Reviews

Various Artists: Make It Gospel – Chapter One

Various Artists Make It Gospel: Chapter One (release date: October 18, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/makeitgospelchapterone By Bob Marovich Make It Gospel: Chapter One is an independently-produced EP that showcases three “hidden jewel” gospel quartets: one male (Men of Fellowship), one female (New Stars of Faith), and one young group (Psalm 100). All three quartets are quite good, demonstrating that for every gospel superstar, there are thousands of gifted artists throughout the country, trying to be noticed. The meaty vocals and even harmonizing of Men of Fellowship make for enjoyable listening, while the edgy-voiced lead singer of the New Stars of Faith of Durham, North Carolina, sounds ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 5, 2018

“Let the Healing Begin” Ernest J. Lee feat. Gerard Brooks From Anthems from the Vault, Vol. 1 David’s Dance Music/RedTape Ent. (release date: June 13, 2017) https://ernestjleemusic.org/ By Bob Marovich All of us have burdens, Ernest J. Lee states at the outset of “Let the Healing Begin,” and it’s time to shed them. Featured vocalist Gerard Brooks then joins Lee on this prayer asking God to “let your glory fall all over the world,” including on our jobs and on our schools. The poignant melody and arrangement, complete with chiming background vocalists, provide the foundation on which the two men emote.  ...

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Keith Reed Jr. & New Sound of Worship – True Worship

Keith Reed Jr. & New Sound of Worship True Worship New Sound Music Group (release date: February 25, 2018) www.newsoundofworship.com By Bob Marovich Last fall, JGM reviewed Bless the Lord, an EP from Keith Reed Jr. & New Sound of Worship. It heralded the Ohio-based Rhythm & Praise ensemble’s soon-to-be-released full project, True Worship. True Worship made its debut last month and, as promised, it riffs on the musical style demonstrated on the EP. If the lyrics are conventional P&W (an exception is the empowering “Moving Towards Destiny”), and the song titles telegraph the theme, the melodies and arrangements take intriguing turns ...

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“Stand By Me” – Pastor Terrell Rogers & Men of Destiny

“Stand by Me” Pastor Terrell Rogers & Men of Destiny From the 4 Winds Records album Stand By Me “Live” (expected release date: March 2, 2018) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich In front of God and a live audience, Pastor Terrell Rogers & Men of Destiny pray fervently for heavenly assistance on “Stand By Me.” It’s a prayer Rogers utters in the darkness of anguish, in the midst of an internal storm, when friends do him wrong and, he sings, “sometimes I feel like I’m all alone.” Ah, there’s that sacred conjunction, but, which good gospel songs employ to shift the tone ...

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Kimberly M. Kent – Blessed2beChosen

Kimberly M. Kent Blessed2beChosen (EP) (release date: November 11, 2017) www.kimberlymkent.com By Bob Marovich Last fall, Kimberly M. Kent, a worship leader, multi-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter from Indianapolis, Indiana, followed her debut EP The Journey with a new EP, Blessed2beChosen. On this second release, Kent lends her burnished alto to a half-dozen self-penned songs containing biblically-based lyrics and appealing melodies. For example, the gently flowing opener, “I Am the Redeemed,” uses Psalms 107:2 to highlight the specialness of salvation (hence the album’s title). Christ’s death is the subject of “My Son I Give to You” and “The Debt I Owed.” Throughout the new EP, but particularly on these two ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 26, 2018

“Your Blessing is on its Way” God’s Posse From The Kind of God We Serve: Live in Chicago (EP) Trewworks Music Group/Denzell Music Group By Bob Marovich The Chicago-based quartet God’s Posse offers a traditional drive-tempo workout in “Your Blessing is on its Way.” The infectious backbeat, the singers’ palpable enthusiasm, the muscular music, and the live audience’s handclapping are ideal complements to the song’s message of hope and encouragement. It also points out the importance of recording gospel music in front of an audience or congregation. Gospel music recorded in the studio is fine, but there’s something magical about hearing a ...

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Daniel D. – Tis So Sweet: Instrumental Violin Hymns

Daniel D. Tis So Sweet: Instrumental Violin Hymns DD Productions (release date: December 3, 2017) www.danieldmusic.com By Bob Marovich Instrumental sacred music in the African American tradition goes back decades. In fact, two of the first six sides cut by Arizona Dranes, a musician for the Church of God in Christ and among the earliest African American gospel artists to record, were sacred instrumentals (“Crucifixion” and “Sweet Heaven Is My Home”). In the contemporary gospel era, piano and organ soloists have been joined by saxophonists, trumpet players, and violinists, among others. Counted among the professional sacred violinists are Kersten Stevens, Brooke ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 19, 2018

“Awaiting My King” Mrs. Inspire Inspire Be You Beauty, LLC (release date: January 17, 2018) www.mrsinspire.com By Bob Marovich Mrs. Inspire lends her enchanting voice to “Awaiting My King,” a lovely melodic CCM ballad that exposes the singer’s own struggles and vulnerability in hopes of encouraging others similarly burdened to do what she has done: “cast your cares on Him.” The Texas-based singer-songwriter discovered her talent for singing, and her love for Christian music, around the age of five, and has been involved in music ministry her whole life. She has also worked as a model and promotes “modeling with a message,” ...

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Todd Dulaney – Your Great Name

Todd Dulaney Your Great Name Entertainment One Music (release date: January 19, 2018) www.eonemusic.com By Bob Marovich Todd Dulaney was nervous the evening of his live recording at Calvary Church of Naperville, Illinois, that produced Your Great Name. He had been struggling with an illness that was threatening his voice. He kept on praying, he told the audience, that this, too, shall pass. It did pass. Dulaney suddenly and dramatically retained the full range of his voice. He went on to finish the recorded worship experience. Like all worship experiences, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that’s mostly the ...

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The Divine Souls – Favor

The Divine Souls Favor Independent (2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/thedivinesouls2 By Bob Marovich “Out in the West Texas town of El Paso” is a gospel quartet named the Divine Souls. Their album, Favor, is a solid collection of ten songs that combine traditional lyrics and themes with modern musical accompaniment. Most pronounced about the Divine Souls is their harmonies. When other quartets are going high above the stave with their harmonizing, a la the Violinaires, the Divine Souls go low. The result is a meatier, more traditional baritone sound. In addition, while some quartet CDs prominently feature the lead singer while the rest of ...

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