Praise & Worship

“Strong Name” – Darius Paulk

“Strong Name”Darius PaulkAIR / Malaco (2019)www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Darius Paulk, perhaps best known for penning Vashawn Mitchell’s number one hit “Nobody Greater,” demonstrated facility as a singer on his own 2012 EP, Lyrics and Melodies (which included his own interpretation of “Nobody Greater”). “Strong Name,” Paulk’s debut single for Malaco’s Atlanta International Records imprint, is an equally extroverted proclamation of worship, a head raised and hands extended offering to the Most High. Paulk’s flights into falsetto are evocative of Mitchell as he navigates the song’s easy melody until the song’s final moments, when a growing musical intensity uncorks his ...

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The Recording Collective – Yes and Amen

The Recording Collective Yes and Amen (release date: February 8, 2019) www.therecordingcollective.com By Bob Marovich The Recording Collective is a largely (perhaps intentionally) anonymous ensemble created by MultiTracks.com, a company that has for more than a decade provided churches with Clicks, Loops, and multi-tracks to give their amateur musicians a professional-sounding sonic boost. Yes and Amen in the third volume in the company’s series of albums and EPs designed, according to The Recording Collective’s mission statement, to “be a resource to worship leaders and listeners in multicultural congregations around the world.” Named for the Bethel Worship hit that is among ...

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William Murphy – Settle Here

William Murphy Settle Here RCA Inspiration (release date: March 15, 2019) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich William Murphy uses home court advantage to his best advantage on his sixth and latest solo album, Settle Here. Recorded live on a rainy evening at Atlanta’s dReam Center Church, where Murphy is worship leader, Settle Here offers ten superb P&W songs instead of replicating a worship service, warts and all, in lockstep fashion. For example, the album opens not with the almost compulsory cookie-cutter aerobic praise piece but with Christian artist Zach Williams’ dramatic “Chain Breaker.” The song, recorded previously by Angela “Missy” Billups, ...

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Phillip Carter – Live in Suwalki, Poland

Phillip Carter Featuring the Suwalki Workshop Choir and the Sounds of Victory Live in Suwalki, Poland SOV, Inc. (release date: January 25, 2019) www.phillipcartermusic.com By Bob Marovich The international popularity of gospel music has provided American choir directors and clinicians with opportunities to teach gospel vocal techniques to choirs in Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, and elsewhere around the world. Directors Norris Garner and Phillip Carter have found working in Poland, and specifically with talented conductor Szymon Markiewicz, to be particularly fruitful. Indeed, Carter’s collaboration with Markiewicz and the Suwalki Workshop Choir is the subject of his CD, Live in Suwalki, Poland. ...

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Casey J – The Gathering

Casey J The Gathering Casey J, LLC and Tyscot Records under exclusive license to Integrity Music (release date: January 25, 2019) The Gathering cements Casey J’s place in the pride of young lionesses of Praise & Worship, a cadre that includes such artists as Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Preashea Hilliard, Bri Babineaux, and Dominique Jones. Fascinatingly, what makes The Gathering work is not the characteristically P&W songs like “Hosanna” and the popular “1,000 Hallelujahs,” though the latter’s chimeric Afro-Caribbean rhythm separates it from the pack. It’s the musical risks Casey J takes by incorporating into the album’s selections styles of American ...

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Puchi Colon – We Await (EP)

Puchi Colon We Await (EP) Jovi Music (release date: September 7, 2018) www.puchicolon.com By Bob Marovich On We Await, Puchi Colon, who JGM has cited as the “Miami Sound Machine of Praise & Worship,” steps away from his traditionally zesty, sun-dipped arrangements to present an EP of straightforward P&W. Throughout the 32-minute live presentation, conventional P&W songs uncomplicated in lyric, melody, and arrangement are tagged with animated, almost unceasing, percussion and energetic call-and-response vocalizing. The presence of brass is unmistakable but the players stick to the typical P&W script, not veering into the Latin riffs that distinguished Colon’s previous work. ...

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Jonathan Nelson Wants Listeners to be “Inspired, Encouraged, and Empowered” by New Album

By Bob Marovich In 1776, the Declaration of Independence freed American people from the oppression of the Royal Crown. In 2018, Jonathan Nelson’s seventh studio album, Declarations, is intended to free all people for salvation under the Holy Crown. The Stellar Award-winning singer and songwriter releases Declarations (Entertainment One) nationwide and through digital outlets today, Friday, September 14. “I want the album to leave listeners inspired, encouraged, and empowered,” Nelson told the Journal of Gospel Music. “If they sing these songs of themselves, they can see the results of what they say. If they say ‘I’m healed,’ they can be free ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 13, 2018

“With All My Heart” Marlon McDaniel M2 Music (release date: August 4, 2016) www.marlonmcdaniel.com By Bob Marovich Accompanied only by piano, gospel singer-songwriter Marlon McDaniel delivers a delicate ballad of praise in “With All My Heart.” The song’s audience-melting sweetness earned the Ohio singer from the Church of God in Christ two Rhythm of Gospel Awards this summer: Best Performance by a Male Artist, and Praise & Worship Male Vocalist of the Year. With its lovely melody and uncomplicated lyrics, “With All My Heart” allows so much space for vocal improvisation that gospel singers who hear it will be dying to ...

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Fred Hammond – The Best of Fred Hammond

Fred Hammond The Best of Fred Hammond Verity Records (release date: June 15, 2018) www.verityrecords.com By Bob Marovich With his husky voice and preacher-like confidence in front of a congregation or audience, Fred Hammond is a solid contender for the title Prince of Power Praise. The hour-plus retrospective The Best of Fred Hammond is part of Verity Records’ #WeAreVerity campaign. It focuses on the former member of Commissioned’s catalog since he first recorded for the label back in 1995 as a soloist supported by his group, Radical for Christ. The music chugs along, track by track, thanks to a smart mix of energetic selections and ...

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Javen – Grace

Javen Grace Tyscot Records (release date: June 22, 2018) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich It’s been five years since actor and P&W recording artist Javen released Worship in the Now – Live, but Grace is worth the wait. Rare is the album that features so many quality original songs, but Grace is one of those. Javen Campbell wrote or co-wrote all of the material, save for “Amazing Grace.” And also with one exception (again, “Amazing Grace”), each track features a strong guest vocalist, the most notable of them being Tye Tribbett, Da’ T.R.U.T.H., Tim Bowman Jr., and Candy West. The album’s singular selections are ...

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