Tag Archives: Donald Lawrence

Sir the Baptist: Everyday Music from a Sunday Knight

By Bob Marovich The sacred-secular divide in music is a uniquely modern conception, and it misses the point. In West Africa, where most enslaved Africans came from, all music was sacred and all music was secular. There was no distinction…until the music came to America during the African Diaspora and distinctions based on intent were forced upon it. This Saturday night-Sunday morning dialogue about what makes gospel gospel arises whenever a new generation of music makers blurs the applied distinctions to communicate a modern message to a contemporary community of believers and non-believers. Perhaps no artist today better represents the ...

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BeBe Winans – Need You

BeBe Winans Need You Malaco Music Group / Regimen Records (release date: August 30, 2019) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich The gospel voice is not homogeneous. It is as varied in texture as the genre itself. While the paradigm of the gospel sound is the shouting or melismatic voice, smooth balladeers have been around since the beginning. Homer Quincy Smith of the Southernaires quartet and one of the first male African American gospel singers to record as a soloist, delivered his songs of Zion with operatic sonority. From there sprang the soothing sacredness of Robert Anderson, Bishop Charles Watkins and, in ...

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Donald Lawrence Presents the Tri-City Singers: Goshen

Donald Lawrence Presents the Tri-City Singers Goshen RCA Inspiration (release date: February 1, 2019) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Using Old and New Testament stories to reinforce the need for a spiritual exodus from modern-day anxieties, Goshen, the latest album by Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers, is the first big gospel release of 2019 and could well take its place among the best gospel albums of the year. Goshen, taken from references in Exodus of “God’s promised place” where one can find joy in the midst of troubled times, is a compendium of worship songs, declarations of personal empowerment, rages ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 28, 2019

“Deliver Me (This is My Exodus)” Donald Lawrence Presents the Tri-City Singers feat. Le’Andria Johnson From the forthcoming RCA Inspiration album Goshen (release date: February 1, 2019) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Le’Andria Johnson has one of the most searing voices in gospel music today. But like any singer, or actor for that matter, the material (song, film) makes the difference. Le’Andria is at her best when presented with good gospel material. Like “Deliver Me (This is My Exodus),” her feature turn with Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers. From the troupe’s thematic album Goshen, this reflection on spiritual release from ...

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Jonathan Nelson Wants Listeners to be “Inspired, Encouraged, and Empowered” by New Album

By Bob Marovich In 1776, the Declaration of Independence freed American people from the oppression of the Royal Crown. In 2018, Jonathan Nelson’s seventh studio album, Declarations, is intended to free all people for salvation under the Holy Crown. The Stellar Award-winning singer and songwriter releases Declarations (Entertainment One) nationwide and through digital outlets today, Friday, September 14. “I want the album to leave listeners inspired, encouraged, and empowered,” Nelson told the Journal of Gospel Music. “If they sing these songs of themselves, they can see the results of what they say. If they say ‘I’m healed,’ they can be free ...

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Cameron Ross – Power: Instrumental Praise & Worship

Cameron Ross Power: Instrumental Praise & Worship Cameron Ross Music (release date: April 19, 2018) www.cameronrossmusic.com By Bob Marovich Jazz saxophonist Cameron Ross’s sophomore album Power lives up to its subtitle. Ross renders contemporary Praise & Worship favorites in the smooth jazz format and then commences to improvise on their melodies on saxophone. Songs such as Israel Houghton’s “You Are Good,” Martha Munizzi’s “Glorious,” and William Murphy’s “You Reign” get this restful but restless treatment. Without lyric context, however, songs such as “Jump” and the title track are virtually indistinguishable from non-sacred jazz instrumentals. A music educator in the Memphis school system, Ross grew ...

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Damon Williams on #WeAreVerity: “Everyone has a Verity Story”

By Bob Marovich RCA Inspiration and Verity Records are going all out to promote Verity’s twenty-four-year legacy, and it’s starting with the #WeAreVerity campaign. The June campaign coincides with Black Music Month. “We want to honor one of the richest and most legacy-filled catalogs in gospel music,” Damon Williams, RCA Inspiration and Verity Records VP of Marketing, told the Journal of Gospel Music. “We also want to celebrate the place and position gospel music holds in people’s lives.” Williams, who joined RCA Inspiration at the end of last year, said the celebration will not only include artists, executives, and industry personnel, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 14, 2017

“Testify” James Douglas feat. LeJuene Thompson From the forthcoming project Still I Praise https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jamesdouglas42 It could be intimidating for some artists to have a fiery singer like LeJuene Thompson on their single, but James Douglas proves an equally effective vocalist on “Testify.” “Testify” is as it sounds: despite having his name scandalized, despite going through the fire and the flood, and even despite the prospect of “throwing in the towel,” which in context sounds like a contemplation of suicide, Douglas declares that every time, God “made a way somehow.” Moaning her way into the song’s vamp, Thompson gives her testimony ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 7, 2016

“Escaped to Tell” Blanche McAllister-Dykes From the Escaped To Tell Movie Soundtrack www.escapedtotell.com Sung by Blanche McAllister-Dykes, whose vocal vulnerability gives the song the feel of a church testimony, “Escaped to Tell” is the title track of a Christian-themed film by songwriter and author, Nefateri Smalls, who co-wrote the song with Chad Chambers. An alumna of Donald Lawrence & the Tri-City Singers, McAllister-Dykes builds from victim to victorious to advocate through a steadily building passion that is echoed by her background vocalists. By the conclusion, she is shouting praises to God for bringing her through the emotional pain of domestic violence ...

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The Gospel Sensations: Trendsetting With Old School Harmonies

By Bob Marovich To carve out a niche in a quartet community crowded with local and national artists, the Gospel Sensations are employing a time-honored principle that has been all but abandoned in gospel music. A cappella harmony singing. That’s right: trendsetting by going back to the way gospel quartets sang prior to the 1950s: without musical instruments. And people like it. “Sometimes music takes a more commercial turn, and I get that,” said Robert C. Marion Jr., member of the Gospel Sensations. “It takes money to finance a ministry, but the a cappella sound, when it is done right, ...

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