Reviews

Nimisilla Park – Welcome to Nimisilla Park (EP)

Nimisilla Park Welcome to Nimisilla Park (EP) Coal Mine Entertainment (release date: October 7, 2016) http://nimisillapark.com By Bob Marovich Alton Hood and Michael Brown, best known as the founding members of pioneer Christian hip hop group and GRAMMY and Dove Award nominee D.O.C. (Disciples of Christ), return after a decade-long hiatus. But they are not returning as D.O.C. Making an emotional, if not entirely musical, break with the past, the duo is now known as Nimisilla Park. Welcome to Nimisilla Park is an apt title for the first eight-track EP to be released under the rebranding. The EP reflects the duo’s ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 26, 2016

“Away in a Manager” The Wardlaw Brothers Available on iTunes Appropriately, the final Pick of the Week for 2016 is a beloved nineteenth-century Christmas carol given a contemporary flourish by the Wardlaw Brothers. Cascading harmonies introduce a slight variation on the carol’s traditional melody, giving the piece even more of a lullaby-like quality. A delicate string-led arrangement underpins the group’s ensemble and solo work. But what makes the Wardlaw Brothers’ singing on this carol especially appealing is a prominent bass vocal line that complements the complex high register harmonies. By the conclusion, one can understand why the Wardlaw Brothers have been nicknamed ...

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Anthony Faulkner – Guardian Angel

Anthony Faulkner Guardian Angel 7TH Chapter Music (2016) www.afaulkner.com By Bob Marovich It’s no surprise that Angela Winbush of 1980s R&B vocal duo Rene’ and Angela makes a vocal appearance on “Closer,” a song on Anthony Faulkner’s new album, Guardian Angel. Faulkner considers her his personal guardian angel. He told the Journal of Gospel Music how he met the popular singer at his church or, rather, how she met him: “[Angela] didn’t know me from any of the other kids, but she walked up to me at church one day and asked me, ‘Do you like music?’ She challenged me to go ...

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Brothers in Unity – Somewhere to Lay My Head

Brothers in Unity Somewhere to Lay My Head (independent release) By Bob Marovich Originally recorded in 2008 as their debut album and relaunched this year, the Brothers in Unity quartet’s Somewhere to Lay My Head is an album of traditional hymns as well as new songs composed in the traditional gospel quartet style. The album is lovingly dedicated to Sandra Abney, the spouse of the quartet’s founder and manager, Elder Larry Abney, and someone who, from the photo included in the album package, sadly passed away much too young. The title track, not a cover of the Sensational Nightingales/Highway QCs ...

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Bishop L. L. Pittman & the Sons of Christ (s/t EP)

Bishop L. L. Pittman & The Sons of Christ (self-titled EP, 2016) LEPITT Records By Bob Marovich Bishop Lenzo L. Pittman and the Sons of Christ are house hunting, but not on this planet. On “Mansion,” from the Stockton, California quartet’s self-titled four-track EP, the men are busy picking out their forever homes from the “many mansions” on high. “I don’t even know what color my room will be / Don’t even know what size it will be,” but it “belongs to me,” Bishop Pittman sings. The Sons of Christ—Bishop Pittman, Bishop David Cusic, Eddie Robertson, Johnnie Galloway, and Samuel ...

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“Satan, We’re Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down” – Shirley Caesar

“Satan, We’re Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down” Shirley Caesar From the Greenleaf Gospel Companion Soundtrack, Vol. 1 www.malaco.com Never mind Shirley Caesar the holiday meme sensation. The mighty traditional gospel singer gets down to what she has done effectively for more than sixty years on “Satan, We’re Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down.” To the intimidating thrum-thrum of marching warrior feet and penetrating harmonies from the choir, Pastor Shirley declares holy war on the Prince of Darkness. This old church song has never lost its ability to rattle the church rafters. The single comes from the Gospel Companion Soundtrack, Volume 1, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 13, 2016

“Born Again” Kinsmen www.kinsmenmusic.com Kinsmen is a Chicago-area quartet of young men with old souls. Their single, “Born Again,” is an up-tempo celebration of spiritual renewal peppered with old-as-the-hills lyric couplets, all propelled by a hip-slapping gospel quartet beat.  At the same time, the musicians give the song a contemporary feel, as do the high tenor harmonies and sporadic appearance of electronics. Originally known as Youth Edition and rebranded as Kinsmen now that the members are young adults, the quartet is comprised of first cousins Kevin Vasser, Keith Vasser, Van Moody, and Reggie Tillman. Trust me when I tell you that, with ...

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Karlos Nichols – Live in Memphis: Hope! with The Covenant

Karlos Nichols Live in Memphis: Hope! With The Covenant The Kane Group (release date: August 16, 2016) Available from Amazon.com By Bob Marovich Live in Memphis: Hope! is the debut album by Karlos Nichols, a Memphian who received his music education in New York City and came home to impact his community as a preacher, educator, songwriter, singer, director, musician, and clinician. Covenant is a small mixed choir that ably supports Nichols on this album of mostly original songs (all but one was written or co-written by Nichols). One Covenant member in particular, Britne’ Brown-Lauderdale, is a classic squaller. Her work ...

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“You Were There” – Henry Hall and New Dimension Worshippers

“You Were There” Henry Hall and New Dimension Worshippers Rebel Hill Music “You Were There,” a graceful ode of gratitude to God for His constancy, is a slow burning single by Henry Hall and New Dimension Worshippers.  The choral harmonies are reminiscent of the Hawkins Family, Thomas Whitfield, John P. Kee, and other 1970s/1980s gospel ensembles. Hall’s high tenor expresses both humble gratefulness and vulnerability as he sings about how the Savior “Dried my tear-stained eyes / Held me when I cried.” Henry Hall scored a Newsome Award and a Stellar Award nomination nearly a decade ago for his vocal ...

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JGM Pick of the week: December 6, 2016

“Operator 911” Chris Byrd & the Heavenaires From the album Diversified (released August 2016) Available from digital music outlets Chris Byrd and the Heavenaires dust off and update “Operator,” the Cleveland-based Friendly Brothers’ 1959 classic covered in the 1970s by a cappella vocal group the Manhattan Transfer.  In their hands, it is now known as “Operator 911.” It doesn’t matter that the telephone operator has gone the way of the telephone booth and directory assistance. With a funky, bass-driven beat and a call-and-response vamp (“It’s a matter of urgency / I’m calling 911”), the quartet makes it its own and ...

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