Reviews

Tim Bowman – Into the Blue

Tim Bowman Into the Blue I.M. Records / Purpose Jazz / NIA Music Distribution LLC (release date: September 8, 2017) www.TimBowman.com By Bob Marovich Tim Bowman’s seventh album, Into the Blue, is not a gospel album but a collection of smooth jazz performances, mostly instrumentals, that includes a little of everything, including inspirational and sacred selections. Bowman, who was musical director for the Winans until he embarked on a solo career in 1987, plays electric guitar with the soulful finesse of Wes Montgomery and the fluidity of Chet Atkins. Kirk Whalum kept coming to mind as I listened to the CD ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 24, 2017

“Changed” Endurance feat. Joe Ligon SCCME (release date: January, 2017) www.musicbyendurance.com By Bob Marovich A few years ago, Houston’s Endurance quartet asked Joe Ligon, the legendary lead singer of the Mighty Clouds of Joy, to join them on “Changed” (not the Hawkins classic) and tell everyone about the life transforming properties of salvation. Ligon accepted. On “Changed,” he and Endurance’s Michael Robertson first trade leads and then sing to one another like two deacons so engaged in a praise conversation that they are oblivious to the congregation. “Joe, I know what you are singing about,” Robertson shouts in full quartet growl. “It’s ...

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Camille Nelson – Lead Me Home

Camille Nelson Lead Me Home Stone Angel Music (release date: August 18, 2017) www.camillenelson.com By Bob Marovich You can almost smell the spice-scented candles and warmly fragrant aromatherapy oils while listening to Camille Nelson’s second studio album, Lead Me Home. This CD of instrumentals of classic and original hymns evokes the gentle, acoustic music you hear wafting from the speakers in a floral shop or greeting card store. Nelson, a Utah-based guitarist and violinist, gathered together a string ensemble to assist her on this collection. Featured instrumentalists are cellist (and Camille’s brother) Steven Sharp Nelson of The Piano Guys (“Come, Come, Ye Saints”) and ...

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Ted Winn featuring Balance – Stand in Awe

Ted Winn featuring Balance Stand in Awe Shanachie Records (release date: September 1, 2017) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich First attracting the attention of the national gospel music audience in 1995 as one-half of the duo Ted & Sheri (with Sheri Jones-Moffett), Ted Winn has been a solo artist for nearly a decade. Winn’s latest project, Stand in Awe, continues his commitment to “horizontal” praise songs that are more in keeping with gospel’s lyric tradition than the “vertical” Contemporary Christian Music that lofts praises without explicitly acknowledging how God helps his people overcome the life struggles and persistent oppression that cannot be ignored ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 16, 2017

“Just Like You” Freewill Available October 20, 2017 http://hyperurl.co/f07w9w By Bob Marovich Will Robinson, aka Freewill, teams up with producer Jor’Dan Armstrong on “Just Like You,” an inspirational song about the importance of moving beyond the cultural divide, “past the drama and the issues,” to the realization that we are, deep down, all the same. A schoolteacher from Atlanta, Georgia (and a Chicago White Sox fan, apparently), Freewill explains the song’s concept: “I believe we have a lot more in common than we think, but our differences sometimes stop the opportunity for us to have an open dialogue.” He gets this ...

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Various Artists – Jesus Rocked the Jukebox

Various Artists Jesus Rocked the Jukebox Craft Records / Concord Music Group (2017) http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/albums/jesus-rocked-jukebox-small-group-black-gospel-1951-1965/ By Bob Marovich In addition to its estimable contributions to the religious, social, and political life of African Americans, the church has also been an effective music training school. Untold numbers of men and women have learned to sing or play instruments before discerning but sympathetic church communities. While some singers and musicians committed their musical talent wholly to God, others sought fame in the financially lucrative world of rock and roll and R&B. This exit caused no small amount of consternation among churchgoers who felt that ...

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Darnell Davis & the Remnant – Live Again

Darnell Davis & the Remnant Live Again D Davis Entertainment / MVP Productions (release date: August 11, 2017) www.darnelldavismusic.com By Bob Marovich Those who know Darnell Davis’s story—those who don’t can read it here—will understand why the overarching theme of his new album with the Remnants, Live Again, is spiritual survival. From the opening selection, “I Am a Miracle,” to the devil’s dirty dealings in “No You Can’t Have It,” to the churchy call-and-response of “I’m Still Here,” the lyrics speak of the battle one wages against the insistent and persistent force of evil. The title’s double meaning helps hammer home this ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 10, 2017

“I’ve Got to Win” Tonya Lewis-Taylor From the EARS Entertainment Group I’ve Got to Win 2.0 (EP, released August 24, 2017) www.tonyalewistaylor.com By Bob Marovich “I’ve Got to Win” is Tonya Lewis-Taylor at her most expressive. This slow burner of a title track is a modified and more radio-ready version of the title track and emotional highpoint of her 2014 live album, Delayed but Not Denied. Like its predecessor, the inspirational “I’ve Got to Win” benefits from delicate musical accompaniment that provides Lewis-Taylor ample room to emote about how she has persisted in her journey despite almost insurmountable odds. A ...

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Debbie Cochran – Born Again Wildflower

Debbie Cochran Born Again Wildflower Independent Release (release date: June 16, 2017) www.debbiecochran.com By Bob Marovich Debbie Cochran, the Arkansas singer whose “Faith Can” was a JGM Pick of the Week in September 2016, scores big by landing Dolly Parton as a duet partner on the title track of her new album, Born Again Wildflower. Cochran, a self-described “classic country” singer, has a voice that is wizened, expressive, and passionate. Her rich, low warble evokes another classic country singer, Kitty Wells, and her aggressive vocal projection reminds me of Opry stars. Her street-level lyrics are like country poetry, not unlike Dolly ...

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Mighty Gospel Inspirations – In Black and White

The Mighty Gospel Inspirations In Black and White Independent Release (2009) http://theboguesound.com/mgi.html By Bob Marovich A cappella quartet singing may not be nearly as widespread in today’s gospel music market as it once was, but it hasn’t gone away completely. For nearly half a century, the Mighty Gospel Inspirations of Durham, North Carolina, have kept the tradition alive. The biracial group’s 2009 release, In Black and White, is a sampling of their harmonistic approach. Representing the quartet on the album are brothers Mike and Ken Sanders, Larry Perry, James Bailey, and Robert Waldrop. In Black and White sounds like someone turned ...

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