Praise & Worship

JGM Pick of the Week: April 13, 2015

“I Am Free” Ladell Cole From the CD I Am Free www.cdbaby.com/cd/ladellcole2 Singer-songwriter Ladell Cole lofts falsetto notes over this gentle, hand waving anthem of eternal gratitude to Jesus for the price he paid to purchase the world’s freedom. The melody is lovely and the key change adds just the right amount of punch to the concluding chorus. Ladell Cole is worship pastor at Christ Fellowship Church in Tampa, Florida, and organizer of the city’s popular Worship United celebration.  The song is the title track from Cole’s sophomore album, released last August.

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 6, 2015

“Pray” Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir From the CD Pray (released February 2015) www.brooklyntabernacle.org Lead vocalist Timiney Figueroa sings passionately about the power of prayer as the wave of delicious sound that is the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir rolls over her in giant washes of majestic harmony. The song is the title track of the multicultural choir’s 29th album since its founding by Carol Cymbala in 1973. Of this live recording, Cymbala says: “With so many tragic events happening in the world today, Pray serves as a reminder of the importance of having a relationship with Jesus, because communion is what He longs ...

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Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago – Any Given Sunday

Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago Any Given Sunday Inspired People/Motown Gospel (release date: March 17, 2015) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Any artist will tell you how difficult it is to repeat the magic of a debut album, especially if the debut shot upward through the charts like a rocket, topped the charts, stayed on the charts, and earned five Stellar Awards. That is the situation Pastor Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago find themselves in with their sophomore release, Any Given Sunday. Given the meteoric rise and success of the choir’s debut, The Best of Both Worlds, which produced the smash hit ...

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Pastor Jonathan DuBose Jr. & the Agape House Fellowship: Going to a Place Called There

Pastor Jonathan DuBose Jr. & the Agape House Fellowship Going to a Place Called There JOBO Enterprizes, LLC (2014) www.agapehousefellowship.net By Bob Marovich While music enthusiasts know Jonathan DuBose Jr. as an in-demand guitarist / session musician, they may not know of his life as Pastor Jonathan DuBose Jr. of Agape House Fellowship in his hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Going to a Place Called There, the title based on Ezekiel 48:35, gives some inkling of the musical soundtrack to DuBose’s ministerial calling.  It is his church’s live recording, conducted at West End Tabernacle on May 10, 2014. Part worship service, ...

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Katherine Burton – The Lord is On My Side

Katherine Burton The Lord is On My Side New Dawn Music (2014) www.KatherineBurton.com By Bob Marovich The violin has had a dalliance with gospel music throughout the genre’s history, although more so as of late, due to the cross-pollination of musical styles in the inspirational/gospel category. Brooke “Viosocalist” Alford and Kersten Stevens are two musicians who have recorded gospel jazz projects recently with violin as the main instrument. Katherine Burton is another. A graduate of Temple University College of Music and instrumentalist at a variety of gospel conventions, including the Gospel Workshop of America, Burton rosins up the bow to ...

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L. Spenser Smith – Unstoppable

L. Spenser Smith Unstoppable Smithworx/eOne (2014) www.lspensersmith.com By Bob Marovich Recorded live on September 21, 2012, to an aurally appreciative audience at Northview Christian Church in Montgomery, Alabama, Unstoppable is singer-songwriter Bishop L. Spenser Smith’s debut as a solo artist.  It’s a strong debut, too. Smith is among the new generation of gospel male crooners, a group that includes Earnest Pugh, Brian Courtney Wilson, Micah Stampley, Keith Williams, and Jonathan Nelson. His tenor is as flexible as a gymnast.  Given such vocal elasticity, it is no surprise that the ballads and hymns on Unstoppable best showcase Smith’s skills. His falsetto flights, ...

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foreverJONES – Prayer Tools, Vol. 1

foreverJONES Prayer Tools, Vol. 1 (released November 11, 2014) www.prayerproject.foreverjones.com By Bob Marovich With its latest release, Prayer Tools, Vol. 1, foreverJONES may well have heralded a new subgenre of black sacred music: ambient inspirational. It is the Shreveport, Louisiana-based family band’s first project after departing EMI Gospel and first on its own label. The more than 150 minute-long project, only available digitally at the moment, contains seven individual song compositions and a bonus track, with additional instrumental versions of four selections. Experimental in sound and structure, Prayer Tools, Vol. 1 is designed to help worshipers enter into an ongoing dialogue ...

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Meka King – Believe. The Live Recording

Meka King Believe. The Live Recording Sonflower Joy Music (rel. October 28, 2014) www.mekaking.com By Bob Marovich Those who attended Praise & Worship Leader Meka King’s live recording session at The Gathering Place Church in Sanford, Florida, on February 18, 2012, entered a gospel concert but exited a church service. Believe. The Live Recording is King’s sophomore CD and the product of the February 2012 recording session. The two-disc set is brimming with bold, dramatic P&W arrangements.  Most were recorded live, with a few final tracks sounding as if they were made in a studio. After a theatrical spoken word intro, the ...

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Eddie James – Shift

Eddie James Shift Fresh Wine Records (2012) www.ejworship.org By Bob Marovich Back in the day, recorded black sacred music was restricted by its medium. The brittle 78 rpm and its cooler cousin, the 45 rpm record, gave singers and musicians about four minutes per side to get their message across. The LP expanded things a little, offering as much as an hour of music. Today, a two-disc CD set enables artists to provide nearly three hours of almost uninterrupted listening. The latter is what singer-songwriter and minister Eddie James has employed for Shift. This 2-CD pocket-sized worship service is produced in the ...

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