CDs

Damien Sneed feat. the Levites – Broken to Minister: The Deluxe Edition

Damien Sneed Featuring the Levites Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition LeChateau Earl Records (release date: March 3, 2015) www.lechateauearl.com By Bob Marovich Recorded live in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2013, Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition builds on Damien Sneed and the Levites’ previously released Broken To Minister EP. The classically- and church-trained Sneed is a member of the orchestral school of gospel music populated by artists such as Richard Smallwood, Donald Lawrence, and the late Thomas Whitfield. In this school, lush, dense vocal harmonies combine with astute songwriting and arranging to present gospel music at its most contemporary while ...

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Jor’Dan Armstrong – 52 Weeks of Summer

Jor’Dan Armstrong 52 Weeks of Summer Power Move Management (release date: March 31, 2015) www.jordanarmstrongmusic.com By Bob Marovich If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is nigh upon you. Jor’Dan Armstrong’s new CD, 52 Weeks of Summer, is an aural siren signaling the warmer, better days ahead, literally and figuratively. Armstrong’s songs are meant to be entertaining, breezy, and spirit-inspired, aimed at a young demographic wanting to pray and play. “With this project, I wanted people to know that you can have fun and still be a Christian,” Armstrong says. “52 Weeks Of Summer is the soundtrack for that.” ...

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Page CXVI – The Church Calendar Series

Page CXVI The Church Calendar Series: – Advent to Christmas – Lent to Maundy Thursday – Good Friday to Easter (new release) www.pagecxvi.com By Bob Marovich I discovered the intriguing music of Page CXVI via an email from Noisetrade about Good Friday to Easter, the trio’s latest and final release in their Church Calendar Series. There they were—husband-and-wife team Reid and Latifah Phillips and Dann Stockton—rendering church hymns with humble melodies and a pop underlay of gently jangling guitars, emotional violin, and contemplative keys.  The group could just as easily direct a meditation service as make a college radio playlist. It turns out ...

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Tay Clemons – Journey to Love

Tay Clemons Journey to Love We Dream Entertainment Group (December 2014) www.tayclemons.com By Bob Marovich No love song written and performed by a woman is nearly as powerful and heartfelt as those she has written to express her affection for Jesus. Proof of this hypothesis can be found among the songs on Shantavia “Tay” Clemons’s debut album Journey to Love. Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Clemons wraps her clear, pop-inflected voice around a stack of love songs to the Most High. She receives ample support in the first few cuts by processed electronic urban AC and solid rap interludes from ...

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Mississippi Mass Choir – Declaration of Dependence

Mississippi Mass Choir Declaration of Dependence Malaco Records (2014) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Halfway through Declaration of Dependence, the Mississippi Mass Choir’s latest album, I realized that the choir has inherited the mantle once worn by the celebrated Thompson Community Singers. Just as music ministers could not wait for the latest Tommies album to discover new songs and arrangements to teach their church choirs, Mississippi Mass Choir albums offer the same opportunity for today’s directors. Miss Mass hits such as “He’ll Carry You,” “God Made Me,” and “When I Rose This Morning” went from CD to choir lofts around the ...

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The Supreme Angels – The Next Level of the Legacy

The Supreme Angels The Next Level of the Legacy Raymarkable Music (release date: March 10, 2015) By Bob Marovich The Supreme Angels are among the quartets that have managed to remain active on the gospel highway, albeit with personnel changes, for more than a half century. Released this week, The Next Level of the Legacy is their newest, and appropriately titled, album. Appropriately titled because it signals the group’s commitment to keep singing in a post-Howard “Slim” Hunt milieu. The passing of Hunt, as well as of Robert “Sugar” Hightower and Al Dent over the course of five years, could ...

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Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago – Any Given Sunday

Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago Any Given Sunday Inspired People/Motown Gospel (release date: March 17, 2015) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Any artist will tell you how difficult it is to repeat the magic of a debut album, especially if the debut shot upward through the charts like a rocket, topped the charts, stayed on the charts, and earned five Stellar Awards. That is the situation Pastor Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago find themselves in with their sophomore release, Any Given Sunday. Given the meteoric rise and success of the choir’s debut, The Best of Both Worlds, which produced the smash hit ...

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Rachael Mann – Proud of Me

Rachael Mann Proud of Me C2 Records/Oak Tree Productions (2014) www.rachaelmann.org By Bob Marovich Rachael Mann’s Proud of Me EP, released last July, is power pop-infused CCM delivered with vocal confidence. No newcomer to religious music, Mann has recorded and performed live for years not only in the U.S. but also overseas and with a variety of top-shelf stars. The six inspirational tracks on her EP demonstrate her studio savvy as she encourages the underdog (“Roll with the Punches”) and, on the title track, likens the love between God and humanity to a parent for a child. What separates Mann ...

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Various Artists – Divine Voices: Pastors of Praise

Various Artists Divine Voices: Pastors of Praise Rendezvous Music (release date: January 27, 2015) www.mackavenue.com By Bob Marovich There are preachers who sing and singers who preach.  Divine Voices: Pastors of Praise includes some of both. This new various artists compilation comes from Mack Avenue Records, a label which features gospel jazz on its Rendezvous imprint and last year released two similar compilation discs: Gospel Praise Duets and Christmas Goes Gospel. Divine Voices reprises a dozen recent selections, mostly from individuals who began as singers and added ministry to their resumes later. Many of the contemporary biggies are present; the ...

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Pastor Jonathan DuBose Jr. & the Agape House Fellowship: Going to a Place Called There

Pastor Jonathan DuBose Jr. & the Agape House Fellowship Going to a Place Called There JOBO Enterprizes, LLC (2014) www.agapehousefellowship.net By Bob Marovich While music enthusiasts know Jonathan DuBose Jr. as an in-demand guitarist / session musician, they may not know of his life as Pastor Jonathan DuBose Jr. of Agape House Fellowship in his hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Going to a Place Called There, the title based on Ezekiel 48:35, gives some inkling of the musical soundtrack to DuBose’s ministerial calling.  It is his church’s live recording, conducted at West End Tabernacle on May 10, 2014. Part worship service, ...

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