn’t mean he’s embracing his parents’ traditional gospel style.  His music is just settling down, embracing a soft R&B quiet storm kind of pacing, and his lyrics becoming more contemplative. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Grown Folks Gospel is J Moss’s most mainstream effort to date. It grapples with a world in which there are more questions than answers.  Album cuts such as ...

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Whosoever South – Come On In

Whosoever South Come On In Elevate Entertainment (released October 7, 2014) www.whosoeversouth.com By Bob Marovich Whosoever South is one of the most innovative Christian groups of the decade. The trio’s self-proclaimed “country crunk” style blends elements of rootsy Americana and country with deep groove bass, gospel, and hip hop. Think Mumford and Sons meets Arrested Development. Whosoever South is husband-and-wife team Rowdy and Sarah Eunice, and Mike Mitchell; all hail from Georgia. Vocally, Rowdy delivers the country feel, Sarah raps, and Mike sounds like Darius Rucker.  The group’s sophomore effort, Come On In, is equal parts evocation of southern country ...

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