CDs

Latisha Johnson Montgomery – Issues of My Heart (EP)

Latisha Johnson Montgomery Issues of My Heart (EP) Independent (release date: January 1, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Gospel singer Latisha Johnson Montgomery’s high notes evoke the crackly rawness of Jennifer Hudson. I wouldn’t be surprised if Montgomery finds inspiration in Hudson’s singing, as the latter’s sometimes gruff delivery, along with  electronic swagger drawn from pop, R&B, and hip hop, dominate Issues of My Heart. Following her single, “Take Me Back,” recorded at the iconic Sound of Birmingham Studio—no stranger to gospel over the decades—Issues of My Heart is the Alabaman Montgomery’s debut EP. “Message” is the declaration of a ...

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Chrysann Moore – Cover Us

Chrysann Moore Cover Us Independent (release date: January 1, 2021) www.chrysannmoore.com By Robert M. Marovich On Cover Us, singer-songwriter Chrysann Moore of south suburban Chicago offers samplings of both sides of the hyphened adjective. The nine album selections range from contemporary to P&W to traditional foot-stomping gospel and summarize her musical career over the past few years. “Jesus, I’m Depending On You,” a 2020 single, is a lovingly-rendered call for divine assistance in times of special trouble, because “I can’t make it without you.” Starting out in a quiet storm mood, the song concludes with percussive explosions of evangelistic singing. ...

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Shyne On Me: What a Year (EP)

Shyne On Me What a Year (EP) (Release Date: November 26, 2020) https://shyneonme.bandcamp.com/ By Robert M. Marovich The year 2020 wasn’t over when DC-based Christian rapper Shyne On Me, like most sentient beings, was ready to stick a fork in it. Nor was the trouble the year wrought, as we witnessed on January 6 in the rapper’s own hometown. His EP, What a Year, encapsulates the emotional rollercoaster that was 2020 through rhymes he renders to a mix of acoustic guitar, laidback beats, and a cacophony of other voices, like friends gathered (masks on, of course) to share collective empathy. ...

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The Frierson Brothers – Breakthrough

The Frierson BrothersBreakthroughJ.E.F. Records (release date: November 23, 2020)www.friersonbrothers.com By Robert M. Marovich There are so many links to gospel music history on the Frierson Brothers’ Breakthrough that it would be hard for the album to not feel a little like a church revival. First, the album, produced by Derrick Lee and east coast gospel stalwart James Perry, was recorded live at Newark’s Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church under Pastor Elton T. Byrd. With his wife Louberta “Lady” Byrd, Pastor Byrd has ministered for years over records and radio. Second, Rev. Milton Biggham offered the use of his Mount Vernon Baptist ...

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Geneatha Wright – In the Room

Geneatha Wright In the Room Godfather Records (release date: October 22, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Reverend Timothy Wright and First Lady Betty Wright may be gone, but their music and pastoral legacies live on through family members, their son John David and his wife, Geneatha, in particular. Geneatha (nee Doughtry), a singer before she joined the Wright family, has maintained a fairly consistent, if somewhat protracted , recording schedule, releasing Just As I Am in 2013, In His Presence in 2017, and re-issuing the song “Everything Will Be Alright” from her 2013 album in response to the pandemic. All ...

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Avis Marie Bickham – I Am Sure

Avis Marie Bickham I Am Sure Independent (release date: July 5, 2019) https://avismariebickhamministries.com/ By Robert M. Marovich The title track of Louisiana indie gospel artist Avis Marie Bickham’s latest recorded effort was named CCM Christian Song of the Year at this year’s Rhythm of Gospel Awards. It reinforces the notion that the expansive-voiced Bickham is at her best with more measured, melodic songs. The up-tempo songs on I Am Sure are conventional. “Where They At” rolls along to a techno hip hop foundation, and “Release the Sound” is a thunderous R&P that pushes Bickham to the upper reaches of her ...

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San Franklin – The Free Project (Deluxe Version)

San Franklin The Free Project (Deluxe Version) Enon Music Group (release date: September 25, 2020) www.enonmusic.com By Robert M. Marovich From the spoken introduction, gospel singer San Franklin makes it clear that her debut solo CD, The Free Project, is about breaking free from self-bondage, from the chains of doubt, fear, and analysis paralysis we wrap around ourselves. After years of standing “twenty feet from stardom,” Franklin enters the spotlight for the entire program, demonstrating the vocal versatility that has made her a favorite featured vocalist. Even her act of stepping forward to occupy center stage fits with the CD’s ...

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Michelle David & the Gospel Sessions: It’s a Soulful Christmas

Michelle David & the Gospel SessionsIt’s a Soulful Christmas(release date: November 27, 2020)http://michelledavidandthegospelsessions.com By Robert M. Marovich Holland’s Michelle David & the Gospel Sessions lend their stripped-down small-combo Sixties soul stylings to new and classic Christmas songs on It’s a Soulful Christmas. Looking a little like a Columbia Records release from the Sixties, the album art telegraphs the retro sounds within. David channels the coquettish soprano of Diana Ross throughout the project, most especially on the nearly note-for-note cover of Stevie Wonder’s quintessentially Motown “What Christmas Means to Me.” While the perky single “This Christmas (I’ll Be By Your Side)” ...

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Shalom Church & Friends – Victorious (Live)

Dr. F. James Clark Presents Shalom Church & Friends Victorious (Live) EP City of Peace Music (release date: September 4, 2020) www.shalomandfriends.com By Robert M. Marovich The six-track Victorious (Live) is the latest release and the first of two new EPs by Dr. F. James Clark and Shalom Church (City of Peace) in Florissant, Missouri, a town situated north of St. Louis and near the conflux of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The megachurch choir’s five-star debut album, 2015’s Simply Amazing, lived up to its title. Dello Thedford, that album’s composer and conductor, is at the helm on Victorious. Thedford once ...

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Sandra McCracken – Patient Kingdom

Sandra McCracken Patient Kingdom Integrity Music (release date: October 9, 2020) www.sandramccracken.com By Robert M. Marovich Whether or not Sandra McCracken penned the ten songs on Patient Kingdom before or during the pandemic, they certainly express well the disquiet of the times. But the world-weariness welling from deep within the Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s throat expresses not helplessness but hopefulness, as if giving testimony to the cyclicality and potentiality of life. And that is what, I believe, the new album is all about. Songs on Patient Kingdom that are particularly attuned to the times include the gentle and tuneful “You Are With ...

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