CDs

Trish Standley – No One Else

Trish Standley No One Else Jan’s Joy Ministries (2016) www.trishstandley.com By Bob Marovich The starting salvo of gospel singer and fashionista Trish Standley’s new album, No One Else, is refreshing in its simplicity. There are no anthemic trumpeting synths, no declarative shouts of “C‘mon and put your hands together,” both of which introduce too many gospel albums these days. Instead, Standley’s opener, “Again I Worship,” is a peaceful piano-dominated praiser that gives her room to exercise her girlish soprano. Reprising the airy introduction is the title track, written by Tiffanie Barnes, with its sweetly sung melody and humble plaudits to ...

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Rick Stephenson – My Everything

Rick Stephenson My Everything N-Siteful Music (release date: August 1, 2016) www.rickstephensonmusic.com By Bob Marovich Christian singer-songwriter Rick Stephenson is no stranger to the recording studio. My Everything represents his latest album in at least four full-length CDs in his career. The new album contains ten radio-sized and pleasantly rendered pieces by Stephenson, a Johnson Creek, Wisconsin-based artist whose songwriting technique suggests he is an astute student of the pop song. Indeed, as a youth, Stephenson spent a great deal of time listening to Top 40 radio, and it shows.  The self-professed “Pop Gospel Musician-ary” links lyrics of faith and gratitude ...

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Faithful Connection – Thank You

Faithful Connection Thank You (2015) www.faithfulconnection09.com By Bob Marovich Named Quartet CD of the Year at the 2016 Rhythm of Gospel Awards, Thank You is a ten-track album by Faithful Connection that blends traditional gospel quartet singing with modern musicianship. The Fredericksburg, Virginia, group pays homage to Tidewater quartet history through its tight harmonies that emphasize the mid-range versus high tenor or bass. The quartet’s harmonies are especially prominent on the title track and on “Come Too Far,” which opens with the classic open guitar strum and features a warbling organ as well as hard singing from guest lead James H. ...

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Belle Carmen – Love, Dreams & the Space Between

Belle Carmen Love, Dreams & the Space Between Chrispel Records (2016) www.bellecarmensplace.com By Bob Marovich Part song, part spoken word, and part instrumental, Belle Carmen’s Love, Dreams & the Space Between chronicles the ebbs and flows of her love story with Jesus Christ. Unlike some sacred love songs, there is no ambiguity about the object of Belle’s love focus. It’s Jesus, who is perfect.  She (and by extension, we), the imperfect and flawed, struggles to maintain her part of the bargain. At the same time, Belle wants to do better, and she articulates this in song on “Love You Right” and “Good ...

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Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900

Various Artists Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism and the Phonograph, 1890-1900 Archeophone Records (release date: September 30, 2016) www.archeophone.com By Bob Marovich There is something quite thrilling about hearing voices singing and speaking from more than a century ago. Those crackly, trebly vowels and consonants, like faraway voices over an old telephone, preserved on cylinder and discs like insects in amber, are just as hauntingly fascinating today as they must have been rousing for those who listened to them in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Hearing the voices of historic figures on record brings them back to life. Richard Martin and ...

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Candi Staton – It’s Time to Be Free

Candi Staton It’s Time to Be Free Beracah Records (release date: July 22, 2016) www.candi-staton.com By Bob Marovich Like Mavis Staples, Canzetta “Candi” Staton made her professional music debut in the 1950s as a member of a gospel group, and later broadened her reach into popular music by employing Muscle Shoals rhythm sections. The two women, born less than a year apart, have been recharging their careers with albums that channel a wisdom and experience as evident in the muskiness of their voices as in the song lyrics. It’s Time to Be Free, Staton’s first gospel album since 2008’s I Will ...

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Rev. Clay Evans & the Ship – What A Legacy

Rev. Clay Evans & the Ship What a Legacy Rev. Clay Evans Heritage Series (2016) By Bob Marovich “Give me my flowers while I am still here,” the Consolers instructed in 1955, “so I can see the beauty that they bring.” What a Legacy, a collection of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Choir tracks never before released on CD, is one way a legion of friends and fans are giving their flowers to the Reverend Dr. Clay Evans, who turned 91 this year: by preserving some of the classic musical moments of Fellowship, aka “The Ship,” the church he founded in ...

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Tonya Lewis Taylor – I’ve Got to Win (EP)

Tonya Lewis Taylor I’ve Got to Win (EP) EARS Music Group (release date: August 2, 2016) www.tonyalewistaylor.com By Bob Marovich In 2015, Rhythm of Gospel Award winner Tonya Lewis Taylor landed on the Billboard Top Gospel Singles chart with “Thank You.” She’s done it again just recently with her latest single, “I’m a Winner.” Both selections are on I’ve Got to Win, a five-track EP she released in August. “I know the race has not been won, because I’m still running,” Taylor, a former background singer for pop artists and one-time publicist for Roc-a-Fella Records, announced to the audience on ...

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Dawn Turner – God’s Thoughts

Dawn Turner God’s Thoughts (EP) Story Book Music, Inc. (2016) www.cdbaby.com/cd/dawnturner By Bob Marovich Buffalo, New York, native Dawn Turner is a fine church singer. She’s not a shouter, squaller, or melismatic artisan but, as she demonstrates on “God’s Name,” one of the five cuts on her God’s Thoughts EP, she can sure enough deliver blue notes while singing flatfooted. Turner is also a songwriter, and all but one of the tracks on God’s Thoughts are her own compositions. One, “Giving is a Ministry,” is an ode to the importance of tithing and the blessings that come from grateful giving. It ...

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Charles Jenkins – Think About These Things

Charles Jenkins Think About These Things Inspired People LLC / EMPIRE (release date: September 2, 2016) http://inspiredpeoplemusic.com By Bob Marovich I have followed Pastor Charles Jenkins since his Fellowship Chicago debut and Stellar Award-winning The Best of Both Worlds, which offered pew-burning odes to the church’s traditional gospel legacy and gave us the gospel smash and spiritual earworm, “Awesome.” The follow-up, Any Given Sunday, tamped down the high-charged gospel of Worlds with more helpings of P&W, save for the single, “War,” but it still contained songs to teach the church choir. So trust me when I tell you that Pastor Jenkins’s solo ...

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