Reviews

JGM Pick of the Week: June 24, 2019

“One Minute” Coleen (release date: February 5, 2019) By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter Coleen’s “One Minute” is not only the first song she wrote, it is autobiographical. At a time when everything was going wrong in her life, when she couldn’t hold on for another minute, Coleen cried out to the Lord and was subsequently able to endure. That’s the message of the song, a call to all women who, like her, have suffered emotional and physical abuse: “If He did it for me, He can do it for you.” Its retro acoustic guitar sound, easy rhythm, and folksy harmonies mask ...

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“It’s Praying Time” – Frozene Lott-Hayes

“It’s Praying Time” Frozene Lott-Hayes Lothay Music (release date: February 1, 2019) By Bob Marovich To a live audience at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, traditional gospel singer Frozene Lott-Hayes renders this mid-tempo golden oldie with lyrics that are (unfortunately) as pertinent today as they were back when the Miami Mass Choir did it more than twenty years ago. “Wars and rumors of wars. . .earthquakes, famine, and diseases,” Frozene declares, reminding listeners that if ever there was a time to pray, it’s now. Her shifts from straight singing to growling to shouting are ideal for this song, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 17, 2019

“I’m So Glad” Bishop Neal Roberson feat. Bishop Paul S. Morton Malaco Music Group (2019) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Those who know Bishop Neal Roberson as an upbeat man with a wonderful sense of humor will be taken aback by his spoken word introduction to “I’m So Glad.” In a sobering tone, he informs listeners about his lung cancer diagnosis, then moves into “I’m So Glad,” a gentle hymn about God as a miracle worker. Halfway through, Roberson is joined by Bishop Paul S. Morton, who offers his own testimony of deliverance from cancer. It’s the reassurance Roberson needed to ...

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Johnny Burroughs – DAY 1

Johnny Burroughs DAY 1 (release date: May 24, 2019) www.johnnyburroughsmusic.com By Bob Marovich The debut solo release by Johnny Burroughs, lead vocalist for Denver band The Burroughs, is not a romp through the “sweaty soul music” for which the band is known but a thrumming Christian album titled DAY 1. Though it would be unnatural for Burroughs to not channel some “sweaty soul” into DAY 1, he draws more heavily on his other life as a pastor and music minister. This self-penned, self-produced batch of lyrically and melodically uncomplicated songs of praise and worship invokes the sonic inventiveness of Bryan ...

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“Fresh Wind” – Kim Person

“Fresh Wind”Kim PersonFrom the KLP Enterprises CD The Journey(release date: January 26, 2019) By Bob Marovich As a child growing up in North Carolina, Kim Person was known for her big voice. Her big voice has gotten more substantial with time and experience and can be heard in full flower on her new single, “Fresh Wind.” “Fresh Wind” has the skeleton of a hymn and the flesh and blood of a gospel song. It features thickly (perhaps excessively) produced instrumentation, a bevy of background vocalists, and Kim Person’s ever-present exuberance, which builds in evangelistic intensity as the song moves to ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 11, 2019

“Amazing”The Davis’Heartbeatz Productions LLCwww.realdavismusic.com By Bob Marovich A family that prays together stays together, and that goes double for family groups that sing their prayers. Like the Davis Family of Inkster, Michigan. The members of this sibling act–Carl, James, Andrea and Angela (the girls are twins)—demonstrate their choir-honed harmonies and church-refined song delivery on their new single, “Amazing.” To choruses of sunny “shoo-doos” and equally cheerful musicianship, the four express admiration at all God has created. Then they call on fellow Michigander Twinkie Clark, who changes the song’s mood from contemporary to traditional by injecting into the mix a battery ...

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Faithful Connection – Personal Experience

Faithful Connection Personal Experience (release date: March 22, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/faithfulconnection12 By Bob Marovich Rhythm of Gospel Awardee Faithful Connection of Fredericksburg, Virginia, is a gospel quartet that blends elements of traditional gospel singing and lyricism with contemporary instrumentation and bass-heavy beats. They celebrate their tenth anniversary with a new EP, Personal Experience, produced by Richard Davis. As on the quartet’s 2015 album Thank You, the majority of the tracks on Personal Experience are led by group founder Jonathan Mercer, with cameos and ad-libs by TaWan Gray. The EP’s initial single and opening track, “I Made It,” is a gritty piece ...

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New York Fellowship Children’s Choir – God is the Greatest

New York Fellowship Children’s Choir God is the Greatest Godfather Records (release date: March 22, 2019) By Bob Marovich As any elementary school teacher will tell you, it can be challenging to get young people to work together for a common purpose. But the New York Fellowship Children’s Choir has accomplished this feat and recorded the results on its debut album, God is the Greatest. Directed by Jerry Williams and Marilyn Walker, the New York Fellowship Children’s Choir is an adjunct ministry to the New York Fellowship Mass Choir, organized by the late Reverend Timothy Wright and now led by ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 4, 2019

“I Have So Much to Thank God For” Bishop Jonathan Greer feat. Evangelist Lorraine Punch Baldwin Dorothy Norwood Music Group (release date: May 31, 2019) By Bob Marovich With Bishop Jonathan Greer doing a song co-written by Dorothy Norwood and featuring fiery shouting and squalling from the Georgia Mass Choir’s Lorraine Punch Baldwin, “I Have So Much to Thank God For” is a trifecta of traditional gospel. Evangelist Baldwin delivers a bushel full of church aphorisms as the choir answers her calls. This strutting “stomp-the-floorboards” gospel song is about thanksgiving for God’s abundant blessings, especially those that rain down during ...

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Highlights from the Closing Program at the 2019 Chicago Gospel Music Festival

By Bob Marovich Despite rumbles of thunder and intermittent downpours that kept the audience under umbrellas for much of the program, the closing event of the two-day 2019 Chicago Gospel Music Festival proceeded without delay. A collaboration between Chicago’s Department of Cultural and Special Events, the Stellar Awards, and the National Museum of Gospel Music, the evening program, held at the city’s Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, featured appearances by several Stellar Award nominees and awardees. Emcees were Pastor Charles Jenkins and Terrell Brown, Anchor, ABC 7 Chicago. Here are a few photographic highlights of the evening:

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