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*GROUNDED IN TRADITION, JUDITH CHRISTIE MCALLISTER EMBRACES THE FUTURE
By Bob Marovich
Think of Judith Christie McAllister and chances are the phrase 'praise and worship' comes to mind. After all, she's known as the 'First Lady of Praise & Worship.' But as McAllister explained shortly after the release of her new CD, Sound the Trumpet (Shanachie), her musical roots are steeped in the classics and sacred hymnody.
MICAH STAMPLEY: ONE VOICE, MANY EXPRESSIONS
By Bob Marovich
Track and field sprinter, model and actor, musician and singer-songwriter, and now social entrepreneur, MICAH STAMPLEY is as multi-textured as his music--and his new album, One Voice, is a strong calling card for both man and music. ‘It’s a multi-cultural album,’ Micah says. ‘Every race, every nationality, everyone can get something from this record.’
*GOSPEL NEWS & NOTES
The new year will bring a new look and a new sound for Stellar Award-nominated ZIE’L now that powerhouse contralto CHRISTINA BELL is leaving for a solo career, while her mates carry on as a trio in preparing a project for 2012 release. -- In North Philadelphia on October 24, pioneering gospel singer-guitarist SISTER ROSETTA THARPE was honored by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission with the dedication of an Historical Marker at her former North Philadelphia home (1102 Master Street). In addition, the day’s ceremonies included a free film presentation of the recently released documentary, The Godmother of Rock & Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe, produced and directed by Mick Csaky. -- Gospel singer VICTORIA HAWKINS-WESTBROOK, who with her mother, Thelma Hawkins, comprised a potent singing duo in the 1940s through the 1960s, died on August 30.
FOREVER JONES, Get Ready (Deluxe Edition)-- To maintain public momentum for the Stellar Award-winning ensemble in lieu of a new album, EMI Gospel has released a deluxe edition of Forever Jones’ debut album Get Ready, which includes the original CD plus a 45-minute DVD performance recorded at TBN.
VARIOUS ARTISTS, Wow Gospel Workshop-- The long-running WOW Gospel Series, which serves as a yearbook of gospel hits, and a couple of new titles tossed in for good measure and greater sales, has extended its brand to include specialty titles, such as the just-released WOW Gospel Worship. This new disc is a collection of sacred hits whose connecting thread is the praise and worship lyric. The musical accompaniment ranges from the punchy, in-your-face contemporary gospel arrangements of VaShawn Mitchell to Smokie Norful’s simple, expressive vocals on the song-prayer “Dear God,” to Shekinah Glory Ministry’s breakout P&W smash “Praise is What I Do.”
DARRYL ANDERSON, You Are-- On his new CD, You Are, Darryl Anderson interprets popular gospel, hymns and his own compositions in the smooth jazz style, from Mary Mary’s “Seattle” to Fanny Crosby and W. Howard Doane’s “Do Not Pass Me By.” You Are is a pleasant listening experience, especially for fans of gospel jazz or just straight-up smooth jazz.
VARIOUS ARTISTS, Jawn Murray Presents Untapped-- Among the ten young contemporary gospel artists putting their best audio foot forward on UNTAPPED, the ladies are the shining stars. Detroiter Tasha Page-Lockhart’s “The Love of God” is among the album’s jewels. It’s the kind of bracing, bright, and catchy pop-infused piece that one expects from a Detroit singer. Minneapolis resident Tonia Hughes’ nuanced and intense “Rest on Me” is a gripping praise and worship workout. Madelyn Berry sings the Chris Tomlin P&W anthem “How Great is Our God” with the urgency of South Africa's Queen of Gospel, Rebecca Malope.
DR. ANDREW CHEAIRS & THE SONGBIRDS, Makeover-- On his new CD, Makeover, Dr. Andrew Cheairs sings with the gut-wrenching intensity of a man given a second chance. And he was. Shortly before Christmas 2010, Rev. Cheairs was involved in an automobile accident and suffered a punctured lung and broken bones. Recovery was slow but sure, and although I am not certain whether the new album was recorded before or after the accident, some of the song titles, such as ‘1 More Day,’ ‘God Will,’ and ‘Grateful,’ seem to bear witness to his grateful attitude anyhow.