Reviews

“He’ll Do It Again” – Wright Family Singers

“He’ll Do It Again”Wright Family SingersHigher Praise Records (release date: April 15, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich On “He’ll Do It Again,” the Wright Family Singers come as close as anyone currently to the deep groove Muscle Shoals-era sound of the Staple Singers. The female trio even evokes the low alto of Mavis Staples on this song of encouragement, that if Jesus did it once upon a time, he’ll do it for you—in the courtroom, in the sick room, in the midst of confusion and—cue Wilson Pickett—in the midnight hour. Not to be confused with the Wright Family Singers of ...

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JGM Pick of the Week:  May 9, 2022

“I’m Encouraged” Patrick Noble Allen presents Claude Deuce Embrace Your Texture Enterprises (release date: February 24, 2022)www.ClaudeDeuce.com By Robert M. Marovich Written last year by Claude Deuce, who is also the featured vocalist, “I’m Encouraged,” presented by music industry veteran Patrick Noble Allen, is a gospel power ballad about holding onto blind faith, no matter the size of the tribulation. Motivated, no doubt, by a combination of societal and personal tempests, “I’m Encouraged” contemporizes the axiom that trouble doesn’t last always: “Made it through that / make it through this / It won’t always be this way.” The song gets ...

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“Never Lost” – Tribl

“Never Lost” Tribl featuring Joe L. Barnes, Lizzie Morgan & Melvin Crispell III Tribl Music (album release date: November 11, 2021) www.tribl.com By Robert M. Marovich If you follow gospel music, you are aware of the rise of worship collectives like Elevation Worship, Nashville Life Music, and the recent Grammy Award-winning Maverick City Music. Worship collectives, which are often multicultural in composition, possess a style that falls somewhere between CCM and gospel. Sometimes this blend, designed to appeal to an increasingly multicultural megachurch environment, lands the groups’ music on the CCM and gospel charts at the same time. Tribl is ...

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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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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 ...

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JGM Pick of the Week:  April 26, 2022

“I Got Joy” The Dorsetts Independent (release date: January 6, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich Husband-and-wife duo Arnold and Sharee Dorsett—known as the Dorsetts—offer “I Got Joy,” a simple tune with an easy rhythm and a catchy refrain that not only establishes the premise of the song but invites a congregational singalong and possibly a pleasant earworm. The song takes for its text the latter half of John 16:22: “your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” The Dorsetts hail from Wilmington, Delaware. As far as I can tell, this is their debut single.

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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 ...

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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 ...

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“Beautiful Day” – Trenton Kirksey ft. Nikki Ross

“Beautiful Day” Trenton Kirksey ft. Nikki Ross Independent (2022) www.Facebook.com/MusicByTrent By Robert M. Marovich “Beautiful Day” is the debut single from Trenton Kirksey, a Houston-based baritone vocalist, songwriter, and conductor. Fellow Houstonian Nikki Ross is the vocalist on Kirksey’s track. To a classically-inspired and Latin-fired arrangement, Ross expresses unbridled joy not just in her experience of reality, with all of the sadness and happiness life brings, but also in the faith that the day forthcoming will be beautiful. To reinforce the point, a full-throated choir chants from 2 Corinthians 5:7—“not by sight but by faith”—behind her. A morning mantra, if ...

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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 ...

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