CDs

Hanson Asiedu – Back to Life (EP)

Hanson Asiedu Back to Life (EP) Release date: October 18, 2020 www.hansonasiedu.com By Robert M. Marovich Formerly known as Kase Sounds, Hanson Asiedu is a Ghanian living in London whose responsibilities have included postman and police officer in addition to Christian singer-songwriter. His new EP, Back to Life, offers four songs that share sonic similarity but offer a variety of messages. Asiedu’s style, like many European gospel artists, is introspective and gentle, a Jonathan McReynolds feel with the acoustic guitar front and center. His voice is equally calming, sometimes fragile, but unremittingly pure, with little ornamentation. The mid-tempo “Holy Ghost ...

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Leland Philpot – Psalms in the Midst (EP)

Leland Philpot Psalms in the Midst (EP) BabelScattered Productions (release date: October 5, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Chicago avant-garde gospel hip-hop artist Leland Philpot draws on hip-hop, jazz, gospel, and techno wizardry for his EP Psalms in the Midst. Billed as Philpot’s testimony set to music, the EP opens with the title track, a mini-sermon that serves as a general introduction. An aggressive rapper but a disinterested singer, Philpot rhymes rapid fire, near to breathlessly, on “The Gift,” as the beats beep and burble behind him like arcade games. Minimalist beats and gushes of quick rhyming also propel “Break ...

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Bishop Bobby Ingram & the Legendary Trenton Allstars

Bishop Bobby Ingram & the Legendary Trenton AllstarsBlessings Keep Coming1 Sound Music Group (release date: September 11, 2018) By Bob Marovich With five tracks and a bonus selection, Blessings Keep Coming by Bishop Bobby Ingram and the Legendary Trenton Allstars is technically an EP, but the North Carolina-based male quartet ekes out as much utility as it can from the limited disc time. The title track is a hard-charging celebration of continual blessings for not just basic necessities but also the grander goodness of peace and happiness. “Praise His Name” sets the Biblical Gospel Singers’ classic congregation favorite “I Came ...

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DOE – DOE (EP)

DOE DOE (EP) Life Room / RCA Inspiration (release date: October 30, 2020) www.rcainspiration.com By Robert M. Marovich Gospel music enthusiasts first heard DOE (Dominique Jones) as lead singer and composer of “He Wants It All,” the debut single by twice GRAMMY-nominated forever JONES, her family’s gospel music ensemble. Since then, the winsome singer has gone solo, earning a third GRAMMY nomination for her collaboration with Jonathan McReynolds on the single, “Cycles.” Not surprisingly, as their musical styles are similar, DOE’s first solo EP is on McReynolds’ newly-formed label, Life Room, in partnership with RCA Inspiration. Like McReynolds, DOE is ...

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Shirley McNeil & Singers of Faith – You Can Count on Me

Shirley McNeil & Singers of Faith You Can Count on Me Independent (2020) By Bob Marovich Originally issued in 2018, I’m All You See by the female quartet Shirley McNeil & Singers of Faith has received a makeover and is angling for national attention under a new title, You Can Count on Me. Buoyed by Ray Braswell Jr’s crisp production, the album features contemporary gospel quartet singing just like one hears in the Carolinas, from whence the group hails. Songs with conventional church messages benefit from standard modern instrumentation, mid-range harmonies, and call-and-response work between the quartet and lead singer ...

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Jekalyn Carr – Changing Your Story Live!

Jekalyn Carr Changing Your Story Live! Lunjeal/The Orchard (release date: October 23, 2020) www.iamjekalyncarr.com By Bob Marovich Jekalyn Carr has achieved more by age 23 than most people will accomplish in a lifetime. With six Top 10 gospel singles under her belt, four hitting number one, plus several albums, a book, an e-course, acting credentials, Dove and Stellar awards, a GRAMMY nomination, and an endless stream of singing and speaking appearances, Carr is living proof of the power of her life-affirming messages. Recorded at Atlanta’s Praise in the Park event last October, Changing Your Story Live! is full of essentially ...

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Chosen Vessel – Marvin Sapp

Marvin Sapp Chosen Vessel RCA Inspiration / Verity (release date: October 9, 2020) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Every successive Marvin Sapp solo album release after 2007’s Gold-certified Thirsty, with its blockbuster hit, “Never Would Have Made It,” has assumed something of Major Event status. Here I Am (2010), with its hit “The Best In Me;” I Win (2012); You Shall Live (2015); and Close (2017) received widespread attention and each ultimately hit number one. So no pressure on Chosen Vessel, Sapp’s twelfth solo release, dropped last Friday. Produced by Aaron Lindsey and Myron Butler, Chosen Vessel was recorded at Sapp’s ...

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Elder Randall Ogans Sr. – What a Friend

Elder Randall Ogans Sr. What a Friend Alpha 7 Ministries (release date: October 1, 2020) www.alpha7.org By Bob Marovich Elder Randall Ogans Sr.’s What a Friend contains classic hymns bathed in smooth instrumental arrangements. Well, almost. “We Need to Pray” is the one and only track with lyrics or, more specifically, a spoken word meditation by Elder Ogans. Over the melody of the Lords of Harmony’s 1965 single, “If God Gave Us Everything,” Ogans shares a real-life parable about a homeless shelter to remind listeners that there but for the grace of God go we. Otherwise, it’s instrumental jazz played ...

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Brian Courtney Wilson – Still

Brian Courtney Wilson Still Motown Gospel (release date: October 16, 2020) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Whether its messages are explicit or implicit, gospel music at its finest tells listeners of all beliefs—and even those with no belief—that hope is a beacon in the midst of hopelessness, encouragement exists for the discouraged, and comfort is available for the discomforted. Hope, encouragement, and comfort are in abundance on Still, GRAMMY-nominated Brian Courtney Wilson’s fifth and latest album. Its eight radio-sized and biblically-based songs are reassuring shoulder rubs, made all the more so by Wilson’s easy-on-the-ears baritone. For example, the contemplative title track ...

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David Billingsley – Hymns from Grandma’s Living Room

David Billingsley Hymns from Grandma’s Living Room Intersound (release date: May 15, 2020) www.billingsleymusic.com By Bob Marovich Having reviewed pianist David Billingsley’s second album, House of David, Volume One, JGM now works backwards to review his debut, Hymns from Grandma’s Living Room. A musician and arts educator, Billingsley dives into the hymnbook as if he’s heard and performed these songs his whole life, which of course he has. He imbues the timeless melodies with the respect and dignity they deserve, accentuating them deftly rather than obscuring them with an overabundance of runs and ornamentation. That’s not to say that Billingsley ...

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