CDs

The Williams Brothers – Songs of Worship, Praise & Deliverance

The Williams Brothers Songs of Worship, Praise & Deliverance Blackberry Records (2014) www.blackberryrecords.com By Bob Marovich With more than 50 years of harmonizing under their belt, the Williams Brothers are an institution in the quartet community. The group’s longstanding willingness and ability to adapt to the latest in sacred and secular sounds is exemplified in its latest album, Songs of Worship, Praise & Deliverance. Here, the Williams Brothers attach their meaty quartet harmonies to the meditative Praise & Worship style currently sweeping the gospel music and church communities. Listeners expecting to hear hip-slapping, drive-tempo traditional quartet singing on Songs of ...

Read More »

Bessie Jones with the Georgia Sea Island Singers and Others: Get In Union

Bessie Jones with the Georgia Sea Island Singers and Others Get In Union: Recordings by Alan Lomax 1959-1966 Tompkins Square (released, October 28, 2014) www.tompkinssquare.com By Bob Marovich Students of ethnomusicology and folk music enthusiasts fortunate enough to hear the two or three LPs of Bessie Jones and the Georgia Sea Island Singers can tell you the thrill of hearing the group’s music for the first time. The singers’ dedication to preserving a music with roots that run all the way back to West Africa has enabled generations to hear something of the foundation of spirituals, the blues, jazz, gospel, and ...

Read More »

KSE Sunshine Band – Children in Perfected Praise: Live From Kansas City

KSE Sunshine Band Children in Perfected Praise: Live from Kansas City (2013) Available from digital music retailers By Bob Marovich Early in Church of God in Christ history, founder Bishop Charles Harrison Mason tasked the denomination’s Women’s Division to establish sunshine bands, or choral groups, to provide COGIC children with a musical outlet steeped in religion. For the past century or so, tens of thousands of saints—from everyday people to sacred and secular music superstars—have come up through a sunshine band. The forty-member Kansas East Jurisdictional Sunshine Band Recording Choir, under the direction of Sis. Jean Henderson, is one of these ensembles. In addition ...

Read More »

Kim Dexter – Reaching

Kim Dexter Reaching (released June 2014) www.kimdexter.com By Bob Marovich Completed thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, Reaching is the sophomore effort of singer-songwriter Kim Dexter, the Phoenix-born former lead singer of the Christian rock band, Mayfair Laundry. Reaching is a melodically lovely, atmospheric set of praise songs that pulls from a musical palette of rock, pop, new age, folk, and CCM. Dexter intended the album to be a worship project, and she has succeeded. The praise is vertically directed and gushes from an overflowing soul. When on the airy “Freedom, ” she sings,  “This is my living in the happy ...

Read More »

Pastor Riva Tims Presents Majestic Praise – Access Granted

Pastor Riva Tims Presents Majestic Praise Access Granted Zion Records (2014) www.majesticlifechurch.com By Bob Marovich Florida Pastor Riva Tims introduces to the general public the music ministry at her Majestic Praise Church in Orlando on the ten-selection Access Granted. It is the first CD on her new Zion Records imprint. In the album’s dramatic introduction, Tims explains the title: “When you are on purpose and on assignment, God says ‘access granted.’” The ensemble employs that access to loft vertical praises to God on high. The songs and arrangements on Access Granted are CCM-tempered praise and worship, something on the order of Shekinah Glory Ministry. ...

Read More »

Lecrae – Anomaly

Lecrae Anomaly Reach Records (2014) www.reachrecords.com By Bob Marovich Lecrae’s new CD, Anomaly, is Christian music’s most incisively honest, but at the same time most bravely hopeful, project this year. To Lecrae, being an anomaly, being an outsider, is both an advantage and disadvantage. On one hand, anomalies are outcasts who don’t fit in. At the same time, as Lecrae articulates on the title track, being an outsider is “exactly what God created us to be.” “Why you scared to be different?” he asks on “Say I Won’t.”  Anomalies call it like it is, and Lecrae does just that on ...

Read More »

Donna LiZa – Makin’ the Level

Donna LiZa Makin’ the Level www.facebook.com/officialdonnaliza By Bob Marovich On “He’s Got the Answer,” the concluding cut on her eight-selection solo CD Makin’ the Level, Donna LiZa gives us an autobiographical glimpse of a pivotal moment in her life. Originally from New Orleans, Donna lost everything in Hurricane Katrina and became part of the post-hurricane migration to Texas. She moved to Arlington and began singing with Bishop Greg O’Quin and iPraise. The group’s musically multi-faceted After the Storm (2009), on which Donna led “I Appreciate U,” earned five stars from the Journal of Gospel Music. Bishop O’Quin produced Donna’s solo ...

Read More »

Gregory Brown with the Abundant Life Music Ministry – 29:11

Gregory Brown with the Abundant Life Music Ministry 29:11 The Levite Music Group (2013) www.cdbaby.com/cd/gregorybrown22 By Bob Marovich Released November 3, 2013, 29:11 is the product of Birmingham, Alabama choir Gregory L. Brown and the Abundant Life Music Ministry. The title refers to Jeremiah 29:11: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” In alignment with this message, Brown’s objective for the CD is to “speak life and minister wholeness to broken hearts.” While the album meets this objective ...

Read More »

JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise – I See Victory

JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise I See Victory Light Records (October 28, 2014) www.lightrecords.com By Bob Marovich Recorded at the First Cathedral in Bloomfield, Connecticut, I See Victory is the seventh live CD for JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise and, with seventeen tracks, the group’s most ambitious release to date. The choir, perhaps best known for the gospel hit, “Incredible God, Incredible Praise,” can claim musical roots in the ministry of Bishop J. C. White and the Institutional Church of God in Christ Choir. Institutional’s “Stretch Out (When Jesus Comes)” was a major gospel hit in 1967 (read more about the influence ...

Read More »

Evang. Nelson Larkins & God’s Posse – The Kind of God We Serve: Live in Chicago

Evangelist Nelson Larkins & God’s Posse The Kind of God We Serve: Live in Chicago TREWWORKS Music Group/Deznell Music Group (2011) www.cdbaby.com/cd/nelsonlarkinsgodsposse By Bob Marovich It is always a pleasure to hear a live gospel quartet album that truly captures the excitement of a group having church. Such an album is The Kind of God We Serve by Chicago-based Evangelist Nelson Larkins & God’s Posse. Although the group’s name gives the impression that it is a contemporary small choir, make no mistake: Nelson Larkins & God’s Posse is a rompin’, stompin’ quartet that is 70 percent traditional, 30 percent contemporary ...

Read More »