Tag Archives: north carolina

“Fresh Wind” – Kim Person

“Fresh Wind”Kim PersonFrom the KLP Enterprises CD The Journey(release date: January 26, 2019) By Bob Marovich As a child growing up in North Carolina, Kim Person was known for her big voice. Her big voice has gotten more substantial with time and experience and can be heard in full flower on her new single, “Fresh Wind.” “Fresh Wind” has the skeleton of a hymn and the flesh and blood of a gospel song. It features thickly (perhaps excessively) produced instrumentation, a bevy of background vocalists, and Kim Person’s ever-present exuberance, which builds in evangelistic intensity as the song moves to ...

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The Lee Boys – Live on the East Coast

The Lee Boys Live on the East Coast M.C. Records (release date: April 19, 2019) www.mc-records.com By Bob Marovich Live on the East Coast, the Lee Boys’ first album since 2012’s Testify and the group’s first for Mark Carpentieri’s M.C. Records, is a smoking hot sanctified-meets-steel workout. Recorded in late 2018 at three live appearances—Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina—the Lee Boys’ album could just as easily have been titled Live in the Southeast. Name aside, the album combines traditional gospels and spirituals, newly-composed songs such as the title track from the group’s Testify album, and soul classics such as the ...

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“Safe” – Ruth La’Ontra

“Safe” Ruth La’Ontra Tyscot Records www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Gospel songstress Ruth La’Ontra gushes over the protection available in God’s arms during “Safe,” a boldly arranged worship song that beats with the heart of a modern hymn. Ruth waits for the vamp to let loose with a string of melismatic runs and intense call-and-response with her BGVs. Penned by Anthony Brown (leader of Group TherAPy) and Justin L. Savage, “Safe” debuted on Ruth’s 2017 Tyscot album, I Got You (Live). The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. Ruth is the daughter of veteran radio announcer Pastor Arvetra Jones Jr. and the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 21, 2019

“Take Care of You” C. J. Taylor & Men of Fellowship From the CD He Made a Way (release date: September 9, 2018) https://cjtaylor.org/ By Bob Marovich “Take Care of You” is a drive-tempo selection from C. J. Taylor & Men of Fellowship, a quartet of young men with old souls when it comes to traditional gospel music. The song is about the earthly and heavenly benefits of living right and praying right. To hammer home the point, Taylor and the group offer the biblical story of the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43). All told, the song ...

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Braxton D. Shelley & Testimony – Sermons in Song

Braxton D. Shelley & Testimony Sermons in Song Independent (release date: August 16, 2018) Available on Amazon and CD Baby By Bob Marovich On Sermons in Song, Braxton D. Shelley & Testimony blend the austerity of a concert choir with the swagger of a gospel choir.  The result is a five-star project that deserves major label attention. As musician, songwriter, musicologist, and the album’s narrator, Dr. Shelley puts in practice the techniques of such top-shelf artists as Kurt Carr, Richard Smallwood, and Patrick Lundy to create a lushly textured choir project. Reminiscent of the annual Gospel Music Workshop of America ...

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Jerrell Golden: J Rocks the Mic…for Jesus

By Bob Marovich Anyone who witnessed Tappahannock, Virginia, rapper J Rock during freestyle battles heard a young, hungry, and confident artist who didn’t just want to emulate Jay-Z: he wanted to be better than Jay-Z. But behind the scenes, the story looked different. “I was hooked on drugs and did a lot of bad stuff,” Christian hip hop artist Jerrell Golden told the Journal of Gospel Music. “Me and my mom, we weren’t seeing eye to eye, so she kicked me out,” he said. “And honestly, I deserved it. I went through a spell of being homeless, going from friend ...

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Phil Cook – People Are My Drug

Phil Cook People Are My Drug Psychic Hotline / Thirty Tigers (release date: June 1, 2018) www.philcookmusic.com By Bob Marovich Rootsy gospel vibes abound on Phil Cook’s second solo album, People Are My Drug. A native of from Wisconsin now living in Durham, North Carolina, Cook counts among his inspirations such classic gospel artists as the Staple Singers, the Sensational Nightingales, Margaret Allison, Shirley Caesar, and Brother Joe May. It’s evident, too, in the album’s sound, its lyrics, and even in the quartet-like vamp on two tracks (“Steampowered Blues” and “Every Mother’s Son”). “Tide of Life,” which Cook and his ensemble cover, was written by ...

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Genesis of a Gospel Song: “You Deserve It”

By Bob Marovich This year’s Stellar Awards Song of the Year went to “You Deserve It.” Written by David Bloom and co-authored by Bishop Cortez Vaughn, Demond Reed, and JJ Hairston, the song also received a Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance/Song. Bloom explained to the Journal of Gospel Music how the song was birthed. *      *      * I was first exposed to gospel music as a child. My parents were pastors, so as soon as I was born and we left the hospital, we went straight to church! My mom was a musician and a praise and worship singer. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 19, 2018

“Prayer Room” Jarell Smalls & Co. From the CD A New Season Southern Wave Music Group / Get Ready Music Group (release date: May 19, 2017) http://jarellsmalls.com/ By Bob Marovich By evoking Grandma at the outset, Jarell Smalls gives the appropriate old-school pedigree to “Prayer Room.” Then, to a rockabilly-guitar-meets-Pentecostal-beat, he and his group jump into the congregational classic, “Come in the Prayer Room.” The Charleston, South Carolina-born Smalls scats, vamps, chants, and shouts like a quartet singer. With about two minutes remaining on the recording, the Company moves from the back to the front. The singers shift the melody, but ...

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