Reviews

JGM Pick of the Week: February 9, 2015

“Take Your Burdens” Juan Santiago & Uninhibited Praise www.jsuplive.com The group that in 2011 offered one of the most inspirational and uplifting arrangements of the spiritual “Were You There” I have ever heard is back with “Take Your Burdens.” The choir’s new single, led by Jeneal Johnson, is a straight-up traditional choir shouter with a rocking chair tempo and cascading parts evocative of Ricky Dillard, Keith Pringle, or the golden days of Gospel Music Workshop of America.  Righteous!

Read More »

DeWayne Woods – Life Lessons

DeWayne Woods Life Lessons Soul Therapy Music Group (release date: February 3, 2015) dewaynewoods.rocks By Bob Marovich Excellent songwriting, compelling melodies, thoughtful lyrics, and powerful singing combine to make Life Lessons DeWayne Woods’s best project to date. The album is fueled by a team of top-shelf songwriters, such as PJ Morton (son of Bishop Paul S. Morton), Donald Lawrence, Gerald and Tammi Haddon, and Estee Bullock, a founding member of Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir. Some of Woods’s most cogent life lessons on this, his first album in four years, can be found on “They Said…” and ...

Read More »

The New Christianaires – “Remember Me” – Live in Concert

The New Christianaires “Remember Me” – Live in Concert Carter Classic Records (2014) www.thenewchristianaires.com By Bob Marovich “Put your sanctified hands together,” shouts the announcer who welcomes the New Christianaires to the stage for their live recording, “Remember Me” – Live in Concert. The audience complies. In fact, the audience claps for, and along with, the quartet for much of the album’s 68-minute running time. In 2010, Minister George N. Carter Sr., a member of the original Christianaires of Sontag, Mississippi, which featured Paul and Tyrone Porter, reorganized the group in Florida by adding Apostle Jarmain Hawthorne, Elvis Brumfield Jr., Anthony Seay, and ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: February 2, 2015

“He Steps In” Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Mass Choir From the CD Oh To Be Kept By Jesus (Anniversary Edition) If you like gospel choir singing like it was done in the 1980s, you will love the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Mass Choir’s new single, “He Steps In.” This Houston church, where Dr. Marcus Cosby is pastor and the late Hanq Neal was music minister, channels the super-charged, hand-clapping effervescence of classic late twentieth-century gospel choruses such as the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Choir, the Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer Choir, Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir, Keith Pringle’s ensembles, and a whole handful ...

Read More »

Katherine Burton – The Lord is On My Side

Katherine Burton The Lord is On My Side New Dawn Music (2014) www.KatherineBurton.com By Bob Marovich The violin has had a dalliance with gospel music throughout the genre’s history, although more so as of late, due to the cross-pollination of musical styles in the inspirational/gospel category. Brooke “Viosocalist” Alford and Kersten Stevens are two musicians who have recorded gospel jazz projects recently with violin as the main instrument. Katherine Burton is another. A graduate of Temple University College of Music and instrumentalist at a variety of gospel conventions, including the Gospel Workshop of America, Burton rosins up the bow to ...

Read More »

L. Spenser Smith – Unstoppable

L. Spenser Smith Unstoppable Smithworx/eOne (2014) www.lspensersmith.com By Bob Marovich Recorded live on September 21, 2012, to an aurally appreciative audience at Northview Christian Church in Montgomery, Alabama, Unstoppable is singer-songwriter Bishop L. Spenser Smith’s debut as a solo artist.  It’s a strong debut, too. Smith is among the new generation of gospel male crooners, a group that includes Earnest Pugh, Brian Courtney Wilson, Micah Stampley, Keith Williams, and Jonathan Nelson. His tenor is as flexible as a gymnast.  Given such vocal elasticity, it is no surprise that the ballads and hymns on Unstoppable best showcase Smith’s skills. His falsetto flights, ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: January 26, 2015

“Storms” Donald Malloy From LIVE. . .Finally Home www.donaldmalloyministries.com Recorded live a couple of years ago in Donald Malloy’s hometown of Cheraw, South Carolina, “Storms” leads the audience down the “don’t be discouraged” path about the storms of life. Just when you anticipate that Malloy will follow with, “but God will see you through,” he sings instead about the internal strength and character that storms bring to our lives. Now released as a single, “Storms” is a fine contemporary gospel performance that Malloy builds in dynamic intensity from husky, handsome crooning to preacher-like hard singing.

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »

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,” ...

Read More »