Traditional Gospel

JGM Pick of the Week: May 6, 2019

“Keep Me” Carrington Alyse Brown Clarkstone Music Group (release date: March 1, 2019) By Bob Marovich With thunderous encouragement from a backing choir, seventeen-year-old Carrington Alyse Brown delivers her debut single, “Keep Me,” with steadily increasing intensity and passion. Produced by Jason Clark, executive director of the Tennessee Mass Choir, “Keep Me” is a traditional-flavored song with a message grounded in God’s constancy. That’s not surprising; she told Xuam Lawson on “Real Gospel with the Xman” that she likes traditional gospel because she is a “churchy girl.” Her sound is evocative of another young singer, and one of her favorite ...

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Pastor Donald Gay – On a Glorious Day

Pastor Donald Gay On a Glorious Day The Sirens Records (release date: March 15, 2019) www.thesirensrecords.com By Bob Marovich Like amber, Pastor Donald Gay’s On a Glorious Day preserves the sounds and stories of Chicago’s traditional gospel music and church community. Pastor Gay has been in gospel music since knee pants (a photo on the back of the CD booklet depicts Donald as a tyke, sitting atop a piano and flanked by his older sisters Evelyn, Geraldine and Mildred). As the Gay Sisters, Donald’s female siblings posted a significant gospel hit in 1951 by modernizing the hymn, “God Will Take ...

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Janice Gaines – Lead Me

Janice Gaines Lead Me (release date: March 22, 2019) www.janicegaines.com By Bob Marovich Janice Gaines’ Lead Me is a brief but satisfying journey through the hymnbook. It is also a far better showcase for her affecting vocal delivery than Greatest Life Ever, her 2015 album for Motown Gospel. Whereas that album aimed to attract a mass audience by offering generous helpings of bumping bass and electronica, it seemed ill-fitted to Gaines’s more grounded talent. This album, on the other hand, employs the less is more philosophy, meaning it is more authentically rooted in gospel’s one foundation: the church. As if ...

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Elsa Harris – I Thank God

Elsa Harris I Thank God The Sirens (release date: March 15, 2019) www.thesirensrecords.com By Bob Marovich Chicago is the birthplace of gospel music and, in many respects, it’s also the home of the genre’s most ardent preservation efforts. In addition to the forthcoming National Museum of Gospel Music, the vitality of traditional gospel in the Windy City can be heard on veteran gospel artist Elsa Harris’s mostly instrumental CD, I Thank God. Harris’s piano proclivities, forged in the practice room as well as the church, recalls the jauntiness of traditional gospel, a distinctive sound too often obscured in the wake ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 23, 2019

“Hold My Hand Lord” Donny Pomerlee feat. Paul Porter BBG Entertainment, LLC (release date: February 24, 2019) www.wrightmusicgroup.org By Bob Marovich On “Hold My Hand Lord,” Donny Pomerlee’s lithe tenor and Paul Porter’s gritty growl are like sugar and salt, and are just as addictive together. A native of Chicago, Pomerlee honed his vocal and instrumental skills in city churches. He was named Praise and Worship Artist of the Year at the first Chicago Gospel Music Awards. In lyric and style, however, “Hold My Hand Lord” is about as far from P&W as you can get. Pomerlee’s fourth single has ...

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The Lee Boys – Live on the East Coast

The Lee Boys Live on the East Coast M.C. Records (release date: April 19, 2019) www.mc-records.com By Bob Marovich Live on the East Coast, the Lee Boys’ first album since 2012’s Testify and the group’s first for Mark Carpentieri’s M.C. Records, is a smoking hot sanctified-meets-steel workout. Recorded in late 2018 at three live appearances—Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina—the Lee Boys’ album could just as easily have been titled Live in the Southeast. Name aside, the album combines traditional gospels and spirituals, newly-composed songs such as the title track from the group’s Testify album, and soul classics such as the ...

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Melvin Williams Seeks Photos for Mother’s Day Video Tribute

Melvin Williams of the Williams Brothers and, since 1988, a best-selling gospel solo artist, is putting together a video tribute for Mother’s Day.  He invites you to submit a photo of your mother for potential use in the video. If interested, please email the photo to melvinwilliamsentertainment@gmail.com. Submission deadline is May 3. Here’s the song, taken from his 2018 Emmy-nominated PBS special.

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Marie Knight – The Gospel Truth Live

Marie Knight The Gospel Truth Live M. C. Records (release date: March 23, 2018) www.mc-records.com By Bob Marovich On a rainy October 19, 2007, in North Adams, Massachusetts, after a passel of church choirs appeared at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Gospel Fest, the audience warmly received the headliner, an eighty-seven-year-old music veteran. Marie Knight, a gospel and R&B star and well-known collaborator with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Sister Rosetta Tharpe, was the veteran, and Mark Carpentieri’s M. C. Records captured her complete song service on tape. Released last year, The Gospel Truth Live is the ...

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Roberta Martin Singers: 1947-1962

Roberta Martin Singers Didn’t It Rain / Only a Look / The Old Ship of Zion: 1947-1962 Fremeaux & Associes (release date: February 2019) www.fremeaux.com By Bob Marovich Roberta Martin is to today’s enthusiasts of gospel music what writers like James Joyce and Henry James are to today’s enthusiasts of literature: someone whose work is considered the gold standard, but few take the time to explore the wonderment of their artistic creations. Fremeaux & Associes in France has made it easier to indulge in the work of Roberta Martin and her Roberta Martin Singers. Offering 72 tracks and a 24-page ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 4, 2019

“He Has Been Good” Bernice Brown Gregory From the EP Faithful (EP release date: July 28, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/bernicebrowngregory By Bob Marovich The opening track of Bernice Brown Gregory’s Faithful, an EP of relaxed contemporary praise songs and a digitally orchestrated version of “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” is an up-tempo churchy tune called “He Has Been Good.” Evoking the exuberance of the Chicago Mass Choir, Bernice and her background choir raise the roof on this declaration of God’s marvelous work within their lives. It’s Bernice’s first commercial recording since 2008’s God’s Been Good to Me, whose title track is similar in ...

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