Title: The Tommies Reunion
Artist: The Tommies Reunion
Label: 7 Legend/Journey/Tyscot
Formats: CD, Digital
Release date: February 22, 2019
The Tommies Reunion has a rich history rooted in the fabric of gospel music. The original Thompson Community Singers were formed in 1948 in Chicago by legendary gospel musician Rev. Milton Brunson. Named after Brunson’s pastor Rev. Eugene Thompson, they began recording for Vee-Jay records in 1963 at the same time that the Beatles released their first American LP on the historic black-owned label. They later went on to record for HOB/Scepter Records and Nashboro/Creed Records before joining Word Records (Myrrh/Rejoice) in 1982. Throughout the decades, this ensemble under the direction of Brunson brought the world songs like “I’m Available to You,” “I’ve Tried Him and I Know Him,” “Safe in His Arms” and “I Really Love You Lord,” to name just a few. After Brunson’s death in 1997, the choir continued to perform and record under the direction of his wife, Joanne Brunson, until 2000 with their Word Records release Real.Continue reading →
Title: This Song is For You
Artist: Earl Bynum
Formats: CD, Digital
Release date: October 5, 2018
Earl Bynum’s third solo album, This Song Is For You, is full of great choir and congregational songs featuring the many different textures of modern gospel music. Different from his previous album Open My Heart (2009), Bynum decided to step back from the live stage and do a full studio recorded album. Bynum says of the sessions, “It was different for me … I’m a live concert type of performer… it helped take me out of the choir backdrop and let me live in a new space.”Continue reading →
Title: The Gathering
Artist: Casey J
Label: Tyscot/Integrity Music
Formats: CD, Digital
Release date: January 25, 2019
Casey J’s music goes beyond the four walls of the church into the mainstream for all to hear and experience the power of Christ through music. Her new album, The Gathering, recorded live in Nashville, is a mixture of gospel, contemporary Christian, country and pop music with broad appeal, which led to a debut at number 11 on the Billboard Top Christian & Gospel Albums Sales chart. The album’s first single, “If God,” is based on Romans 8:31—“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” —then segues into her rendition of the hymn, “Nothing But the Blood of Jesus.”Continue reading →
Title: Jesus Love Legacy
Artist: Bishop Leonard Scott
Formats: CD, Digital
Release date: August 31, 2018
Recording artist and founder of Tyscot Records, Bishop Leonard Scott releases yet another powerful project that features a captivating worship experience through praise and worship songs and hymns. Collaborating closely with producer Phillip Feaster (Synergy Music Group) and singer/songwriter Tiff Joy, this trio wrote songs that allowed Jesus Love Legacy to soar to number eight on the Billboard top gospel album sales chart. Continue reading →
C West has potential to take the gospel world by storm with his debut album, Hide and Seek. The 20-year-old singer and guitarist incorporates a very contemporary R&B sound in his faith-based inspirational songs directed towards millennials. According to West, the album’s title references how we tend to hide from ourselves and from God, instead of seeking our true purpose.
While studying at Villa Maria College in his hometown of Buffalo, New York, West competed in a singing contest sponsored by the well-known gospel producer Marquis Boone, who launched the careers of the chart topping Tyscot artists Briana Babineaux and Casey J. West went on to win the competition taking first prize, a recording contract with Tyscot Records. Now, with help from Boone, who is also his new manager, West is looking to push the envelope and merge mainstream styles with a spiritual message.
C West released multiple singles prior to dropping this album, including the ballad “Breaks Your Heart,” which he describes as starting out as a prayer written on a sticky note. Following was his first hit song, “Focus,” which quickly became one of the most frequently played songs on gospel radio. This also happens to be West’s favorite song because it sends a message about the benefits of staying focused: “The end will be worth it.”
Other tracks such as “Who I Am” and “Unusual Love” speak to finding yourself and your way through the world as young man or woman of God. As C West’s debut album, Hide and Seek signals the start of promising career and another win for Tyscot Records.
Briana Babineaux, known simply as Bri, started singing at age five in the Lafayette, Louisiana church where her stepfather was a pastor. Now 21 years old and studying criminal justice, she never considered a career as a singer until one of her friends posted a video of her singing “Make Me Over” by Tonex on YouTube, which became a viral sensation.
Rising up through social media, Bri has become a full-fledged gospel star, releasing her debut album Keys to My Heart through Marquis Boone Enterprises and Tyscot Records. Her first gospel single, “I’ll Be the One,” came out last June and reached the top spot on Billboard’s Gospel Digital Songs chart. This heartfelt song includes a call and response chorus in which Bri offers her life to God:
Many gospel artists have encouraged and supported Bri on her debut album. Recording artist Bryan Andrew Wilson composed the warm, stripped-down ballad “Grace” especially for Bri, and Christian artist Reece wrote “Love You Forever.” The latter is evocative of ‘90s R&B girl groups, especially in the outro that features snapping, with Bri riffing both in melodies and speech as the song fades out.
Trying her hand as a singer-songwriter, Bri wrote her first compositions for the album—“Jacob’s Song” and its reprise “I’m Desperate.” They are both dynamic, with reverently quiet moments that build until the music swells and Bri belts outs skillfully embellished runs and high notes in the choruses.
In Keys to My Heart, Bri puts her soul into every song she sings, proving that she’s not just a social media star, but a rising gospel star with a lot to say.
Tyscot Records serves up a progressive, in your face with “the real” urbanized, contemporary and traditional musical testimony with Brent Jones and The T.P. Mobb’s latest release, The Ultimate Weekend. As the image on the front cover suggests, this album (their third) will transmit the Gospel from the walls of the church to the street corners and broader outside world. Featuring 17-tracks (15 if you subtract tracks 9 and 17, which are comical theatrical transitions), the compact disc will attract the new school listener from the beginning.
The opening track, “The Ocean,” creates a reflective worship environment that pulls on one’s heartstrings, as Brent Jones contemplates the greatness of God as the creator and provider of the universe. The song takes the listener into a reverent place through a musical vehicle steeped in a secularized, musical styling reminiscent of the group Tony! Toni! Toné! “Spectacular Jesus” is a tribute to Jesus Christ that incorporates earthy, urban lyrics such as “You’re off the chain” and “You are the Man.” This track illustrates how one can serve God in a meaningful way, in his or her own style. “Stone Love” presents a lyrical illustration of God’s love for His creation-true and unconditional-while incorporating a mixture of musical elements derived from soul ballads and Sunday morning worship service.
For those who like their praise couched in old school grooves, Jones and the T.P Mobb have a store of goodies for you. For instance, “Give Him What He Wants” will definitely get your hands raised for the purpose of a call out to God. The groove of this track consists of a ’70s funk foundation that conjures up a “dance and praise” in the basement feel. “I Don’t Wanna Go To The Club” presents a yearning to dance, though not in a secular club. This track borrows from the 1984 dance groove “Egypt Egypt” by Egyptian Lover, and will definitely put you on the dance floor in order to shout with a clean conscious and broadened notion of praise.
While Brent Jones and the T.P. Mobb present an urban contemporary gospel sound, they do not neglect traditional worshippers. For instance, “Cry Holy” is a live recording, which again creates the feel of Sunday morning, reflecting the style of earlier contemporary gospel ensembles such as The Tommy’s. “Blessing With Your Name On It” is a churchy ballad that goes even deeper, stylistically, into the Sunday morning atmosphere. “Praise Break” further demonstrates Jones’ awareness of the traditional Sunday morning worship service and quintessential gospel music message-one’s trying social conditions can be resolved through perseverance and praise.
Put succinctly, The Ultimate Weekend is a must have for the eclectic music lover who seeks to experience various artistic expressions of worship.
Editor’s Note: The Ultimate Weekend is also available on a DVD (TYS-984163-9) which features additional songs not included on the CD.
Posted by Tyron Cooper
YouTube video of “Cry Holy,” courtesy Tyscot Records: