Urban AC Gospel

“Everybody Ought to Know” – D. Corey Shipley feat. Estee Bullock

“Everybody Ought to Know” D. Corey Shipley feat. Estee Bullock DuCosh Music Group (release date: April 28, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/dcoreyshipley By Bob Marovich “Everybody Ought to Know” is a humble worship song that riffs on the various names for God but reminds us that no matter the name, God is the solid rock. D. Corey Shipley and Estee Bullock (Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir) weave their confident lead vocals through the backing group’s assertive harmonies. The musicians keep the head bobbing funk beat, a slow stomp, moving steadily ahead throughout. D. Corey Shipley hails from Trenton, New Jersey, and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 12, 2017

“Forever Mercy” Lamont Sanders Independent release, October 2015 www.lamontsanders.com On “Forever Mercy,” New Jersey singer and songwriter Lamont Sanders—a self-described mashup of John P. Kee and Luther Vandross—contributes his combined experience in church music and R&B to this deftly-produced ballad that extols the grace and mercy of Jesus. Sanders not only gives thanks for that grace and mercy, but he seeks an invitation to discipleship because, after all, “we are nothing without you.” The repeated line, “Hallelujah Jesus, your mercy endures forever” gives the ballad its P&W moment and makes for an ideal congregational singalong in a worship service or ...

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Montel Dorsey & MUniversity – Love Over Hate

Montel Dorsey & MUniversity Love Over Hate MUniversity Records / eOne (release date: March 17, 2017) www.MUCampusLife.com By Bob Marovich The gospel group Montel Dorsey & MUniversity sets the thematic tone of its Love Over Hate CD by opening with a montage of radio and TV newscasts covering last year’s deadly shooting in Orlando, Florida. Overdubbing his anguished declarations that nobody has the right to decide who lives or dies, that we are not God, that God is love, and that love conquers hate, Dorsey expresses his extreme distress over today’s violent world. But don’t expect an album-long head shake ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 20, 2017

“Continuous Praise (Over and Over)” Zion’s Joy! Damascus Road Recording (release date: January 14, 2017) www.zionsjoy.com On “Continuous Praise (Over and Over),” Zion’s Joy!, an eleven-member multicultural gospel group from Indianapolis, evokes Kirk Franklin’s ensembles with its staccato vocals, musical swagger, ear candy hooks, and professional production. It’s a praise song with the zest to lift congregants up out of the pews and into the aisles, especially during the vamp, when the singers move into Friends of Distinction mode and begin singing contrapuntal motives. A workout mix, released in February, accentuates the electronica to optimize aerobic effort. Founded in 2008 ...

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“Trust In You” – Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy

“Trust In You” Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy From the forthcoming album A Long Way from Sunday www.tyscot.com Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy burst onto the gospel scene in 2012 with their self-titled album for Tyscot, but really raked in the accolades with their second album, Everyday Jesus.  It took home ten trophies at the 2016 Stellar Awards, including State Farm Song of the Year for “Worth.” The group just released “Trust in You,” the first single from its forthcoming next album, A Long Way from Sunday. The Brown-penned single doesn’t waste any time getting its message of faith across. Within a couple ...

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Various Artists: WOW GOSPEL 2017

Various Artists WOW GOSPEL 2017 RCA Inspiration (release date: January 27, 2017) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the annual WOW GOSPEL collection was my personal tutor for learning about the gospel scene. Back in those days, I was focused exclusively on vintage gospel music, and particularly the contributions of quartets. I looked forward with great anticipation to the next WOW GOSPEL project so I could take another lesson in modern gospel. I often purchased the two-CD set the day it was released. It was through WOW GOSPEL that I first encountered Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise,” Mary ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 23, 2016

“Excuse Me” Chrystal Rucker HBK Media (2016) Chrystal Rucker is one of the most gifted vocalists in gospel music today. Although some of her best work thus far has been on passionately rendered slow songs, “Excuse Me” gives her a chance to front a shoulder-shaking praiser. On “Excuse Me,” Rucker only hints at the reasons she shouts and lifts her hands in praise. She sings: “Wish I had the time to tell you, but you would not believe / All of the things God has done for me.” Just thinking about God’s goodness gets her all verklempt, which means more ...

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Half Mile Home – Don’t Judge Me

Half Mile Home Don’t Judge Me Church Boy Musik / Blacksmoke Music Worldwide (release date: July 8, 2016) www.halfmilehome.com By Bob Marovich Oh, the irony in reviewing a CD called Don’t Judge Me. That’s the name of Half Mile Home’s fourth and latest full-length project, which repackages some of the Ohio trio’s earlier cuts, a couple of live performances, and six new songs that bear the group’s soul-funky “rhythm and light” brand of Christian pop music. The new songs are sandwiched in between mixes of former releases, presumably to give newly acquired fans an updated sample of retro HMH. The ...

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Trisha Alicia – Pieces

Trisha Alicia Pieces New Day Christian Distributors (2016) www.trishalicia.com By Bob Marovich Martrisha Atkins (aka Trisha Alicia) is a singer-songwriter and spoken word artist whose album, Pieces, is a string of selections designed to tell a story—her story—not so much to achieve personal catharsis, though I’m sure it does, but more so to help others better understand their own story. With the notable exception of the title track, one of the album’s lyrical high points, don’t expect Trisha to hand her story to you on a silver platter. Instead, she offers droplets of truths throughout the album, which on its ...

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Christopher Williams – Stepping Out

Christopher Williams Stepping Out (private release, 2015) www.cdbaby.com/cd/christopherwilliams24 By Bob Marovich Stepping Out by Christopher Williams, a Jacksonville, Florida, singer, songwriter, worship leader, and Rhythm of Gospel Award nominee, showcases a contemporary gospel stylist with more than a dash of smooth jazz in his veins. Most of the album’s ten songs contain pop melodies that ride along on a smooth jazz accompaniment. Not to be confused with the R&B singer of the same name, Williams is a religious vocalist with a bright, optimistic tenor not unlike other young gospel industry stars such as Jonathan McReynolds, Maurice Griffin, and Todd Dulaney. Williams interjects exquisite falsetto notes whenever he wishes ...

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