Reviews

JGM Pick of the Week: April 15, 2019

“You Don’t Know” Zacardi Cortez Black Smoke Music Worldwide (2019) By Bob Marovich “You don’t know my story,” is a frequently uttered church aphorism. “I don’t look like what I’ve been through” is another. On the appropriately-titled “You Don’t Know,” the popular gospel singer Zacardi Cortez (“Oh, How I Love You,” “1 On 1”) offers his own testimony. His big, rough-as-sandpaper shouting tenor, introduced to a national gospel audience on James Fortune & FIYA’s 2007 album The Transformation, is on full display on this deceptively powerful song, as much a recitative of gratitude as a cathartic expression of trials endured ...

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Marie Knight – The Gospel Truth Live

Marie Knight The Gospel Truth Live M. C. Records (release date: March 23, 2018) www.mc-records.com By Bob Marovich On a rainy October 19, 2007, in North Adams, Massachusetts, after a passel of church choirs appeared at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Gospel Fest, the audience warmly received the headliner, an eighty-seven-year-old music veteran. Marie Knight, a gospel and R&B star and well-known collaborator with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Sister Rosetta Tharpe, was the veteran, and Mark Carpentieri’s M. C. Records captured her complete song service on tape. Released last year, The Gospel Truth Live is the ...

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Rezurected – The Prodigal Son

Rezurected The Prodigal Son Dubbstarr LLC (release date: March 19, 2019) www.rezurected.org By Bob Marovich The Prodigal Son is an appropriately titled album for Rezurected. It depicts, in nine bite-sized tracks, his personal story from the consequences of an early life of bad decisions to salvation and victory. The Christian hip hop artist Rezurected is Brent Reusch (pronounced “rush), an Atlantan who now lives in Cleveland, Ohio. The Prodigal Son tells his tale through a mix of urban street vernacular and biblical quotes buoyed by beats that are sometimes gothic, sometimes melodic, and other times minimalist or infused with fuzzy ...

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“There’s No One Like You” – Kelontae Gavin

“There’s No One Like You” Kelontae Gavin From the Tyscot album The Higher Experience www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Success couldn’t happen to a nicer guy than Kelontae Gavin. Part of Gavin’s appeal is his genuine spirit, which shines through in his singing, such as on the P&W ballad “There’s No One Like You.” He and his background vocalists take this unabashed prayer of praise, a follow-up to the hit “No Ordinary Worship,” from smooth to sanctified and back again. The congregation, captivated by the chorus, sings the song to its conclusion. I’m not a big fan of P&W except when ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 8, 2019

“All That I Have (One God)” Lamont Sanders DarkChild Gospel / Bear Tag Entertainment By Bob Marovich In his muscular yet flexible baritone, Lamont Sanders delivers this pop-influenced rhythm ballad about giving back to God, who has given so much to us, especially his only begotten son. The background vocalists share the spotlight on this solid song and message for the Lenten season.  Lots to like here. The Willingboro, New Jersey, native earned a scholarship to study musical theater at the University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia and can play seven instruments. The way he works this song demonstrates ...

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Powerhouse Fellowship Soul Choir featuring Shawn Cotterell – It’s Not Over LIVE

Powerhouse Fellowship Soul Choir featuring Shawn Cotterell It’s Not Over LIVE Impact Gospel (release date: September 21, 2018) www.powerhousefellowship.net By Bob Marovich Canada has been, and continues to be, home to some very solid gospel choirs. The Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir, the Quebec Celebration Gospel Choir, and Sharon Riley & Faith Chorale are a few that come to mind. Here’s another: from the greater Toronto area comes the Powerhouse Fellowship Soul Choir. It was formed, like many mass choirs, for a specific program or purpose, but in 1988, two years after its birth, it became an official entity under its ...

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Apostle Thomas – The Resurrection (EP)

Apostle Thomas The Resurrection (EP) T&T Ministry Records (release: December 20, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/apostlethomasthesanktifi By Bob Marovich Unlike the doubting Apostle Thomas of the New Testament, the Christian rapper Apostle Thomas of South Carolina is fully certain who Christ is. Apostle Thomas, born Thomas Leroy Morrison and also known as “The Sanktified Soulja,” gets candid about his life before and after salvation on a respectable independently-released four-track EP called The Resurrection. The rhymes on the appropriately-titled EP are well-articulated—Thomas rarely embellishes his vocals with daredevil speed work so the message gets full attention. Nor does Thomas employ clever metaphors and analogies, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 1, 2019

“Reach”DOEIndependent (release date: March 17, 2019)www.doejonesmusic.com By Bob Marovich “Reach,” the new single by GRAMMY-nominated gospel artist Dominique Jones (aka DOE), represents her finest work to date, amidst a string of quality songs. It’s simply and gently direct, a prayer rising from an anguished soul that builds in intensity and uplift as the song progresses. Doe’s vocals rise and fall like steady breathing.  The arrangement sounds ready-made for that poignant part of a drama when the protagonist discovers the answer, and musters the inner strength, to resolve the conflict. Praise & Worship music can tend towards the conventional, imitative, and ...

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“Freedom” – Quamid feat. Christina Prophet Shorter

“Freedom” Quamid feat. Christina Prophet Shorter From the independent EP Bold as a Lion (release date: December 25, 2017) By Bob Marovich Augusta, Georgia, Christian rap artist Quamid Green (aka Quamid) teams with Christina Prophet Shorter on “Freedom,” a piece that redirects the freedom journey from the traditional trajectory of collective equal rights to individual soul salvation. The ultimate bondage, according to “Freedom,” is life without God. What sells the song is its compelling chorus, delivered with thunderous intensity by background vocalists that sing like a gospel choir in a documentary about the Civil Rights Movement. As Quamid spits about ...

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“Strength” – Brieaunna Ling

“Strength” Brieaunna Ling From the BPA Music Group EP Answering the Call (release date: October 27, 2017) By Bob Marovich Tucked lovingly in an EP of extroverted electrified worship music is a stripped-down melodic prayer ballad called “Strength.” Sounding as if she is at wit’s end, indie gospel artist Brieaunna Ling pours out her pain and exposes every vein of vulnerability on this emotionally raw piece.  Her husband, Corey Ling, accompanies on piano. After shouting her troubles over, Brieaunna realizes that better is coming. It’s the kind of song that brings people to their feet because everyone has experienced this ...

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