Reviews

Myron Butler & Levi – On Purpose

Myron Butler & Levi On Purpose Motown Gospel (release date: June 10, 2016) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Like Kurt Carr, Myron Butler has carved out a niche for himself in the popular Praise & Worship category of black sacred music. His albums offer praise teams a bounty of songs to digest just as the Thompson Community Singers, a group whose work Butler absorbed as intently as that of Thomas Whitfield, offered directors new gems to teach their church choirs. It’s no surprise, then, that energetic P&W cuts predominate on Butler’s new album, On Purpose, which debuted atop the Billboard gospel ...

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Eagle Rock Gospel Singers – Hammer and Nail: A Tribute to the Staple Singers

The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers Hammer and Nail: A Tribute to the Staple Singers (release date: June 17, 2016) www.ergospelsingers.com By Bob Marovich Imagine female harmonies containing the thunderous power of the Mamas and the Papas’ Cass Elliott and Michelle Phillips, and a rock band–all covering Staple Singers classics, and you have an idea of the Eagle Rock Gospel Singers’ Hammer and Nail EP. The ensemble, which loves and respects traditional African American gospel, makes three Staples “staples” its own. “From day one, the Staple Singers have been a primary influence,” said Eagle Rock Gospel Singers co-founder Jeremy Horton. “From naming ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 27, 2016

“Christian Walk” Darren Deac From the Quality of Life Music album Christian Walk www.cdbaby.com/cd/darrendeac Just because we walk in the path of righteousness doesn’t mean we can’t throw a little shape to our step. That’s what Christian Hip Hop artist “Darren Deac” Edward demonstrated to the audience at the Rhythm of Gospel Awards main event last Saturday evening in Memphis, Tennessee. The “Christian Walk” is a modified two-step, a sanctified shuffle. The song has an infectious hook and an explicit message that expounds the life-giving power of service and prayer. From Newark, New Jersey, Edward started his career in secular ...

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Livre’ – Jericho: The Tribe of Joshua

Livre’ Jericho: The Tribe of Joshua Glory 2 Glory Records / MBK Records / Sony RED Association Labels (release date: May 20, 2016) By Bob Marovich If part of today’s political rhetoric is about building walls, Livre’ is about knocking them down. Eliminating life’s barriers is the premise of the group’s sonically delightful Jericho: The Tribe of Joshua. At times, the five-member power vocal group from the Bronx (their name is pronounced LIVE-ray and means “free” in Latin) delivers its message in bright, optimistic tones, and at other times, it speaks from a relatable vulnerability. Regardless, the group argues that ...

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Micah Stampley – To the King. . .Vertical Worship Live

Micah Stampley To the King. . .Vertical Worship Live Interface Entertainment (May 20, 2016) www.micahstampley.org By Bob Marovich When Micah Stampley addresses the “generation rising” on his new CD, To the King. . .Vertical Worship Live, he certainly knows his audience. The musical worship service, recorded live at Oasis Family Life Church in Dallas, Georgia, last year, will especially resonate with the young generation of churchgoers who thrive on the atmospheric flow of Praise & Worship music. The gospel crooner provides plenty of vertical P&W on this, his first live recording. While many of the songs are new, others, such as ...

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“Steel Wheels” – Imari Tones

“Steel Wheels” Imari Tones From the album Revive the World www.imaritones.net Some stomp on the devil’s head. The Imari Tones crush bad under their steel wheels. Which is an appropriate metaphor from a Christian heavy metal band. Hailing from Japan, where only five percent of the population is Christian, the Imari Tones are indeed an anomaly. They started out as a straight-up heavy metal band, naming themselves after the founding member’s girlfriend (now wife). But Imari is also used to describe a style of Japanese painted pottery. So when the trio became the country’s first band to blend heavy metal with ...

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Domonique Mitchell Presents Inspiration Music for the Soul, Vol. 1

Various Artists Domonique Mitchell Presents Inspiration Music for the Soul, Vol. 1 Gospel Rhythm (release date: April 29, 2016) Available from digital media stores By Bob Marovich Presented in the guise of a gospel radio program hosted by the smooth-voiced DJ Mac Cummings, Domonique Mitchell Presents Inspiration Music for the Soul, Vol. 1 is a mixtape that surveys independent artists working in several subgenres—from contemporary gospel and urban contemporary to Christian hip hop and traditional. Mitchell has a fascinating background. His career includes A&R work for Coastal Records and Sounds of Atlanta /Universal Records, project coordinator and co-producer of BET’s ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 13, 2016

“Glory to the Lamb” Micah Stampley From the Interface Entertainment album To the King. . .Vertical Worship Live www.micahstampley.org I recognize that “Glory to the Lamb” is not the current single from Micah Stampley’s latest album—that honor belongs to the equally persuasive “Be Lifted”—but nevertheless, it is one of Stampley’s best selections since his cover of “Come to Jesus.” The song demonstrates his passionate singing better than any other track on the album. With instrumentation held to a minimum and the vocals set at high intensity, “Glory to the Lamb” is exactly the kind of song we anticipate from Stampley. It ...

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“Zion Praise” – Clareta Haddon

“Zion Praise” Clareta Haddon From the album Contagious www.claretamusic.com Introduced with a “Sing, ReRe” by brother Deitrick, Clareta Haddon-Jackson drops into a rock steady rhythm for “Zion Praise.” Emulating the clipped lyrical patter of reggae artists one moment and lofting gospel shouts heavenward the next, Clareta reminds Zion (i.e., the church) that “everything you do is about God’s glory.” Coming from the Haddon Family, it’s not surprising that Clareta pushes the envelope in music and fashion—she is recognizable by her blue-tinged rocker ‘do and slate blue lipstick. It’s also not surprising that she can sing. The whole Haddon Family, all the ...

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Greg Delaine with Brother 2 Brother – 99 1/2 Won’t Do

Greg Delaine with Brother 2 Brother 99 ½ Won’t Do Trumpet Records LLC (2016) www.gregdelaine.com By Bob Marovich On 99 1/2 Won’t Do, Central Florida contemporary gospel quartet Greg Delaine and Brother 2 Brother combines sweet harmonies with hard lead singing and plenty of preaching/testifying. What they have done on this, their latest album, is to recreate the informality of the live program in the recording studio. Extended stories and vamps are techniques quartets use to play to the audience; Brother 2 Brother does it here, but sans audience. The lyrics present simple truths by blending church wisdom, personal belief, movable couplets ...

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