Dr. Earl Bynum walks away from horrifying car crash

Dr. Earl Bynum seated at piano

Chesapeake, VA  —  Dr. Earl Bynum is a Stellar award-winning singer, songwriter, and choir director who has a syndicated radio show, “On Stage With Earl Bynum” and a new television show of the same name.  He wears many hats as a record label executive of Lrae Entertainment and the Executive Director of Music, Worship, and Arts at The Mount in Chesapeake, VA.  But we sometimes forget that high-profile individuals like Dr. Bynum also go through life daily as we all do.  With that comes tests and trials, journeys with family and friends, and private moments that can instantly change our lives. Dr. Bynum’s life was almost tragically changed in the blink of an eye last week while driving on a Virginia highway.  

Dr. Bynum shares the account of this terrible car accident that could have turned tragic.  

“I was on Interstate 64 in heavy traffic, and a truck pulled out too slowly into the fast traffic. Everyone had to swerve to avoid hitting each other. The car behind me swerved to my right to avoid hitting me, so I couldn’t go to the right or left because of a barrier. The vehicle in front of me came to a complete stop. I had no place to go but to directly crash into the back of the jeep in front of me at high speed.”

Bynum continues, “My entire car nearly folded in half with the hood completely bending in half.  However, surprisingly, no glass broke, nor did my airbag deploy.  It was as if the heavenly Father lifted me and covered me at that moment.” 

Bynum was able to get out of his car and walk around without any injury whatsoever. Miraculously, no other person involved in the horrifying crash suffered any harm. Bynum’s vehicle suffered extensive damage, but God completely protected him.

We often take for granted small things like driving a car and arriving at our destination safely. For Dr. Bynum, this commute is a miracle to share. He offers this as a testimony and proof to those who may question God’s hand of protection for us and His presence among us.  

Dr. Bynum encourages us to remember that “He Is JEHOVAH NISSI – He protected the Israelites, He protected David, He protected ME, and He will protect You!”

“Praise You” – Deyontay & Nu Direction

“Praise You”
Deyontay & Nu Direction (2022)
Available at Apple Music

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Deyontay & Nu Direction art work

Deyontay & Nu Direction, true to their name, take Maurette Brown Clark’s “I Just Want to Praise You” in a new direction, driving the praise and worship song up the quartet highway.

Their rendition of “Praise You,” written by Troy Felder, starts modestly – just a lead guitar, clap track, and harmonious vocals. Keys and auxiliary elements enhance the track as it cruises along. Deyontay & Nu Direction finesse “Praise You” while maintaining the melodic structure of Clark’s version at the “blessings and glory” turn. Once the group approaches the run, the song is a full-on drive.

Deyontay & Nu Direction meld the styles of praise and worship and quartet to present “Praise You” as a tasteful remix.

“Jesus I’ll Never Forget” – Zak Williams & 1/Akord

“Jesus I’ll Never Forget”
Zak Williams & 1/Akord (October 7, 2022)
Enon Music Group

Zak Williams & 1/Akord art work

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Pretty much any song with the words, “Jesus I’ll never forget” will charge a church atmosphere. Zak Williams & 1/Akord’s “Jesus I’ll Never Forget” featuring Lowell Pye is a banger in both message and delivery.

The song itself, written by Gabriel Sharpe, is reminiscent of the great choir music from the ’90s; and Stellar Award-winning vocalist Lowell Pye is just the powerhouse to take “Jesus I’ll Never Forget” to church, sharing his personal testimony along the way. The high energy of the choir is captured excellently as their enthusiastic, dynamic vocals leap through the speakers.

Zak Williams & 1/Akord, torchbearers of the “Philly choir” sound, are planning to release an album in 2023, from which “Jesus I’ll Never Forget” is the single.

2023 GRAMMY Nominees in Gospel/CCM

Nominees for the 2023 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 65th GRAMMY Awards, were announced today, November 15, and here are artists who received nominations in the Gospel/CCM categories.

Best Gospel Performance/Song

DOE - "When I Pray" cover art
  • “Positive”
    Erica Campbell; Erica Campbell, Warryn Campbell & Juan Winans, songwriters
  • “When I Pray”
    DOE; Dominique Jones & Dewitt Jones, songwriters
  • “Kingdom”
    Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin, Jonathan Jay, Chandler Moore & Jacob Poole, songwriters
  • “The Better Benediction”
    PJ Morton Featuring Zacardi Cortez, Gene Moore, Samoht, Tim Rogers & Darrel Walls; PJ Morton, songwriter
  • “Get Up”
    Tye Tribbett; Brandon Jones, Christopher Michael Stevens, Thaddaeus Tribbett & Tye Tribbett, songwriters

Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song

  • “God Really Loves Us (Radio Version)”
    Crowder Featuring Dante Bowe and Maverick City Music; Dante Bowe, David Crowder, Ben Glover & Jeff Sojka, songwriters
  • “So Good”
    DOE; Chuck Butler, Dominique Jones & Ethan Hulse, songwriters
  • “For God Is With Us”
    for KING & COUNTRY & Hillary Scott; Josh Kerr, Jordan Reynolds, Joel Smallbone & Luke Smallbone, songwriters
  • “Fear Is Not My Future”
    Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin; Kirk Franklin, Nicole Hannel, Jonathan Jay, Brandon Lake & Hannah Shackelford, songwriters
  • “Holy Forever”
    Chris Tomlin; Jason Ingram, Brian Johnson, Jenn Johnson, Chris Tomlin & Phil Wickham, songwriters
  • “Hymn Of Heaven (Radio Version)”
    Phil Wickham; Chris Davenport, Bill Johnson, Brian Johnson & Phil Wickham, songwriters
Maverick City Music cover art

Best Gospel Album

  • Die To Live
    Maranda Curtis
  • Breakthrough: The Exodus (Live)
    Ricky Dillard
  • Clarity
  • One Deluxe
    Maverick City Music & Kirk Franklin
  • All Things New
    Tye Tribbett

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album

  • Lion
    Elevation Worship
  • Breathe
    Maverick City Music
  • Life After Death
  • Always
    Chris Tomlin
  • My Jesus
    Anne Wilson
TSU cover art

Best Roots Gospel Album

  • Let’s Just Praise The Lord
    Gaither Vocal Band
  • Confessio – Irish American Roots
    Keith & Kristyn Getty
  • The Willie Nelson Family
    Willie Nelson
  • 2:22
    Karen Peck & New River
  • The Urban Hymnal
    Tennessee State University Marching Band

The Blind Boys of Alabama also earned another GRAMMY nomination this year in the Best Americana Performance category. The legendary group is nominated for their performance of “The Message,” featuring Black Violin.

Check out the list of nominees in all categories here. The GRAMMYs are set to air live Sunday, February 5, on CBS and stream live on-demand on Paramount+ at 8 pm ET.

DunAmis Gospel Awards 2022: List of Winners

DunAmis Gospel Awards logo

T.L. Young Ministries celebrated its 9th year honoring independent gospel artists and faith-based leaders during a spirited weekend of events, which concluded with the sold-out DunAmis Gospel Awards main show Saturday, November 12, at Cedar Grove Tabernacle of Praise in Greensboro, NC. Yves Mckenzie and Mya Fountain shared hosting duties for the evening.

Christian Anderson was among this year’s winners, picking up the Artist of the Year Award. Gospel Music Fever’s Libra Boyd took home the award for Media Publication of the Year. She also was a presenter for the Producer of the Year Award, which Chris Adams won for the song, “We Are One.”

The program featured performances from Mike Yelverton, Dr. Victoria Hanchell, East Coast Mass Choir, Kingdom Sound, Will Harris & Friends, MillUnz DaGospel, St. Thomas Chapel Mass Choir, David Spencer, Voices of BK, Voices of Life Fellowship Chorale, and Sir’Jerry Sadler & SOP. 

Bishop Myron K. Dawson, Will Harris and Friends, and Apostle Alicia F. Lindsay were among this year’s special honorees, receiving the Humanitarian Award, Bishop John H. Heath Music of Excellence Award, and Trailblazer Award, respectively. Also honored were Bishop Tyrone D. Hunter, recipient of the Doris S. Harbor Pioneer Award; Bishop John C. Parks, recipient of the Living Legend Award; and Apostle Janice Thomas, recipient of the Bishop Jerome O. Dawson Lifetime Achievement Award. 

The full list of DunAmis Gospel Award winners and honorees is below, and GMF extends congratulations to all.

Female Pastor of the Year
Apostle Janice Thomas – His Kingdom Ministries

Male Pastor of the Year
Bishop Richard Adkins – Impact Redzone

First Lady of the Year
Lady Tina Hairston – Zion Tabernacle of Deliverance

Praise & Worship Team of the Year
The Remnant Church – Danville, VA

Worship Leader of the Year
Dominique Prunty – The Remnant Church

Choir Director of the Year
Jonathan Parker-Ashley & Higher Dimension Praise Chorale

Church of the Year
The Victory Center – Thomasville, NC

Holy Hip-Hop Artist of the Year
MillUnz DaGospel

Quartet of the Year
Tammy Edwards and the Edwards Sisters

Media Publication of the Year
Gospel Music Fever Online Publication

Dance Ministry of the Year
Unheard Mime – Alexis Lambert

Community Choir of the Year
Anthony Sutton & Fresh Wind

Producer of the Year
Chris Adams
“We Are One”

Female Musician of the Year
Gloria Butler-Graves

Male Musician of the Year
Charles Wright

Songwriter of the Year
Alicia Moore

Female Vocalist of the Year
Jalessa Cade

Male Vocalist of the Year
David Spencer

Artist of the Year
Christian Anderson

Humanitarian Award
Bishop Myron K. Dawson

Bishop John H. Heath Music of Excellence Award
Will Harris & Friends

Trailblazer Award
Apostle Alicia F. Lindsay

Doris S. Harbor Pioneer Award
Bishop Tyrone D. Hunter

Living Legend Award
Bishop John C. Parks

Bishop Jerome O. Dawson Lifetime Achievement Award
Apostle Janice F. Thomas

Inaugural Scholarship Presentation
Northeast Guilford High School

For Person County’s Torains, singing is a family affair

The Torain Family is presently comprised of third and fourth generation relatives. Victor (far left) is the group’s longest active member.

Sponsored by the Kirby Cultural Arts Complex – Fifty-four years ago, 30-ish year-old Frances Torain formed a singing group with her family that would go on to delight audiences throughout northern Piedmont North Carolina and South-Central Virginia. Now with its fourth generation and a new single on deck, the quartet-styled ensemble known simply as The Torain Family is next up to be featured in concert as part of the Kirby Cultural Arts Complex’s “Gospel In Person” series.

“Gospel In Person” is a multipart celebration of the rich Black gospel music history found in North Carolina’s rural Person County, located in the Piedmont region along Virginia’s border. The schedule of events includes live concert performances and a documentary feature film to round out the series.

A Five-Plus-Decade Family Affair

The Torain Family’s beginnings as a singing aggregation date back to 1968, with its earliest members being Frances Torain and her twin brother Frank, along with their siblings Thomas (also a founding member of the St. Luke Gospel Singers the year before), Catherine, Becky, Barbara, and nephew Victor. The family’s matriarch Myrtle also joined in and remained a part of the singing group for 15 years or so. The early years progressed, bringing in another sibling, Ponzell, and eventually yet another, Nathaniel. 

Presently, The Torain Family lineup is comprised of its third and fourth generation of singers and musicians. With the passing of their beloved founding member and lead singer Frances in 2016, Victor became the group’s longest active member and is also the primary lead singer. Alongside him to spread the gospel message in song are several other relatives including Michelle Torain, Kizzy Torain, Sterling Torain, Antonio Torain, Makiyh Allen, and Franklin Torain, who serves as the music director. Their current single is titled “Over There,” with Kizzy on the lead mic. Before that, they released “The Train,” a single in memory of Frances, whose interpretation of the Meditation Singers’ “Don’t You Want to Go” was an audience favorite (see GMF’s music review).

Known for their rustic, churchy singing style, The Torain Family’s concert performance is sure to be a celebration of gospel as well as a homage to Frances and other family on whose shoulders they stand. The event, presented by the Kirby Cultural Arts Complex in partnership with Just Love In Person community service organization and Gentry Visuals production company, takes place at the Kirby Theater in Roxboro, NC, on Saturday, December 3, 2022, at 6 PM. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/19211/kirby-cultural-arts-complex/.

The Torain Family at their 41st anniversary, pictured with their founder, Frances Torain
The Torain Family is pictured at their 41st singing anniversary in 2012. Frances Torain, founding member, is seated second from left. | From the Torain Family Singers Facebook Group

Appearance in Gospel In Person Documentary

In addition to their upcoming concert, The Torain Family’s contributions to Person County’s gospel music landscape are highlighted in the documentary, Gospel In Person, set to premiere in June 2023. According to Michael Gentry, the film’s creator and producer, Gospel In Person “will tell the history of the great musical anointing that has rested upon Person County.”

“I admire all of the groups and individuals I have interviewed for this documentary,” says Gentry, “but the Torain family has a special place in my heart because they are indeed a family. The late Frances Torain started the group with her siblings and her mother. By the names that were mentioned throughout the interview, I count at least eight siblings who were members at some point in time, which by itself is incredible.”

He continues, “The current lineup is made of third- and fourth-generation Torains. But I could not tell who were siblings and who were first or second cousins because they all seemed like brothers and sisters, which was just beautiful to me. Some family members who were not part of the interview were sitting in the kitchen lobbing additional facts over to us in the living room and sharing in the laughter of the many humorous memories. And Aunt Lee, who is married to original lead singer Thomas Torain, was working the stove inside and the grill outside. It felt like Christmas on a Sunday afternoon in September.”

(Video courtesy of Gentry Visuals)

Singer/Evangelist Sheila Wilson, mother of Bryan Andrew Wilson, has died

Media Release – Sheila Wilson, a worship leader who had recorded with her gospel star son Bryan Andrew Wilson, passed away November 9, 2022, at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA. She was battling stage 4 cancer when she suffered a cardiac arrest. She was 65 years old.

Sheila Wilson was born May 25, 1957, in Danville, IL. Her father Tommy Davis was a quartet singer who grew up with B.B. King in the Mississippi delta. Her mother, Clair Bell Davis, was also a singer, so their household was full of music and church. Although she aspired to become a schoolteacher, music was Wilson’s early calling. In her teens, she began directing church choirs, and in the 1980s she became a singer with the R&B band, W.Q.B.C. They toured throughout the decade and released one LP, Wanna Quit But Can’t, for Thunderbay Records in 1985. It featured the radio single, “Love Me Anyway,” which reached the Top Ten on various R&B radio playlists throughout the south.  

When Wilson’s 10 year-old son Bryan Wilson secured a record deal with Malaco Records in the 1990s and scored radio hits such as “His Eye is on the Sparrow” (with the Mississippi Children’s Choir), she initially managed his career before she returned to work in the insurance and education fields.

In 2005, Wilson became an ordained minister and continued to coach choirs in both Danville, IL, and Toledo, OH. In that period, she co-wrote a ballad entitled, “Secret Place,” with her son, Bryan. They recorded it as a duet for his 2007 album, A Second Coming. The song became popular on gospel radio stations, particularly in the south. It was later reissued on bestselling compilations such as Shanachie Records’ A Praise and Worship Celebration in 2007 and Time Life Music’s Encouraged: Today’s Greatest Gospel Anthems in 2011. In 2017, Wilson stepped into the spotlight with the song “Just Fine” on her son’s Bryan’s Songs recording label.

Wilson graduated from Danville High School in 1974. Years later, she returned to school in the 2010s. She earned an associate’s degree in early childhood education from Davis College and a B.S. in social work from Spring Arbor University. She moved to Atlanta circa 2018 and had recently been working in the music department and overall ministry at Freedom of Atlanta church.

Wilson, who was divorced, is survived by her three sons: Aaron Wilson, Bryan Wilson, and Chris Wilson, who is known as Official Apxllo on the urban music scene. She is also survived by daughters-in-love Tiffany Morriar Wilson and Amy Vogel, several grandchildren, and extended family. Contributions may be sent to $freedombaw and resolutions to freedomhubatl@gmail.com.

Tracy Morgan, radio veteran, becomes first woman Spin Awards Hall of Fame inductee

Veteran radio announcer and programmer Tracy Morgan recently made history when she became the first woman inducted into the Spin Awards Hall of Fame at the sixth annual ceremony at the Sylvia Beard Theatre in Atlanta, GA.

“This started as a dream when I was just 13 years old,” she said after stepping on stage to accept the award that was presented to her by Tyscot Records VP of Promotions, Jeff Hargrove. “I actually wanted to be a TV newscaster, so I began to pursue this at a very young age.”

Morgan first thanked her support system. She said her deceased father “would be cheesin’ from ear to ear” to see her win and she thanked her mother who has always been her biggest encourager. She went on to credit her husband Keith’s support for allowing her the freedom to program the historic WBBP 1480 AM in Memphis, to host the daily show “Morning Inspiration” on WHUR 96.3 FM in Washington, D.C. (the lead-in to the Steve Harvey Morning Show), and to host the syndicated Tracy Morgan Show on the Rejoice! Musical Soul Food network.  She then thanked her daughter Katrina, a graduating senior at New York University. Morgan also spoke of her gratitude to the radio executives who gave her some of her biggest breaks such as Louise Patterson of WBBP, and Mike &  April Chandler of Rejoice! Musical Soul Food.

Finally, Morgan spoke to her peers in broadcasting.

“We are rocking this thing,” she told them. “Stay encouraged and let us continue to do what we do, and that is impact the lives of many all across the country through inspirational and gospel music. He [God] gets all the glory.”

The ceremony was hosted by radio personalities Tony Gee of WFMV in Columbia, SC, and GRIFF from the syndicated Get Up! Mornings with Erica Campbell program. The program airs November 26, 2022, at 7 PM EST on the NOW Television Network.

A Washington, D.C. native, Morgan has been a program director, music director, producer, and on-air talent for various stations around the country. She’s worked for CBS Radio, Radio One, and other networks. Morgan is a multi-Stellar Gospel Music Award winner as Announcer of the Year. In addition, she was inducted into the Broadcasters Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio in 2005.  She was also inducted into the Columbia School of Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2014.

– From a press release

Editor’s Note: Visit https://www.thespinawards.com/2022-winners/ for a complete list of this year’s winners and finalists.

MG Music Group to kick off ‘Gospel In Person’ concert series

MG Music Group photo
MG Music Group

Sponsored by the Kirby Cultural Arts Complex – MG Music Group is gearing up to perform the first concert in the “Gospel In Person” series, presented by the Kirby Cultural Arts Complex in partnership with Just Love In Person community service organization and Gentry Visuals production company. The concert takes place at the Kirby Theater in Roxboro, NC, on Saturday, November 12, 2022, at 6 PM. “Gospel In Person” is a multipart celebration of the rich Black gospel music history found in North Carolina’s rural Person County, located in the Piedmont region along Virginia’s border. The schedule of events includes live concert performances and a documentary feature film to round out the series.

MG (Mighty God) Music Group is a Christian-based record label in Person County’s city of Roxboro. Its roster of artists, also collectively known as the MG Music Group, consists of eight Christian rappers, all of whom have ties to the area. The collective has performed in multiple cities across the US and in the UK. Label founder and CEO Cedric Hester, aka Deacon Authority, is himself a Person County native who writes, produces, and performs. The upcoming concert is set to feature the international award-winning artist/producer along with labelmates George Pettiford, Curtis Clay, Bryant Lofton, Effram Winstead, Roderick Shepard, and Eli Cope, better known by their stage names, Judea, Soundman, Shoe Man, CLASS, Sim’Plea Rock, and Lil Lij, respectively. Some of MG Music Group’s most popular songs to date are “Mighty God,” “La La La,” and “Yahweh.”

The “Gospel In Person” series features several live concerts between November 2022 and April 2023 and culminates with the premiere of Gospel In Person, a documentary, in June 2023. Michael Gentry, the film’s creator and producer, hopes the documentary will duly honor some of the community’s legends whose impact has created ripple effects throughout the broader gospel music scene.

“Gospel In Person will tell the history of the great musical anointing that has rested upon Person County,” says Gentry. “You will hear the stories of legends such as Roosevelt and Michael Whitfield, Martha Pettiford, Leroy Cash, Victor Hester, Willie Carrington, and many more. And you will learn more about the living legends who walk among us and tirelessly minister to us all.”

Deacon Authority’s late grandfather is named among the legends. Victor Hester was a noted bass singer and member of an area group whose inception is believed by some to date back to the 1930s, the now defunct Traveling Sextet. Deacon Authority and his grandfather had a special relationship.

“He took me with him and taught me so many things,” he remembers.

As far as he knows, the elder Hester never got to perform overseas like him. Nevertheless, Deacon Authority says his granddad’s influence is always present with him and present wherever the music goes around the world.

“My grandfather is in all my songs. He’s the reason why I like bass so much.”

From generation to generation and in song after song shared at home and abroad, it seems likely Mr. Victor Hester’s influence is traveling farther than the Traveling Sextet singer ever dreamed was possible.

Tickets for MG Music Group’s concert are available now at https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/19211/kirby-cultural-arts-complex/.

MG Music Group reflects on humble beginnings. (Video courtesy of Gentry Visuals)

Gentry describes the entire series as “historic and monumental.”

“Walk in the Spirit” – Ellen Hayes

“Walk in the Spirit”
Ellen Hayes feat. Cynthia Gross
From the full-length project, We Owe It All To You (2022)

Ellen Hayes Walk in the Spirit cover art

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Ellen Hayes’ single, “Walk in the Spirit,” is inspired by 2 Corinthians 3:17. Using the scripture’s message, she has written a rousing song of instruction that her daughter Cynthia Gross delivers. Attention is easily focused squarely on the lyrics as both Cynthia’s approach and the music are refreshingly simplistic. Hayes is known for writing songs with lyrics taken directly from scripture, and “Walk in the Spirit” adheres to her signature writing style. The track is from her current release, We Owe It All to You.

Based in Michigan, Hayes is a noted organist, pianist, vocalist, songwriter, choir director and four-time Rhythm of Gospel nominee.