Brian Courtney Wilson
Motown Gospel (release date: October 22, 2022)

By Robert M. Marovich

On Transitions, gospel singer-songwriter Brian Courtney Wilson wraps his honeyed baritone around mostly new selections in an atmosphere set up to simulate a live impromptu jam session.

Whether intentional or not, much of Transitions feels like a musical kin of Marvin Gaye’s 1971 What’s Going On, but with the aid of modern production techniques. Not only does Wilson’s vocal delivery evoke Gaye’s earnest crooning, but the loping rhythm of “All I Can Say” and the bongo-like percussion at the opening of “Monday’s Pain” and “Call My Name” evoke “Mercy Mercy Me,” “Inner City Blues,” and “What’s Going On.” Given that the album is on a Motown imprint and Wilson has a deep respect for Marvin Gaye’s work—he’s covered “Inner City Blues”—perhaps it’s not really that surprising.

Along the same lines, songs like “Waiting,” “Sure As,” and the extended introspective meditation called “Monday’s Pain” (shades of Marvin Gaye AND Donny Hathaway here) are a hair’s breadth away from Adult Contemporary R&B. For churchier sounds, the reprise of “A Great Work,” from the 2018 album of the same name, brings the goods, though it seems a bit out of place among selections that don’t have the same raw, evangelistic fervor. On the other hand, “Always Peace” sets a prayer for “grace, mercy, and peace” to a lovely Baptist hymn-like melody and arrangement. It’s likely to join songs like “All I Need” and “Worth Fighting For” on Wilson’s greatest hits list.

The album receives top-shelf treatment from energetic background vocalists, a tight rhythm section, and superb production from Dana Sorey, who also plays a churchy organ. The sound is big enough to bust through the speakers but intimate enough to feel like a house concert. The musicians and singers double as the congregation, encouraging Wilson as he exhorts.

With Biblically-based and earnest messages set to a relaxed consommé of soul, funk, blues, R&B (and church vibes, of course), Transitions may indicate where modern gospel is, or at least should be, headed.

Five of Five Stars
Picks: “Always Peace,” “Waiting,” “Call My Name”


  1. Helen LaMar March 10, 2023 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Such an anointing gift God gave Mr. Wilson. I play the Transitions everyday. Love it. All songs are so inspiring. If I had yo choose a favorite it would be Waiting.

    The singers are awesome and the musicians are amazing.

  2. Puddy March 16, 2023 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    Spirit of God cover this vibrant and majestic Team.
    I play these songs every day and each song has a perfect message for me. “Waiting” opened my eyes and make me remember my. prayers.
    “Call my name” is so perfect for all of us going through illness.
    This the best album for 2022-2023.

  3. Shanna April 8, 2023 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    This whole album is a blessing. I’ve been listening to it all day today & being encouraged. Thank you Brother Wilson & team. Your project is a true blessing for me & plenty of others. This is a true blessing to my soul & my spiritual journey. Blessings to you all. Truly annointed! Keep it up 🙌🏾🙏🏾💞

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Written by : Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.