Reviews

Eddie Reddic – Above All

Eddie Reddic Above All Reddic Records (2014) Available at CD Universe By Bob Marovich Above All, the third album from Houston, Texas, native Eddie Reddic, ties traditional lyrics to contemporary sounds and resourceful arrangements. For example, Reddic gives the church classic “I’m a Soldier” a deep, funky treatment, while “Lead Me to the Rock” flows with a modern flair. Another congregational favorite, “What He’s Done For Me,” puts a heightened praise break-style tempo to a quartet sensibility. All eight of the songs on the album contain flavors of jazz, R&B, and contemporary gospel. What Eddie Reddic demonstrates above all on ...

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“When the Church Begins to Pray” – Dorothy Norwood feat. Melvin Williams

“When the Church Begins to Pray” Dorothy Norwood feat. Melvin Williams From the Dorothy Norwood Music Group CD An Incredible Journey (2014) Recorded live at Reid Temple AME Church in Washington, DC, “When the Church Begins to Pray” is a paean to the power of congregational prayer. Starting in spoken word mode, Dorothy “The Storyteller” Norwood defines the premise while a contemporary choir coos behind her.  After Melvin Williams of the Williams Brothers joins in, the song becomes a shout fest between the two soloists.  The best part of the song is hearing two gospel veterans duetting.

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Pick of the Week: August 11, 2014

“Your Destiny” Kevin LeVar & One Sound From Destiny Live at the Dream Center and More… (album release date: August 12, 2014) www.kevinlevar.com Inspirational balladeer Kevin LeVar has sung his way into the hearts of many with such lovely selections as “A Heart That Forgives,” “You Are Not Alone,” and “We’re Just Getting Started,” which he wrote for his own nuptials. “Your Destiny,” from Kevin LeVar & One Sound’s new CD, Live at the Dream Center and More… is fashioned in much the same formula: easy pop melody (evocative of early Seal), dramatic delivery, and lyrics that encourage strength in ...

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Thank You For All You’ve Done – Beverly Crawford

Beverly Crawford Thank You For All You’ve Done EchoPark JDI (2014) www.EchoParkJDI.com By Bob Marovich Hearing Beverly Crawford sing is always exciting. Hearing Beverly Crawford sing live is even more so. That’s what the listener gets on Thank You For All You’ve Done. A live recording done at Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, Thank You demonstrates how Crawford can shout and squall in the tradition of Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood, and various other Caravans. Indeed, she opens the set with a ‘Vans (and Shirley Caesar) chestnut, “Sweeping Through the City.” Throughout the album, Crawford intersperses newer, praise ...

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“Turn Up Your Praise” – New Christianaires

“Turn Up Your Praise” New Christianaires Carter Classic Records (2014) www.thenewchristianaires.com Although Rhythm of Gospel Awardees the New Christianaires are better known for “Remember Me,” no one should overlook their shoulder-shaker, “Turn Up Your Praise.” “While you’re waiting on your change, you need to turn up your praise,” sings Jarmain Hawthorne. He encourages listeners to keep faith in their hearts and smiles on their faces. “There’s a blessing on the other side of your pain,” the quartet declares, so “open your mouth and lift up your hands.” Hailing from Florida, the New Christianaires were formed in 2010 by Minister George ...

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“It’s Gonna Happen” – Jekalyn Carr

“It’s Gonna Happen” Jekalyn Carr Lunjeal Music Group/Malaco Music Group (available on iTunes August 12) www.myjekalyncarr.net “It’s Gonna Happen” is the latest single from the seventeen-year-old from the Mid-South who brought you “Greater is Coming” and “They Said, But God Said.” In a chirpy vibrato that evokes the pre-teen Tanya Tucker, Jekalyn delivers a ballad of faith that good things will happen because God said they will. It’s the wisdom not of the aged but of youthful optimism and a steadfast belief in the substance of things not seen. Jekalyn first came to national attention when she sang “Amazing Grace” in the ...

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Pick of the Week: August 5, 2014

“Forever Mine Lord” The New Gospel Saints From the NGS Records CD Forever Mine Lord (2012) www.newgospelsaints.com On “Forever Mine Lord,” the doo-woppy title track of their 2012 CD, the New Gospel Saints of Chicago demonstrate why they are called the “Temptations of Gospel Music” Possessing a silky smoothness reminiscent of ‘70s soul vocal groups, the New Gospel Saints took home Quartet of the Year at the Rhythm of Gospel Awards. Last month, they performed “Forever Mine Lord,” a love song to Jesus, at the Awards’ main event in Birmingham, Alabama. Their choreography, harmonies, and well-timed pauses elicited more than ...

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Mark Yandris – A Sound for God’s House

Mark Yandris A Sound for God’s House Released June 16, 2014 Available at Amazon, iTunes, etc. By Bob Marovich Mark Yandris is a brother from another mother. Like me, he has Slavic roots and family ties to the Calumet Region south of Chicago. Whereas our family remained in Da Region, Yandris’s family moved to the Bay Area.  He grew up in the Gospel Music Workshop of America and his father’s First Apostolic United Pentecostal Church.  While other fifteen-year-olds and I were trying desperately to learn a few chords on the guitar, Yandris had already formed his first gospel choir. His ...

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Bryan Andrew Wilson – The One Percent

Bryan Andrew Wilson The One Percent Bryan’s Songs Records / EchoPark JDI www.bryanwilson.com By Bob Marovich Rarely do we have a chance to hear child singers grow up on record. There are exceptions, most notably Michael Jackson, who got better with age, and Judy Garland, whose voice seemed to have matured prior to puberty. We first heard Bryan Andrew Wilson in 1994 as a pre-teen leading “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” with the Mississippi Children’s Choir.  His voice has matured steadily since then and it has come to full flower on “Show Me Your Glory/Set a Fire,” a CCM inspired ...

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James Fortune & Friends Offer One Energetic Performance After Another

“James Fortune & FIYA and Friends” Gospel Music Workshop of America Centennial Ballroom – Hyatt Regency Atlanta, GA Tuesday, July 29, 2014 By Bob Marovich Photo: Alexis Spight (center) with James Fortune (right) The Gospel Music Workshop of America.  Your mind conjures up images of delegations of robed choirs singing traditional songs with contemporary flair, gospel announcers learning best practices, quartets performing in the Quartet Quest competition, the GMWA Mass Choir, new songs to take back home, and classes on everything from keyboard basics to choral directing. But that doesn’t mean the nation’s top-selling gospel artists don’t make appearances.  They do, and ...

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