Contemporary Christian Music

Ida Elina – Capital Letters

Ida Elina Capital Letters Hello World Records (release date: August 26, 2022) https://idaelina.com/ By Robert M. Marovich It’s a guitar…it’s a dulcimer…it’s a…kantele? From Finnish singer-songwriter and YouTube sensation Ida Elina comes Capital Letters, a collection of a dozen bite-size songs that span the spectrum from pain and questioning to profound joy. And on them, she accompanies herself on the kantele. For those unfamiliar with the kantele, it is a traditional Finnish instrument with plucked strings not unlike a zither or a lap dulcimer. What Ida contributes to the kantele, however, is a slap-guitar style that makes it as much ...

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Ross & Eli – Signs & Seasons

Ross & Eli Signs & Seasons Independent (released July 15, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich Signs & Seasons is the prodigious product of musicians Ross Martinie Eiler and Eli Schille-Hudson and a band of equally gifted singers and musicians from Bloomington, Indiana. A group with a Catholic connection, they create multidenominational music seasoned with folk, soul, soft rock, rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, and R&B. I had the fortune of reviewing the 49-minute album as a two-disc vinyl set, which—as quality vinyl does—bestows a special warmth to the proceedings. The collection opens and closes with delicate and liturgical flourishes from guitar ...

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JGM Pick of the Week:  September 13, 2022

“I’ve Saved It All” K-Anthony Independent (release date: July 8, 2022) www.kanthonylive.com By Robert M. Marovich I hear a Coldplay influence on K-Anthony’s “I’ve Saved It All,” from the melody to the mix of instruments to the atmospheric vibe. One difference: it doesn’t explode into a million colorful pieces at the conclusion like a Chris Martin arrangement but instead remains quiet, whispery, solemn, introspective. K-Anthony’s smooth singing is suspended in space, his praises to God for grace bestowed and their musical accompaniment echoing in the cosmic vastness surrounding him. K-Anthony is Kevin Anthony Fowler, a Jamaican artist who grew up ...

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JGM Pick of the Week:  August 22, 2022

“God Bless the World” Siobhan Maher Kennedy (release date: May 6, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich While not a gospel or religious song per se, “God Bless the World” is nonetheless a prayer for unity in a world where people have separated from each another on account of race and ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, sex and sexual orientation, economic status—just about every way imaginable. The tender ballad, and especially the heartwarming way that Ms. Kennedy sings it, remind us that underneath it all, we’re sisters and brothers just trying to live life the best way we know how. “God Bless ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – July 12, 2022

“Grace Over Me” Mike Geo Independent (release date: July 8, 2022) www.MikeGeoMusic.com By Robert M. Marovich What Staten Island CCM artist Michael Giordano, aka Mike Geo, offers in “Grace Over Me” is a fizzy, energetic outpouring of gratitude for salvation. When the walls are closing in, Geo closes his eyes and remembers that God’s grace covers him. His charming tenor and acoustic guitar work deliver a cheery enthusiasm, a Jonathan McReynolds-meets-Jamie Grace vibe. The song is simple, short, and to the point.

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“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” – Lady Redneck

“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” Lady Redneck Independent (2022) www.ladyredneckmusic.com By Robert M. Marovich Lady Redneck (aka country singer Stephanie Lee) renders the eighteenth-century hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” with lockstep fidelity to the original and a delicacy ideally suited to the lovely melody. Lee’s tender vocal, accompanied by piano, is like a votive candle lit in a dimmed chapel. I love the song and the arrangement, not so crazy about the artist’s stage name in the context of hymnody. It might be better if she used her given name for Christian releases. Nevertheless, this is a ...

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Avalon Worship – s/t

Avalon Worship Avalon Worship Red Street Records (release date: May 20, 2022) www.redstreetrecords.com By Robert M. Marovich The artist formerly known as Avalon that recorded for Sparrow Records starting in 1995 has rebranded itself as Avalon Worship and just released its first album under the new moniker for Red Street Records. The name change positions them among the worship collectives that have been making noise in gospel music as of late. Produced by Don Koch, the eleven-track self-titled package combines currently-popular worship favorites with original compositions, all radio-sized and radio-ready, and done in the thunderous and dramatic CCM pop ballad ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – June 6, 2022

“Majestic One” Katy Weirich Independent (release date: January 14, 2022) https://katyweirich.com/ By Robert M. Marovich A life filled with ups and downs, joys and sorrows, depression and happiness informs the songs and singing of Katy Weirich. A young vocalist and worship leader who evokes Lauren Daigle and Hillsong’s Brooke Fraser, Weirich offers the praise power ballad “Majestic One.” Set to a panoramic arrangement and grounded by pounding drums, “Majestic One” is an anthem that articulates, in twenty-first century musical language, the gushing litany of Isaiah 9:7. More to come from Weirich, as her EP, Out of the Blue, is slated ...

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Steven Curtis Chapman to be Named First BMI Icon at the 2022 BMI Christian Awards

Top Christian Songwriters and Publishers to be Honored at June 14 Event June 1, 2022 – Nashville, TN – Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI®) will celebrate the extraordinary and inspirational career of Steven Curtis Chapman by presenting him with the BMI Icon Award at the Company’s annual BMI Christian Awards, to be held at BMI’s Nashville office on June 14, 2022. Chapman will be the first Christian music artist to be honored with the prestigious BMI Icon Award. BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill will host the ceremony with Leslie Roberts, BMI AVP, Creative, Nashville. The BMI Icon Award is presented ...

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Tommy Walker – Generation Hymns 3

Tommy Walker Generation Hymns 3 (release date: March 18, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich On Generation Hymns 3, worship leader, singer, and songwriter Tommy Walker teams with the Bethesda Community Church Choir and several featured vocalists to bind the hymnbook in a new cover. The Bethesda choir has a smiley Jesus People vibe. Indeed, the choir, Walker, the featured vocalists, and the robust rhythm section are uniformly upbeat, even on the album’s more sensitive selections like “He Leadeth Me” and “At the Cross.” For his part, Walker possesses a warm, friendly baritone voice that conjures Michael Buble and Harry Connick ...

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