Tag Archives: california

New Devin Williams CD Comes with Strings Attached…A Whole Quartet, In Fact

By Bob Marovich With seven of his singles, including the latest, “Like a Fire,” becoming Top 30 Christian Rock charting songs, Devin Williams has done what, to my knowledge, no Christian rocker has done to date: set his searing singles to the soothing sounds of a string quartet. Released August 31, Devin Williams with String Quartet was produced by Grammy Award-winning engineer Brad Blackwood, (Maroon 5, Korn, Skillet, Sara Bareilles, Alison Krauss). What has been the initial reaction of Williams’ fan base to the new project? “It’s still early, but the fans are digging it,” Williams told the Journal of Gospel Music. ...

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The Sons of the Soul Revivers: Live! Rancho Nicasio

The Sons of the Soul Revivers Live! Rancho Nicasio Little Village Foundation www.littlevillagefoundation.org By Bob Marovich The Sons of the Soul Revivers are on a quest to achieve the kind of widespread visibility that the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Fairfield Four have enjoyed for the past three decades. Based on the sound of their new album, Live! Rancho Nicasio, the guys are definitely on the right track. Recorded during two sold out shows at the Rancho Nicasio, a roadhouse in Marin County, California, that specializes in presenting roots music, the album was produced by the Little Village Foundation, a ...

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RIP: Edwin Hawkins, Architect of Contemporary Gospel

By Bob Marovich The Journal of Gospel Music has learned that Edwin Hawkins, whose arrangement of the nineteenth-century hymn “Oh Happy Day” became a crossover success and signaled the emergence of contemporary gospel music, passed away today (Jan. 15) in Pleasanton, California. Here is a brief biography I put together: Born August 19, 1943, to Mamie and Dan Lee Hawkins, Edwin Hawkins grew up in music. Trained by his elder brother, Edwin began playing piano at age five and accompanied the family group. By the time he was sixteen, Edwin had sung at a variety of churches in the Bay Area and was part ...

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Dr. Timothy D. Poston – Churchin’ on the Hammond B3 Organ “Live”

Dr. Timothy D. Poston Churchin’ on the Hammond B3 Organ “Live” Jeremiah Praze Records (2007) By Bob Marovich Bay Area music minister and organist Dr. Timothy D. Poston’s Churchin’ on the Hammond B3 Organ “Live” may be several years old but, like the hymns he presents and the instrument he plays them on, it’s ageless. Even those only tangentially familiar with church hymnody will know the names of most, if not all, of the fourteen or so selections on the album. “Father I Stretch My Hands to Thee.” “How Great Thou Art.” “Pass Me Not.” “Precious Memories.” “The Old Rugged Cross.” Many ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 8, 2018

“God is in Control” Kerri Gordon Independent Release (release date: July 27, 2017) www.kerrigordon.com By Bob Marovich Kerri Gordon’s debut single, “God is in Control,” is a let-go-and-let-God ballad sung from the point of view of someone who has realized this personally—as a single parent raising three children, one with special needs. “I tried it on my own,” Gordon sings, but “I made up my mind, whatever comes. . .He has it all in control.” She and her background vocalists then repeat the message to benefit listeners feeling the same impatience and disappointment. The musicians give the song a laid back but ...

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Norris Garner – Don’t Stop the Praise

Norris Garner Don’t Stop the Praise Norris Garner Music (2015) By Bob Marovich A North Carolinan by birth but a resident of California’s Bay Area, Norris Garner is a choir man. He has written, sung with, accompanied, directed, and taught choirs at the Gospel Music Workshop of America, the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses, and in Europe. So while Garner’s 2015 Don’t Stop the Praise is billed as a solo album, it features a talented background vocal ensemble that supports Garner and his guest soloists with plenty of polish. The ensemble consists of Tony and Toni McFarland with Blessed Union from ...

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J Kingdom – Reconciled

J Kingdom Reconciled Reshift Music Group By Bob Marovich J Kingdom’s new album Reconciled bristles with bright, optimistic melodies and lyrics of unfettered praise and gratitude to God for everything He has done, even when we don’t deserve it. J Kingdom, aka Pastor Michael J. T. Fisher of Greater Zion Baptist Church in Compton, California, introduces the “don’t deserve it” part of the equation at the outset, during the opening supplication, “Keep Your Hand on Me.” He brings it up time and again throughout the album. It’s the human struggle to follow the right path but erring along the way. It all comes down, J Kingdom ...

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Various Artists: Family Bonded – Musical Stage Play Soundtrack

Various Artists Family Bonded: Musical Stage Play Soundtrack Sea Fields Productions (release date: October 6, 2017) http://seafieldsproductions.wixsite.com/2013 By Bob Marovich In October, theatergoers in Sacramento, California, were treated to a gospel musical called Family Bonded about four siblings who, being abandoned by their mother, are raised by their sister. Not long after the show ended its October run, Chris Fields, author of the stage play and composer of the featured songs, released a soundtrack starring the original cast. In addition to Fields, talented cast members Yvette Pennington, Leticia Woods, Gregory Allen, Teresa Perea, Josette Williams, and Donnell Gray get turns at ...

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Higher Vision – For Your Kingdom

Higher Vision For Your Kingdom Syntax Distribution (release date: October 6, 2017) www.highervisionworship.com By Bob Marovich For Your Kingdom is the debut offering from the worship team of the 3,000+ member multigenerational Higher Vision Church, located in California’s Santa Clarita Valley. The album is an hour-plus of high energy stadium-sized performances of praise songs wrapped in Christian rock and electronic pop music. As with many live P&W projects, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For Your Kingdom’s anthemic songs float along on melodies and themes that blend together, creating not an album of individually distinctive tracks ...

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RIP Dr. Rodena Preston, Musician, Director, GMWA Executive

By Bob Marovich JGM was saddened to learn from Gayle Lecus and others in Southern California today that Dr. Rodena Preston has transitioned from earthly labor to heavenly reward. Rodena’s music career was fostered by her mother, Mrs. Robbie Preston-Williams, who had her daughter playing piano at age three. By age nine, Rodena was accompanying the junior choir at the Victory Baptist Church in Los Angeles. Her brother, Billy Preston, went on to play the organ and achieve success as an organist and vocalist in both the gospel and pop music worlds. Later, Rodena joined the Ladies of Song and was the ...

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