Tag Archives: chicago

“Praise Him” – Mud Morganfield

“Praise Him”Mud MorganfieldDelmark Records (release date: August 20, 2021)www.delmark.com By Robert M. Marovich Although Chicago’s Delmark Records is best known for its estimable blues and jazz catalogues, there’s a sacred single in the mix, brought to you by a most surprising source: Mud Morganfield, the eldest son of electric blues pioneer Muddy Waters. Expressing the religious experience in his own way, Morganfield conjures “Praise Him” as a hoodoo brew built on a pinch of blues, a dollop of gospel, and a generous scoop of Memphis-style soul. A salvation story sets the scene for this haunting praise song. Morganfield participates in ...

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JGM Pick of the Week September 28, 2021

“More than Enough” Tiff Jones Independent (release date: August 27, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich “More than Enough” is a gorgeous meditation on the transformative power of God’s love, made all the more beautiful by Tiff Jones’ restful delivery. Her vocals and the delicate musicianship flow like gently cleansing water. The harmonies on the lyrics about peace and grace are scrumptious. A key change at the end would have made it even more affecting. It’s the first songwriting credit for co-writer Nicole Thomas, a Chicagoan now living in the near western suburb of Oak Park (Donald Robinson is the other ...

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“Making Angels” – Tracy Worth

“Making Angels” Tracy Worth Independent (release date: September 10, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Tracy Worth, but the South Suburban Chicago singer sounds as if her voice hasn’t changed one day from her 2010 video “Christ Is All” or, for that matter, her 2005 radio hit, “I’ll Follow You,” featuring Melvin Williams. Despite the angelic title, the plaintive song is a plea for a stoppage of the violence that too often takes the youngest among us. “God don’t need no help making angels,” Worth declares, and she’s right. “We’re gonna lose a ...

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Journal of Gospel Music Wins Rhythm of Gospel Award

The Journal of Gospel Music garnered its first competitive award on Saturday, September 4, when it received the Gospel Internet Promotion & Marketing Group of the Year Award from the Rhythm of Gospel Awards. The 13th annual Rhythm of Gospel Awards was held at the Guesthouse at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee. Bob Marovich, founder and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Gospel Music, expresses his heartfelt thanks to Dr. Mark Rogers and the Rhythm of Gospel Awards team and to those who voted for the site. It’s especially meaningful coming from an organization that, like the Journal, supports the efforts of ...

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“With Thee I Wed” – Curtis Fondren feat. Desmond Pringle and Felicia Coleman-Evans

“With Thee I Wed (The Wedding Song)” Curtis Fondren feat. Desmond Pringle & Felicia Coleman-Evans Independent (release date: June 18, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Longtime Chicago gospel musician Curtis Fondren offers something for the wedding trade in “With Thee I Wed.” This ’80s-esque slow jam evokes the tracks on Fred Hammond’s love album, complete with vow-like lyrics and honeyed melody and arrangement. The song spotlights two extraordinary talents, Desmond Pringle and Felicia Coleman-Evans, both of whom are soloists in their own right. They deliver the appropriately smooth-as-silk singing. Coleman-Evans in particular could sing the fine print on a credit ...

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“Diamond” – Emilia Walasik

“Diamond” Emilia Walasik (release date: May 13, 2021) www.emiliawalasikmusic.com By Robert M. Marovich Christian singer-songwriter Emilia Walasik could be my sister from another mother. Like me, she was raised Catholic, is from Chicago, possibly also Polish-American, writes songs, has served as a worship leader, and is drawn to the emotionality of gospel music. But Walasik has done one better: she has converted her songs into recordings. The melodic and pop-influenced “Diamond” is one of them. Accompanied by strings and keys, Walasik works squarely within the CCM environment. At once a love song, “Diamond” also references the unconditional love that only God ...

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“Holy” – Mark Hubbard & The Voices feat. Pastor Don Clark

“Holy” Mark Hubbard & the Voices feat. Pastor Don Clark Independent (release date: March 15, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Growing up in the Catholic church, we’d sing “Holy Holy Holy” with such lackluster spirit that I wasn’t sure whether we were worshiping God or putting Him to sleep. Since then, I’ve heard many arrangements from African American Protestant church ensembles that bring out the intended brightness of the nineteenth-century hymn. Arrangements like “Holy,” by Chicago’s own Mark Hubbard & the Voices, for example. Hubbard’s studied choir tucks the hymn neatly within Valencia Lacy’s original composition as Pastor Don Clark ...

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Leland Philpot – Psalms in the Midst (EP)

Leland Philpot Psalms in the Midst (EP) BabelScattered Productions (release date: October 5, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Chicago avant-garde gospel hip-hop artist Leland Philpot draws on hip-hop, jazz, gospel, and techno wizardry for his EP Psalms in the Midst. Billed as Philpot’s testimony set to music, the EP opens with the title track, a mini-sermon that serves as a general introduction. An aggressive rapper but a disinterested singer, Philpot rhymes rapid fire, near to breathlessly, on “The Gift,” as the beats beep and burble behind him like arcade games. Minimalist beats and gushes of quick rhyming also propel “Break ...

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“Thank You Lord” – Pastor Mack Mason

“Thank You Lord” Pastor Mack Mason Independent (release date: October 17, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Fronting a team of smooth female vocalists, Pastor Mack Mason doesn’t hold back as he testifies with gushes of gratitude on “Thank You Lord.” The robust-voiced Mason sings at the upper edge of his baritone range, revving up in the song’s vamp, which apexes in the song’s finest moment—an ad libbed shout of joy and relief: “You’re the best friend that I’ve ever had – whoooo!” A veteran radio announcer, author, and publisher, Pastor Mason now helms his grandfather’s church, Greater Prayer Garden Church ...

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Chicagoan Lonnie Norwood Jr. Teaches “The Gospel Essentials” to Youth Nationwide

By Bob Marovich Earlier this year, the Chicago Children’s Choir was busy coordinating some 5,000 youth meeting in various in-school and after-school ensembles throughout the region. The sound of song was in the air everywhere. Then COVID-19 happened. Choirs became potential virus spreaders. Everything moved to virtual learning. CCC launched the online Arts Enrichment Sessions to keep its youth engaged during the pandemic and to impact young people ages 8 to 18 nationwide. “The Gospel Essentials” is among fourteen different arts enrichment courses from which students can choose. Taught by Chicago musician and educator Lonnie Norwood Jr., “The Gospel Essentials” ...

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