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One of the most exciting releases coming up is the return of Myron Butler & Levi. For their third outing, this class act is finally delivering a live album on March 30th with guest appearances from Kirk Franklin and Smokie Norful. The title track and lead single was released digitally just last month. The album release will face off that week with the return of Tri-City Singer alumnus DeWayne Woods and his new release My Life’s Lyric. Woods is already getting attention from the release of the peppy praise single “Living On The Top” available now.

One release that’s sure to elbow its way to the top come release day is Marvin Sapp’s Here I Am. Both the CD and DVD will be made available on March 16. You have to have been under a rock to not know the impact Sapp’s “The Best In Me” has already had. The pre-sales alone already have the album positioned at #1 on’s Bestselling Gospel chart.

Right around the corner is the release of Karen Clark Sheard’s All In One. Her single “Prayed Up” is already at gospel radio and the second single “He Knows” will be getting spins soon. All In One is due April 6th. The same date will bring a new release from everlasting holy hip-hop heavyweights GRITS. Often a move from major label to independent results in a drop in quality, but the production value on 2008’s Reiterate actually went up and turned out to be one of their best yet, so my expectations are running high for Quarantine.

Although their release date is a few months off, I want to give you as much advance notice for new family band Forever Jones‘ debut album Get Ready. The seven member outfit comes complete with a mom, a dad, and 5 kids that sing and play their own instuments! Their faces look young, but their voices are nothing to play with. Their single “He Wants It All” as well as the album track “Get Ready” are both on iTunes now!

BTW, Am I wrong for wanting to see them in a singing cage match against The Winans, The Jacksons, and DeBarge?

Also, if you’re a book lover, Mary Mary and Kirk Franklin have books coming out in April and May respectively. Mary Mary’s Be U will be on shelves April 6th, and I hear they have a bath and body products line going by the same name that should be out soon enough. Kirk’s new page turner The Blueprint: A Plan for Living above Life’s Storms releases May 18th. Yolanda Adams‘ collection of wisdom Points of Power is already available in stores. Get it now!

Independent Spotlight:As is customary, some of the best music goes unnotice, so allow me to put in shameless plugs for some artists I believe in. If you’re into neo-soul and urban alternative, check out Adrianne Archie’s Heart Soul Mind Strength. I dare you to listen to the track “HSMS” and not rock with it. Or hear “Strong” and not nod your head and make that face that’s a substitute for words you used to say before you got saved.

You can’t go wrong with a pretty voice and a pretty face, so take a listen to the 6-song EP Beautifully Made from Leah Smith (who depending on the song can remind me of Beyonce, Mariah Carey, or Mya… the girl’s got skills).

More recently, I have NOT been able to stop playing Doobie Powell’s The Time Is Now album (true musicianship, good production, and the vocals are on point). Been specifically wearing out “Count It All Joy” and “Love of Jesus.” It’s a good project.

Also there’s only a single for it available, but “You Belong To Me” by Algernon just STAYS on my iPod. I’ll let you know what else I find! Anything good comes to me, I’m TELLIN’. Yes. I endeavor to be a “music snitch.”

Anyway, here’s the general overview for current and upcoming music releases:January 26, 2010:

  • James Fortune & Fiya: Encore – (Black Smoke Music Worldwide)
  • Mighty Clouds of Joy: At The Revival (EMI Gospel)
  • Various Artists: WOW Gospel 2010 ( EMI/Verity/Word)

February 2, 2010:

  • Anthony Evans: Undisguised (INO)

February 16, 2010:

  • Youth for Christ: Thanks in Advance (Emtro Gospel)

March 2, 2010:

  • Bishop Paul S. Morton: Memorable Moments: The Best of Paul Morton (Light)

March 16, 2010:

  • Marvin Sapp: Here I Am (Verity)
  • Kirk Whalum: The Gospel According To Jazz Chapter III (Rendezvous)

March 30, 2010:

  • Myron Butler & Levi: Revealed… Live In Dallas (EMI Gospel)
  • DeWayne Woods: My Life’s Lyric (Verity)

April 6, 2010:

  • Karen Clark Sheard: All In One (EMI Gospel)
  • Smokie Norful presents Victory Cathedral Choir (EMI Gospel)
  • GRITS: Quarantine (Revolution Arts)

June 6, 2010:

  • Forever Jones: Get Ready (EMI Gospel)

We’ll revisit this topic again. I hear there are new releases coming later this year for Twinkie Clark, Mary Mary, Kim Burrell, Tye Tribbett (as a solo artist!), and The Soul Seekers too!

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