Reviews

Boyz of Triumph – Praise His Name

Boyz of Triumph Praise His Name Sharp Records (2015) www.reverbnation.com/theboyzoftriumph By Bob Marovich The Boyz of Triumph from Sycamore, Alabama, is a seven-member gospel quartet that blends the close harmony tradition with the contemporary gospel style. The harmonies are front and center on Praise His Name, the quartet’s nine-track disc for Sharp Records. With its medium tempo and falsetto flights from the lead singer, the bouncy title track is as good an example as any of the group’s aural fingerprint. The harmonies are especially robust whenever the musicians pause and the group sings a cappella, which doesn’t happen nearly as ...

Read More »

Murk – P31

Murk P31 Dedicated Music Group (release date: March 31, 2015) www.murkp31.com By Bob Marovich Christian hip hop artist Murk is a P31 girl. On her sophomore EP, P31, Murk employs rhymes and beats to encourage other women to join her in the movement. “P31” is a reference to Psalms 31, which sets forth the importance of salvation and calls on the Lord to “keep me free from the trap that is set for me.” Among those traps, we learn from selections such as “So Beautiful” and “All I Ever Wanted,” are low self-esteem, self-doubt, abusive relationships, and poor choices. On “All I ...

Read More »

The Gospel Angels – Turn It Around

The Gospel Angels Turn It Around (2012) www.thegospelangels.com By Bob Marovich The Gospel Angels of Washington, DC, have traveled the country and the world for more than three decades, serving up heaping helpings of church wisdom with a savory traditional gospel quartet flavor. Some of the songs on the group’s current album, Turn It Around, are newly composed, but all have an old school vibe. The whole CD rolls along like a live performance without an audience. Opening with the hip-slapping “Let Me Lean on You,” the quartet blends bright tempo numbers with songs that stretch out for several minutes—just as the ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: April 27, 2015

“Just Jesus” Bishop Jonathan Greer Released February 3, 2015 Now when is the last time you heard “Just Jesus” sung as a single? Thank God for Bishop Jonathan Greer II and his choir. They righteously reprise the good old Zion song, which Greer did originally with the Cathedral of Faith Choirs in 1994. The new version comes complete with shouting vamp and rocking chair 12/8 meter. Raised in Chicago, Bishop Jonathan Greer was called to ministry, first in Nashville, then Atlanta, where he is currently Presiding Bishop of Divine Love Fellowship Church. While at Cathedral of Faith, Greer and the Cathedral ...

Read More »

Casey J – The Truth

Casey J The Truth Marquis Boone Enterprises/Tyscot Records (released April 21, 2015) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich The next best thing to a live gospel music program is listening to a live gospel music program on a recording. That’s why it was smart for Casey J to release her debut album, The Truth, as a live worship experience.  And on home turf: the recording took place on January 30, 2015, at Fresh Start Church in Duluth, Georgia, where Casey is morning worship leader. Casey J. Hobbs, known as Casey J, is the newest rising star in gospel music. Her debut single, ...

Read More »

“Something Big” – Jekalyn Carr

“Something Big” Jekalyn Carr Luneal Music Group/Malaco Music Group (2015) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Young singers and pop music go together like bacon and eggs. In the gospel music industry, however, it can be more difficult for a young person to gain traction. Even though churches offer a variety of singing opportunities for young people, gospel is an experiential music—the significant demands that gospel places on the voice require a great deal of practice and training. That’s what makes Jekalyn Carr’s rise even more striking. Her remarkable performance as a pre-teen in the 2011 gospel documentary Rejoice and Shout ultimately ...

Read More »

Robert E. Person – Love Divine

Robert E. Person Love Divine REP Music (2015) www.roberteperson.com By Bob Marovich The first thing you notice when listening to Robert E. Person’s new album, Love Divine, is the bigness of the singer’s voice. It’s Broadway musical big, regardless of whether Person is summoning deep bass notes or launching into falsetto. His repertory reflects his vocal blend, a veritable consommé of jazz, pop, gospel, and classical influences. On Love Divine, his fourth album, Person celebrates the sacredness of love, mankind’s most essential but most misunderstood emotion. The album’s dozen selections come from the pens of talented songwriters—from Allyn Johnson’s ethereal ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: April 20, 2015

“But God” Pastor Judge Gardner Jr. presents The Voices of Testimony Ensemble Twitter: @LTMCHICAGO Who can resist a hand-clapping choir rouser, Chicago style? I sure can’t. “But God” by the Voices of Testimony Ensemble from the Living Testimony Church on Chicago’s Southeast Side (Judge Gardner Jr., Pastor) satisfies the appetite for a pulse-quickening pewburner. Lead vocalist Lil’ Harry sings, shouts, and wails his gratitude for God’s faithfulness in his life as the choir repeats his lines and at the end chants “But God” with metronomic steadiness like the Chicago Mass Choir. “I could have been dead, sleeping in my grave…but ...

Read More »

Brother’s Keeper Explores Power of Forgiveness, Grace, and Suffering

Brother’s Keeper Desert Wind Films In Theaters May 29, 2015 www.brotherskeeperfilm.com By Bob Marovich Faith-inspired films can sometimes come off as one-dimensional as Hallmark made-for-TV movies. Not so Brother’s Keeper. Directed by T. J. Amato and Josh Mills and released by Desert Wind Studios, Brother’s Keeper employs a smart and ever-unfolding storyline by Mills and Briana Hartman to underscore the significance of forgiveness and the redemptive power of suffering. Brother’s Keeper is set in late 1950s Georgia. Twin brothers Andy and Pete Goodwynn (played by Graham and Alex Miller, respectively) lost their parents tragically as young children and are the only family ...

Read More »

The Naddiks – 21CB

The Naddiks 21CB Manga Republic (2014) www.thenaddiks.com By Bob Marovich Inspiration comes from every direction, from around the world, and through all styles of music. On their EP 21CB (i.e., 21st Century Believer), Canberra, Australia rock trio the Naddiks blend the proto-punk of Stiff Little Fingers and the Undertones (or fellow Aussies Midnight Oil without the social agenda) with inspirational lyrics that chronicle lead singer Joel Steenbergen’s journey from potential self-destruction to redemption through Christ. Unlike the hair metal of Stryper or the mainstream sound of many Christian rock bands, the Naddiks give their lyrical tales a straight ahead pounding. ...

Read More »