GOSPELflava received news of the passing of Apostle Christopher L Poole Sr, (pictured second from left) on Monday, May 6th. Chris Poole and Marcus Cole joined founding members Karl Reid and Mitchell Jones for Commissioned’s 1999 Times and Seasons CD. Poole was an active part of Detroit’s Gospel scene, having worked alongside such gospel luminaries as Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, The Clark Sisters, The Winans, Vanessa Bell Armstrong and Shirley Murdock.
Funeral Services are scheduled for May 15th and 16th in Detroit.
The Motown Gospel Family is happily experiencing growing pains as the signing of Paul Porter was announced today. Porter established his reputation as lead singer of The Christianaires and has thrilled audiences with bonafide hits including the remake of the James Cleveland classic Two Wings.
Smokie Norful’s TreMyles Music and Mars On Sunday teamed up to join Motown Gospel in bringing about Paul Porter’s return. Norful added, “Paul has been an incredible source of great music and has a powerful voice. His story of endurance and perseverance coupled with the new music is going to make this a great partnership. I’m very excited to play a part in continuing the Paul Porter legacy!”
A studio album is due to release in the fall of 2013. The first single, F.R.E.E. featuring Smokie Norful will drop in June.
Lawrence Brownlee carries the distinction of being one of the most sought after singers in classical music today. The international opera star paired up with his friend, Grammy award nominated producer and pianist Damien Sneed for Spiritual Sketches, a ten song set containing traditional spirituals scheduled for a June release on Sneed’s LeChateau Earl record label.
Brownlee used his experiences growing up as a child in church as a backdrop for the disc. “My musical background started with exposure to church music. I come from an extremely musical family, with both parents being gifted singers. My father was also the church choir director. There was a love of music that was passed on to me and my five siblings; all of them are still involved in music to varying degrees. That early exposure in addition to a strong music education throughout all my years of schooling allowed me to be influenced by so many styles of music including classical, jazz, gospel. As a singer of color, I felt the unique responsibility not only to carry a torch that has been passed on by my predecessors, but to expand on the traditional negro spirituals.”
Brownlee and Sneed have performed selections from the disc as part of his solo recital tour. Their captivating rendition of All Night All Day has been met with standing ovations at each performance. Brownlee will do a special in store performance on June 9th at the Apple Store in New York and the disc will be available on iTunes on June 11th.
Earnest Pugh has teamed up with J. Moss and the PAJAM team to create I Believe You Most. The song debuting at radio this week is the lead single for Pugh’s upcoming Live In Nassau album .
Pugh will record a live version of the song as part of his May 3rd session on his newly formed P Man Music Group label produced by Grammy winner Cedric Thompson. In addition to cameos by various gospel artists, Pugh has planned an O’landa Draper tribute medley honoring the founder of the Memphis based group The Associates and Pugh’s mentor.
BET announced its slate of programs for the new season on Tuesday, April 2nd. Making a return is Bobby Jones Gospel, the longest continually running original series on cable television and the network’s flagship gospel program, the gospel competition Sunday Best hosted by Kirk Franklin and the ever popular Celebration of Gospel hosted by Steve Harvey.
Adding to the network’s line up is the much anticipated debut of The Sheards, a reality show following the lives of siblings Kierra and J Drew Sheard and their parents Bishop J Drew Sheard and Karen Clark Sheard. BET is also excited about the premiere of TD Jakes Presents: Mind Body and Soul, a talk show fronted by noted spiritual leader and motivator Bishop T D Jakes covering a wide range of topics including health and wellness, finance and relationships. The show will air on Sundays beginning in the fall of 2013 .
As Mississippi Mass Choir prepares to celebrate 25 years of great music, GOSPELflava pauses to remember the legacy of its beloved founder, the inimitable Frank Williams. A gentle giant, Williams made a name for himself as a lead singer in the famed Jackson Southernaires. The Southernaires would be the first gospel group to join the Malaco Records family. Shortly thereafter, Frank was hired by Malaco as the Director of Gospel Promotions. Forever “Mississippi Proud”, Williams decided to form a mass choir consisting of the state’s finest singers and musicians. MMC’s self titled debut hit #1 five weeks after its release and would ride the charts for 45 consecutive weeks.
Among Frank’s musical contributions with MMC are Your Grace and Mercy, Near the Cross, Thanks You For My Mansion and It Remains to Be Seen.
One of the premiere families of Gospel music are heading to reality TV. “Bishop J. Drew Sheard, his wife GRAMMY Award Winning Karen Clark Sheard of, ‘The Clark Sisters”, and their talented children , Stellar Award Winning Gospel Artist Kierra Sherad, and Producer J. Drew “JDS” Sheard, will star in “The Sheards” . The show will debut on April 7th on BET, and center around the family juggling their lives as one of the top acts in Gospel Music, running their new label Karew Records, and their church Greater Emmanuel Institution Church of God In Christ in Detroit, MI. Watch the preview clip.. Here
BET Sunday Best Auditions are about to begin and BET has released the official list of audition songs contestants can sing:
1. I Need Your Glory – Earnest Pugh
2. Nobody Greater – Vashawn Mitchell
3. Awesome – Charles Jenkins
4. Thank You Lord (For All You’ve Done For Me) – Walter Hawkins
5. I’ll Make It – Hezekiah Walker
6. Turning Around For Me – Vashawn Mitchell
7. Indescribable – Kierra Sheard
8. Holy Holy Holy – Traditional Version
9. I Need Thee Every Hour – Traditional Version
10. No Not One (There’s Not A Friend) – Traditional Version
11. Near The Cross (In The Cross) – Traditional Version
12. Blessed Assurance – Traditional Version
13. Blessed Quietness – Traditional Version
14. Jesus Paid It All – Traditional Version
15. Never Alone – Traditional Version
16. Battle Hymn Of The Republic – Traditional Version
17. It Pays To Serve Jesus – Traditional Version
18. Just As I Am – Traditional Version
19. Since Jesus Came Into My Heart – Traditional Version
20. It Is Well – Traditional Version
21. Power In The Blood – Traditional Version
22. Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us – Traditional Version
23. I Surrender All – Traditional Version
24. Bye and Bye (When The Morning Comes) – Traditional Version
Verity Records recently announced they have a new name. Verity Gospel will now be known as “RCA Inspiration”. The label will be headed up by now general manager Geo Bivins., he will also retain his title as “SVP Of Urban Promotions”. Stanley Brown has been promoted to the head of A&R and Cheryl Mark has now been promoted to VP of Marketing. Bivins, Brownand Mark will remain at the company’s headquarters in New York City. New General Manger Geo states that he is “excited to be working with great Gospel artist and that RCA Inspiration will continue the tradition held by Verity Records”.RCA Inspiration is the label home to Gospel greats Kirk Franklin, Fred Hammond, Byron Cage, Donald Lawrence and more. RCA Inspiration is set to release “Wow Gospel 2013″, William Murphy’s new project, “God Chaser”, and Fred Hammond’s new group “United Tenors” with tenors Dave Hollister, Brian Courtney Wilson and Eric Roberson
Are you ready? WOW Gospel 2013 hits the marketplace on Tuesday, January 29th. The double CD and DVD features chart topping songs from Gospel’s hit makers including Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Marvin Sapp, J. Moss, James Fortune, VaShawn Mitchell, Charles Jenkins and Jason Nelson.