Reviews

Men of God’s Heart (self-titled)

Men of God’s Heart self-titled Independent release; release date: March 24, 2017 Available at digital music retail outlets By Bob Marovich Men of God’s Heart is a six-member contemporary quartet that can easily draw comparisons to the Rance Allen Group, the Mighty Clouds of Joy, and the Winans. In fact, on “Wilderness,” a track on their self-titled album, the group pays tribute to the Winans, suggesting that the Detroiters are direct influences on the Columbus, Ohio, male vocal group. Men of God’s Heart delivers the meatiness of traditional gospel quartet—the hard singing, the shouting, the preaching moments—with heavy instrumentation and ...

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“He’s My Rock” – Patrick Lundy & Ministers of Music

“He’s My Rock” Patrick Lundy & Ministers of Music (2017) www.plundymom.com By Bob Marovich Birthed more than twenty years ago out of the AME Church, Patrick Lundy & Ministers of Music offers a passionately rendered conventional R&P called “He’s My Rock.” The mid-tempo selection comes complete with the brassy vibrato-laden high harmonies that are as quintessentially gospel as the warble of the Hammond B3. While I prefer the semi-classical lushness of Lundy & MOM’s 2014 “Take it to the Lord in Prayer,” “He’s My Rock,” written by Marcus Johnson, is more radio-friendly and apt to be a go-to service opener ...

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William E. Johnson III – One God

William E. Johnson III One God WEJ Music (release date: January 28, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/williamejohnsoniii By Bob Marovich The Latin words on the Great Seal of the United States, e pluribus unum (out of many, one), could be the subtitle of William E. Johnson III’s One God. Unified praise by a community of worshipers to one God with many names is the thematic and musical thread running through the Los Angeles-based Praise and Worship leader’s album, recorded live at Antioch Church of Long Beach, California. Johnson’s high tenor is pulpit-honed, big and bold. It lends muscle to the album’s energetic opening ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 14, 2017

“Alabaster Box” Lillie Nicole McCloud From the album Red Apples (release date: May 27, 2015) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/lillienicolemccloud By Bob Marovich In 2013, Lillie Nicole McCloud of Orlando, Florida, wowed all four judges and the entire audience on Season 3 of the television competition show The X Factor with her rendition of CeCe Winans’ lovely Biblical ballad, “Alabaster Box.” McCloud’s dramatic pacing channels the late Whitney Houston and captures the gravitas of the story in Matthew about the woman who anoints Jesus’s head with oil. But the song, which highlights the tale’s message about the power of worship and salvation, also has strains ...

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Darrell McFadden & the Disciples – Covering All Areas: Phase One (EP)

Darrell McFadden & the Disciples Covering All Areas: Phase One (EP) DMDMG (release date: April 25, 2017) http://dmdaccess.com/ By Bob Marovich This five-track EP by Brooklyn quartet Darrell McFadden & the Disciples may not, as its title suggests, cover all areas, at least in terms of musical styles. What it does, however, is uplift the traditional sound in some instances and modernize it in others, and that’s good enough for me. Name checking another beloved Brooklyn group, Big Nick and the Gospel Heavyweights, the quartet covers the latter’s “Come On and See About Me,” complete with a slow strutting rhythm ...

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Preashea Hilliard – The Glory Experience

Preashea Hilliard The Glory Experience Daywind Records (release date: April 21, 2017) www.preasheahilliard.com By Bob Marovich “Are you ready for revival?” Preashea Hilliard asks the live recording audience at New Light Church in Houston, Texas. The crowd gives Hilliard, the daughter of New Light’s leaders Bishop I.V. and Pastor Bridget Hilliard, its assent.  But what she proposes is not an old-style tent revival, and they know it. The intention may be the same but hers is a twenty-first century version more accurately described in the album’s title as an “experience.” The Glory Experience album is, for all intents, a portable ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 5, 2017

“I Am Blessed” MarQuez Curtis feat. Tiffanie “Tutu” Agee Mary Elizabeth Music Group (2017) By Bob Marovich For those wondering what Tiffanie “Tutu” Agee of the Truthettes has been up to lately, it’s joining MarQuez Curtis in giving effusive testimony for blessings bestowed by God—blessings that neither singer takes for granted. That’s the premise of “I Am Blessed,” a spirited hand-clapper that blends the sleekness of contemporary gospel with the churchiness of quartet singing, complete with a vamp that could have gone on even longer. From Memphis, Tennessee, MarQuez Curtis attends Light of Glory International Church (LOGIC) under the leadership ...

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Pastor Marlon Lock – Unleashed (EP)

Pastor Marlon Lock Unleashed (2016) www.pastormarlonlock.com By Bob Marovich “You Covered Me,” a single from Stellar Award-nominated Pastor Marlon Lock of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, made JGM’s Pick of the Week last June. It appears on his EP, Unleashed, a collection of seven cuts that showcase Lock’s urban adult contemporary approach to mostly introspective songs and stories about one’s relationship with God. While I am a proponent of hiring a group of musicians versus having the computer do it all, the electronically engineered low-key accompaniment for most of the selections seems to fit the album’s confessional vibe. The lead track and single, ...

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Treva Jones: I Am Praise – The Project

Treva Jones I Am Praise – The Project Chezmusique (2017) www.trevajones.com By Bob Marovich Treva Jones wasn’t taking any chances when she assembled I Am Praise – The Project. The Houston, Texas, resident packed her latest release with some of gospel music’s finest singers, songwriters, and producers. She also took her time to put it together—three years to be exact—with the 2014 release of the I Am Praise EP but a preview of things to come. With songs written by V. Michael McKay, Margaret Douroux, and the late O’Landa Draper; with San Franklin Jackson and Mark Kibble (Take 6) as background ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 22, 2017

“Lord, You’ve Been Good to Me” Tim Woodson & the Heirs of Harmony Peacock Music Group (release date: April 11, 2017) www.peacockmusicgroup.com By Bob Marovich With their version of a gospel quartet classic recorded in 1961 by the Original Five Blind Boys (and credited to the late Lloyd Woodard), Tim Woodson & the Heirs of Harmony give a contemporary touch to what is otherwise a straight ahead old-school sound. The track opens with a low-volume and stripped down version of the song and then transitions, as from black and white to color, into the Heirs of Harmony’s version. “Lord, You’ve Been Good to ...

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