Tag Archives: Texas

Nikki Berry – Journey to Restoration

Nikki Berry Journey to Restoration Reviving Dreams Enterprises (release date: November 8, 2018) www.nikkiberrymusic.com By Bob Marovich Houston, Texas-based singer-songwriter Nikki Berry is one of the only gospel singers I know who also has a degree in mechanical engineering. I met Berry this summer at the Rhythm of Gospel Awards celebration in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she was crowned Ms. N.I.G.M.A. (National and Independent Gospel Music Awards). Journey to Restoration is her latest album. Striving and overcoming are the thematic strands that hold the project together and are, in her hands, the motive forces of achieving restoration. For example, “The ...

Read More »

“Give Him Glory” – Dr. LaTonya Earl

“Give Him Glory” Dr. LaTonya Earl Latonyaearl1@gmail.com By Bob Marovich Houstonian Dr. LaTonya Earl’s sassy single “When I Stopped Playing with Jesus” is distinctive in melody and lyric, but it’s her work on the worship ballad “Give Him Glory” that best sells her skills to the gospel music public. This simple song, with its singularly singable melody, finds Earl at her unbridled best. Like a seasoned gospel soloist, she raises the song’s temperature from cool and even to a breathless apex without coming close to going off the melismatic cliff. The independent artist Dr. LaTonya Earl has earned honors at ...

Read More »

Brent Jones – Open Your Mouth and Say Something

Brent Jones Open Your Mouth and Say Something JDI Records (release date: September 14, 2018) By Bob Marovich “Don’t you dare walk away from gospel music!” Brent Jones exhorts in the midst of his delightful new project, Open Your Mouth and Say Something. He certainly provides an excellent role model for sticking with gospel. On his new project, the former leader of T. P. Mobb and the architect of the Easter Sunday favorite “He Rose” offers nine selections, many rendered with the talented Waco (Texas) Community Choir. What distinguishes this project among others in rotation today is Jones’ honest and humorous repartee with his ...

Read More »

“I’ve Got Joy” – Reggie Campbell feat. Celia King Murray

“I’ve Got Joy” Reggie Campbell feat. Celia King Murray Fresh Fire Records and Publishing (release date: January 15, 2014) www.reggiecampbell.com By Bob Marovich From Gospel Image Award-winning singer Reggie Campbell’s CD of the same title, “I’ve Got Joy” is an appropriately up-tempo celebration of a fullness of heart. Taking his cue from James 1:2, Campbell sings the glory down in a full but flexible baritone. The quite fantastic Celia King Murray joins him midway through the song to echo the “pure joy” one feels in getting from God “a brand new start.” Later, the background vocalists interpolate the cascading “joy” section from Ricky Dillard ...

Read More »

“Weather the Storm” – Dorothy Norwood

“Weather the Storm” Dorothy Norwood Dorothy Norwood Music Group (release date: June 4, 2018) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/dorothynorwood5 By Bob Marovich Evangelist Dorothy Norwood goes into classic storyteller mode as she describes how a Houston, Texas, family is rescued from the roof of their home during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. While the recency of the event undoubtedly touched the live audience, Norwood sees the story as more than recent history: it’s a demonstration of God’s assistance “in the nick of time,” and a chance to shout “Hallelujah” for a successful ending. She peppers the song with lyric snippets about miracles, rejoicing, and joy coming in the ...

Read More »

Jabari Johnson: “A Raphael Saddiq Who Sings Gospel”

By Bob Marovich It’s not unusual to hear how a gospel song touched someone’s life. Every now and then, you even hear about how a gospel song saved someone’s life. But what about when a song saves the life of its own creator? That is the story behind “Have Your Way,” the new single from singer, songwriter, and musician Jabari Johnson. “Two years ago, I was getting ready to commit suicide,” Jabari said. “But God gave me the lyrics [to ‘Have Your Way’]. I sang the song at an event in Houston that night, and my breakthrough happened. Ever since ...

Read More »

Endurance (feat. the late Joe Ligon)

Endurance (feat. The Late Joe Ligon) Changed SCCME Records (release date: September 29, 2017) http://musicbyendurance.com/ By Bob Marovich The Stellar Award-nominated gospel quartet Endurance of Houston, Texas, had the mixed blessing of being responsible for Joe Ligon’s last known recording. It was a mixed blessing because they got to work with the iconic lead singer of the Mighty Clouds of Joy, but I’m sure that if they had their druthers, they wouldn’t have wanted it to be his last trip to the studio. Nevertheless, on the title track, Ligon’s hard shouting style fits perfectly with Michael Robertson’s own. Like two deacons in spirited conversation, Ligon ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: February 19, 2018

“Awaiting My King” Mrs. Inspire Inspire Be You Beauty, LLC (release date: January 17, 2018) www.mrsinspire.com By Bob Marovich Mrs. Inspire lends her enchanting voice to “Awaiting My King,” a lovely melodic CCM ballad that exposes the singer’s own struggles and vulnerability in hopes of encouraging others similarly burdened to do what she has done: “cast your cares on Him.” The Texas-based singer-songwriter discovered her talent for singing, and her love for Christian music, around the age of five, and has been involved in music ministry her whole life. She has also worked as a model and promotes “modeling with a message,” ...

Read More »

The Divine Souls – Favor

The Divine Souls Favor Independent (2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/thedivinesouls2 By Bob Marovich “Out in the West Texas town of El Paso” is a gospel quartet named the Divine Souls. Their album, Favor, is a solid collection of ten songs that combine traditional lyrics and themes with modern musical accompaniment. Most pronounced about the Divine Souls is their harmonies. When other quartets are going high above the stave with their harmonizing, a la the Violinaires, the Divine Souls go low. The result is a meatier, more traditional baritone sound. In addition, while some quartet CDs prominently feature the lead singer while the rest of ...

Read More »

RIP, Ronald Greer; Wrote Book on Roberta Martin Singers

By Bob Marovich JGM is saddened to report the passing of Mr. Ronald Greer of Bay City, Texas. He passed away in his sleep sometime last night or early this morning. Ron was the number one fan of the Roberta Martin Singers. Over the years, he kept in touch with the Martin Singers’ manager, Eugene Smith. Before Eugene passed, he shared with Ron many stories about the Roberta Martin Singers. Many went into Ron’s book, Only a Look, a history and appreciation of the pioneering gospel group. Subsequent to the publication of Only a Look, Ron helped secure a place for the Roberta ...

Read More »