Reviews

Fred Williams – Do a New Thing

Fred Williams Do a New Thing (independent; release date: March 17, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/fredwilliams32 By Bob Marovich Living the holy life appears to be the overriding theme of Fred Williams’ independently-produced Do a New Thing. On the title track, the Aiken, South Carolina, singer-songwriter and music minister references Isaiah 43:18-21 in showing gratitude for God’s plentiful blessings, as well as reminding us of our responsibility to do the right thing: pay the blessings forward. During “On this Journey,” he asks God to show him the way to holiness, a state of existence he examines in detail earlier in the CD on “A Holy Life.” Other songs, such ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 22, 2018

“Blue” Juliana Schnee (release date: October 5, 2018) Available on iTunes By Bob Marovich With her soaring tones accented by endearing yodels, twenty-two-year-old singer Juliana Schnee sounds like a young LeAnn Rimes. Her inspirational song “Blue” is made all the more effective by the understated small jazz combo and strings that accompany her winsome urging to not let life get you down.  “Blue” blends jazz and inspirational lyrics in a way that dignifies both. A self-described lover of “Jesus and Jazz,” Schnee is from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. As a child, she taught herself to play piano and ukulele and wrote ...

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“It Is Possible” – Jeanetta Williams

“It Is Possible” Jeanetta Williams (independent release 2014) For information: mdwil48@gmail.com By Bob Marovich If you are a gospel choir enthusiast, you know Jeanetta “Songbird” Williams from her solo turns as a member of the Thompson Community Singers. A few years ago, Williams gathered together friends and family to be her background singers on “It Is Possible,” a recording of her own composition. The singer offers a raw and genuine treatment to this simple, inspirational contemporary gospel song with references to Philippians 4:13. The melodic hook in the title verse hearkens back to the Hawkins style. A radio edit comprised of the best parts ...

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“Deepest Part of You” – Doe Jones

“Deepest Part of You” Doe Jones (digital release: October 23, 2018) By Bob Marovich Most of the gospel music world knows Doe (Dominique) Jones from her work with Forever Jones, and particularly her lead on the family band’s breakout hit, “He Wants It All” (though Doe’s “Most of All,” from Forever Jones’s second album, is my personal favorite). But there’s much more to this woman than a years-old hit single. If the devil had his way, she’d be writing pop melodies in LA and making millions, but she is one of the most committed, true-blue worship artists you are likely to find. ...

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Shanrae Cheree Price – Long Time Coming

Shanrae Cheree Price Long Time Coming DuRee Music Ministries, Inc. (release date: January 18, 2018) By Bob Marovich Given that Long Time Coming opens with Shanrae Cheree Price delivering the Reverend Paul Jones’ classic “I Won’t Complain” to a warbling B3 like a seasoned church singer, it’s not surprising that the listener would expect more of the same. But then the song shifts into a contemporary gear and you realize that Price has old school and new school vocal personalities. Also not surprising: Shanrae’s sister is none other than Kelly Price, the Grammy-nominated and Soul Train Award-winning R&B singer whose fourth album ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 15, 2018

“Time to Climb” Lee Walker and Spirit CCLT Records (release date: July 2, 2018) http://leewalkerandspirit.com By Bob Marovich The group name suggests a male-led small choir but make no mistake: Lee Walker and Spirit is made of solid quartet muscle. Appropriately, the “moving up to higher ground” theme of their latest single, “Time to Climb,” is delivered in drive tempo. The instrumental and vocal rhythm evoke the euphoria of climbing up a heaven-bound ladder one rung at a time. From Virginia, or as he announces on “Time to Climb,” “born in the country,” Walker worked with the Echoes of Glory of ...

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“Won’t He Do It” – The Beard Sisters

“Won’t He Do It” The Beard Sisters DBJ Entertainment (release date: November 15, 2016) www.thebeardsisters.com By Bob Marovich The Beard Sisters of Memphis (Angela, Latonya, and April) are a harmony trio. They sound inspired by Chicago’s Brown Sisters, or a younger version of the Clark Sisters, because of their sassy vocals, multifaceted rhythms, complex vocal blend, and sunny songs of praise and worship. On their soulfully retro-sounding single, “Won’t He Do It,” the trio celebrates God’s willingness to do everything for His people. The song’s hook is the reiterative freefall from a frenetic chorus of “Won’t He Do It” into a breezy jazz ...

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Christon Gray – Clear the Heir

Christon Gray Clear the Heir Fo Yo Soul/Essential Sound/RCA Inspiration (Sony Music) (release date: October 19, 2018) www.christongray.com By Bob Marovich Christon Gray has never been a shrinking violet when it comes to challenging the status quo of Christian music in style, arrangement, and lyric content. On Clear the Heir, his latest full-length offering, Gray drives forward the autobiographical narrative he began on his earlier releases with a frothy fusion of hip hop, rap, dramatic recitations, and even symphonic strings. Clear the Heir also contains some of Gray’s most radio-friendly work to date. The album’s provocative lyrics catch listeners up on the dramatic episodes in ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 8, 2018

“God Is Doing It” Ernest Billups & Tribe of Levi feat. C. Ashley Brown-Lawrence E’Mazin Entertainment (release date: October 5, 2018) Available on Amazon.com By Bob Marovich “God Is Doing It” is Ernest Billups & the Tribe of Levi’s finest single to date. This slow burner with a dramatic melody features a passionate vocal assist from C. Ashley Brown-Lawrence (“I’ve Got the Victory”), who gets downright evangelistic by the vamp as she duets with Billups, who also serves as the songwriter and producer. Like some of the best songs in any genre, “God Is Doing It” was composed during a period ...

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Soul Don’t Worry: Black Gospel During the Civil Rights Era, 1953-1967

Various Artists Soul Don’t Worry! Black Gospel During the Civil Rights Era, 1953-1967 NarroWay Records (release date: September 21, 2018) www.gospelfriend.com By Bob Marovich Soul Don’t Worry is the most ambitious project to date for NarroWay / Gospel Friend, the Sweden-based gospel reissue operation headed by producer Per Notini. In the past, Notini has focused on chronicling individual artists and labels, but this time he has taken on an entire era’s worth of gospel music. And not just any era, but one of the most significant of the twentieth century: the fight for civil rights in America. Some listeners might ...

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