CDs

Brent Jones – Joy Comin’

Brent Jones Joy Comin’ EchoPark JDI Entertainment (release date: August 12, 2014) https://www.facebook.com/JDIRecords/ By Bob Marovich With his 2014 album Joy Comin’, singer-songwriter Brent Jones took one giant leap from his days as leader of the gospel hip hop group T.P. Mobb. This album represented a new sound for Jones’s listeners, but not for him. “It was my Sunday morning sounds and some knew me for my urban sounds,” he told Waco Tribune reporter Carl Hoover last month. Indeed, with the accomplished Orange County [California] Gospel Choir on board, Jones’s Joy Comin’ is a choral workout. The title track (and opening song) ...

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Various Artists: Make It Gospel – Chapter One

Various Artists Make It Gospel: Chapter One (release date: October 18, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/makeitgospelchapterone By Bob Marovich Make It Gospel: Chapter One is an independently-produced EP that showcases three “hidden jewel” gospel quartets: one male (Men of Fellowship), one female (New Stars of Faith), and one young group (Psalm 100). All three quartets are quite good, demonstrating that for every gospel superstar, there are thousands of gifted artists throughout the country, trying to be noticed. The meaty vocals and even harmonizing of Men of Fellowship make for enjoyable listening, while the edgy-voiced lead singer of the New Stars of Faith of Durham, North Carolina, sounds ...

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Keith Reed Jr. & New Sound of Worship – True Worship

Keith Reed Jr. & New Sound of Worship True Worship New Sound Music Group (release date: February 25, 2018) www.newsoundofworship.com By Bob Marovich Last fall, JGM reviewed Bless the Lord, an EP from Keith Reed Jr. & New Sound of Worship. It heralded the Ohio-based Rhythm & Praise ensemble’s soon-to-be-released full project, True Worship. True Worship made its debut last month and, as promised, it riffs on the musical style demonstrated on the EP. If the lyrics are conventional P&W (an exception is the empowering “Moving Towards Destiny”), and the song titles telegraph the theme, the melodies and arrangements take intriguing turns ...

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Kimberly M. Kent – Blessed2beChosen

Kimberly M. Kent Blessed2beChosen (EP) (release date: November 11, 2017) www.kimberlymkent.com By Bob Marovich Last fall, Kimberly M. Kent, a worship leader, multi-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter from Indianapolis, Indiana, followed her debut EP The Journey with a new EP, Blessed2beChosen. On this second release, Kent lends her burnished alto to a half-dozen self-penned songs containing biblically-based lyrics and appealing melodies. For example, the gently flowing opener, “I Am the Redeemed,” uses Psalms 107:2 to highlight the specialness of salvation (hence the album’s title). Christ’s death is the subject of “My Son I Give to You” and “The Debt I Owed.” Throughout the new EP, but particularly on these two ...

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Daniel D. – Tis So Sweet: Instrumental Violin Hymns

Daniel D. Tis So Sweet: Instrumental Violin Hymns DD Productions (release date: December 3, 2017) www.danieldmusic.com By Bob Marovich Instrumental sacred music in the African American tradition goes back decades. In fact, two of the first six sides cut by Arizona Dranes, a musician for the Church of God in Christ and among the earliest African American gospel artists to record, were sacred instrumentals (“Crucifixion” and “Sweet Heaven Is My Home”). In the contemporary gospel era, piano and organ soloists have been joined by saxophonists, trumpet players, and violinists, among others. Counted among the professional sacred violinists are Kersten Stevens, Brooke ...

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Todd Dulaney – Your Great Name

Todd Dulaney Your Great Name Entertainment One Music (release date: January 19, 2018) www.eonemusic.com By Bob Marovich Todd Dulaney was nervous the evening of his live recording at Calvary Church of Naperville, Illinois, that produced Your Great Name. He had been struggling with an illness that was threatening his voice. He kept on praying, he told the audience, that this, too, shall pass. It did pass. Dulaney suddenly and dramatically retained the full range of his voice. He went on to finish the recorded worship experience. Like all worship experiences, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that’s mostly the ...

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The Divine Souls – Favor

The Divine Souls Favor Independent (2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/thedivinesouls2 By Bob Marovich “Out in the West Texas town of El Paso” is a gospel quartet named the Divine Souls. Their album, Favor, is a solid collection of ten songs that combine traditional lyrics and themes with modern musical accompaniment. Most pronounced about the Divine Souls is their harmonies. When other quartets are going high above the stave with their harmonizing, a la the Violinaires, the Divine Souls go low. The result is a meatier, more traditional baritone sound. In addition, while some quartet CDs prominently feature the lead singer while the rest of ...

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New Heart Band – A Spirit Journey

New Heart Band A Spirit Journey First Love Publishing (2017) www.newheartband.com By Bob Marovich A Spirit Journey, the independently-produced album by the New Heart Band, evokes the folk music I used to listen to on the Ozarks-based radio program Sing Out! It contains confident, laidback string band interpretations of Christian themes. The style is sometimes referred to as country gospel, a style that goes back, at least commercially, to the earliest recordings of the Carter Family. Hailing from the State of Washington, the New Heart Band consists of singer-songwriters Gregg and Elaine Christenson, producer and multi-instrumentalist Gary Ballard, singer Tina Jones, and fiddler Paul Elliott. Gregg ...

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Morris Mingo feat. the With One Voice Ensemble: The Time of the Minstrel

Morris Mingo featuring the With One Voice Ensemble & Friends The Time of the Minstrel Moming Productions (release date: October 27, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/morrismingo By Bob Marovich The Time of the Minstrel is an independently-produced album that deserves major label attention. From the quality of its packaging and album notes to the rich mix of songs to the singers and musicians, this is an excellent project. It doesn’t always work when an artist writes all the songs for his or her project, but it does for the Ohio-based Morris Mingo, who presents many top-notch songs for soloists and choir on this ...

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The Golden Bells – Thank You

The Golden Bells Thank You www.TheGoldenBells.com By Bob Marovich Much of Thank You, the latest full-length CD release by the Golden Bells of Lexington, Mississippi, is a refashioning of traditional gospel staples into the modern quartet style. Even when the songs are newly-composed and the music meets today’s gospel quartet standards, they retain the old church character in their lyric content. For example, on “Say Something Good,” the Golden Bells prefer to turn the other cheek to their haters, but by reviving some of grandma’s well-worn words of wisdom (“What goes around comes back again”), the group confirms the wisdom ...

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