Out of the Whirlwind
Gospel Gumbo
Independent (release date: September 13, 2023)

By Robert M. Marovich

From Chicago’s South Side, Out of the Whirlwind is a band of six singers and musicians whose gumbo, as in the title of their sixteen-track album, Gospel Gumbo, is a musical mix of gospel, CCM, jazz, blues, folk, funk, R&B and rock.

The album succeeds when the soloists succeed. The best are Megan Marshall, whose exquisite reading of the meditative “Psalm 19:14” (“Let the words of my mouth…) opens the project; and Leon Dubose, who wraps his haunting vocals around “Oh Lord,” a minor key ballad based, it appears, on Psalm 51.

The appropriately cheery single, “Don’t Forget You’re a Child of God,” which JGM reviewed last year, has the most recognizable gospel feel. It is performed by the Workstudy Performing Arts Choir, a group of children from a Matteson, Illinois, out-of-school program and directed by Out of the Whirlwind founding member Shawn Mitchell. It will remind listeners of COGIC sunshine bands or church children’s choirs. They appear several times throughout the project, but their finest performance is on this particular cut.

Songs run the gamut of styles, including contemporary Christian (“Broken”), rock (‘Jesus is My Rock”), folk (“Carefully, Prayerfully,” though the synth feels unnecessary), and blues (“Gospel Eyes”). The purely gospel tracks like “Oh Lord” and “Don’t Forget You’re a Child of God” are the album’s strongest, most consistent, and most compelling selections.

Taken from the name of OOTW member John Ludwig’s nonprofit organization, “These Streets are Holy” takes on the pervasiveness of gun violence, especially when the victims are children. It concludes with a commitment to reclaim the streets from the perpetrators of the violence. A lyrical reworking of “Imagine” plants John Lennon’s peace anthem in its spiritual antecedents.

“Jesus is my rock / that’s how I roll,” sings Out of the Whirlwind on Gospel Gumbo, and the enthusiasm is infectious. The album has a few rough spots when it comes to the vocals, but there’s no doubting the earnestness of the ensemble.

Three of Five Stars

Picks: “Don’t Forget You’re a Child of God,” “Oh Lord”


  1. John Ludwig January 10, 2024 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    thanks for having a listen Bob!

    • Bob Marovich January 13, 2024 at 1:35 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sending the music my way, John!

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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.