Urban AC Gospel

Jor’Dan Armstrong – Confident EP

Jor’Dan Armstrong Confident SeaQ/Good Guys (release date: January 1, 2016) www.jordanarmstrongmusic.com By Bob Marovich Almost immediately after the clock signaled the start of 2016, Jor’Dan Armstrong dropped his six-track EP, Confident, possibly making it the first gospel release of the new year. The timing is not coincidental. Armstrong has deemed this EP somewhat of a new direction for him. Indeed, while the messaging is just as positive and encouraging as his other releases, such as last year’s lively 25 Days of Summer, the music—from the opening siren strains of “All I Know” to the concluding tones of the evangelistic “So For ...

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Deon Kipping – A Place Called Victory (EP)

Deon Kipping A Place Called Victory EP RCA Inspiration (January 8, 2016) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Connecticut’s Deon Kipping stepped into the gospel music spotlight first as a songwriter (with JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise’s “Incredible God, Incredible Praise”) and as a featured vocalist almost immediately thereafter (on “Incredible God, Incredible Praise”). From there, his music and singing took him to the Billboard charts. A Place Called Victory is Kipping’s latest release and as an EP, it is a foretaste of a full album soon to follow. The four selections are well chosen because they are all effervescently sung by ...

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Alache’ – The Chronicles of the Mrs. (EP)

Alache’ The Chronicles of the Mrs. (EP) MADE, Inc. / Elevate Entertainment / Syntax Distribution Release date: November 27, 2015 www.alache.com By Bob Marovich The Nigerian-born Alache’ has learned to be a lot more comfortable about life in the five years that have passed since her last music project.  The petite singer-songwriter is now married, has two children, and is ready to jump back into the music business. She also wants to share her lessons with you on an EP of intimate personal reflection, titled The Chronicles of the Mrs. The feathery-voiced Alache’ traverses several stylistic platforms in the EP’s limited running time, ...

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Janice Gaines – Greatest Life Ever

Janice Gaines Greatest Life Ever Motown Gospel (release date: October 9, 2015) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich While listening to Janice Gaines sing “The Break-Up Song,” on her debut album, Greatest Life Ever, it struck me that she could have been a fourth member of Destiny’s Child.  She can ride a rhythm as effortlessly as Bey and them. At the same time, Gaines has a worship leader’s heart of joyful exuberance, meaning she could deliver a DC stinger, if warranted, but she would follow it up not with a snarky glance but with a smile and a wink. All this is to ...

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Deitrick Haddon – Masterpiece

Deitrick Haddon Masterpiece eOne/DH Visions/Releve’ Entertainment (release date: November 6, 2015) www.eonemusic.com By Bob Marovich We are blank canvasses that God, the ultimate artist, fashions into beautiful works of art, declares Deitrick Haddon on the title track of his new album, Masterpiece, released yesterday. But it’s the blank canvas or, more accurately, the damaged canvas, not the finished painting, which captures Haddon’s interest. Observing from the rarefied air of a man “who ain’t got nothing to prove or lose,” he warns humanity to clean its canvas by getting right with itself and with God. Why? Because this is his story, too, ...

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Deitrick Haddon: “We Are All God’s Masterpieces”

Last week, Deitrick Haddon spoke with Bob Marovich of the Journal of Gospel Music about his new album, Masterpiece, which Entertainment One will release this Friday, November 6. JGM: Masterpiece, the album, is being described as sort of a musical maturation on your part. Is that a fair assumption? DH: Absolutely. It definitely reflects where I am in my life right now. That’s how I create records: I’m inspired by my life. What I have experienced in my life tends to show up in my music. JGM: On Preachers of LA and in performance, you come across as very real, ...

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Alexis Spight – Dear Diary

Alexis Spight Dear Diary Uncle G Records / eOne Music (2015) www.unclegpromo.com By Bob Marovich On the opening track of her new album, Dear Diary, the blazingly red haired Alexis Spight declares she comes from the old church and commences to sing a medley of congregation classics as an “old school song with a new school twang.” From there, however, Dear Diary offers mostly new school twang, with modern beats and instrumentation, flashes and chortles of electronica, and percussive piano quarter notes as intros on a few tracks. The instrumentation, in fact, is as much of a presence on the ...

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“Not That Easy” – Trinity Dawson

“Not That Easy” Trinity Dawson www.trinitydawsonmusic.com Strength against adversity is the theme of Trinity Dawson’s single, “Not That Easy.” Amidst a life filled with twists and turns and problems that “look ten feet tall,” Dawson reaches within to remember that he has heavenly help. The thumping drums, sounding like an accelerated heartbeat, accentuate the intensity of his emotions. The song could well be autobiographical. Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trinity Dawson earned a full scholarship to the University of Toledo, where he was a star running back. In his junior year, Dawson suffered a serious injury.  When the NFL was no ...

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“Here I Am” – Zaviel Janae

Zaviel Janae Here I Am (2015) Available on iTunes By Bob Marovich Zaviel Janae Slack (Zaviel Janae) of Atlanta opens her live album, Here I Am, with a blunt and tearful testimony. Her story of how a pregnancy out of wedlock went from bad to worse but ended positively is the kind of mea culpa that leads one to devote her life to God and sacred music. That’s what she’s done. Praise leader, member of neo-soul group Lyrikal, and frequent vocalist with Darwin Hobbs, Zaviel Janae has an expressive, church-filling voice that, like Casey J, Tasha Cobbs, or Kierra Sheard, ...

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Gerald “Da Gospel Truth” Jones Presents The Independent Spirit, Vol. 1

Various Artists Gerald “Da Gospel Truth” Jones Presents The Independent Spirit, Volume 1 (release date: September 4, 2015) www.ispiritmusic.com By Bob Marovich Industry insiders will tell you that some of the best gospel music is not being heard on mainstream gospel radio. It’s being produced by independent, or indie, artists. That should not surprise anyone. It is the case with most music genres. It has been that way for decades. Artists typically do their finest work during their “hungry” or “salad” days. And every artist was once an independent. James Cleveland. Kirk Franklin. Mahalia Jackson. The Caravans. The father of ...

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