Tag Archives: Texas

Gail Stewart & Prayz4 – s/t

Gail Stewart & Prayz4 Self-titled Independent (release date: July 12, 2017) By Robert M. Marovich What is immediately evident about the self-titled CD by the Texas-based family gospel group Gail Stewart & Prayz4 is its emphasis on modernizing traditional hymns and gospels. For example, the group gives the nineteenth-century hymn “I Need Thee” a mid-tempo R&B treatment, complete with bongos and snarling guitar, while Gail’s breathy soprano directs the rest of the singers toward a bluesy vamp. “Where He Leads Me” bathes the basic premise of the original hymn in a cornucopia of sounds, melodies, and new lyrics sufficient to ...

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Grand Opening of the Black Gospel Archive and Listening Center at Baylor University

By Robert M. Marovich On Friday, November 12, 2021, Baylor University opened the doors to its new Black Gospel Archive and Listening Center. It is an extension of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, funded initially by Charles Royce and helmed by Baylor professor Robert Darden. JGM’s Bob Marovich was honored to be part of the grand opening celebration program, where he and Prof. Darden discussed “Why Gospel Music Matters.” You can take a quick tour of the new facility via this video from Waco, Texas, Fox affiliate channel 44:

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JGM Pick of the Week October 25, 2021

“Open Up the Windows of Heaven” Lucinda Marie Independent (release date: August 10, 2021) www.LucindaMarieMusic.com By Robert M. Marovich Lucinda Marie, the self-described “former pastor’s wife,” puts on her stylish shouting shoes, lifts the hem of her long dress ever so slightly, and holy dances through this up-tempo piece. The lyrics, which quote from Malachi 3:10, provide Lucinda and her background vocalists plenty of room for call-and-response. She starts the long vamp with “Fill my cup” and it leads to plaudits abundant. A real stomper in the finest perspiration-drenched church-wrecking tradition. From Austin, Texas, Lucinda Marie (Taylor) has a Ph.D. ...

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Celebrating the Life of Gospel Legend Shawn McLemore

For Immediate Release (Houston, Texas) The music community is mourning the loss of a Gospel music legend with the passing of Shawn McLemore after an extended illness. “Shawn was a great spirit with enormous talent and personality to match”, says Blacksmoke Music Worldwide CEO Kerry Douglas. “To see him take the stage and have absolute command of the room was just magic. He was genuine, he had a great sense of humor and when he sang, God listened. Shawn was a gift to us and he will surely be missed.” Life began for Shawn McLemore in Los Angeles, California, where ...

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Gregory Gay Joins Blacksmoke Music Worldwide Team

(Houston, Texas) Blacksmoke Music Worldwide and Kerry Douglas Radio Promotions expands its bandwidth with the addition of Gregory Gay to its ranks. “Gregory Gay has been a fixture in the inner workings and behind the scenes of Gospel music for over two decades”, says Blacksmoke CEO Kerry Douglas. He has been a much loved minister of music and choir trainer/vocal coach (he can sing a little bit too) , a radio personality, a music editor, contributor to several books on Gospel and a management, marketing and publicity strategist. He knows the history of this great music and celebrates its continued ...

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“All I Am” – Taushey Sias

“All I Am” Taushey Sias (release date: June 24, 2019) http://booktaushey.com/ Besides being a song of praise written in the wake of a devastating fire that left singer Taushey Sias temporarily homeless, “All I Am” has a delicate and fascinating melody made all the more richer by Sias’ elastic but not overly showy vocals. A downbeat mood complements the intimacy of the prayer-like lyrics. One gets the impression that this young lady could sing just about any kind of music. In fact, the last time JGM featured her was on its 2014 Christmas playlist, singing “Merry Christmas” with Norris J. ...

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DeWayne Harvey Knows Firsthand “What the Lord Allows”

By Robert M. Marovich “He may not come when you want Him, but He’s always right on time.” This church aphorism could be Pastor DeWayne Harvey’s personal motto. The early 2010s were a busy time for the Tallahassee, Florida, minister, entrepreneur, singer, songwriter, and producer. His 2011 release, The Report of the Lord, featuring the praise team from his Greater Blessings Tabernacle of Faith Church, was doing well. The album’s singles, “Whose Report” and “Celebrate,” were burning up gospel radio. Harvey also wrote and produced Angela Spivey’s 2012 album, He Keeps His Promise, for his Innovative Records imprint. So by ...

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Katy Crawford – Dwell (EP)

Katy Crawford Dwell (EP) Devotion Music (release date: June 11, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Dallas-based singer-songwriter Katy Crawford was inspired to read from Psalms every day and set some of the verses to music. Her EP Dwell is the first, but hopefully not the last, of her musical explorations of the ancient lyrical poems. Crawford gives the EP’s six psalms a dash of folk, country, and Celtic lilt. Their memorable melodies are supported by a delicate acoustic ambience, one that never overpowers Crawford’s earnest vocals, which are reminiscent of Sandra McCracken and Lauren Daigle. Although the rhythmic and engaging ...

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RIP: Pastor Steve Hawkins

By Robert M. Marovich A. Jeffrey LaValley informed JGM of the passing of his friend, gospel singer and pastor Steve Hawkins. Born in Waco, Texas, on Valentine’s Day, 1953 (“That’s why I’m such a sweetheart!” he chuckled during our 2014 interview), Hawkins was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where his father was pastor of the Jerusalem Church of God in Christ. As a youngster, Hawkins learned the finer points of singing from his mother. His uncle and aunt, Dorothy and Lawrence Abrams, took him on the road to open for the Original Five Blind Boys, in which Lawrence was a member ...

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RIP: Val Alexander (Gospel Keynotes)

By Robert M. Marovich Debra Robinson informed JGM yesterday that Val Alexander, longtime singer and guitarist for the Gospel Keynotes, passed away on Wednesday, December 16, 2020. Alexander can be heard on Gospel Keynotes recordings as early as 1970. Here is a brief bio on the Gospel Keynotes: From Tyler, Texas, Willie Neal Johnson – affectionately known as “Country Boy” – began his professional singing career when Rev. C. W. Jackson invited him to join a local group, the Five Ways of Joy Gospel Singers, while he was still a teenager. The Five Ways of Joy instilled in Johnson a ...

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