CDs

CASS: Genesis – Second Season

CASS Genesis – Second Season http://officialcass.com By Bob Marovich Genesis – Second Season is the debut full-length solo album for New Zealand-based Christian singer/producer CASS, aka Cassandra Kanda. It follows on the heels of the Season 1 EP she produced to test the waters of recorded music ministry while completing a three-year church internship. To support her unpretentious lyrics of praise and love for God, CASS leaps more confidently into the pool of hook-laden, beat-built pop music than most gospel artists dare. Viscous keyboards burble in space. Electronic riffs transition into Cinemascope-sized blossoms. Beats, hooks, riffs, and rhythmic lyric lines come ...

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Adam Everett – If You Are Weary

Adam Everett If You Are Weary Polytone Records (release date: May 11, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/adameverett By Bob Marovich If John Hiatt made a gospel album, it would sound like Adam Everett’s If You Are Weary. This eight-track collection of hymns and newly-composed songs is the product of a new breed of young alt-gospel artists such as the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers (who opened for Everett’s album release party), Liz Vice, and Eli “The Paperboy” Reed. Together, they are taking to church the Americana soul-country-rock melange rekindled by the Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes, and Neko Case (who has covered some gospel on ...

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De’Leon – Church Boy Soul (EP)

De’Leon Church Boy Soul EP We Here Now Music Group (release date: April 14, 2017) www.deleoncarr.com By Bob Marovich A member of some of the top gospel choirs of their day and now a 2017 Rhythm of Gospel Award winner, De’Leon Carr offers a cornucopia of sounds, styles, and messages on his EP, Church Boy Soul. The EP’s high point is the brisk opening track, “He Will Take Care.” De’Leon and his choir reach back to classic gospel for this one, which I first heard a church choir sing in 1984, likely taking its lead from the Thompson Community Singers’ ...

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Men of God’s Heart (self-titled)

Men of God’s Heart self-titled Independent release; release date: March 24, 2017 Available at digital music retail outlets By Bob Marovich Men of God’s Heart is a six-member contemporary quartet that can easily draw comparisons to the Rance Allen Group, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, and the Winans. In fact, on “Wilderness,” a track on their self-titled album, the group pays tribute to the Winans, suggesting that the Detroiters are direct influences on the Columbus, Ohio, male vocal group. Men of God’s Heart delivers the meatiness of traditional gospel quartet—the hard singing, the shouting, the preaching moments—with heavy instrumentation and ...

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William E. Johnson III – One God

William E. Johnson III One God WEJ Music (release date: January 28, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/williamejohnsoniii By Bob Marovich The Latin words on the Great Seal of the United States, e pluribus unum (out of many, one), could be the subtitle of William E. Johnson III’s One God. Unified praise by a community of worshipers to one God with many names is the thematic and musical thread running through the Los Angeles-based Praise and Worship leader’s album, recorded live at Antioch Church of Long Beach, California. Johnson’s high tenor is pulpit-honed, big and bold. It lends muscle to the album’s energetic opening ...

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Darrell McFadden & the Disciples – Covering All Areas: Phase One (EP)

Darrell McFadden & the Disciples Covering All Areas: Phase One (EP) DMDMG (release date: April 25, 2017) http://dmdaccess.com/ By Bob Marovich This five-track EP by Brooklyn quartet Darrell McFadden & the Disciples may not, as its title suggests, cover all areas, at least in terms of musical styles. What it does, however, is uplift the traditional sound in some instances and modernize it in others, and that’s good enough for me. Name checking another beloved Brooklyn group, Big Nick and the Gospel Heavyweights, the quartet covers the latter’s “Come On and See About Me,” complete with a slow strutting rhythm ...

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Preashea Hilliard – The Glory Experience

Preashea Hilliard The Glory Experience Daywind Records (release date: April 21, 2017) www.preasheahilliard.com By Bob Marovich “Are you ready for revival?” Preashea Hilliard asks the live recording audience at New Light Church in Houston, Texas. The crowd gives Hilliard, the daughter of New Light’s leaders Bishop I.V. and Pastor Bridget Hilliard, its assent.  But what she proposes is not an old-style tent revival, and they know it. The intention may be the same but hers is a twenty-first century version more accurately described in the album’s title as an “experience.” The Glory Experience album is, for all intents, a portable ...

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Pastor Marlon Lock – Unleashed (EP)

Pastor Marlon Lock Unleashed (2016) www.pastormarlonlock.com By Bob Marovich “You Covered Me,” a single from Stellar Award-nominated Pastor Marlon Lock of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, made JGM’s Pick of the Week last June. It appears on his EP, Unleashed, a collection of seven cuts that showcase Lock’s urban adult contemporary approach to mostly introspective songs and stories about one’s relationship with God. While I am a proponent of hiring a group of musicians versus having the computer do it all, the electronically engineered low-key accompaniment for most of the selections seems to fit the album’s confessional vibe. The lead track and single, ...

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Treva Jones: I Am Praise – The Project

Treva Jones I Am Praise – The Project Chezmusique (2017) www.trevajones.com By Bob Marovich Treva Jones wasn’t taking any chances when she assembled I Am Praise – The Project. The Houston, Texas, resident packed her latest release with some of gospel music’s finest singers, songwriters, and producers. She also took her time to put it together—three years to be exact—with the 2014 release of the I Am Praise EP but a preview of things to come. With songs written by V. Michael McKay, Margaret Douroux, and the late O’Landa Draper; with San Franklin Jackson and Mark Kibble (Take 6) as background ...

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BJ McKenzie – Encouraging God’s Nation (Isaiah 61:1)

BJ McKenzie Encouraging God’s Nation (Isaiah 61:1) BJ Muzic (release date: September 6, 2016) www.bjmuzic.org By Bob Marovich Taking Isaiah 61:1 for his thematic anchor, award-winning solo artist and choir director Bernard “BJ” McKenzie Jr. of Chicago offers a healthy dose of optimism on his debut solo album, Encouraging God’s Nation. But the lyrics do not stop at simply getting through life’s trials.  Getting to one’s favor, or blessings (breakthrough), is just as significant. McKenzie offers these linked messages of hope and expectation time and again, most particularly on the single, “Born 2 Win.” It is a contemporary gospel song about looking past ...

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