Praise & Worship

Travis Greene – Broken Record

Travis Greene Broken Record RCA Inspiration (release date: November 1, 2019) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Broken Record is Travis Greene’s fourth full-length album and continues the youthful sacred fusion of his previous work. Against convention, the album opens with a slow, introspective song called “The Breaker.” It is only after this thoughtful piece has faded that the album moves into a lively gear with the countrified worship song, “Great Jehovah.” Greene later reprises this galloping tempo on a song of gratitude called “No One Else.” Also bucking convention, Greene doesn’t use a church or auditorium to record the initial tracks ...

Read More »

“Arise” – Jason Williams

“Arise” Jason Williams Paper City Records (release date: October 9, 2019) By Bob Marovich “Arise” by Jason Williams is an easy-to-learn worship song suited for church praise teams. Though on the single, an almost breathless Williams and his background vocalists are accompanied by bumping bass, grinding guitar, flashes of organ, and the complex drumming characteristic of post-modern gospel, the song can easily be stripped down for a simpler arrangement. The song concludes with a praise-inducing vamp that likely lights up audiences at live programs. Williams is an Arkansas-based singer and songwriter. “Arise” is the first release from his forthcoming EP, ...

Read More »

“Psalms 34” – Chris Wesley & Undignified Praise, feat. Dana Hemphill

“Psalms 34” Chris Wesley & Undignified Praise, feat. Dana Hemphill Undignified Music (release date: April 5, 2019) www.undignifiedpraise.com By Bob Marovich Pastor Chris Wesley plays the role of exhorter as vocalist Dana Hemphill fronts Undignified Praise on this reading of “Psalms 34.” Written by Paul Shepherd and Tramaul Love, and arranged by Patrick Wright, Roy Cotton, and Wesley, this second single by Wesley and UDP is a praise song that improvises on the line, “I will praise the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Its simple structure and melody are suited for a worship ...

Read More »

“Oh How Good It Is” – Byron Cage

“Oh How Good It Is” Byron Cage From the Malaco / AIR Release Isolation (release date: September 27, 2019) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Byron Cage, designated the Prince of Praise for helping popularize Praise & Worship music in African American churches, opens his new single, the cheerful “Oh How Good It Is,” with a declaration of praise. He wants to be “in the presence of the King”—so much so that it makes him want to shout, holler, and throw up his hands. Not out of anger and frustration, like Marvin Gaye, but out of joy and gratitude. Halfway through the ...

Read More »

William McDowell – The Cry: A Live Worship Experience

William McDowell The Cry: A Live Worship Experience Integrity Music (release date: September 20, 2019) www.WilliamMcDowellMusic.com By Bob Marovich I’ve always felt that Praise & Worship music ought to be recorded live. Since it comes out of the worship experience, why not capture it in this same environment? That’s what William McDowell has done with The Cry: A Live Worship Experience. The advent of digital distribution has made possible an album like this, with a total of eighteen tracks that provide more than two hours of singing and instrumental and spoken word interludes. The album, McDowell’s sixth, was recorded not ...

Read More »

“Way Maker” – Tonya Ware

“Way Maker” Tonya Ware From the EP Signature of God, Volume One The Success House (release date: July 19, 2019) www.tonyaware.com By Bob Marovich Back in 2006, Tonya Ware recorded her debut album, The Voice. Among its many fine cuts, the album featured a marvelous single written by Marvin Winans called “Put My Hand in Yours.” It earned Ware a Stellar Award nomination. But it was the likable “Rain” that caught my attention. Ware’s vast but not excessively flashy voice was perfect for this pop-flavored prayer for an overflow of blessings. With a successful album and an executive position with ...

Read More »

VaShawn Mitchell – Elements

VaShawn Mitchell Elements Fair Trade / Columbia (release date: August 9, 2019) www.vashawnmitchell.com By Bob Marovich More than other styles of sacred music, Praise and Worship tends to focus on the elements. For example, the music creates an “atmosphere” for worship, while song lyrics use wind, water, and fire as metaphors for the presence, or anticipated presence, of the Holy Ghost and the “showering” of blessings. Nowhere is this more evident than on worship leader VaShawn Mitchell’s new album, Elements. The title of his first album in three years telegraphs the use of the earth’s substances to describe the descent ...

Read More »

Kurt Carr – Bless Somebody Else

Kurt CarrBless Somebody ElseRCA Inspiration (release date: July 19, 2019)www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich In what may well be the most heartrending introduction you will hear on a gospel album this year, Praise & Worship pioneer Kurt Carr uses the opening moments of his new CD, Bless Somebody Else, to relate the final moments he spent at the deathbed of gospel great Andrae Crouch. Squeezing Carr’s hand, Crouch, who in his early days encountered no small amount of criticism for contemporizing church music, entreats his protégé to always lift the name of Jesus in his songs. From there, Carr and the ...

Read More »

Nashville Life Music – The Taylor House Sessions (EP)

Nashville Life Music The Taylor House Sessions (EP) Integrity Music (release date: May 24, 2019) www.nashvillelifemusic.com By Bob Marovich From the loping tempo and bass-heavy opening of the single “My God,” and the playful use of auto-tune by Byron Chambers (aka Mr. Talkbox) as a medium for scatting and raising lyric lines, you know that Nashville Life Music has soul. The overall feeling of the group’s Taylor House Sessions EP, recorded at the Taylor House Studio in East Nashville, Tennessee, and especially given the cheering and applause between selections, is of a relaxed communal singalong powered by a throbbing rhythm ...

Read More »

“There’s No One Like You” – Kelontae Gavin

“There’s No One Like You” Kelontae Gavin From the Tyscot album The Higher Experience www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Success couldn’t happen to a nicer guy than Kelontae Gavin. Part of Gavin’s appeal is his genuine spirit, which shines through in his singing, such as on the P&W ballad “There’s No One Like You.” He and his background vocalists take this unabashed prayer of praise, a follow-up to the hit “No Ordinary Worship,” from smooth to sanctified and back again. The congregation, captivated by the chorus, sings the song to its conclusion. I’m not a big fan of P&W except when ...

Read More »