Tag Archives: alabama

Ruth Black and the Harmonettes – He Woke Me

Ruth Black and the Harmonettes He Woke Me Raymarkable Music, Inc. (release date: August 13, 2021) www.raymarkablemusic.net By Robert M. Marovich Production by Ray Braswell Jr. at his Raymarkable Studios in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, is a seal of quality for any quartet project, as it for the latest Braswell-produced CD, Ruth Black and the Harmonettes’ He Woke Me. The five-member female quartet from Alexander City, Alabama, offer ten quintessentially deep southern soul quartet selections. The album toggles between high-energy songs like “Weeping May Endure” (where the group bears an aural resemblance to the Ingramettes) and “I Know I’m Blessed;” ...

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“Doing It For Jesus” – P.U.S.H.

“Doing It For Jesus” P.U.S.H. Independent (release date: May 28, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich The female quartet P.U.S.H. from Alexander City, Alabama, returns with a pleasant mid-tempo song that essentially serves as the ladies’ collective mission statement. Once you move past the nearly thirty-second intro, you get that straightforward hard-driving singing that combines traditional quartet chutzpah with contemporary elements. The harmonized “not gonna change my mind” chorus and vamp make for an effective hook and provide plenty of space for the lead singer to let loose. Written by group member Stephanie Kendrick, the song is the title track of ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 10, 2021

“He’s Way Ahead of You” Denita Gibbs DGW Entertainment (release date: March 6, 2021) www.denitagibbs.com By Robert M. Marovich Now THIS is the Denita Gibbs I remember from her 2013 CD, Without You. The Birmingham, Alabama, native’s declarative vocals on “He’s Way Ahead of You” are locked in from the very start when she sings: “This world is crazy / Spinning out of control / People do the wildest things / And try to rob you of hope.” Having painted the painful scene, Gibbs then reminds the listener to refrain from bitterness because God promised that He’ll never leave you ...

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Latisha Johnson Montgomery – Issues of My Heart (EP)

Latisha Johnson Montgomery Issues of My Heart (EP) Independent (release date: January 1, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Gospel singer Latisha Johnson Montgomery’s high notes evoke the crackly rawness of Jennifer Hudson. I wouldn’t be surprised if Montgomery finds inspiration in Hudson’s singing, as the latter’s sometimes gruff delivery, along with  electronic swagger drawn from pop, R&B, and hip hop, dominate Issues of My Heart. Following her single, “Take Me Back,” recorded at the iconic Sound of Birmingham Studio—no stranger to gospel over the decades—Issues of My Heart is the Alabaman Montgomery’s debut EP. “Message” is the declaration of a ...

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“Trouble Don’t Last Always” – P.U.S.H.

“Trouble Don’t Last Always”P.U.S.H.Independent (release date: January 1, 2020) By Bob Marovich Little did P.U.S.H. know when they released their single “Trouble Don’t Last Always” back in January that the sentiment would be more prophetic than they could have ever anticipated. This female quartet from Alexander City, Alabama, has a simple but effective message: “Turn it over to Jesus.” The troupe renders their simple but effective directive in call-and-response style and set to a customary modern quartet arrangement. Their singing is strong but the harmonies could use the same robust production elements given to the lead singer’s vocals. P.U.S.H. is ...

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“It’s On the Way” – Chozen Believers

“It’s On the Way” The Chozen Believers Independent (release date: April 2020) By Bob Marovich Most gospel songs these days speak to the world’s current condition. People need hope and encouragement, after all. The Chozen Believers’ debut single, “It’s on the Way,” certainly offers a message everyone needs to hear right now. Looking for joy? It’s on the way. Your blessing? It’s on the way. The arrangement has all the fixings of a raw quartet workout, vamp and all, but with a smooth patina to appeal to a contemporary audience. Organized last July, the Chozen Believers hails from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. All ...

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RIP: Reverend Eddie Hunter of the Alabama Spirituals

By Bob Marovich This pandemic has wrecked havoc on the music community. JGM just learned of another soldier gone: the Reverend Eddie Hunter, singer with the Alabama Spirituals of Alexander City, Alabama. He succumbed to COVID-19 on Sunday, April 5, 2020. Born March 13, 1952, Rev. Hunter served as Pastor of Miracle Missionary Baptist Church in Alexander City, Alabama. He was also the president of the Northeast District State Convention of the Alabama State Missionary Baptist Convention. He had just celebrated his 68th birthday. Please keep Reverend Hunter’s family, congregation, friends, and many fans at the top of your prayer ...

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“Good God” – Benita Jones

“Good God” Benita Jones Tyscot / Integrity (release date: March 6, 2020) By Bob Marovich As Benita Washington, the P&W singer from Selma, Alabama, captured national attention in 2003 after winning the “Gospel Dream” talent search competition in its inaugural season. Her subsequent albums included Hold On (Light/Intersound, 2004), Renaissance: Live in Nashville (ReddApple Seed Ent., 2007), and The Word Remains (Shanachie, 2020). Now, as Benita Jones, she delivers “Good God,” the first single from her forthcoming album. Her full-throttle rendition, backed by a band of musicians pounding out an uncompromising march tempo, turns an unassuming call-and-response worship piece into ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 9, 2020

“Keep Holding On” Denita Gibbs Intersound / distributed by IndieBlu Music (release date: October 19, 2018) www.denitagibbs.com By Bob Marovich Denita Gibbs of Birmingham, Alabama, entered the national consciousness in 2013 with her five-star sophomore release, Without You. She’s back with “Keep Holding On,” a finger-popping single distinguished by a husky chromatic riff on electric guitar. In a confident, convincing, pop-inflected voice, Gibbs instructs that God will see you through the dark times. Though the single is more than a year old, Gibbs still promotes it in her appearances. A member of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., a ...

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Vetrea Slack Ruffin – Rain Down on Me

Vetrea Slack Ruffin Rain Down on Me Heavenly Spirit Music (release date: March 30, 2019) www.VetreaSlackRuffin.com By Bob Marovich Some people celebrate turning sixty years old by throwing a party. Others go on vacation, or buy themselves something special. Evangelist Vetrea Slack Ruffin celebrated her 60th year of life by releasing an EP. Rain Down on Me is about twenty minutes of singing by the award-winning gospel singer-songwriter from Alabama and an eight-minute lesson from the pulpit, courtesy of her pastor-husband, Dr. Paul Ruffin. The two opening song selections are modern and boisterous. “Raise Up Judah” is a conventional call-and-response ...

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