CDs

The Sons of the Soul Revivers: Live! Rancho Nicasio

The Sons of the Soul Revivers Live! Rancho Nicasio Little Village Foundation www.littlevillagefoundation.org By Bob Marovich The Sons of the Soul Revivers are on a quest to achieve the kind of widespread visibility that the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Fairfield Four have enjoyed for the past three decades. Based on the sound of their new album, Live! Rancho Nicasio, the guys are definitely on the right track. Recorded during two sold out shows at the Rancho Nicasio, a roadhouse in Marin County, California, that specializes in presenting roots music, the album was produced by the Little Village Foundation, a ...

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Ananais Montague – Remember Me: Songs from the Cross, Vol. 1

Ananais Montague Remember Me: Songs from the Cross Vol. 1 Ananais Montague Music www.amusac.com By Bob Marovich Remember Me: Songs from the Cross, Volume 1, from the Chicago born and raised Ananais “Markey” Montague, is a two-disc, seventeen song project that appears to have two main purposes: to follow the narrative from Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) to his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension; and to introduce the songs, either wholly composed or co-written by Montague, to other music ministers. What Montague provides is a collection of contemporary church choir songs–some simple, others more challenging–that combine the classical underpinning of Richard Smallwood with ...

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Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson – Keep Pushin’

Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson Keep Pushin’ Shanachie / SRT Entertainment (release date: May 4, 2018) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich It’s been 20 years since Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson appeared on the national gospel scene, introducing the traditional quartet sound to a new generation of listeners. He continues his crusade to blend the old school with the new on Keep Pushin’. Though billed as a solo project, Johnson has plenty of help from a battery of singers, including Prathan “Spanky” Williams, Josh Miles, Ray Braswell Jr., and Karen Clark. Together, they traverse musically diverse territory, though most of it remains grounded in tradition—none ...

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The Zion Messengers (self-titled)

The Zion Messengers (self-titled) 1500 Or Nothin Gospel (release date: 2013) By Bob Marovich Thanks to Snoop Dogg and his best-selling Bible of Love, gospel music enthusiasts outside of Los Angeles are now familiar with Charles “Uncle Chucc” Hamilton and the Zion Messengers. The quartet is featured prominently on that collection’s “Going Home.” You can hear echoes of the Zion Messengers, circa 2018, on their self-titled and self-produced debut CD released five years earlier. Their vocal strength is especially evident on the album’s drive-tempo numbers such as “After While” and “I’m Depending on You.” As the musicians play out the latter track, ...

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Bemeche’: I’m Determined – Live

Bemeche’ I’m Determined – Live BGMN Records www.Bemeche.com By Bob Marovich It’s rare these days for gospel artists to give over most of their full album to old-time songs, but that’s what Bemeche’ Hicks has done on his I’m Determined – Live. The Virginia-based music minister even invited a bonafide church wrecker to assist with his debut CD. None other than Evangelist Dorothy Norwood joins Bemeche’ on the Roberta Martin Singers theme song, “Only a Look.” It’s a treat to hear Norwood sing and squall her way through a classic that she may not have recorded before. The Storyteller then ...

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The Wardlaw Brothers – Stand There

The Wardlaw Brothers Stand There TWB Records / New Day Christian Distributors (release date: June 1, 2018) http://www.twb5.com/ By Bob Marovich There are traditional quartets and contemporary quartets. On their new album, Stand There, the Wardlaw Brothers fall within the contemporary category while maintaining links to the traditional side. The album also demonstrates the group’s maturing style as defined by its robust harmonies and song quality. The most surprising aspect of the album, and the most gratifying, is the a cappella singing. The album begins with a snippet of TWB moaning like they are leading an old-fashioned church service. Later, we hear ...

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Firma Collective – Songs for Every Soul

Firma Collective Songs for Every Soul Firma Music Group (release date: May 4, 2018) www.firmacollective.com By Bob Marovich Songs for Every Soul introduces the public to the Firma Music Group, a new Christian label organized by Hollywood execs Joel Weldon and Tom Mgrdichian. The project, which falls somewhere in length between and EP and a full album, offers seven tracks led by Lexi Jones and Matthew Scott, young worship leaders for large churches in the Los Angeles area. The selections are characteristic of current CCM, which draws more deeply from hook-laden rock and pop than in the past. This is ...

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Bruce Parham – Your Presence

Bruce Parham Your Presence We Here Now Music Group (release date: June 15, 2018) By Bob Marovich An early impetus for Bruce Parham’s solo career came from his grandmother, who instructed her grandson in no uncertain terms to “Open up your mouth and sing!” Sing he did, before church congregations and annual gatherings at the Mt. Sinai Holy Churches of America convention. Bishop Bruce V. Parham Sr., PhD. parlayed his grandmother’s admonition into an integral part of his ministry. Your Presence, available this month, is the latest example of his beefy tenor and love for contemporary and traditional songs and ...

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Various Artists – Worth of Souls

Various Artists Worth of Souls Stone Angel Music (release date: April 27, 2018) www.worthofsoulsproject.com By Bob Marovich On “Come as you Are,” the opening selection of the Worth of Souls project, former American Idol contestant Kenz Hall quotes Thomas Moore: “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.” To paraphrase Moore, Worth of Souls also believes that there is no sorrow that heavenly music cannot heal. The restful, relaxed quality of this collection of Christian songs is not by accident. It was produced on the premise that we are what we hear—and that those who struggle with depression can benefit from listening to uplifting music with ...

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Endurance (feat. the late Joe Ligon)

Endurance (feat. The Late Joe Ligon) Changed SCCME Records (release date: September 29, 2017) http://musicbyendurance.com/ By Bob Marovich The Stellar Award-nominated gospel quartet Endurance of Houston, Texas, had the mixed blessing of being responsible for Joe Ligon’s last known recording. It was a mixed blessing because they got to work with the iconic lead singer of the Mighty Clouds of Joy, but I’m sure that if they had their druthers, they wouldn’t have wanted it to be his last trip to the studio. Nevertheless, on the title track, Ligon’s hard shouting style fits perfectly with Michael Robertson’s own. Like two deacons in spirited conversation, Ligon ...

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