Contemporary Christian Music

Harriet Fraser – Peace

Harriet Fraser Peace Independent (release date: October 8, 2021) www.harrietfraser.com By Robert M. Marovich On her brief but touchingly lovely debut album Peace, soprano Harriet Frasier harmonizes with herself, two-parts unaccompanied, a touch of echo evoking the sense of being recorded in a stone-walled cathedral instead of the California studios that served as the true sites of production. Shawn Kirchner’s ambient arrangements of a dozen folk songs, classical pieces, and sacred fare are designed to lull the listener into a state of relaxation, calmness, peacefulness. Delivered with Fraser’s soothing voice(s), the album delivers on its premise. Of the sacred selections, ...

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“Leave It at the Cross” – Jenn Bostic

“Leave It at the Cross”Jenn Bostic(release date: October 15, 2021)www.jennbostic.com By Robert M. Marovich Singer-songwriter and musician Jenn Bostic’s atmospheric “Leave It at the Cross” instructs that all difficult problems, whether producing hurt, shame, or pain, are best dropped at the foot of Jesus. Their heaviness drags us down and we can’t solve them alone, anyhow. Bostic’s expansive voice foregrounds a pop-oriented melody and arrangement evocative of Lauren Daigle and Nichole Nordeman. Much of the song’s crossover vibe can be credited to co-writers and producers Benj Heard and Lauren Christ, no strangers to the pop music scene. Educated at Berklee ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 18, 2021

“There Will Be a Light Again” Kali Joy From the CD Real Life (release date: September 24, 2021) www.kalijoy.com By Robert M. Marovich Christian singer Kali Joy’s “There Will Be a Light Again” may not be the single from her album Real Life, but it certainly ought to be. It’s a gorgeous song of hope that, in its graceful delicacy and empty spaces, exudes the wistfulness of the autumn season, when it’s “time to die, time to let go of what you’ve known and journey on into the dark of the winter.” Kali delivers the life-sustaining optimism in the refrain, ...

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The History & Origins of Evangelical Pianism

By Nicole McCraySpecial Feature – Journal of Gospel Music www.nicolemccray.com Most people associate the piano with worship music, and it seems to have been that way for many years. However, prior to piano, the organ was the primary instrument in a house of worship. In looking at the history and origins of the piano, you can trace the path of how this beautiful and complex instrument made its way into the secular realm. THE BEGINNINGStandard church practice had been to use an organ for accompaniment. But because the organ’s sound was so powerful, hymnists’ voices did not carry as well ...

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Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers – Somewhere Beyond the Blue

Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers Somewhere Beyond the Blue Billy Blue Records (release date: May 7, 2021) www.radioramblers.com By Robert M. Marovich On the eleven-track Somewhere Beyond the Blue, Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers offer southern gospel singing bluegrass style in the tradition of the Louvin Brothers, Carl Story, and the Lewis Family. Tight harmonies, dynamic banjo solos, and keening fiddle runs support southern gospel songs from the pens of such stalwart songwriters as Vep Ellis, Bill Anderson, and Marty Stuart. In general, the songs are sermonettes on the virtues of a good life and the promise of ...

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Christian Music’s Place In Mainstream Entertainment

By Nicole McCraySpecial Feature – Journal of Gospel Musicwww.nicolemccray.com Christian music has been chiefly regarded as hymns. However, it has evolved into a multitude of genres, breaking the barrier between what people think of as “typical church music” and branching out into other styles, all of which remain grounded in worship. Independent artists are emerging in Christian music, and with the majority of Americans today identifying as Christian, religion makes up a massive chunk of popular culture. In addition, evangelicals are influencing others in the ways of Jesus. Christian bands and artists are creating hit songs, bridging gaps between secular and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week August 16, 2021

“Fear is Not Welcome” Brian Courtney Wilson feat. Hilary Scott From the Motown Gospel CD Still (Deluxe) (single release date: July 9, 2021) www.motowngospel.com By Robert M. Marovich While the original version of Brian Courtney Wilson’s “Fear is Not Welcome” was potent enough, for the Deluxe edition of Still, he duets with Hilary Scott, co-lead singer of Lady A (formerly Lady Antebellum) and who, as Hillary Scott & the Scott Family, released the Grammy Award-winning Christian music album, Love Remains. Together, the two declare holy war on fear, but not without a call for assistance from on high. Echoes of Psalm ...

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52ND ANNUAL GMA DOVE AWARD NOMINEES ANNOUNCED

ELEVATION WORSHIP, FOR KING & COUNTRY, BRANDON LAKE, CECE WINANS AND ZACH WILLIAMS LEAD NOMINATIONS The GMA Dove Awards in-person Nashville event will be held October 19th and will air exclusively on TBN, Friday, October 22nd, 2021 8:00p.m. ET and 10:00p.m. ET Nashville, Tenn. (August 11, 2021) – The Gospel Music Association is pleased to announce nominees for the 52nd Annual GMA Dove Awards. Top nominations include Steven Furtick with ten (10) nominations, Chris Brown with nine (9), Wayne Haun with eight (8), seven (7) nominations each for Elevation Worship and Brandon Lake, six (6) to for KING & COUNTRY ...

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Dottie Rambo – It’s the Soul of Me (remastered)

Dottie Rambo It’s the Soul of Me (remastered) Original release: Heart Warming Records 1968 Provident Distribution/Sony Music (release date: July 30, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich In the year the Recording Academy introduced the Grammy Award category for Best Soul Gospel Performance, the nominees were the Swan Silvertones, the Staple Singers, the Reverend James Cleveland and the Angelic Choir, the Davis Sisters, Willa Dorsey, and singer-songwriter and guitarist Dottie Rambo. Rambo, the sole Caucasian in the category, took home the statuette for her Heart Warming Records solo album It’s the Soul of Me. Although the other nominees would have been ...

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Various Artists – Gospel Songs by Lee Hawkins, Volume One

Various Artists Gospel Songs by Lee Hawkins, Volume One Devine Jamz (release date: July 2021) www.devinejamz.net By Robert M. Marovich Here’s something you don’t see that often: an “…and then I wrote” compilation of gospel and praise & worship songs. Produced, arranged, and composed by award-winning songwriter Lee Hawkins, by day a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Gospel Songs Volume One is a collection of well-produced demos of eight Hawkins songs delivered by young and talented artists. Hawkins’ thoroughly contemporary compositions are unvarying, introspective, serious, lyrical, melodic, and with a hint of classical influence. For example, both the unplugged and ...

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