CDs

Koryn Hawthorne – I Am

Koryn Hawthorne I Am RCA Inspiration (release date: September 18, 2020) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich I Am, the new album by Koryn Hawthorne, the award-winning gospel singer and finalist on The Voice, is as contemporary as this minute. The musical mission of her best-selling 2018 debut Unstoppable, to bathe Christian messages in an ocean of contemporary soul and R&B sounds, continues on I Am. Her vocals are just as sassy on the current single, a love song to the Most High called “Speak to Me,” as on her breakthrough hit, “Won’t He Do It.” But much of the lyrical mood ...

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PJ Morton: Gospel According to PJ

PJ Morton Gospel According to PJ Morton Inspiration / Tyscot (digital release date: August 14, 2020; physical release date: November 27, 2020) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Much is being made about Gospel According to PJ being PJ Morton’s return to gospel. But like the Reverend C. L. Franklin said of his GRAMMY-winning daughter Aretha, Bishop Paul S. Morton can say of his GRAMMY-winning son: he never really left the church. That’s because most of Gospel According to PJ is a re-introduction, in new arrangements, of sacred songs that Morton, a multi-genre musician, singer, songwriter and record producer, created for other ...

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David Billingsley – House of David, Volume 1

David Billingsley House of David – Volume 1 Intersound (release date: July 31, 2020) www.billingsleymusic.com By Bob Marovich Only two months after his album debut, Hymns from Grandma’s Living Room, jazz pianist David Billingsley has released his sophomore project, House of David, the first volume of self-penned instrumental jazz compositions. A Racine, Wisconsin, native now living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Billingsley is founder and executive director of the Billingsley School of Music and Arts, an academy that offers K-12 students access to arts education. The selections on House of David – Volume 1 are contemplative and thoughtful, designed to conjure the ...

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Fisk Jubilee Singers – Celebrating Fisk! (The 150th Anniversary Album)

Fisk Jubilee Singers Celebrating Fisk! (The 150th Anniversary Album) Curb (release date: August 10, 2020) www.fiskjubileesingers.org By Bob Marovich On the eve of the sesquicentennial of its founding, the Fisk Jubilee Singers have released an album more musically and culturally diverse than any of its other recordings, going back more than a century. Founded in 1871 to raise funds for a young and financially-struggling Fisk University, the Fisk Jubilee Singers toured the U.S. and Europe, ultimately raising the needed funds but also triggering a jubilee-singing phenomenon emulated by other HBCUs as well as by commercial troupes. Jubilee singers also gave ...

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Instruments of Musick – Determination (EP)

Instruments of Musick Determination (EP) Independent (release date: June 20, 2020) By Bob Marovich “Psalm 33:2,” a track from the Instruments of Musick’s Determination, is a rousing sacred steel-led and non-vocal interpretation of “Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.” While the track, evocative of a Campbell Brothers jam, evokes the musical excitement of a praise break, it also serves as a motto for the ensemble’s stringed-instrument music ministry. Blood brothers Garvin and Gary “Fatman” McKinney of Detroit comprise the gospel band Instruments of Musick. Although Determination is not their ...

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Mali Music – The Book of Mali

Mali Music The Book of Mali RCA Inspiration (release date: August 14, 2020) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich The Book of Mali is aptly titled. Mali Music’s fifth album, released in a partnership between his own imprint, K Approved Enterprises, and RCA Inspiration, is a study in self-awareness. Much of the album has a confessional quality, a series of private-made-public conversations between Mali and his Lord. For example, on “Let Go,” Mali dizzyingly delineates the temptations he has left behind. The hypnotic current single, “Mo Lo” (Like You),” is about getting closer to God by humbling one’s self in His presence. ...

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Elder Arlester Washington & the Anointed Central Kentucky Mass Choir – Thank You

Elder Arlester Washington & The Anointed Central Kentucky Mass Choir Thank You Time Now Records (2020) By Bob Marovich On the morning of April 9, 2019, Elder Arlester Washington was involved in a two-car accident that claimed his life. The tragedy devastated Lexington, Kentucky’s Now Faith Worship Center, where Washington was pastor. It also stunned the gospel music community. In addition to being a church leader, Washington had had a career in professional gospel music as a member of the Gospel Crystals and the Chicago Gospel Cavaliers. He had traveled with the Caravans and Jessy Dixon, and in 1990 founded ...

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All Nations Music – Come Alive (EP)

All Nations Music Come Alive EP RCA Inspiration (release date: July 3, 2020) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Dr. Matthew L. Stevenson III needn’t worry about his sacred music bona fides. Stevenson’s great-grandfather was the Reverend Elijah Thurston, founder of Chicago’s historic 44th Street Baptist Church, which produced many pioneering gospel singers and musicians. Thurston was also one of Mahalia Jackson’s favorite preachers. Stevenson’s great-grandmother, commanding gospel vocalist Ora Lee Hopkins, was a member of the Willie Webb Singers, the original Caravans, and director of the city’s New Nazareth Missionary Baptist Church choir. While acknowledging and respecting his family’s roots in ...

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Nashville Life Music – Here for Jesus

Nashville Life Music Here for Jesus Integrity Music (release date: July 17, 2020) www.nashvillelifemusic.com By Bob Marovich Nashville Life Music follows up last year’s Taylor House Sessions EP with even more delightful selections on its debut full-length album, Here for Jesus. Nashville Life Music is a young multicultural choir/group out of Nashville Life Church, a congregation led by husband-and-wife team Alvin Love and multi award-winning gospel singer CeCe Winans Love. In its diversity and musical architecture, the troupe reflects the church’s mission. It offers hope that amity is not only preferable and possible, but is actually happening. This polished group ...

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Lawrence Hancock – Who I Am

Lawrence Hancock Who I Am Bishop Lawrence Hancock (release date: July 24, 2020) By Bob Marovich Amid a kaleidoscope of electronic beats and mostly introspective melodies, Christian hip hop artist Bishop Lawrence Hancock tells you who He is, and who you should be—a Child of God. That’s what you discover on the hypnotic title cut of the Toledo, Ohio, native’s sixth album. Who I Am is atmospheric and vulnerable, not aggressive or extroverted. With electronic puffs like asthmatic organ pipes, “Ride,” the album’s first (and finest) selection, gives the message of “Walk Around Heaven All Day” a twenty-first-century face lift. Hancock ...

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