Reviews

Gregory Brown with the Abundant Life Music Ministry – 29:11

Gregory Brown with the Abundant Life Music Ministry 29:11 The Levite Music Group (2013) www.cdbaby.com/cd/gregorybrown22 By Bob Marovich Released November 3, 2013, 29:11 is the product of Birmingham, Alabama choir Gregory L. Brown and the Abundant Life Music Ministry. The title refers to Jeremiah 29:11: “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” In alignment with this message, Brown’s objective for the CD is to “speak life and minister wholeness to broken hearts.” While the album meets this objective ...

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“He Shall Reign” – Bridgett Kern

“He Shall Reign” Bridgett Kern Platinum Image Music Group (2014) www.BridgettKern.com A worship leader, songwriter, and pastor, Bridgett Kern delivers this vertical praiser that combines the feel-good melodicism of CCM with the bracing, energetic punch of rock, and vocals from the modern gospel tradition. The CCM feel is not coincidental: the song was written by Israel Houghton collaborators BJ Putnam and Doug Engquist, and produced by Putnam. Kern leads worship at Radiant Life Church in Phoenix, Arizona. She and her husband, Dr. Joseph Kern, founded the church. The single is from her forthcoming album, No One Greater, scheduled for release in ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 28, 2014

“I Need Thee” Beulah Grove Mass Choir feat. Monica Lisa Stevenson Released digitally October 21, 2014 www.beulahgrove.org Beulah Grove Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia (Dr. Sam Davis, Pastor), celebrates its centennial with a rousing gospel version of the hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour,” rendered with spirit by the always effervescent Monica Lisa Stevenson. The choir and musicians set a praise party atmosphere as MLS ups the trad cred an extra notch by interpolating lyrics from “I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry.” “I Need Thee” is the single from the church’s Live at the Grove CD.

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JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise – I See Victory

JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise I See Victory Light Records (October 28, 2014) www.lightrecords.com By Bob Marovich Recorded at the First Cathedral in Bloomfield, Connecticut, I See Victory is the seventh live CD for JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise and, with seventeen tracks, the group’s most ambitious release to date. The choir, perhaps best known for the gospel hit, “Incredible God, Incredible Praise,” can claim musical roots in the ministry of Bishop J. C. White and the Institutional Church of God in Christ Choir. Institutional’s “Stretch Out (When Jesus Comes)” was a major gospel hit in 1967 (read more about the influence ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 20, 2014

“Take It to the Lord in Prayer” Patrick Lundy & the Ministers of Music (2014) From the CD Majesty: A Recording of Anthems, Hymns, and Spirituals www.plundymom.com Incorporating the semi-classical flourishes of Richard Smallwood and Donald Lawrence, Patrick Lundy and the Ministers of Music give Rev. Nolan Williams’ “Take It to the Lord In Prayer” a lush, restorative reading.  The voices rise and fall with the effortlessness of breathing. Though the melody is different, the lyrics pull verses from Joseph Scriven’s nineteenth-century hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Lundy and the MOM proclaim, “Some things we have not ...

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Evang. Nelson Larkins & God’s Posse – The Kind of God We Serve: Live in Chicago

Evangelist Nelson Larkins & God’s Posse The Kind of God We Serve: Live in Chicago TREWWORKS Music Group/Deznell Music Group (2011) www.cdbaby.com/cd/nelsonlarkinsgodsposse By Bob Marovich It is always a pleasure to hear a live gospel quartet album that truly captures the excitement of a group having church. Such an album is The Kind of God We Serve by Chicago-based Evangelist Nelson Larkins & God’s Posse. Although the group’s name gives the impression that it is a contemporary small choir, make no mistake: Nelson Larkins & God’s Posse is a rompin’, stompin’ quartet that is 70 percent traditional, 30 percent contemporary ...

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“All We Need Is Love” – Totally 4 Him feat. Doug Williams & Stan Jones

“All We Need Is Love” Totally 4 Him feat. Doug Williams & Stan Jones T4HBless@gmail.com Totally 4 Him, a young male quartet from the Full Gospel Church of God in Lumber City, Georgia, calls its style “quartemporary:” quartet music with a contemporary twist. The group’s national debut single, “All We Need Is Love,” illustrates the singers’ commitment to genre-bending by combining quartet harmonies with an island beat and smooth pop production. The Caribbean flavor gives the song’s inspirational we’ve-got-to-love-everybody theme a Bob Marley feel. The single also benefits from able assists by gospel quartet veterans Doug Williams and Stan Jones, who drop ...

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“Here I Am” – Team David

“Here I Am” Team David From the Muscle Shoals Sound Gospel album Here I Am (August 2014) www.malaco.com Employing Boys II Men harmonies and balladry, the modern gospel group Team David delivers the finger-popping “Here I Am,” a cleverly penned song about turning one’s life over to Jesus. Rather than use the phrases typically used to describe the conversion process, Team David instead employs the metaphor of turning oneself in for a crime committed. After acknowledging that “I am guilty, filthy of sin” and “I did the crime, now I must do the time,” the group asks God to “Sentence me to ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 13, 2014

“Hallelujah” Jewell & Converted From the Malaco CD For Real www.malaco.com “Hallelujah” is an up-tempo praiser from St. Louis-based female quartet Jewell & Converted. About a third of the way through, the lead singer gets downright Pentecostal, shouting and squalling about how she wants to “get her praise out,” then performs an extended call-and-response with the rest of the ladies, who maintain steady rhythmic harmonies. The musicians provide the quintessential hip-slapping accompaniment, complete with drum/bass backbeat and organ flourishes. A show stopper. Jewell & Converted organized in 2001 and is comprised of Jewell Taylor, Lydia Jones, Ni’Asia Hatch-Boyd, and Bablen ...

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Natasha Gray – Born

Natasha Gray Born Jeneyus Productions (2014) www.NatashaGrayArea.com By Bob Marovich Natasha Gray’s debut album, Born, is what I would term “progressive gospel.” Somewhat like a portion of Zi’el’s recent project, Pronounced ZY-EL, Born wraps inspirational songs in ambient soundscapes of electronica and beat with occasional rock flourishes. Gray (Natasha Simmons) has a simmering voice, at times sensuous, and she is nothing if not consistently deliberate in lyric delivery. She sings her prettiest on “Make Me Over,” an a cappella song of personal conversion. She delivers her most powerful vocals on the album’s lead single, “Just Know God Cares.”  The latter ...

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