Reviews

Jesse Cann – A New Song

Jesse CannA New SongJordan Line Music (2019)www.jessecann.com By Bob Marovich At the Rhythm of Gospel Awards this summer, a distinguished-looking bearded gentleman named Jesse Cann sat down at a keyboard. In the midst of a musical program featuring thunderous choirs, ecstatic groups, and spirited singers, he offered up an unassuming but nevertheless earnest solo. The audience loved it. Later, Cann, a cancer survivor, took home the Special Event / Instrumental Artist of the Year Award. Cann’s latest album, A New Song, does include an instrumental track and highlights his talent on keys, flugelhorn, and trumpet, but it is a vocal ...

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Out of the Dust – Now More than Ever

Out of the Dust Now More than Ever Independent (release date: September 13, 2019) www.outofthedustmusic.com By Bob Marovich If the Swell Season’s Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova made a Christian album, it would sound like Out of the Dust’s Now More than Ever. The sophomore release for the husband-and-wife duo Chris and Stephanie Teague offers eleven songs with their trademark bracing rhythms, shimmering music, candy-coated melodies, and pop-oriented harmonies. Their relationship transitioned from marriage to separation, divorce, and remarriage. The journey from devastation to deliverance was the underlying element of their self-titled 2017 debut album. But on Now More Than ...

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Travis Greene – Broken Record

Travis Greene Broken Record RCA Inspiration (release date: November 1, 2019) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Broken Record is Travis Greene’s fourth full-length album and continues the youthful sacred fusion of his previous work. Against convention, the album opens with a slow, introspective song called “The Breaker.” It is only after this thoughtful piece has faded that the album moves into a lively gear with the countrified worship song, “Great Jehovah.” Greene later reprises this galloping tempo on a song of gratitude called “No One Else.” Also bucking convention, Greene doesn’t use a church or auditorium to record the initial tracks ...

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“Arise” – Jason Williams

“Arise” Jason Williams Paper City Records (release date: October 9, 2019) By Bob Marovich “Arise” by Jason Williams is an easy-to-learn worship song suited for church praise teams. Though on the single, an almost breathless Williams and his background vocalists are accompanied by bumping bass, grinding guitar, flashes of organ, and the complex drumming characteristic of post-modern gospel, the song can easily be stripped down for a simpler arrangement. The song concludes with a praise-inducing vamp that likely lights up audiences at live programs. Williams is an Arkansas-based singer and songwriter. “Arise” is the first release from his forthcoming EP, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 28, 2019

“I’ve Decided to Make Jesus My Choice” Marcel McManus Sr. Independent (release date: September 4, 2018) By Bob Marovich Sometimes you just need to hear gospel done the old fashioned way, like they used to do in church: solo voice and piano. A young man with an old soul, Marcel McManus Sr. accompanies himself on piano on a cover of Harrison Johnson’s testimonial, “I’ve Decided to Make Jesus My Choice.” The singer takes what was originally arranged for choir and turns it into a solo spotlight, offering up a host of vocal flowers and frills while staying true to the ...

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Joseph Price & the Prince of Peace Choir – Do You Know

Pastor Willie E. Kirkpatrick Presents Joseph Price & the Prince of Peace Choir Do You Know Prince of Peace (release date: August 2, 2019) www.princeofpeacechurchstl.com By Bob Marovich Though Prince of Peace Baptist Church in Berkeley, Missouri, has served the St. Louis area for nearly a century, its choir just cut its debut full-length recording last October. It’s not that the church’s music ministry hasn’t made a record before; I know of at least one single that its Choral Club released on the Serenity label years ago. This is, however, the first full-length recording by the current iteration of Prince ...

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“Praying and Believing” – Erica Campbell

“Praying and Believing” Erica Campbell My Block Records (release date: August 25, 2019) By Bob Marovich On this quintessential “coming to Jesus” song, Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell recognizes that the problems and complications she’s experiencing (first verse) and society is facing (second verse) are ours to accept but not to fix. Rather than blaming God for all the troubles, Erica prays to God for healing and strength—for herself and everyone, including “the mother praying for her child to come home.” The arrangement, featuring dramatic percussion and an imploring choir, gives Erica plenty of room to improvise. By the end, she ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 21, 2019

“All In His Plan” PJ Morton feat. Le’Andria Johnson and Mary Mary Morton Inspiration/Tyscot (release date: September 20, 2019) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich “All In His Plan” addresses the issue we all grapple with: why do bad or hurtful things happen to us when God has the power to wipe it all away? The song’s conclusion: it’s “all in His plan.” There is a reason for everything—we just can’t see it yet. As maddening as it feels sometimes, we have to put our trust in God “because He already worked it out, in the end.” PJ Morton gives the ballad ...

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Kirk Whalum – Humanite’

Kirk Whalum Humanite’ Mack Avenue Music Group (release date: October 11, 2019) www.mackavenue.com By Bob Marovich If music is a universal language, the jazz idiom seems particularly equipped to express the essence of every culture. In doing so, it has the power to unify the world. I suspect saxophonist Kirk Whalum would agree. His latest release, Humanite’, is a love poem to world harmony. While not overtly religious, the album contains themes like freedom, love, hope, and optimism that resonate throughout various religions. But rather than lean on a higher power to solve every problem, Humanite’ suggests that it is ...

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Put the Whole Armour On: Female Black Gospel – The 1940s and 1950s

Various Artists Put the Whole Armour On: Female Black Gospel – The 1940s-1950s NarroWay (release date: October 18, 2019) www.gospelfriend.se By Bob Marovich (as originally featured in Living Blues) “If it wasn’t for the women, you wouldn’t have church.” This quote, which accompanies a vintage photograph of three African American women lifting their hands heavenward, is not only featured prominently in Put the Whole Armour On, a two-CD tribute to 1940s and 1950s female gospel artists, but it serves as an apt prelude to the collection. That is, notwithstanding the prominence of women in African American churches, most denominations did ...

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