Praise & Worship

“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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Genesis of a Gospel Song: “Every Praise” (J. David Bratton)

By Bob Marovich Ed. Note: This is the first of what the Journal of Gospel Music hopes will be a series of conversations with writers of some of today’s most popular gospel songs. It was inspired by articles in the Wall Street Journal about the origins of classic pop and rock recordings. “Every Praise” by J. David Bratton, on Hezekiah Walker’s Azusa: The Next Generation (RCA Inspiration, 2013) Minister J. David Bratton as told to JGM’s Bob Marovich I was born and raised in Vallejo, California. I wrote a couple of songs when I was in high school, but I ...

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Tasha Cobbs On Recording “One Place Live”

Last week, Motown Gospel artist Tasha Cobbs released her second album, One Place Live. Recorded at Redemption Church in Greenville, South Carolina, the album received five of five stars from the Journal of Gospel Music. JGM’s Bob Marovich caught up with the award-winning vocalist last Friday, the day of the album release. JGM: How do you prepare for a recording like this? TC: I’m truly blessed to have an amazing band, amazing singers, and throughout the year we travel together. So it’s almost like us doing what we do on a weekly basis, just with a recording truck. That was ...

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Tasha Cobbs – One Place Live

Tasha Cobbs One Place Live Motown Gospel (release date: August 21, 2015) www.motowngospel.com By Bob Marovich Recorded before nearly 3,000 worshippers at Redemption Church in Greenville, South Carolina, singer-songwriter Tasha Cobbs’ One Place Live is a solid follow-up to her number one CD, Grace. It actually surpasses the multi-award-winning debut album, as the worship songstress sounds more vocally confident than ever before. On One Place Live, produced by label-mate VaShawn Mitchell, Cobbs doesn’t as much lead as direct or orchestrate the flow of praise and worship. Song transitions are effortless and create a worship experience that is nigh perfect in its ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 3, 2015

“I’ll Be the One” Bri Babineaux Marquis Boone Enterprises (2015) www.brination.org Bri (Briana) Babineaux eagerly accepts the call to discipleship on her debut single, “I’ll Be the One.” The lovely twenty-year-old coed from the University of Louisiana evokes another emerging artist, Casey J, by placing her youthful and confident voice atop sinuous musicianship and supportive background vocalists. The gentle P&W ballad caught the industry by surprise when it debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Gospel Digital Download chart. It made history by landing the top spot without major radio airplay, personal appearances, or prior sales. It also entered the Hot Singles Sales Chart ...

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Casey J – The Truth

Casey J The Truth Marquis Boone Enterprises/Tyscot Records (released April 21, 2015) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich The next best thing to a live gospel music program is listening to a live gospel music program on a recording. That’s why it was smart for Casey J to release her debut album, The Truth, as a live worship experience.  And on home turf: the recording took place on January 30, 2015, at Fresh Start Church in Duluth, Georgia, where Casey is morning worship leader. Casey J. Hobbs, known as Casey J, is the newest rising star in gospel music. Her debut single, ...

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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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