Reviews

Lisa Barron & Joyful Sounds – Show Me the Way

Lisa Barron & Joyful Sounds Show Me the Way Faith Productions (2015) www.cdbaby.com/Artist/LisaBarronJoyfulSounds By Bob Marovich Although at first blush it may seem as if Lisa Barron & Joyful Sounds is a female quartet, the EP Show Me the Way finds the group working mainly in the piano/organ-led gospel group tradition, more specifically the leader-group style that has been popular for the past 25 years or so. Show Me the Way is the debut release from Barron & Joyful Sounds, a Texas group organized in 2013. The Longview, Texas-born Barron has been singing in church since around age nine, especially ...

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The Original Gospel Creators of Atlanta – Blessed by the Best

The Original Gospel Creators of Atlanta Blessed by the Best Sharper Brothers Records (2016) www.sharprecordsusa.com By Bob Marovich The Original Gospel Creators of Atlanta deliver a decent album in Blessed by the Best. Buoyed by crisp electric guitar work from Terrain Foster (first cousin to the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi’s Sandy Foster), the ten selections find the quartet toiling lyrically and melodically in a traditional bent, though the tracklist includes new songs as well as old favorites. One of the new songs, “Oh Lord,” is an unabashed request for Jesus to return. It opens with a cappella singing and transitions ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 9, 2016

“Better Days” Le’Andria Johnson Available from digital media outlets Since hearing her 2011 debut EP, The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson, I have considered Le’Andria Johnson to be one of modern gospel music’s most expressive voices. Paired with the right songs, such as her debut single, “Jesus,” she can be downright lethal. “Better Days” is one of those right songs. Its relaxed but intense vibe provides a soulful accompaniment to a message of encouragement in the midst of life’s many storms. Knowing Johnson’s story, “Better Days” could easily be autobiographical, but regardless, it’s certainly a testimony for anyone living in these ...

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“God Has a Blessing” – Sha’Quan Welch

“God Has a Blessing” Sha’Quan Welch Believe Music Works www.shaquanwelch.com Set in 12/8 time and featuring a traditional-style vibe, complete with bluesy vamp and piano, “God Has a Blessing” riffs lyrically on the church aphorism, “God’s got a blessing with your name on it.” The song comes from the pen of songwriter, musician, and vocalist Sha’Quan Welch, who has a deft feel for melody, lyrical rhythm, and song timing. The skilled musicians and vocalists support Corey Fulmore’s high falsetto work on this radio-friendly group single. Sha’Quan Welch is minister of music at Newark’s Galilee Baptist Church, under the leadership of ...

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Pastor David Wright & the N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir – Clap Your Hands

Pastor David Wright & N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir (Next Generation) Clap Your Hands Godfather Records (release date: April 19, 2016) www.godfathergospel.com By Bob Marovich When Pastor David Wright speaks of his father on the second of the two-CD N.Y. Fellowship Mass Choir recordings done in June 2013, he is referring to the late Reverend Timothy Wright, Godfather of Gospel Music, renowned for his dynamic ensembles and choirs. Brimming with new songs written in the traditional style, Clap Your Hands demonstrates that the Wright family tradition is alive and well. The album is bookended by two up-tempo church wreckers. The title track ...

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Todd Dulaney – A Worshipper’s Heart

Todd Dulaney A Worshipper’s Heart eOne Music (release date: April 15, 2016) www.todddulaneyland.com By Bob Marovich Todd Dulaney is among the new-ish crop of male gospel tenors who croon rather than shout their praises aloft. His latest album, A Worshipper’s Heart, is his first live project and as good a demonstration as any of his growing potential as a singer and songwriter of serious note. The album opens with a congratulatory introduction from Dulaney’s former pastor, Smokie Norful, who helped launch the singer’s career when Dulaney, then a ballplayer with the New York Mets, joined Norful’s Victory Cathedral. From there, A Worshipper’s ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 2, 2016

“Oh How We Love YOU” Tiff Joy From the Tyscot Records CD Tiff Joy www.tyscot.com The second single from Tiff (“Amazing”) Joy’s eponymously titled album from 2015, “Oh How We Love YOU” finds the award-winning singer-songwriter leading an exuberant group of background vocalists on one of those rigorous praise pieces that may not be in the hymnbook but appears with regularity at gospel music programs. Written by a team of talented songwriters (Tiff Joy, Phillip and Angel Feaster, and Calvin Rodgers), “Oh How We Love YOU” has so much motive power, clapping along is almost compulsory. Destined to be a ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 25, 2016

“Glorify” The Gospel Starlights (released March 2016) www.gospelstarlights.com The Gospel Starlights of Tifton, Georgia, have been on the gospel highway since 1990. What is distinctive about the quartet is that it is comprised of four women and one man, as opposed to the more typical single-gender quartet structure. It makes sense when you realize that all the members are family: they formed the group in the home of their parents, Bennie Frank and Betty Gean Hill. One could say that the male-female personnel makes it more of a gospel group than a quartet, but make no mistake: on their new ...

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Various Artists – Halo: The One-Derful! Collection

Various Artists Halo: The One-Derful! Collection Secret Stash Records (release date of CD: April 15, 2016; LP available since February 2016) www.secretstashrecords.com By Bob Marovich During the 1950s and 1960s, Chicago record men and brothers George and Ernie Leaner helped transform South Michigan Avenue’s famed “Motor Row” (of auto dealerships) into Record Row. In addition to helping Ernie with their record distribution company on Boul Mich, George Leaner organized One-Derful! Records and several subsidiaries, including one exclusively designated for a gospel music series: Halo. With meticulous detail and in concert with the Leaner Family, Minnesota’s Secret Stash Records has been releasing samples ...

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R.E.V. – Beyond Armageddon

R.E.V. Beyond Armageddon (2016) www.revgospel.com By Bob Marovich R.E.V. and Beyond Armageddon are the brainchildren of Detroiter Dennis M. Schultz. A lead and bass guitarist who for years balanced his day job with his passion for music, Schultz has had the notion to do this album since the 1990s. Some of the songs were written twenty years ago. He finally assembled the musicians and singers to create this album. The instrumentals, such as “Seasons Past (Deep Reflection),” “Eternal Voyager,” and the title track, are straightforward inspirational jazz pieces with Mike Joseph (alto sax), Michael Elder (tenor sax) and Darren McKinney (soprano sax) ...

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