CDs

Pastor Dewayne Charleston – Don’t Wait

Pastor Dewayne Charleston Don’t Wait JJ Music Media (release date: April 1, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich Although Pastor Dewayne Charleston’s Don’t Wait is a solo project, the soulful singing, the quartet harmonies, the wooden church spirituality, and the traditional-leaning arrangements endow it with the spirit of a quartet CD. In this case, the quartet harmonies supporting Charleston are handled by a duo, Jerome Larkin and Dion Bell. Assisting the singers is a team of steady-handed musicians led by Jerald “JJ” Griffin, who manages multiple duties on bass guitar, keys, horns, and strings. The album’s current single is the easy-loping ...

Read More »

Angelo & Veronica: The Original Recordings, 1990-1991

Angelo & Veronica The Original Recordings, 1990-1991 A&V Music (release date: April 25, 2022) www.angeloandveronica.com By Robert M. Marovich Christian music duo Angelo & Veronica’s recent release, The Original Recordings: 1990-1991, could easily have been titled (with deference to Dylan) The Basement Tapes. The twelve-track collection was recorded in Angelo Petrucci’s mother’s basement in 1990 and 1991, prior to the duo’s signing with the Benson Company and the company’s subsequent decision to hire another producer for the group’s debut album. The basement tape was long forgotten until Angelo came across it in his garage, not the worse for wear. Indeed, ...

Read More »

Michele Thomas – The Assumption

Michele Thomas The Assumption Soulstream Music (release date: March 25, 2022) www.michelethomasmusic.com By Robert M. Marovich First of all, the title of The Assumption, jazz singer Michele Thomas’s third album, is a play on words. By referencing the Roman Catholic Church’s belief (assumption) that Mary, mother of Jesus, departed immediately to heaven upon death, she puts a sacred touch on the project’s point: trust. Second, Thomas combines her experience as a church singer, which included forming the gospel choir at North Park University, with her jazz career. The result is a sound as easy as Sunday morning but with messages ...

Read More »

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 ...

Read More »

Damara Melissa – Beginnings (EP)

Damara Melissa Beginnings (EP) (release date: February 24, 2022) www.damaramelissa.com By Robert M. Marovich From Whitby, Ontario, singer-songwriter Damara Melissa evokes CCM singers Jamie Grace, Tori Kelly, and Nicole C. Mullins. Following a few recent singles, Beginnings is her first EP. Commencing her writing career to channel her emotions after the passing of her father, Damara expresses in the pop-flavored songs on Beginnings the intimacy of a soul transitioning from hurting to healing, from vulnerability to victory. The prayerful and self-empowering “Brave” is the current streaming favorite, but to my ears, “Invisible” is the EP’s highlight. This ballad about a ...

Read More »

Lawrence Hancock – Don’t Stop Caring

Lawrence Hancock Don’t Stop Caring Independent / Symphonic Distribution (release date: April 29, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich Don’t Stop Caring is Bishop Lawrence Hancock once again baring his soul and sharing the raw truth from the pulpit of experience. The Stellar-nominated Christian hip hop artist’s eighth album builds on his distinctive style of delivery: an atmospheric kaleidoscope of computer-generated electronica and rhythm supporting stream of consciousness lyricism. As such, Hancock is like a sacred version of a beat poet. As on 2020’s Who I Am and last year’s Need of You, Hancock prays out loud in a pleading, multi-tracked ...

Read More »

Gregory King – Jesus Paid It All

Gregory King Jesus Paid It All The LAB Works Studio / Nadjaron Productions (2012) By Robert M. Marovich Although Nobody Can Do Me Like Jesus,” “Payday is Coming,” and the title track of Gregory King’s 2012 album may share titles with popular hymns and gospels, that’s where the similarity ends. What you hear are newly-composed songs by King cloaked in an ‘80s funk sensibility. Thumping bass, Morris Day-era polyrhythms, pop melodies, slick call-and-response, and bits of electronica highlight this throwback album. Even King’s measured vocals, eschewing melisma for dance floor cool, evoke ‘80s R&B. Among the several featured soloists on ...

Read More »

Martha Munizzi – Best Days

Martha Munizzi Best Days Martha Munizzi Music (release date: July 29, 2021) www.marthamunizzi.com By Robert M. Marovich Martha Munizzi’s latest live album, Best Days, is a well-orchestrated worship service that focuses on the reasons to celebrate, not worry, in the midst of today’s uncertainty. The paradox of joy in the midst of a raging storm permeates the project—after all, the album was recorded in November 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. It’s also the ultimate test of faith, Munizzi teaches, in songs that are energetic and pop-inflected with beefy instrumental flourishes. She assumes pastoral authority, exhorting during songs, encouraging ...

Read More »

Psalmist Raine & the ReFresh Team – ReFresh Worship Live 3.3

Psalmist Raine & the ReFresh Team ReFresh Worship Live 3.3 ReFresh Institute (release date: March 25, 2022) www.BeReFresh.com By Robert M. Marovich One thing is certain about Psalmist Raine’s ReFresh Worship Live 3.3: it keeps on going and going and going. The final disc of the three-volume ReFresh Worship Live 3: The Fellowship of Sons and Brethren by newly-ordained Apostle Larraine McCaa, known as Psalmist Raine, has a musical stream of consciousness quality. Indeed, fashioning an improvised extended worship piece was intentional: though some songs were rehearsed in advance, others were created on the spot by the singers and musicians ...

Read More »

Various Artists – Malaco 50th Celebration

Various Artists Malaco 50th Celebration Malaco Music Group (release date: February 25, 2022) www.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich The nearly two-hour Malaco 50th Celebration two CD set (and companion DVD) is one of the best releases thus far this year. Recorded live on July 12, 2018, at the record company’s golden anniversary gala at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, Mississippi, the package pairs current gospel stars with classic songs from Malaco’s gospel archives. Since the label owns the licensing rights to gospel music from such iconic labels as Apollo, Savoy, Atlanta International Records, Muscle Shoals Sound, GosPearl, and Onyx, it ...

Read More »