Reviews

JGM Pick of the Week: February 4, 2019

“He Has Been Good” Bernice Brown Gregory From the EP Faithful (EP release date: July 28, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/bernicebrowngregory By Bob Marovich The opening track of Bernice Brown Gregory’s Faithful, an EP of relaxed contemporary praise songs and a digitally orchestrated version of “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” is an up-tempo churchy tune called “He Has Been Good.” Evoking the exuberance of the Chicago Mass Choir, Bernice and her background choir raise the roof on this declaration of God’s marvelous work within their lives. It’s Bernice’s first commercial recording since 2008’s God’s Been Good to Me, whose title track is similar in ...

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Kimberly Kaye – Old Time Gospel

Kimberly Kaye Old Time Gospel www.kimberlykayebachman.com By Bob Marovich Listening to Kimberly Kaye Bachman’s Old Time Gospel EP is like listening to an early Sunday morning radio broadcast emanating from an AM station in her native Iowa. The only thing missing is an encouraging emcee to introduce the singer and the songs. Kimberly does everything on the EP but engineer it; that task is entrusted to Eric Domkowski of Firewheel Audio. Otherwise, she deftly handles the lead vocals, the close country harmonies, and plays all of the stringed instruments (guitar, banjo and mandolin). The track list includes classic hymns as well ...

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Donald Lawrence Presents the Tri-City Singers: Goshen

Donald Lawrence Presents the Tri-City Singers Goshen RCA Inspiration (release date: February 1, 2019) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Using Old and New Testament stories to reinforce the need for a spiritual exodus from modern-day anxieties, Goshen, the latest album by Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers, is the first big gospel release of 2019 and could well take its place among the best gospel albums of the year. Goshen, taken from references in Exodus of “God’s promised place” where one can find joy in the midst of troubled times, is a compendium of worship songs, declarations of personal empowerment, rages ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 28, 2019

“Deliver Me (This is My Exodus)” Donald Lawrence Presents the Tri-City Singers feat. Le’Andria Johnson From the forthcoming RCA Inspiration album Goshen (release date: February 1, 2019) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Le’Andria Johnson has one of the most searing voices in gospel music today. But like any singer, or actor for that matter, the material (song, film) makes the difference. Le’Andria is at her best when presented with good gospel material. Like “Deliver Me (This is My Exodus),” her feature turn with Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers. From the troupe’s thematic album Goshen, this reflection on spiritual release from ...

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Bishop J. D. Means Sr. – If He Bring You to It. . .He’ll Bring You Through It

Bishop J. D. Means Sr. If He Bring You to It. . . He’ll Bring You Through It Mean Means Music Group (release date: October 29, 2018) http://bishopjdmeanssr.com/ By Bob Marovich Bishop J. D. Means Sr.’s CD If He Bring You to It. . .He’ll Bring You Through It is filled to the brim with music, so much so that it feels like two albums in one. Or maybe three, depending on how you look at it. The first half of the album is comprised of newly-composed songs with heaping helpings of old-school soul. Means renders these fundamental songs of ...

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Casey J – The Gathering

Casey J The Gathering Casey J, LLC and Tyscot Records under exclusive license to Integrity Music (release date: January 25, 2019) The Gathering cements Casey J’s place in the pride of young lionesses of Praise & Worship, a cadre that includes such artists as Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Preashea Hilliard, Bri Babineaux, and Dominique Jones. Fascinatingly, what makes The Gathering work is not the characteristically P&W songs like “Hosanna” and the popular “1,000 Hallelujahs,” though the latter’s chimeric Afro-Caribbean rhythm separates it from the pack. It’s the musical risks Casey J takes by incorporating into the album’s selections styles of American ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 21, 2019

“Take Care of You” C. J. Taylor & Men of Fellowship From the CD He Made a Way (release date: September 9, 2018) https://cjtaylor.org/ By Bob Marovich “Take Care of You” is a drive-tempo selection from C. J. Taylor & Men of Fellowship, a quartet of young men with old souls when it comes to traditional gospel music. The song is about the earthly and heavenly benefits of living right and praying right. To hammer home the point, Taylor and the group offer the biblical story of the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43). All told, the song ...

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Da’ T.R.U.T.H. – Vet (EP)

Da’ T.R.U.T.H. Vet (EP) Independent (release date: November 9, 2018) Available on all digital platforms By Bob Marovich Da’ T.R.U.T.H.’s EP Vet is a musical memoir designed to bring fans of the Christian rapper up to date on what he’s been doing since his last release two years ago. But more importantly, Vet is T.R.U.T.H. venting from the get-go about the reason for his absence: the spiritual cost of chasing commercial success. On “The Prologue (Where You Been),” he expresses a profound disillusionment with the music business. Seeking to get back “to a time when it wasn’t about the numbers,” ...

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Moving Forward and Facing the Future in the Black Church Worship Experience – Dr. Antonia M. Arnold-McFarland

Moving Forward and Facing the Future in the Black Church Worship Experience. By Dr. Antonia M. Arnold-McFarland. EFlat Major Productions, 2018. 155pp. (softcover). Appendices. ISBN 9-781732-336506 By Bob Marovich An engineer by training, Dr. Antonia Arnold-McFarland earned certification in Six Sigma, a process improvement technique developed at Motorola in 1980. As a practitioner and consultant in music and worship arts ministry, she had an idea: what if the principles of Six Sigma could be applied to improve the effectiveness of African American church music ministries? After all, people are people, whether in the church or on the factory floor, and ...

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“It’s Like Fire” – Lady Bartee

“It’s Like Fire” Lady Bartee BRG Records (2018) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/ladybartee By Bob Marovich Lady Bartee sounds a little like Janelle Monae or the late Amy Winehouse on the amalgam of sonic intensity that is her latest single, “It’s Like Fire.” Raised Pentecostal, Bartee knows a thing or two about Holy Ghost fire, and she expresses it with barely restrained passion on this haunting and atmospheric minor-keyed song. Less a melody than a repeated riff that ebbs and flows in intensity, “It’s Like Fire” marches fearlessly forward and ends with sky-raking crackles of thunder that presuppose the lightning. A native of Poughkeepsie, ...

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