Reviews

Shirlene Jackson – Wow

Shirlene Jackson Wow CRNI (2011) Available at CD Baby By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Wow is a self-produced five-track EP by Shirlene Jackson of New Edinburg, Arkansas.  A capable gospel singer who proved her merit in 2005 by winning the Gospel Talent Showcase in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Jackson’s calling card is lofting soprano notes over the musical fence when the spirit moves her.  More than any other track on the EP, her debut solo project, Jackson shows what she can do on “I Found Jesus.”  Written by Darrell McFadden of Disciples fame, “I Found Jesus” has the ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: June 16, 2014

Anointed By God “I Give You My All” One Voice Media (released March 18, 2014) Available on Amazon and iTunes Fabulous gospel vocalist LeJuene Thompson leads this lovely ballad of unbridled discipleship.  Anointed by God added Sharonda Walker-Mitchell, Carla Barnes, and Cachet Morganfield to make the background more sweetly treble-focused, and it works.  This West Memphis, Arkansas, teen group won a 2013 Stellar Award for Children Project of the Year, and is nominated for two Rhythm of Gospel Awards.  Not bad for a group formed only four years ago!

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Ricky Dillard & New G – Amazing

Ricky Dillard & New G Amazing Light Records/eOne Entertainment  (release date: June 10, 2014) www.rickydillard.net By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Ricky Dillard was once the young turk on the gospel block.     Beginning in the late 1980s, Dillard and the New Generation Chorale, a Chicago gospel choir steeped in the full-throated tradition of Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, Rev. James Cleveland, and Dr. Charles G. Hayes, offered up high-octane songs such as “More Abundantly” that other choirs were quick to emulate. Twenty-six years later, Dillard is a member of a circle of venerable choir directors that includes Pastor ...

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Christon Gray – School of Roses

Christon Gray School of Roses Collision Records (release date: March 25, 2014) www.collision-records.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Christon Gray’s School of Roses may be the most unusual, and the most cerebral, inspirational project you have ever heard. It’s less gospel in its typical structure and more a personal testimony, an album of high hip hop drama clearly designed to be listened to start to finish, rather than as interchangeable singles or selections. The music and lyrics are moody and introspective. An aura of deep regret and an unending desire for redemption permeates every note. The struggle ...

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‘Wanna Be Close” – J Kingdom

“Wanna Be Close” J Kingdom www.jkingdom.com In 2009, Pastor Michael J. Fisher (aka J Kingdom) led Compton, California’s Voices of Destiny choir to the Verizon How Sweet the Sound competition, where the group took top honors as “the best church choir in America.” J Kingdom puts as much of a non-traditional spin on his solo work as he does on his choral duties. Fueled by a galloping rhythm and embraced by EDM, his new solo single, “Wanna Be Close,” is about a desire to be part of God, who makes all things possible.  The arrangement plugs the high voltage intensity ...

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Pastor David Wright & the N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir – Next Generation

Pastor David Wright & the N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir Next Generation Godfather Records (released February 2014) godfatherrecordsinc@gmail.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Recorded live at Brooklyn’s historic First Church of God in Christ, Pastor David Wright and the N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir’s Next Generation does more to preserve the legacy of Bishop Timothy Wright than any of their music projects to date. Several songs on the album are in fact Timothy Wright compositions.  One of the most popular, “Jesus Jesus Jesus,” closes out the CD.  “Come Thou Almighty King,” “Presence of the Lord,” and “Who’s On the ...

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Minister Terrell Rogers & Men of Destiny – I’m Still Here

Minister Terrell Rogers & Men of Destiny I’m Still Here (released November, 2013) By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Minister Terrell Rogers & Men of Destiny of Blytheville, Arkansas, are young men with old souls.  This is evident by the traditional bent of the quartet’s new self-produced CD, I’m Still Here. Rogers is the quintessential quartet lead.  He sings, shouts, growls, moans, ad libs, testifies, and preaches.  The Men of Destiny—Jeremy Myles, Torey Leonard, and Shannon Lyons—do the high harmonies made popular by the Violinaires in the 1950’s and that continue to dominate gospel quartet today (the bass guitar ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: June 2, 2014

“Turning Away” Bryan Andrew Wilson EchoPark JDI (2014) www.echoparkjdi.com Maybe it’s me, but less can be more, especially in gospel music.  Gospel started with only piano for accompaniment.  Nine decades later, piano and voice (and organ, of course) are still the ideal combination for a Zion song. Proof is Bryan Andrew Wilson’s introspective piano-accompanied single, “Turning Away.”  It is a personal declaration to forsake the “things that had me bound” and “the hurt and the shame” and move toward a better life.  The deft production has Wilson trading leads with himself and harmonizing with himself.  By not drowning the singer ...

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Mississippi Mass Choir – “God’s On Your Side”

“God’s On Your Side” Mississippi Mass Choir feat. Le’Andria Johnson From the Malaco CD Declaration of Dependence  (release date: June 3, 2014) www.malaco.com Put the Mississippi Mass Choir together with Le’Andria Johnson, and you have a potent combination of old school passion.  Opening with a Kirk Franklin-esque call and response, the choral voices rise in intensity as Johnson sings her part from creamy smooth to scorching fortissimo.  The song, written by the team of Stan Jones and Jerry Smith, encourages the congregation to hold on and be strong because God has your back.  As “God’s On Your Side” fades, Johnson ...

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“Word of God Speak” – Perfection

“Word of God Speak” Perfection 4 Winds Records (released October, 2013) www.malaco.com The modern gospel quartet Perfection covers MercyMe’s 2002 hit “Word of God Speak” with delicately smooth harmonies, soulful lead singing, and an arm-waving sing-a-long at the conclusion. On the album version, Perfection adds a snippet from Thomas Whitfield’s “We Need a Word from the Lord.” The interpolation blends well with the arrangement but, most importantly, with the message of seeking the Lord’s guidance. Comprised of Steve Maples, Gerrod Allen, Chris Williams, and Kevin Lake, Perfection hails from Jackson, Tennessee.  The quartet gained national visibility after winning the Allstate ...

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