Tag Archives: christmas

JGM Pick of the Week: December 11, 2017

“Go Tell It On the Mountain” Dr. Ray Berryhill & the Celebration Choir of RLCI KNEntertainment LLC (digital release date: Dec 19, 2017) By Bob Marovich The Celebration Choir of Resurrected Life Church International on Chicago’s North Side gospelizes this cheery Christmas spiritual with powerful doses of 1980s church choir energy. Dr. Ray Allen Berryhill preaches during the vamp as the choir responds with lethal attack harmonies. Senior Pastor Berryhill comes from strong gospel mettle, having worked as minister of music for the late “Singing” Sammy Lewis, who was an early member of the Roberta Martin Singers before he became a solo artist ...

Read More »

“Silent Night” – Pastor Alyn E. Waller

“Silent Night” Pastor Alyn E. Waller From Christmas with Pastor Alyn E. Waller (release date: November 27, 2017) By Bob Marovich Don’t let the introductory avalanche of synthesized sound stop you from hearing Pastor Alyn E. Waller’s affecting take on this timeless carol. He improvises skillfully—not too much, not too little—to excavate the gospel within the soul of this simple melody. The dreamy sax that you hear leading the interlude becomes the second voice on the second verse.  Nicely done. Dr. Waller is Senior Pastor of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Read More »

“Don’t Take Christ Out of Christmas” – Angelo and Veronica

“Don’t Take Christ Out of Christmas” Angelo and Veronica www.angeloandveronica.com By Bob Marovich Many Christmases ago, while driving through a suburb of Chicago, I passed a house with a giant lighted plastic Santa on the back deck. On the ground, in Santa’s shadow, was a miniscule Nativity scene. For me, Enormous Santa towering over the manger scene like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float remains the epitome of Christmas consumerism. This is just what husband-and-wife duo Angelo and Veronica are getting at in their single, “Don’t Take Christ Out of Christmas.” Opening with the jangle of jingle bells, the song evokes the ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: December 26, 2016

“Away in a Manager” The Wardlaw Brothers Available on iTunes Appropriately, the final Pick of the Week for 2016 is a beloved nineteenth-century Christmas carol given a contemporary flourish by the Wardlaw Brothers. Cascading harmonies introduce a slight variation on the carol’s traditional melody, giving the piece even more of a lullaby-like quality. A delicate string-led arrangement underpins the group’s ensemble and solo work. But what makes the Wardlaw Brothers’ singing on this carol especially appealing is a prominent bass vocal line that complements the complex high register harmonies. By the conclusion, one can understand why the Wardlaw Brothers have been nicknamed ...

Read More »

“Oh Come Emmanuel” by Jason Nelson and LIVV: An Interview

By Marianne Richard, Special Contributor to the Journal of Gospel Music Jason Nelson just released his Christmas song, “Oh Come Emmanuel,” featuring LIVV, a new gospel singer with a unique voice and a beautiful spirit. When LIVV shared details on the “behind the scenes” of the making of the track, we realized that this Christmas single is more than it presents.  It is a heavy collaboration between Jason Nelson and LIVV. Now, in full confidence, we can say that the song truly exemplifies all that Christmas stands for. Of course, we were not going to keep what we learned from LIVV ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: December 21, 2015

“Oh Come All Ye Faithful” Grace Covenant Worship From the CD Christmas With Grace: A Mosaic in Song www.gracecov.org Grave Covenant in Chantilly, Virginia, is a “multi-ethnic, multi-site, multi-racial” church with a dynamic music and arts department. “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” from the church’s Christmas release, is delicately orchestrated with strings but also features a firm rhythm section. You can feel the lush harmonies, with flourishes of big round gospel chords, washing over the congregation. Soloists Candice Hinton, Robert Ellis, and songwriter Tifani Wilson assist in raising the carol’s temperature from the first note to the last. Rendered with ...

Read More »

JGM Music Hour – The Sounds of Christmas, Gospel Style, 2015

    Playlist: Jesus, oh what a wonderful child – The Walls Group Go tell it – Calvin Bridges Time to celebrate – Voncile Belcher Bethlehem morning – Caleb Collins feat. Morris Chapman God rest ye merry gentlemen – Livre’ O come all ye faithful – Grace Covenant Worship This Christmas – Tony McClendon Silent night – Immeasurable The Christmas song – Deon Robertson Don’t take Christ out of Christmas – Angelo & Veronica Worship the newborn king – Tim Spady Carol of the drum – Robert Person O holy night – Kevin Riley Savior of the world – The ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: December 14, 2015

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” Livre From A Classic Holiday…Presented by MBK Entertainment (2015) http://smarturl.it/AClassicHoliday No disrespect to the many fine gospel musicians out there, but it is surely nice to hear a cappella harmonies every once in a while. That’s what the gospel group Livre gives us in their rendering of the classic Christmas carol, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”  The group’s Take 6-like blend sounds effortless but is harmonically complex. Still, less is more, and during a season when every retailer is yelling to be heard over the din of other retailers, and a steady dose of over-amplified musical cheer ...

Read More »

“Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child – The Walls Group

“Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child” The Walls Group From the EP Sounds of Christmas With “Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child,” The Walls Group puts a contemporary lacquer on Margaret Allison and the Angelic Gospel Singers’ Christmas classic, “Glory, Glory to the New Born King.” Once the most popular Christmas song in the African American community, it was overtaken by Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas.” Still, as The Walls Group demonstrates, you can bring an old carol back to life by lifting the tempo and tossing leads back and forth like the Harlem Globetrotters pass the ball around.  They sing ...

Read More »

Caleb Collins – Caleb Collins Christmas

Caleb Collins Caleb Collins Christmas Caleb Collins Music (2015) www.calebcollins.com By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter Caleb Collins of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir hits a long ball home run with Caleb Collins Christmas. Evoking modern day crooners Michael Buble’ and Harry Connick Jr., Collins sails with verve through lushly orchestrated versions of sacred and secular chestnuts, such as “Let It Snow,” “Joy to the World,” and particularly dramatic arrangements of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” and “What Child is This.” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” gets a Latin workover with a James Bond-ish open. “Silent Night” has a bluesy feel. Rachel Williams-Baggett ...

Read More »