Reviews

JGM Pick of the Week: April 23, 2019

“Hold My Hand Lord” Donny Pomerlee feat. Paul Porter BBG Entertainment, LLC (release date: February 24, 2019) www.wrightmusicgroup.org By Bob Marovich On “Hold My Hand Lord,” Donny Pomerlee’s lithe tenor and Paul Porter’s gritty growl are like sugar and salt, and are just as addictive together. A native of Chicago, Pomerlee honed his vocal and instrumental skills in city churches. He was named Praise and Worship Artist of the Year at the first Chicago Gospel Music Awards. In lyric and style, however, “Hold My Hand Lord” is about as far from P&W as you can get. Pomerlee’s fourth single has ...

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Zion’s Joy! – What Would Heaven Look Like

Zion’s Joy! What Would Heaven Look Like Habakkuk Music (release date: March 8, 2019) www.zionsjoy.com By Bob Marovich Hailing from Indianapolis, Indiana, the multicultural small choir called Zion’s Joy! made national news in mid-2018 when the video for their single, “What Would Heaven Look Like,” was erroneously blocked by Facebook. From the “no good deed goes unpunished” department: it was only after the group paid to boost their Facebook post of the video that it was flagged by the social media giant as “political content” and subsequently blocked. The company ultimately apologized and restored the video on its platform, noting ...

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The Lee Boys – Live on the East Coast

The Lee Boys Live on the East Coast M.C. Records (release date: April 19, 2019) www.mc-records.com By Bob Marovich Live on the East Coast, the Lee Boys’ first album since 2012’s Testify and the group’s first for Mark Carpentieri’s M.C. Records, is a smoking hot sanctified-meets-steel workout. Recorded in late 2018 at three live appearances—Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina—the Lee Boys’ album could just as easily have been titled Live in the Southeast. Name aside, the album combines traditional gospels and spirituals, newly-composed songs such as the title track from the group’s Testify album, and soul classics such as the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 15, 2019

“You Don’t Know” Zacardi Cortez Black Smoke Music Worldwide (2019) By Bob Marovich “You don’t know my story,” is a frequently uttered church aphorism. “I don’t look like what I’ve been through” is another. On the appropriately-titled “You Don’t Know,” the popular gospel singer Zacardi Cortez (“Oh, How I Love You,” “1 On 1”) offers his own testimony. His big, rough-as-sandpaper shouting tenor, introduced to a national gospel audience on James Fortune & FIYA’s 2007 album The Transformation, is on full display on this deceptively powerful song, as much a recitative of gratitude as a cathartic expression of trials endured ...

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Marie Knight – The Gospel Truth Live

Marie Knight The Gospel Truth Live M. C. Records (release date: March 23, 2018) www.mc-records.com By Bob Marovich On a rainy October 19, 2007, in North Adams, Massachusetts, after a passel of church choirs appeared at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Gospel Fest, the audience warmly received the headliner, an eighty-seven-year-old music veteran. Marie Knight, a gospel and R&B star and well-known collaborator with Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Sister Rosetta Tharpe, was the veteran, and Mark Carpentieri’s M. C. Records captured her complete song service on tape. Released last year, The Gospel Truth Live is the ...

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Rezurected – The Prodigal Son

Rezurected The Prodigal Son Dubbstarr LLC (release date: March 19, 2019) www.rezurected.org By Bob Marovich The Prodigal Son is an appropriately titled album for Rezurected. It depicts, in nine bite-sized tracks, his personal story from the consequences of an early life of bad decisions to salvation and victory. The Christian hip hop artist Rezurected is Brent Reusch (pronounced “rush), an Atlantan who now lives in Cleveland, Ohio. The Prodigal Son tells his tale through a mix of urban street vernacular and biblical quotes buoyed by beats that are sometimes gothic, sometimes melodic, and other times minimalist or infused with fuzzy ...

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“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 ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 8, 2019

“All That I Have (One God)” Lamont Sanders DarkChild Gospel / Bear Tag Entertainment By Bob Marovich In his muscular yet flexible baritone, Lamont Sanders delivers this pop-influenced rhythm ballad about giving back to God, who has given so much to us, especially his only begotten son. The background vocalists share the spotlight on this solid song and message for the Lenten season.  Lots to like here. The Willingboro, New Jersey, native earned a scholarship to study musical theater at the University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia and can play seven instruments. The way he works this song demonstrates ...

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Powerhouse Fellowship Soul Choir featuring Shawn Cotterell – It’s Not Over LIVE

Powerhouse Fellowship Soul Choir featuring Shawn Cotterell It’s Not Over LIVE Impact Gospel (release date: September 21, 2018) www.powerhousefellowship.net By Bob Marovich Canada has been, and continues to be, home to some very solid gospel choirs. The Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir, the Quebec Celebration Gospel Choir, and Sharon Riley & Faith Chorale are a few that come to mind. Here’s another: from the greater Toronto area comes the Powerhouse Fellowship Soul Choir. It was formed, like many mass choirs, for a specific program or purpose, but in 1988, two years after its birth, it became an official entity under its ...

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Apostle Thomas – The Resurrection (EP)

Apostle Thomas The Resurrection (EP) T&T Ministry Records (release: December 20, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/apostlethomasthesanktifi By Bob Marovich Unlike the doubting Apostle Thomas of the New Testament, the Christian rapper Apostle Thomas of South Carolina is fully certain who Christ is. Apostle Thomas, born Thomas Leroy Morrison and also known as “The Sanktified Soulja,” gets candid about his life before and after salvation on a respectable independently-released four-track EP called The Resurrection. The rhymes on the appropriately-titled EP are well-articulated—Thomas rarely embellishes his vocals with daredevil speed work so the message gets full attention. Nor does Thomas employ clever metaphors and analogies, ...

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