Category Archives: gospel

Natalie Bergman – Mercy

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Someone once told me, “If you’re not troubled by anything in the Bible, you’re not paying attention.” There’s a lot of truth to that and I think that is something that a lot of overtly religious music misses. The sugary sweetness of “praise” music leads to what I see as the very odd, but convenient conclusion that a faith-based life… Read more »

Daniel Lanois – Heavy Sun

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Album cover for Daniel Lanois' Heavy Sun

Heavy Sun is a well-intentioned album that leans on Daniel Lanois’ long history with gospel. The lyrics preach a message of hope and love that cannot be preached enough. The production is beautiful, because everything Lanois produces is beautiful. The album is boring though. It lacks everything that defines great gospel. The opening is promising, with haunting organ and impassioned… Read more »

Israel and New Breed – Feels Like Home, Vol. 1

Released: February 26, 2021 One issue with a lot of religious music is that the message is more important than the music rather than the music being part and parcel of the message itself. There is a saying that when you sing, you pray twice. If that’s true, when instrumental music is part of that offering, maybe you pray four… Read more »

Review: John Scofield – Piety Street

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Label: Emarcy Released: March 31, 2009 Over the years, John Scofield has worked with a who’s who of jazz and fusion artists. He has established himself as one of the top names in jazz guitar and is almost as well known outside of jazz circles as he is within. He’s one of those artists who finds himself in the unique… Read more »

Review: Classic African American Gospel from Smithsonian Folkways

Label: Smithsonian Folkways Released: January 29, 2008 I attended a memorial service for a coworker’s husband a few years ago. The chapel was small, and the service was filled with speeches and laughter and the occasional gut-wrenching sob from the front of the room. It was touching, but as someone who didn’t know the dead man, it was relatively mundane…. Read more »

Can I get a witness?

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It’s gospel day here at Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense. If you’re wondering why I’m writing about gospel on a site about rock music, the answer is simple: Gospel rocks! Done well, gospel is as moving as any rock song and it has the same ability to get inside us and carry us away. Also, it affirms my belief… Read more »

Review: Paschall Brothers – On the Right Road Now

Label: Smithsonian Folkways Released: October 9, 2007 I recently read something that said the greatest threat to Christianity isn’t secularization or moral relativism, but lackluster sermons. People want to be moved. They want a conversion experience. Yet, so often ministers fail to deliver that. Gospel music is in a similar boat. So many gospel recordings sound more like R&B for… Read more »

Review: The Sojourners – Hold On

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Label: Black Hen Music Released: September 24, 2007 When gospel music is on, there’s almost nothing that can touch it, but when it’s off, it’s an awfully tough listen. When I first read about the Sojourners’ Hold On, I was intrigued. Here was a trio singing traditional gospel in a traditional style rather than the R&B for Jesus that typically… Read more »