CDs

Ian Copeland Green – I Still Believe

Ian Copeland Green I Still Believe Cyrus Records (release date: August 7, 2019) By Bob Marovich Ian Copeland Green’s album I Still Believe may traverse different shades of gospel music, but the pop melodies, club-sized beats, and electronica of twenty-first century radio hits are the ties that bind the project together. The artist brings his experience as praise and worship leader at a church in South London, England, to bear on his craft. The radio-sized songs are almost uniformly P&W-focused in lyric and demonstrate Green’s capacity to work in a variety of styles—from the easygoing “A Hymn for Him” that ...

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The Jewell Gospel Trio: Many Little Angels in the Band

The Jewell Gospel Trio Many Little Angels in the Band NarroWay Records (release date: October 18, 2019) www.gospelfriend.se By Bob Marovich (as originally featured in Living Blues magazine) Any discourse on music of the Church of the Living God, Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Jewell Dominion typically turns to its sacred steel tradition with only incidental mention of the singing that takes place within denominational walls. Filling this void is Many Little Angels in the Band, NarroWay’s superb survey of the Jewell Gospel Trio, a female group from Nashville, Tennessee, raised in this African American Pentecostal sect. The Jewell ...

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Peg Luke – Psalm Space

Peg Luke Psalm Space Peg Luke’s Cool Projects Records / New Day Christian Distributors (release date: August 16, 2019) www.psalmspace.com By Bob Marovich Over about a two-year period, flutist and composer Peg Luke created the oratorio Psalm Space from her favorite Psalms, hymns, and prayers. In addition to applying her classical music background—Luke’s flute recitals have sold out Carnegie Hall twelve times—she adopts the French Taize model for her methodology. This means restful, repetitive melodies delivered in a hypnotic chant-like manner. Like Taize, Psalm Space is orchestral music for a candlelit church, designed to lower blood pressure and allow the ...

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William McDowell – The Cry: A Live Worship Experience

William McDowell The Cry: A Live Worship Experience Integrity Music (release date: September 20, 2019) www.WilliamMcDowellMusic.com By Bob Marovich I’ve always felt that Praise & Worship music ought to be recorded live. Since it comes out of the worship experience, why not capture it in this same environment? That’s what William McDowell has done with The Cry: A Live Worship Experience. The advent of digital distribution has made possible an album like this, with a total of eighteen tracks that provide more than two hours of singing and instrumental and spoken word interludes. The album, McDowell’s sixth, was recorded not ...

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I Made It Out – John P. Kee

John P. Kee I Made It Out Entertainment One Music (release date: September 13, 2019) www.eOneMusic.com By Bob Marovich In little more than a generation, Pastor John P. Kee has gone from the new kid on the block to the Prince of Gospel Music, a leading light whose name is frequently invoked by the current generation of gospel artists.as an inspiration. I Made It Out is Kee’s first album for Entertainment One since joining the label earlier this year. It’s also his first release since 2015’s Level Next. Those who grew up on Pastor Kee with the New Life Community ...

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James Fortune – Dream Again

James Fortune Dream Again eOne Music / FIYA World Music (release date: August 23, 2019) www.entertainmentone.com By Bob Marovich I admit to having had significant misgivings when I was approached to review James Fortune’s new album, Dream Again. The gospel artist’s guilty pleadings to assaulting his wife Cheryl Fortune and earlier, to felony injury to his stepson, left me profoundly disappointed and angry. Why condone such behavior by acting as if it didn’t happen? My inkling was to never review his music again. Later, I read an article in which Fortune expressed remorse for what he had done and indicated ...

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Nikki Berry – Journey to Restoration

Nikki Berry Journey to Restoration Reviving Dreams Enterprises (release date: November 8, 2018) www.nikkiberrymusic.com By Bob Marovich Houston, Texas-based singer-songwriter Nikki Berry is one of the only gospel singers I know who also has a degree in mechanical engineering. I met Berry this summer at the Rhythm of Gospel Awards celebration in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she was crowned Ms. N.I.G.M.A. (National and Independent Gospel Music Awards). Journey to Restoration is her latest album. Striving and overcoming are the thematic strands that hold the project together and are, in her hands, the motive forces of achieving restoration. For example, “The ...

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Gene Moore – Tunnel Vision

Gene Moore Tunnel Vision Motown Gospel (release date: August 23, 2019) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich The nine radio-sized songs on Tunnel Vision, Gene Moore’s second album for Motown Gospel, focus on the importance of keeping the faith and maintaining hope that things will get better. While faith is a staple of Christian belief, it is a mainstay of human life, regardless of religious belief or lack of belief. The opener and radio single, “Won’t Be Moved,” begins laying out the album’s message of personal encouragement by riffing on the lyric motive of “I Shall Not Be Moved,” the gospel hymn ...

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BeBe Winans – Need You

BeBe Winans Need You Malaco Music Group / Regimen Records (release date: August 30, 2019) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich The gospel voice is not homogeneous. It is as varied in texture as the genre itself. While the paradigm of the gospel sound is the shouting or melismatic voice, smooth balladeers have been around since the beginning. Homer Quincy Smith of the Southernaires quartet and one of the first male African American gospel singers to record as a soloist, delivered his songs of Zion with operatic sonority. From there sprang the soothing sacredness of Robert Anderson, Bishop Charles Watkins and, in ...

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Camille Nelson – Sacred Lullabies

Camille Nelson Sacred Lullabies Heart Dance Records (release date: August 23, 2019) www.camillenelson.com By Bob Marovich Religious music comes in many shapes and sizes. It can be thunderous or austere, passionate or quiescent, joyful or somber. Regardless, for sacred music to be effective, it must, as Father of Gospel Music Thomas A. Dorsey once said, “prick the heart.” Sacred Lullabies, Utah musician Camille Nelson’s new collection of acoustic music, pricks the heart by drawing on folk, CCM, country, and Celtic influences. The album is as comforting as a loving embrace. In keeping with the title’s premise, many tracks are soothing ...

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