• Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Randall Reviews It: Ann Downing, Gene McDonald, Master’s Promise

Randall Reviews It: Gene McDonald
Randall Reviews It: Gene McDonald
Randall Reviews It: Gene McDonald

I have three new CDs I have reviewed: A new group, a Gospel legend and one who has become a fan favorite as part of the Homecoming Friends. So let the reviews begin!

And as always, pick up a copy of these CDs wherever you get your good Gospel music.


Please send your latest releases for review to Randall Hamm, c/o Q-100 WFLQ-FM, P.O. Box 100, French Lick, IN 47432.

Now…let the reviews begin.


Gene McDonald
Producer: Kevin Williams

All Aboard (PD); Stand By Me (PD); Holy Ground (Geron Davis); Hallelujah For The Cross (Ross King-Todd Wright); These Things Shall Pass (Stuart Hamblen); The Center Of My Joy (Richard Smallwood); This Ole House (Stuart Hamblen); Wayfaring Stranger; Reflection Of Perfection (Steven Curtis Chapman); Stand By Me (Charles Albert Tindley); I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked (Gloria Gaither-Greg Nelson)

One of the most-loved bass singers of recent times and a favorite on the Gaither Homecomings, Gene McDonald is back with a new CD called Reflections. This is Gene’s fifth solo release and his best yet, as he dips back into the Gospel bag and brings us a mix of old classics and some newer ones that could be future classics.


“All Aboard” gets the CD started in fine fashion with some help from Charlotte Ritchie, Joyce Martin Sanders, and Becky Isaacs Bowman, fellow Homecoming tourmates. Gene does a great reading of the Signature Sound classic, “Stand By Me,” and Gene also does the classic version of “Stand By Me,” with the Bethel University Renaissance Choir helping out.


Gene’s first single release is “This Ole House.” Gene changed up the arrangement, giving it a more bluesy feel, putting his mark on the classic. Also helping out Gene on the track is Adam Crabb and Shane McConnell.  


Gene also does another Hamblen song, “These Things Shall Pass,” to perfection. Newer songs that may be classics one day “Hallelujah For The Cross,” a song that was cut by the Newsboys, and a Steven Curtis Chapman tune “Reflection Of Perfection,” which gives the CD its name.


Overall a wonderful CD, with many guests that include Joyce Martin, Becky Isaacs Bowman, Charlotte Ritchie, Adam Crabb, Angela Primm, Shane McConnell, Devonne Folkes, and Reggie and Ladye Love Smith and they help make this CD a delight to listen to.


Visit Gene at https://www.facebook.com/genemcdonaldmusic/ and get a copy of Reflections at https://genemcdonaldmusic.ecwid.com/# or whereever you get your good Gospel Music


Randall Reviews It: Ann Downing, Gene McDonald, Master's Promise
Randall Reviews It: Master’s Promise


Master’s Promise
Producer: Les Butler
2017 Butler Music Group

Songs:  Choices (Rachel Lynn Sancricca); In The Beginning (Rachel Lynn Sancricca);  Tell Me (Rachel Lynn Sancricca); Room On The Rock (Rebecca J Peck); Pure Grace (Marcia Henry-Sue C. Smith); Heavenly (Rebecca J Peck-Steven Cheney); Ready Set Shout (Rachel Lynn Sancricca); If There’s One Thing I Know About The Lord (Rachel Lynn Sancricca); Everything But Mine (Rachel Lynn Sancricca); Prepare Ye The Way (Rachel Lynn Sancricca)

Brand new music from the ladies’ trio based out of the Detroit, Michigan area, Master’s Promise. I first met these ladies after a long night at NQC in 2013. Strolling through the aisles and looking at booths, where no one seemed to be at home, these ladies were in. They happened to be playing their music and as I listened, we struck up a conversation. I got their music and an interview for my program, and began a friendship with these lovely young ladies.


That was almost four years ago and now their third release to Gospel music, Choices is available. This is their first truly national release, their first two being table releases for sale at their concerts. The group is comprised of Katelyn Montgomery, and two sisters Rachel and Hannah Sancricca.  Their last two CDs featured a few songs written by group members, but this CD features seven out of the 10 releases written by member Rachel Sancricca.


The CD gets underway with “Choices;” choose joy, choose life, choose love, choose Christ.“In The Beginning,” God, and in the end God. Whom shall I serve but the Maker who was “In The Beginning.”  


“Tell Me,” finds the trio in a jazzy mood talking about an ever-living God, who gave me more than you can ever “Tell Me.” There’s “Room On The Rock,” a Rebecca Peck and Marcia Henry song, that sounds like it could be a possible single.


The prettiest song comes at the halfway point of the CD: “Pure Grace.” It’s grace, God’s amazing grace; every single time that you need it, reach out and receive it. Heavenly harmonies from Master’s Promise and lyrics from Marcia Henry and Sue C. Smith fit together like a hand in a glove.


It’s gonna be Heaven, oh, so “Heavenly,” the joys we will share. “Ready, Set, Shout!” Get ready for the day when we reach the other side, what a day that will be. “If There’s One Thing I Know About The Lord,” is that He saves; amen.  


I was so good and I was so kind, but it came down to believing, He was “Everything But Mine.” What a truth is found in this song. “Prepare Ye The Way;” make the path straight, let us proclaim, He’s come to save.


Be listening for their first National single release, “Prepare Ye The Way,” this month on your favorite Gospel station. Master’s Promise is set for a breakout year and this CD showcases how far they have come since 2013. Truly one of the groups to watch for and hear when you get chance to see them in concert. Visit Master’s promise at https://www.facebook.com/MastersPromise/ . To get a copy of Choices, go to http://www.masterspromise.com/store.html or get it where you get your good Gospel music.

Strongest Songs: “Pure Grace,” “Room On the Rock,” and “Everything But Mine.”


Randall Reviews It: Ann Downing, Gene McDonald, Master's Promise
Ann Downing

Ann Downing
Because He Loved Me
2017 Inspire/Chapel Valley

Songs: Extraordinary Faith (Ann Downing- Toni Clay);  Run to the Shepherd (Toni Clay-Laurie Winton); Be Still (Ann Downing-Gina Vera); Sounds Like a Job For God (Ann Downing-Ricky Atkinson); King of Glory (Ann Downing -Darrel Harris-Dwight Liles); I Am the Way (Ann Downing -Toni Clay); His Light Has Led Me All the Way (Ann Downing- Lee Black); Come Into His Presence (Ann Downing-Gina Vera); You Don’t Really Know God (Ann Downing-Gina Vera); Because He Loved Me (Alice Wilson)

One of the true legends in Gospel music, Ann Downing, is back with a new CD that will quickly become one of your favorites as it has mine. Because He Loved Me is a 10-song CD that you will enjoy for years to come.


The title track and first single, “Because He Loved Me,” is a re-recording of a Downings’ track from their 1971 LP’s Once More With Feeling and This Is How It Is…Live. I have always loved the original; now 46 years later, Ann sings it even more soulful and meaningful.


The CD kicks off with a rousing song that will have you shouting and singing; “Extraordinary Faith,” is a great song to kick off the CD. “Run To The Shepherd,” has Ann bringing us to church complete with organ. Warning, if you’re driving, resist the urge to clap, but by all means shout and make a glad noise unto the Lord.  


“Be Still” is one of my favorites on the CD. Such an insightful song. Wondering in all your confusion, where is God? “Be Still and know that He is God. He is with you every step. Be still and listen for His Word. Every prayer you have prayed He has heard. Just be still.”


“Sounds Like A Job For God;” when a task at hand is great and I can’t make it on my own, it “Sounds Like A Job For God.” “King Of Glory,” is a wonderful Praise and Worship song that I hope may make it to many Church choirs. Absolutely beautiful and I have found myself clicking repeat on this song quite a bit.


“I Am The Way,” I hope finds its way to be a single release. It is based on the return of Mary to the tomb and finding Jesus gone. Turning around, Mary saw Him, and He asked Mary: “Tell me why you weep and who are you looking for?” He said, “If you open up your heart, you will see that ‘I Am The Way,’” and so many other things.


“His Light Has Led Me All The Way,” and His light still makes the difference today. “Come Into His Presence;” have you ever found yourself, lost, alone, lonely or having exhausted every option you can find? My friend Jesus has the answers to all your problems. Just “Come Into His Presence.”


Ann picks up the pace and kicks it into high gear with “You Don’t Really Know God.” Caution, may cause one to shout, “Glory!”


I have known Ann for most of my 22 years DJ’ing and spinning her music. This CD, in my opinion, is the best of her career. From Ann’s vocals, to the Chapel Valley musicians, the selection of the music and the sequence of which the songs were arranged, this CD is an enjoyable delight. I hope that this CD garners the attention of the Grammy and Dove folks.

Visit Ann at https://www.facebook.com/www.anndfanpage/ and get a copy of Because He Loved Me, at https://www.anndowning.com/adm-store or wherever you get your good Gospel music.

Strongest Songs:  “Because He Loved Me,” “I Am The Way,” and “Be Still.”

By Randall Hamm

First published by SGNSCOOPS Magazine in March 2018

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