Reviews

Soul Stirrers – Joy in My Soul: The Complete SAR Recordings

Soul Stirrers Joy in My Soul: The Complete SAR Recordings ABKCO Records (release date: January 27, 2015 www.abkco.com By Bob Marovich The first ABKCO compilation of Soul Stirrers recordings on the legendary SAR Records was released more than a decade ago. With sixteen tracks, the Stirrers had the lion’s share of sides on the gospel portion of that two-CD set, but that was all; the rest of the set needed to feature other SAR artists. Gospel quartet enthusiasts as well as Soul Stirrers fans will therefore appreciate Joy In My Soul because it is all Soul Stirrers. And of the 33 selections ...

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Reflections – Ryan D. Rutley, B.A.

Ryan D. Rutley, B.A. Reflections Psalms Group (2014) www.cdbaby.com/Artist/RyanDRutleyBA By Bob Marovich Ryan Rutley’s Reflections is an album of mostly instrumental smooth jazz, or call it inspirational jazz, if you prefer. Rutley’s band consists of Charles “Chuck” Clark on drums, brother Darick on bass, Darryl Bebee on saxophone, and Levi Baker also on drums. Ryan Rutley wrote the compositions, lends lead vocals on “Forgiven,” and produced the album. Brother Darick’s handsome vocal and Bebee’s effervescent sax solo on “Your Grace is Amazing” make the selection the high point of the album. The song riffs on the lyric of “Amazing Grace,” ...

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Noreen Crayton – Divine Radiance

Noreen Crayton Divine Radiance Angel Star Music (release date: January 2015) www.noreencrayton.com By Bob Marovich Divine Radiance is the third sacred music album from New York-native Noreen Crayton. While her career includes significant musical stage work in the U.S. and overseas, Crayton has gospel roots and sings with the praise and worship team at Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem. Crayton nearly plays all the bases on Divine Radiance—from writer and arranger to performer and executive producer. She does employ a handful of musicians to assist her on some tracks. Musically, the album offers a sample of everything from an ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 19, 2015

“You Are” Virtue www.virtuegirls3.com Who said America has lost its Virtue? Nearly a decade has lapsed since their last release, but the Dove Award-winning and Grammy-nominated sister ensemble Virtue has returned with a new single, “You Are.” Set in the same rich urban AC groove that marked the group’s prior work, albeit updated to meet contemporary tastes, “You Are” is a dramatic declaration of fidelity to God, “the alpha and omega” who promises light at the end of life’s dark tunnels. The 2015 iteration of Virtue that recorded “You Are” is Ebony Holland, Karima Kibble, and Heather Martin. The women sound ...

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BMI Honors Houghton, Pace Sisters, at 16th Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards

ATLANTA, January 18, 2015 – Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI®), the global leader in music rights management, brought legends and contemporary stars together to celebrate the careers of gospel giants Israel Houghton, LaShun Pace and The Anointed Pace Sisters at its 16th annual Trailblazers of Gospel Music Awards yesterday in Atlanta. The event, held at the Rialto Center for the Arts, also recognized BMI’s Most-Performed Gospel Song of the Year: “The Gift,” written and performed by Donald Lawrence. The song, featured on Lawrence’s album Best For Last, topped the Billboard Gospel Airplay chart and achieved wide-spread success. BMI also recognized five ...

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Reverend Charlie Jackson – Lord You’re So Good

Reverend Charlie Jackson Lord You’re So Good: Live Recordings, Vol. 2 Fifty Miles of Elbow Room #6 www.50milesofelbowroom.com By Bob Marovich In 2003, Kevin Nutt’s CaseQuarter label issued the first comprehensive collection of vintage recordings by the guitar-toting Louisianan preacher Reverend Charlie Jackson. The CD compilation of impossibly rare 45 rpm singles produced by Robert Booker or Jackson himself showcased the fiery preacher, very possibly the last of his breed, lofting trebly licks and chugging away on his Fender Mustang. Most of us figured that was the first and last word on Rev. Jackson, who passed away in 2006. Not so. ...

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Mighty Men of Faith – Nothing But Grace

Mighty Men of Faith Nothing But Grace N2L Records (2014) www.mightymenoffaith.com By Bob Marovich Nothing But Grace is the latest album by California’s Mighty Men of Faith, a quartet that rolls contemporary, musically and lyrically. Musically, the quartet paints a smooth patina—like an aural Dippity-Do—on their harmonies, giving the overall impression of a 1980s soul vocal group gone gospel. Likewise, the group’s vertical praise lyrics have more in common with the repertory of today’s small choirs than gospel quartets, which tend to stay faithful to verses about life’s trials and faith in God as a solution. The Mighty Men’s harmonies are ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 12, 2015

“Brand New Day” 21:03 From the PMG Gospel CD Outsiders (release date: February 24, 2015) www.pajam-music.com What better way to start the new year than to celebrate a brand new day? That is what the two who now comprise 21:03—Evin Martin and Torrence Greene—do on “Brand New Day.” An energetic disco beat and brisk arrangement complement the duo as they play off one another in kicking all bad things to the curb and embracing new beginnings by faith. The song comes nearly twelve years after the Stellar Award-winning group’s launch, January 21, 2003, the date that also inspired its name.

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Stryper – Live at the Whisky

Stryper Live at the Whisky Frontiers Records (rel. September 23, 2014) www.stryper.com By Bob Marovich Jesus is the rock that makes Stryper roll. I wish I could take credit for such a clever line, but it is actually a paraphrase of a song title on Live at the Whisky by Stryper, the first Christian metal band to gain mainstream acceptance. As a young person, I loved all kinds of music, including heavy metal.  It was a treat, therefore, to hear on Live at the Whisky the familiar thunderous, auditorium-filling, zone-out music I remembered but with positive messages of encouragement, fidelity to ...

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Brian Courtney Wilson – Worth Fighting For

Brian Courtney Wilson Worth Fighting For Motown Gospel (release date: January 6, 2015) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Some singers are songwriters and some songwriters are singers. Brian Courtney Wilson is a songwriter—more appropriately a hymnist—who also sings. But make no mistake: the Stellar Award winning and Dove Award nominated Wilson is also a strong singer. One among a generation of male gospel crooners, Wilson has released a stack of quality selections ever since his breakout hit, “All I Need.” It is simply that his songwriting is doubly inspired. Produced by Motown Gospel VP and A&R man, Aaron Lindsey, and recorded ...

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