Tag Archives: michigan

“Thankful” – James Cutts

“Thankful”James CuttsIndependent (released April 16, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Having recovered from the ravages of COVID-19 (his wife also contracted the virus and recovered), Pastor James Cutts sings his testimony on “Thankful,” a buoyant piece with a quiet storm R&B vibe. Though the lyrics focus mostly on generalities, the point is clear: Cutts gives a loving Jesus all the credit for saving his life in every way it can be saved. “You gave me a brand new start / When I thought it was over.” Rather than brood over the past, however, Cutts spends most of the song in ...

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“God Has Been So Good” – MYDASON feat. Bishop Rance Allen

“God Has Been So Good” MYDASON feat. Bishop Rance Allen Brainstorm Music Company (release date: October 18, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Bishop Rance Allen may be gone in body but his music lives on. On “God Has Been So Good,” he joins MYDASON at the lead mike, singing, shouting, and making those gut-wrenching growls that only he can do. The Prayer Garden COGIC Mass Choir of Flint, Michigan, rejoices in rich, thick harmonies as it supports both lead vocalists. The song, written and produced by Bernard Jackson Jr. and Glenn “Sweety G” Toby, has the feel of something you ...

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“I’ve Got the Victory” – Na’kaja Reed

“I’ve Got the Victory” Na’kaja Reed DAF Entertainment Group (release date: April 30, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich This song has the goods not so much because of the song itself—a fairly conventional gush of gratitude for God’s goodness—as for the commanding delivery of gospel singer Na’kaja Reed. From Saginaw, Michigan, the twenty-one-year-old Na’Kaja Makayla-Roshell Reed has sassy chops. Her capacity to pull off shouts and evangelistic runs challenges singers twice her age. With ample support from background vocalists, Reed offers herself as an example of God’s movement in people’s lives. I can only imagine what she does with a ...

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“It Won’t Be Long” – Dr. Waverly B. Bumbrey & Refuge Temple Cathedral Voices

“It Won’t Be Long” Dr. Waverly B. Bumbrey & Refuge Temple Cathedral Voices (release date: January 8, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Pandemic-wise, “It Won’t Be Long” feels more relevant today, in mid-March, than when it was released in early January by the award-winning choir Dr. Waverly B. Bumbrey & Refuge Temple Cathedral Voices. But “better days are coming,” the choir sings, and in the meantime they will shout and pray about it. Featured soloist Erica Lancaster improvises breathlessly on the theme as the Voices repeat the mantra, “It Won’t Be Long.” In his raw and craggy voice, Dr. Bumbrey ...

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Bishop J. Drew Sheard Turns Pandemic Heartbreak into Community Healing

By Robert M. Marovich Last March, the COVID-19 pandemic washed over Bishop J. Drew Sheard’s family and associates like a tsunami. His brother, the Reverend Ethan B. Sheard, tested positive for the virus. So did his children, well-known musicians J Drew II and Kierra. His mother, Willie Mae Sheard, and father, Bishop John H. Sheard, pastor of Greater Mitchell Temple Church of God in Christ in Detroit, also contracted the virus. “It hit my family pretty hard,” Sheard, Senior Pastor of Detroit’s Greater Emmanuel Institutional (GEI) Church of God in Christ, told the Journal of Gospel Music. “The most difficult ...

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RIP: Pastor Steve Hawkins

By Robert M. Marovich A. Jeffrey LaValley informed JGM of the passing of his friend, gospel singer and pastor Steve Hawkins. Born in Waco, Texas, on Valentine’s Day, 1953 (“That’s why I’m such a sweetheart!” he chuckled during our 2014 interview), Hawkins was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where his father was pastor of the Jerusalem Church of God in Christ. As a youngster, Hawkins learned the finer points of singing from his mother. His uncle and aunt, Dorothy and Lawrence Abrams, took him on the road to open for the Original Five Blind Boys, in which Lawrence was a member ...

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Bishop Rance Allen Passes Away at 71

From a Press Release: Bishop Rance Allen, of the Grammy® Award nominated inspirational soul and gospel trio, The Rance Allen Group, has passed away at the age of 71. “While recovering from a medical procedure at Heartland ProMedica [in Sylvania, OH], Bishop Rance Allen passed away around 3 AM this morning,” said Allen’s wife of 49 years, Ellen Allen, and his manager, Toby Jackson, in a joint statement. “I wasn’t expecting to hear this news this morning,” said Tyscot Records President, Bryant Scott, who was nearly speechless upon hearing of the singer’s death. “This is a great loss to us ...

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RIP: Verline Rogers (Meditation Singers)

By Bob Marovich JGM was saddened to learn from Laura Lee and Marcel West that soprano Verline Rogers of the Meditation Singers passed from labor to reward on August 27, 2020, after an extended illness. She was living in Las Vegas at the time of her passing. Rogers was a member of the Meditation Singers of Detroit, a female group headed by Ernestine Rundless. She appears to have joined the group sometime in the early 1960s and recorded with them throughout the decade. In addition to Rogers, other members of the group over the years included R&B stars Della Reese ...

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“Cast Your Cares” – James Cutts

“Cast Your Cares” James Cutts (release date: July 10, 2020) By Bob Marovich Pastor James Cutts knows whereof he sings. Both he and his wife are on the road to recovery from COVID-19. This experience made Cutts’ new single, the bright and buoyant “Cast Your Cares,” all the more relevant. When you are struggling for breath, all you can do is turn it over to the Lord, the song goes, and “it will work out for your good.” Drawing his text from 1 Peter 5:7 (“Casting all your cares upon him; for he careth for you”), Cutts sings: “Don’t you ...

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RIP: Rose Marie Rimson Brown, “Songbird of Michigan”

By Bob Marovich The gospel music community mourns the loss of Rose Marie Rimson Brown. Detroit gospel music historian Marcel West informed JGM of the passing of the beloved soloist of the Southwest Michigan State Choir of the Church of God in Christ, the choir directed by Dr. Mattie Moss Clark. Known as “The Songbird of Michigan,” Mrs. Rimson Brown was lead vocalist on some of the Southwest Michigan State Choir’s most popular songs, most notably “I Thank You Lord” and “I’ll Never Turn Back” (both with Ora Watkins) and “Write My Name Above.” She was also a member of ...

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