CDs

Kelontae Gavin – The Higher Experience

Kelontae Gavin The Higher Experience Tyscot Records / Marquis Boone Enterprises (release date: April 27, 2018) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Now in its fifth decade, Tyscot Records has been repaving its road to success by introducing young artists and groups that mix praise and rhythm, often in an attempt to replicate the live worship experience on compact disc. Anthony Brown and Group TherAPy, Ruth LaOntra, Casey J, and Bri Babineaux are just a few examples. The latter two have come to Tyscot through its relationship with starmaker Marquis Boone. Boone, referred to by many as the “Berry Gordy of Gospel,” finds, grooms, ...

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Rev. Elijah Baker Sr. – Palm of His Hand

Rev. Elijah Baker Sr. Palm of His Hand (EP) Ambitious Records (release date: September 9, 2017) By Bob Marovich Anyone who thinks traditional gospel quartet is dead and gone hasn’t heard the Reverend Elijah Baker Sr.’s Palm of His Hand. The octogenarian Baker, together with background vocalists that sound for all the world like a seasoned quartet, deliver material like the Blind Boys of Alabama, complete with antiphonal singing, tight harmonies, and driving musicianship. There are no synthesized sounds here. Propelling the group is the 1970s era combination of grooved-in electric guitar, electric bass, organ, and drums. Baker’s nephew, singer-songwriter ...

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Renee’ Austin – Songbirds & Angels

Renee’ Austin Songbirds & Angels (Release Date: April 7, 2018) www.reneeaustin.org By Bob Marovich In 2005, blue-eyed blues and soul songstress Renee’ Austin was a rising star in the music business. She had signed a record deal with Blind Big Records, shared the stage with top charting artists, and was featured in a PBS special called Blues Divas, hosted by Morgan Freeman. But finding a lump in her throat, Austin underwent surgery. The result left her with a paralyzed left vocal cord and the diagnosis that she would never be able to sing again. Heartbroken, Austin cauterized music from her life but ...

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The Zion Messengers – I’m Ready

The Zion Messengers I’m Ready 1500 GOSPEL (release date: September 1, 2015) By Bob Marovich If you’ve heard Snoop Dogg’s gospel album, Bible of Love, you’ve heard the Zion Messengers. They are the young quartet from Los Angeles that sings on Bible of Love‘s “Going Home.” But you don’t get to appear on Bible of Love without gospel music experience. Indeed, the Zion Messengers released their own album, I’m Ready, back in 2015. The quartet sounds just as confident on this earlier album as they do on Snoop Dogg’s. Although endeavoring to make I’m Ready as contemporary as possible, the ...

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Kendrick Evans – Live Therapy Session

Kendrick Evans Live Therapy Session Rock the Cause Records (release date: September 29, 2017) By Bob Marovich Appearing on the CW docu-drama My Last Days, award-winning gospel singer Kendrick Evans of Quincy, Florida, opened up about his acute sleep apnea that doctors said would give him about three more years to live. Eschewing the surgery that would probably have ruined his voice, Evans chose to find other remedies so he could sing. And sing he does. Evans uses his Live Therapy Session as a musical variant of the mental health counseling the title suggests. He puts all of his stuff out ...

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Various Artists: JDI Classics – Gospel Music for All Occasions

Various Artists JDI Classics: Gospel Music for All Occasions JDI Records (release date: April 6, 2018) By Bob Marovich JDI Records founder and CEO James Roberson has been doing some spring cleaning. In the case of The Essential Beverly Crawford, Vol. 2 as well as with this new JDI Classics release, Robertson has been reissuing items from the company’s estimable catalog. JDI Classics: Gospel Music for All Occasions is a clever repackaging conceit and something of a greatest hits collection for the Los Angeles-based label. Some of the songs are older. For example, Norman Hutchins’ “Emmanuel” (the Christmas choice) is ...

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The Essential Beverly Crawford, Volume 2

Beverly Crawford The Essential – Vol. 2 JDI Records (release date: February 2, 2018) By Bob Marovich Gainesville, Florida, gospel singer Beverly Crawford is a steadfast traditionalist, and God bless her for it. She is among the most popular of those singers who perpetuate the audience-rousing squalling and shouting characteristic of old time evangelism, and who still sings songs packed with church aphorisms and mother wit. As was the case with the first volume of The Essential Beverly Crawford (2005), neither “It’s About Time for a Miracle” nor “Sweeping Through the City” are included on The Essential – Volume 2, despite ...

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The Reverend Shawn Amos Breaks It Down

The Reverend Shawn Amos Breaks It Down Put Together Music (release date: February 16, 2018) www.shawnamos.com By Bob Marovich The Reverend Shawn Amos might just be the most righteous preacher who’s not a preacher. Amos, whose mother was nightclub singer Shirl-ee May and whose father was a William Morris Agency executive and founder of Famous Amos cookies, is not a licensed ordained minister. Nevertheless, he uses his platform to speak truth to power, and pulls on a lifetime spent in the music business to accentuate the urgency of his message with fistfuls of biting blues guitar and harmonica. “21st Century Freedom ...

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SWEETEVERAFTER – Adoration Project (EP)

SWEETEVERAFTER Adoration Project (EP) (release date: February 2, 2018) www.sweeteverafter.net By Bob Marovich Nearly ten years ago, husband-and-wife team Ammee Pearl and Jay Huzil formed SWEETEVERAFTER, a Christian group with a hard rock center. They earned a Metal Song of the Year nomination from the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. The duo’s latest release, the Adoration Project EP, is decidedly mellower than their earlier output. They set aside their electronic gear to hone in on the nitty gritty of some urgent messages. Huzil’s acoustic guitar leads a low-key ensemble of strings, soft percussion, piano, a flute that floats around the music, and the high, lonesome ...

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Nine Beats Collective – Nine Beats to the Bar

Nine Beats Collective Nine Beats to the Bar Plankton Records (release date: June 16, 2017) www.9beats.org By Bob Marovich Nine Beats Collective is an assembly of musicians, songwriters, composers, singers, and poets who represent three continents and contribute different musical styles, but have one thing in common: healing the world from the inside out. A product of their efforts, Nine Beats to the Bar, is as singular in its motive as it is variable in its sound. While gospel music elements are present on the Reverend Vince Anderson’s “#blessed,” the sound shuffles, track by track, between jazz, classical, R&B, spoken word, and pop music. On the other hand, the message ...

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