Tag Archives: north carolina

JGM Pick of the Week: May 11, 2020

“Better Days” Joe Daccache Independent (release date: April 3, 2020) By Bob Marovich “Better Days” is a pop-styled song with an inspirational message from Joe Daccache. A thumping beat with swatches of warbling organ, plunky piano, hand claps, and flourishes of brass give the impression of being in the church as well as in the park, as if Cee Lo Green and Kirk Franklin were jamming together. Inspired by his mother’s battle with cancer (she’s currently cancer-free), Daccache wrote “Better Days” with Autumn Marie Buysse and Tony Chetta. The song offers gratitude to God for blessings received, and brings a ...

Read More »

Various Artists: Carolina’s Got Talent

Various Artists Carolina’s Got Talent Ruffboyzmusic Group LLC and Overboard Records (release date: April 17, 2020) By Bob Marovich From the looks of the Billboard gospel charts, you might think traditional gospel music is dead and gone, but that’s not the case. In the Carolinas, for example, plenty of wooden church-honed singers, groups, and quartets are active. But hearing many of them means traveling to the Carolinas to attend the multi-artist gospel programs hosted by local radio stations. With 90% of the country in stay-at-home mode, the multi-artist program has to come to you. A sampling of the traditional sound ...

Read More »

“Look to the Hills” – Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir

“Look to the Hills” Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir Shanachie / SRT Entertainment (release date: January 24, 2020) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich On the heels of “God’s Grace,” a remarkable hit for the Reverend Luther Barnes and the choir from his Restoration Worship Center in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, comes another heartwarming single, “Look to the Hills.” Barnes takes Psalm 121 as his text for this selection. Citing money problems as well as adding an alarming verse about a health scare that one can only hope is not autobiographical, he and the choir offer a reassuring ...

Read More »

Travis Greene – Broken Record

Travis Greene Broken Record RCA Inspiration (release date: November 1, 2019) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Broken Record is Travis Greene’s fourth full-length album and continues the youthful sacred fusion of his previous work. Against convention, the album opens with a slow, introspective song called “The Breaker.” It is only after this thoughtful piece has faded that the album moves into a lively gear with the countrified worship song, “Great Jehovah.” Greene later reprises this galloping tempo on a song of gratitude called “No One Else.” Also bucking convention, Greene doesn’t use a church or auditorium to record the initial tracks ...

Read More »

“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 ...

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »

“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 ...

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »