CDs

Zak Williams & 1/Akord – The Next Chapter

Zak Williams & 1/Akord The Next Chapter Enon Music Group (release date: July 12, 2019) By Bob Marovich While the name Zak Williams & 1/Akord sounds like it might be a male-led gospel group, the group is actually a small choir. And on the group’s latest offering, The Next Chapter, the ensemble sings with the full-throated and thunderous sonority of a choir twice its size. The album, presented by Dr. Alyn E. Waller, Pastor of Philadelphia’s Enon Tabernacle Church and produced by Zak Williams, features songs written by a variety of songwriters, including Williams himself. “Unpredictable God” is the radio-friendly ...

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Reverend Lawrence Thomison – Going to Church

Reverend Lawrence Thomison Going to Church Dherico Music (release date: May 26, 2019) www.revlawrencethomison.com By Bob Marovich Going to Church, the latest release by the Reverend Lawrence Thomison, lives up to its billing. Produced by Derrick Lee for Dherico Music, Going to Church is an album of songs rendered in an older style by the full-throated Cedric Sesley & Out 4 Souls choir and soloist Thomison, who demonstrates that he can shout and squall like a quartet singer-turned-Baptist preacher. Despite the album’s old-school modality, the rhythm section, and especially Kenny Jackson’s thumping bass, keeps the musical body firmly fixed in ...

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VaShawn Mitchell – Elements

VaShawn Mitchell Elements Fair Trade / Columbia (release date: August 9, 2019) www.vashawnmitchell.com By Bob Marovich More than other styles of sacred music, Praise and Worship tends to focus on the elements. For example, the music creates an “atmosphere” for worship, while song lyrics use wind, water, and fire as metaphors for the presence, or anticipated presence, of the Holy Ghost and the “showering” of blessings. Nowhere is this more evident than on worship leader VaShawn Mitchell’s new album, Elements. The title of his first album in three years telegraphs the use of the earth’s substances to describe the descent ...

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Kurt Carr – Bless Somebody Else

Kurt CarrBless Somebody ElseRCA Inspiration (release date: July 19, 2019)www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich In what may well be the most heartrending introduction you will hear on a gospel album this year, Praise & Worship pioneer Kurt Carr uses the opening moments of his new CD, Bless Somebody Else, to relate the final moments he spent at the deathbed of gospel great Andrae Crouch. Squeezing Carr’s hand, Crouch, who in his early days encountered no small amount of criticism for contemporizing church music, entreats his protégé to always lift the name of Jesus in his songs. From there, Carr and the ...

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Nashville Life Music – The Taylor House Sessions (EP)

Nashville Life Music The Taylor House Sessions (EP) Integrity Music (release date: May 24, 2019) www.nashvillelifemusic.com By Bob Marovich From the loping tempo and bass-heavy opening of the single “My God,” and the playful use of auto-tune by Byron Chambers (aka Mr. Talkbox) as a medium for scatting and raising lyric lines, you know that Nashville Life Music has soul. The overall feeling of the group’s Taylor House Sessions EP, recorded at the Taylor House Studio in East Nashville, Tennessee, and especially given the cheering and applause between selections, is of a relaxed communal singalong powered by a throbbing rhythm ...

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Absolution – Breakthrough

Absolution Breakthrough Independent (release date: March 14, 2019) By Bob Marovich On the album Breakthrough, Absolution adopts an ‘80s R&B vocal group style mixed with elements of smooth jazz to deliver religious and inspirational songs inspired by personal experience. The mixed-voice group Absolution was organized in North Augusta, South Carolina, in 2014 by singer-songwriter Wayne Mims and lead guitarist John Henry Walker. The members’ ages run from teenager to senior, so it seems as if they found a happy medium in laying down ’80s-vintage smooth R&B as their musical foundation. While the members of Absolution don’t go into great detail ...

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The Southern Sons of Memphis – “Live” At Home in Memphis

The Southern Sons of Memphis “Live” At Home in Memphis SOME Records (2016) www.sonsofmemphismusic.com By Bob Marovich Although released in 2016, the Southern Sons of Memphis’s “Live” At Home in Memphis is, like most gospel quartet recordings without undue amounts of synthesizer, evergreen. Bob Holloway, the Southern Sons’ longstanding member, is lead vocalist on almost all of the tracks on this album, recorded at Boston Baptist Church in Memphis. His vocal delivery alternates between flatfooted crooning, pleading, shouting and, when the spirit catches him, a high-pitched shriek that emerges from his shout. Like a minister at the pulpit, Holloway interpolates ...

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Johnny Burroughs – DAY 1

Johnny Burroughs DAY 1 (release date: May 24, 2019) www.johnnyburroughsmusic.com By Bob Marovich The debut solo release by Johnny Burroughs, lead vocalist for Denver band The Burroughs, is not a romp through the “sweaty soul music” for which the band is known but a thrumming Christian album titled DAY 1. Though it would be unnatural for Burroughs to not channel some “sweaty soul” into DAY 1, he draws more heavily on his other life as a pastor and music minister. This self-penned, self-produced batch of lyrically and melodically uncomplicated songs of praise and worship invokes the sonic inventiveness of Bryan ...

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Faithful Connection – Personal Experience

Faithful Connection Personal Experience (release date: March 22, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/faithfulconnection12 By Bob Marovich Rhythm of Gospel Awardee Faithful Connection of Fredericksburg, Virginia, is a gospel quartet that blends elements of traditional gospel singing and lyricism with contemporary instrumentation and bass-heavy beats. They celebrate their tenth anniversary with a new EP, Personal Experience, produced by Richard Davis. As on the quartet’s 2015 album Thank You, the majority of the tracks on Personal Experience are led by group founder Jonathan Mercer, with cameos and ad-libs by TaWan Gray. The EP’s initial single and opening track, “I Made It,” is a gritty piece ...

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New York Fellowship Children’s Choir – God is the Greatest

New York Fellowship Children’s Choir God is the Greatest Godfather Records (release date: March 22, 2019) By Bob Marovich As any elementary school teacher will tell you, it can be challenging to get young people to work together for a common purpose. But the New York Fellowship Children’s Choir has accomplished this feat and recorded the results on its debut album, God is the Greatest. Directed by Jerry Williams and Marilyn Walker, the New York Fellowship Children’s Choir is an adjunct ministry to the New York Fellowship Mass Choir, organized by the late Reverend Timothy Wright and now led by ...

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