Tag Archives: virginia

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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Bemeche’: I’m Determined – Live

Bemeche’ I’m Determined – Live BGMN Records www.Bemeche.com By Bob Marovich It’s rare these days for gospel artists to give over most of their full album to old-time songs, but that’s what Bemeche’ Hicks has done on his I’m Determined – Live. The Virginia-based music minister even invited a bonafide church wrecker to assist with his debut CD. None other than Evangelist Dorothy Norwood joins Bemeche’ on the Roberta Martin Singers theme song, “Only a Look.” It’s a treat to hear Norwood sing and squall her way through a classic that she may not have recorded before. The Storyteller then ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 14, 2018

“I’m Determined” Bemeche’ BGMN Records (release date: April 9, 2018) www.bemeche.com By Bob Marovich This Virginia-based artist teams up with a top-shelf choir and musicians who together sound as if they came straight outta Chicago’s Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer on “I’m Determined.” A churchy up-tempo workout with jaunty piano work complements Bemeche’s conviction to run on to see what the end will be. He engages the choir in antiphonal singing and sets up a special section where sopranos, altos, and tenors layer their harmonies onto the main melody one at a time. Then the musicians drop out for a straight-up vamp. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 2, 2018

“Trouble Won’t Last” Apostle James Alston & Fellowship https://apostlejamesalston.com/ By Bob Marovich By their name, Apostle James Alston & Fellowship sounds like a P&W group, but they are actually a quartet, complete with Alston’s gravelly lead vocal delivery and gospel chuckle. For “Trouble Won’t Last,” Alston & Fellowship delivers the reassuring message of Psalm 30:5, like so many decades of quartets before them, in the language of the spiritual, “I’m so glad trouble don’t last always.” Of course, the melody and lyrics are different from the spiritual, and the quartet gives their song a bounce appropriate for the joyful sentiment. ...

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Derek Dunn – I Will Sing

Derek Dunn I Will Sing In Season Music Group (release date: October 13, 2017) www.inseasonmusicgroup.com By Bob Marovich From the Tidewater area of Virginia comes Derek Dunn, whose latest CD, I Will Sing, is notable for offering more than the usual number of high-potential songs expected from an album of new compositions. Dunn’s muscular voice is reminiscent of Isaac Carree who, it turns out, is one of his influences. So is Fred Hammond, all of which explains why the single, “If It Had Not Been,” as well as “Got to Make It,” featuring Emory Diggs, bear more than passing resemblances to Commissioned and Men ...

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G.I. – Winning

G.I. Winning BGA Records / Shanachie (release date: September 8, 2017) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich Depending on your political point of view, “winning” can be a timeless mantra or a creepy coded message. For Richmond, Virginia’s G.I., however, winning is not a political football but a forgone conclusion. Just believe. With God, they sing, it’s already done.  For you. Comprised of Branden Anderson, Lamonte Harris, and Rufus Johnson III, G.I. (aka God’s Image) is a harmony trio that falls somewhere between a modern quartet and a gospel group. Surrounding themselves with electronica, trap, hip hop, R&B, and other elements of urban ...

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Faithful Connection – Thank You

Faithful Connection Thank You (2015) www.faithfulconnection09.com By Bob Marovich Named Quartet CD of the Year at the 2016 Rhythm of Gospel Awards, Thank You is a ten-track album by Faithful Connection that blends traditional gospel quartet singing with modern musicianship. The Fredericksburg, Virginia, group pays homage to Tidewater quartet history through its tight harmonies that emphasize the mid-range versus high tenor or bass. The quartet’s harmonies are especially prominent on the title track and on “Come Too Far,” which opens with the classic open guitar strum and features a warbling organ as well as hard singing from guest lead James H. ...

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Phillip Carter Delivers Songs Choirs “Can Learn in Two Rehearsals or Less”

By Bob Marovich Some twenty years ago, Phillip Carter gathered a half dozen of his friends into a local studio. He had written some songs and wanted to hear what they sounded like as performed by a vocal group. Carter told JGM: “I taught them the music, and we thought, ‘Man, this sounds pretty good!’ I decided to record some of it. One thing led to another and we started the group.” On September 23, Carter and his group, called the Sounds of Victory (SOV for short), released their sixth live recording, Live From Zion, on Phillip Carter Music distributed through ...

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Grace Covenant Worship – You Are God (EP)

Grace Covenant Worship You Are God (EP) www.gracecov.org By Bob Marovich Grace Covenant Worship in Chantilly, Virginia, is a self-described “multi-ethnic, multi-site, multi-racial church.” Its sacred music reflects the diversity of its membership. Although its lyrical content is 100 percent praise and worship, the church’s new four-track EP, the live recording You Are God, shifts musically from the P&W-gospel hybrid “You First Loved Me” to straight-up CCM on “I’ll Worship” to the Latin infused bilingual “Te Alabamos.” Singer-songwriter Tifani Fields, the church’s worship leader, renders the title track, an extended worship ballad she co-wrote with worship pastor Robert Ellis, with characteristic charm.  ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 21, 2015

“Oh Come All Ye Faithful” Grace Covenant Worship From the CD Christmas With Grace: A Mosaic in Song www.gracecov.org Grave Covenant in Chantilly, Virginia, is a “multi-ethnic, multi-site, multi-racial” church with a dynamic music and arts department. “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” from the church’s Christmas release, is delicately orchestrated with strings but also features a firm rhythm section. You can feel the lush harmonies, with flourishes of big round gospel chords, washing over the congregation. Soloists Candice Hinton, Robert Ellis, and songwriter Tifani Wilson assist in raising the carol’s temperature from the first note to the last. Rendered with ...

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