Reviews

JGM Pick of the Week: July 2, 2019

“Hold Out” Tim Rogers and the Fellas feat. Calvin Richardson SAG Music Group (release date: April 26, 2019) By Bob Marovich As they make plain on their new single, “Hold Out,” Tim Rogers and the Fellows work hard to keep the traditional quartet vibe alive. The single is forged in the crucible of wooden-church worship with enough contemporary accouterments to appeal to today’s radio listeners. Indeed, Rogers expects the song to hit the airwaves because he calls out to “those of you in radio land and are listening to my voice” to turn the volume up. Gospel singer turned R&B ...

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Absolution – Breakthrough

Absolution Breakthrough Independent (release date: March 14, 2019) By Bob Marovich On the album Breakthrough, Absolution adopts an ‘80s R&B vocal group style mixed with elements of smooth jazz to deliver religious and inspirational songs inspired by personal experience. The mixed-voice group Absolution was organized in North Augusta, South Carolina, in 2014 by singer-songwriter Wayne Mims and lead guitarist John Henry Walker. The members’ ages run from teenager to senior, so it seems as if they found a happy medium in laying down ’80s-vintage smooth R&B as their musical foundation. While the members of Absolution don’t go into great detail ...

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The Southern Sons of Memphis – “Live” At Home in Memphis

The Southern Sons of Memphis “Live” At Home in Memphis SOME Records (2016) www.sonsofmemphismusic.com By Bob Marovich Although released in 2016, the Southern Sons of Memphis’s “Live” At Home in Memphis is, like most gospel quartet recordings without undue amounts of synthesizer, evergreen. Bob Holloway, the Southern Sons’ longstanding member, is lead vocalist on almost all of the tracks on this album, recorded at Boston Baptist Church in Memphis. His vocal delivery alternates between flatfooted crooning, pleading, shouting and, when the spirit catches him, a high-pitched shriek that emerges from his shout. Like a minister at the pulpit, Holloway interpolates ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 24, 2019

“One Minute” Coleen (release date: February 5, 2019) By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter Coleen’s “One Minute” is not only the first song she wrote, it is autobiographical. At a time when everything was going wrong in her life, when she couldn’t hold on for another minute, Coleen cried out to the Lord and was subsequently able to endure. That’s the message of the song, a call to all women who, like her, have suffered emotional and physical abuse: “If He did it for me, He can do it for you.” Its retro acoustic guitar sound, easy rhythm, and folksy harmonies mask ...

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“It’s Praying Time” – Frozene Lott-Hayes

“It’s Praying Time” Frozene Lott-Hayes Lothay Music (release date: February 1, 2019) By Bob Marovich To a live audience at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, traditional gospel singer Frozene Lott-Hayes renders this mid-tempo golden oldie with lyrics that are (unfortunately) as pertinent today as they were back when the Miami Mass Choir did it more than twenty years ago. “Wars and rumors of wars. . .earthquakes, famine, and diseases,” Frozene declares, reminding listeners that if ever there was a time to pray, it’s now. Her shifts from straight singing to growling to shouting are ideal for this song, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 17, 2019

“I’m So Glad” Bishop Neal Roberson feat. Bishop Paul S. Morton Malaco Music Group (2019) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Those who know Bishop Neal Roberson as an upbeat man with a wonderful sense of humor will be taken aback by his spoken word introduction to “I’m So Glad.” In a sobering tone, he informs listeners about his lung cancer diagnosis, then moves into “I’m So Glad,” a gentle hymn about God as a miracle worker. Halfway through, Roberson is joined by Bishop Paul S. Morton, who offers his own testimony of deliverance from cancer. It’s the reassurance Roberson needed to ...

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Johnny Burroughs – DAY 1

Johnny Burroughs DAY 1 (release date: May 24, 2019) www.johnnyburroughsmusic.com By Bob Marovich The debut solo release by Johnny Burroughs, lead vocalist for Denver band The Burroughs, is not a romp through the “sweaty soul music” for which the band is known but a thrumming Christian album titled DAY 1. Though it would be unnatural for Burroughs to not channel some “sweaty soul” into DAY 1, he draws more heavily on his other life as a pastor and music minister. This self-penned, self-produced batch of lyrically and melodically uncomplicated songs of praise and worship invokes the sonic inventiveness of Bryan ...

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“Fresh Wind” – Kim Person

“Fresh Wind”Kim PersonFrom the KLP Enterprises CD The Journey(release date: January 26, 2019) By Bob Marovich As a child growing up in North Carolina, Kim Person was known for her big voice. Her big voice has gotten more substantial with time and experience and can be heard in full flower on her new single, “Fresh Wind.” “Fresh Wind” has the skeleton of a hymn and the flesh and blood of a gospel song. It features thickly (perhaps excessively) produced instrumentation, a bevy of background vocalists, and Kim Person’s ever-present exuberance, which builds in evangelistic intensity as the song moves to ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 11, 2019

“Amazing”The Davis’Heartbeatz Productions LLCwww.realdavismusic.com By Bob Marovich A family that prays together stays together, and that goes double for family groups that sing their prayers. Like the Davis Family of Inkster, Michigan. The members of this sibling act–Carl, James, Andrea and Angela (the girls are twins)—demonstrate their choir-honed harmonies and church-refined song delivery on their new single, “Amazing.” To choruses of sunny “shoo-doos” and equally cheerful musicianship, the four express admiration at all God has created. Then they call on fellow Michigander Twinkie Clark, who changes the song’s mood from contemporary to traditional by injecting into the mix a battery ...

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Faithful Connection – Personal Experience

Faithful Connection Personal Experience (release date: March 22, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/faithfulconnection12 By Bob Marovich Rhythm of Gospel Awardee Faithful Connection of Fredericksburg, Virginia, is a gospel quartet that blends elements of traditional gospel singing and lyricism with contemporary instrumentation and bass-heavy beats. They celebrate their tenth anniversary with a new EP, Personal Experience, produced by Richard Davis. As on the quartet’s 2015 album Thank You, the majority of the tracks on Personal Experience are led by group founder Jonathan Mercer, with cameos and ad-libs by TaWan Gray. The EP’s initial single and opening track, “I Made It,” is a gritty piece ...

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