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OctOber/NOvember 08

Johnnie Williams In The STudIo

Tony edmondson dISappearIng acT

anoinTed Touch salon angela SuTTon

Wms moTorsporTs

Treeo The Journey


OctOber/ NOvember 08

ConTenTs 01 // WMS MoTorSporT

WMS RepaiR

How Maurice Williams started with nothing and built a thriving repair business that serves customers in Lenoir County and beyond.

Maurice Williams of Kinston is a fine example of how hard work and determination can pay off. Williams has taken a hobby and turned it into a profitable business.

02 // Tony edMondSon

“I opened my shop in 2002,� Williams said. “I used to work in the satellite business but I decided to go it alone, and thankfully it paid off.�

Goldsboro native Tony Edmondson talks about his past and future work as a jazz/gospel musician.

03 // anoInTed Touch Salon - angela SuTTon Angela Sutton’s story of hard work and faith that paid off financially.

05 // Treeo The inside story on the break-up, the mysterious third member, and their fractured relationship with Rainbow Records founder Curtis Brooks.

07 // JohnnIe WIllIaMS La Grange native Johnny Williams has a new CD coming out on Rainbow Records. His new single, “He’s There,� is his latest release.

09 // cd revIeWS Darlene McCoy, Sound of the New Breed, Jubilation, Vol. I, Kirk Franklin, and Ben Tankard

Williams, who is also an accomplished singer and bass player, is a one man show. A versatile mechanic that works on miniature bikes, pocket bikes, motorcycles, four-wheelers and scooters. Williams has customers coming near and far for his expertise. “I’ve customers that come in from Sneads Ferry, Swan Quarter, Greenville...I’ve been very lucky,� Williams said. Williams, who has been a member of Faith and Victory Church in La Grange for over 12 years, says that about half of his customers are usuals and the other half are folks that are just discovering what he does. “In this type of business, word of mouth is very important. If you do good work, word will get around,� Williams said. Williams also says that in any business endeavor, you must be patient. “It took a while for this business to catch on, but I stuck with it, and now I’m always busy,� Williams said. Williams says that he is so busy that he will soon be looking for a larger building to work out of. “I’m going to stay in Kinston, because I have so many customers here, but I’m going to find a new building. I’m also going to probably have to hire some additional help. It’s getting to a point where I have too much work to do on my own.�

goSpel pageS - voluMe 1, ISSue 1 ocTober/noveMber 2008 cO-FOuNders: curtis brooks & Lindsey t. Parker editOrs: curtis brooks, Adra brooks, Lindsey t. Parker chieF PhOtOgrAPher: Positive image seNiOr Writer: Pete gour stAFF Writer: Keyatta brooks desigN: corporate resources

01 // goSpel pageS

When asked what he would tell a young person who is thinking about opening their own business, Williams said the following: “The most important thing in any business is location. You also need to have plenty of start-up capital and most important of all, you must have a clean credit record. No one will loan you money if you have bad credit.�

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To n y E d mondson

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ony Edmondson, 46, of Goldsboro, North Carolina, was signed to Brooks Records in 2005. His first traditional gospel album, “He Can Make It Right�, was released in 2007. Like all of his albums, it was recorded in his home studio. His new album, tentatively set to be released in late 2008, is a set of jazz/gospel tunes written by Edmondson. Edmondson’s new album, which will also be released on Brooks records, will contain 12 songs, although the album does not have a title yet. The 2005 Lamplighter award winner has composed over 500 songs, only a few of which have seen the light of day. Currently, his debut CD is being re-released. The first pressing of the CD sold out several months ago. If you’re more into downloading, the album can be purchased from the iTunes store and www.cdbaby.com. The remarkable fact about the sales success of Tony’s CD is that it was achieved with no support from radio. “I moved the first pressing of that CD by setting up booths and going door to door,� says Curtis Brooks. “But with the re-release of the album, we will be going through traditional distribution outlets.� Edmondson does approximately 160 shows a year, all of which he books himself. His blend of solid songwriting and fearless stage presence makes him a popular draw wherever he goes. Along with being talented, Edmondson also has a charitable streak. At different times during his life, he has served as the music instructor for the Community Arts Council in Goldsboro, worked for the Boys and Girls Club of Wayne County, and was a music therapist for Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro. Edmondson’s demographic is primarily people in their late 30’s and up. Edmondson’s style is often compared to that of gospel music legend Donnie McKirkland. Edmondson possesses a smooth vocal and guitar style (in the realm of George Benson) that pleases fans of jazz, gospel and soul. If you would like to sample or buy his music, visit www.cdbaby. com/tonyedmondson and iTunes.

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by Pete Gour

Angela Sutton of Kinston is the owner and operator of Anointed Touch Beauty Salon on 1341 Suttontown Drive. Started in June of 2007,the salon boasts a roster of over 200 clients and climbing.

angela SuTTon

Business Spotlight

“I’ve been very lucky. My customers like my work and they have been very loyal to me,� says Sutton. Sutton’s clients enjoy the atmosphere of her salon. “We have a television, but I try to make sure that whatever is on the set is of a pure nature. I don’t want people to have to hear anything offensive while they’re getting their hair fixed,� Sutton said. Sutton, who is a graduate of Lenoir Community College in Kinston, did not start out with intentions of being a stylist. “I originally wanted to get into the nursing program at LCC, but there was a long wait, so I decided to enter their cosmetology program and I believe that I made the right choice. I really like what I do and I like my customers. They are like my family,� Sutton said.

While she attended college, Jones worked part time at the Super 10 retail store in Kinston. After graduation, she worked at Regis House Salon for five years. She also rented a booth at Fisher’s Hair in Kinston for ten years. “Over the years I built up a good amount of customers, and when I decided to open my own place, I was blessed in that many of the people that I had worked with over the years decided to bring me their business.� Sutton, who is a member of Jumping Run Church in La Grange, says that hard work runs in her family. “My mother always had two jobs. She still works now to have something to do.�

Sutton’s success is an example of how hard work can pay off. Her belief in God and the will to work have paid off. Her story should be an inspiration to any young person that thinks the deck may be stacked against them.

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4

Treeo

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ontemporary gospel has provided a way for young Christians to effectively relate to God’s word. Simultaneously, this style of gospel music has created a wave of controversy among today’s Christians. Many modern day worshipers feel that contemporary gospel is, in some ways, disrespectful to Christianity and the way God is praised. Those who produce this style of gospel music tend to disagree. This message related significantly to African-Americans because a vast majority of those that record contemporary gospel are indeed African-American. Reverend Calvin Woods, a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement, had a strong opinion about how the gospel should be spread. In Reverend Woods’ own words: “I feel as though contemporary gospel is yet another way for young people, as well as African05 // goSpel pageS

Two

Americans, to strengthen their relationships with God. It is also a pathway for them to communicate in a way that will enhance the Christian learning experience. Religion is a subject, an art, and a mission. If contemporary gospel is the way to get our (AfricanAmericans) young men and women closer to God, that is not a problem.”

CeCe (Cecilia) Winans and groups like Take 6 delivered music to their taste one album after another. Shirley Ceasar replies, “God uses any kind of vehicle. He chooses to draw men unto Him,” Ceasar said. “What has kept me going is that I try to sing about current events: drugs, black on black crime, a lot of hurting women who have been abused, young girls who have had children out of wedlock. I want to let them know about Jesus so that they might just get up and straighten out their lives.”

They have sung in many different groups over the years, culminating in their present incarnation as Treeo.

In 1998, Steven’s sister introduced Robert to Steven and Terrell after finding out that they all loved to sing and they shared a favorite group in Boyz II Men. This initial meeting led to the collaboration known as Treeo. Gospel and rhythm & blues are deeply rooted After a series of local performances, the in the church. Blues and R&B departed onto group amassed a strong fan base in Kinston, the secular world paths and then led to rock recording an album in 2001 entitled “Alpha” and roll. Gospel, on the other hand, remained singing at several churches, youth programs, on a strong spiritual path and has survived for The latest group to take up the cause is a group and school functions. They have shared the many years. Gospel music sheds an undeniable of young men from Kinston, North Carolina, stage with some of the most respected names influence on R&B and on rock and roll. in Gospel Music, such as Marvin Sapp, The who call themselves Treeo. As you will read Williams Brothers, Trinity 5:7 and many Younger audiences of Gospel music are below, Treeo is a family affair that has strong others. attracted to music with rhythm and a groove roots in the local church community. and an urban contemporary sound. Gospel The band is currently signed to Rainbow First cousins Steven Jones and Terrell Suggs singers and siblings, BeBe (Benjamin) and Records. That came about when Steven’s have been singing together for over 14 years.


“We worked very hard to build up the name Treeo, and it just made sense to build on what we had already started.” According to Steven Jones, the name refers to the “Tree of Life”.

church. He told us to “know who you are singing for.”

Treeo’s sound, according to Steven Jones, can’t be pigeonholed.

“My label is owned by Lindsey Parker and myself, and from the start Lindsey didn’t think Treeo’s album was good enough for us to put out, so only my name was on the contract,” Brooks said.

The year 2008 looks like it will be a busy year for Treeo. With their new album, The Journey, the band will be publicizing the new CD While most gospel acts may stick to a through live shows, interviews, and various cookie-cutter musical formula, Treeo uses campaigns. different styles to create an original stew Curtis Brooks talks about the end of his of styles and textures. dealings with Treeo:

“Our albums and concerts have universal appeal. We record all types of gospel music. We have songs that could be classified as Contemporary Christian, Quartet Christian, and even hip hop Christian,” Jones said.

father Curtis Jones got a CD of the band’s demos to Curtis Brooks. “These guys have a great sound, and they are true professionals,” Brooks said. “They have the work ethic that it takes to make it in this business, and more importantly, they practice what they preach.” After six years as an actual trio, the group agreed on a mutual split. In 2005, Steven and Terrell completed a 10-month tour (that covered over 32 states) with an international children’s choir that is incorporated with the organization World Help out of Forest, Virginia. The first question that you may ask is, how can two guys be a Treeo? Terrell Suggs has

the answer. When the subject of former member Robert Parker come up, things go silent. According to the band, his split with the group was amicable. Parker himself has not publicly commented on the subject. Even Curtis Brooks, the head of the groups record label, isn’t sure what happened. “I hear different things,” says Brooks. “The fact is that nobody really knows what happened. Whenever I broach the subject of Robert rejoining the band, I’m told that there are no plans for it. I’m in the dark as much as anybody else.” “In 2004, we agreed to go our separate ways, but we decided to keep the name,” says Suggs.

“I believe that their fanbase in Kinston was strong enough to warrant a release, so I want out on a limb for them,” Brooks said.

One of the band’s most successful albums Brooks says that for starters he released is their Christmas album, which is a Treeo’s Christmas CD, and in fact it was a mixture of covers, originals, and public huge success. domain material. “I sold every copy that they’d printed up; we The band’s current CD, The Journey, couldn’t keep up with the demand,” Brooks contains 11 songs. Suggs says that two said. of the songs feature rap “My next priority was to work performances. Samples on promoting Johnnie Williams, of these songs can be who is my best selling artist. heard at their website, Treeo took offense and that’s www.myspace.com/ when our relationship began to treeo2007. deteriorate.” If you want to figure out Brooks says his plan was to what a band sounds like release Treeo’s album “The before you’ve actually Journey” after Williams’ album. heard them, you need Brooks believed the attention from Johnnie’s to check out their list of influences. Terrell album would bring more attention to Treeo’s and Steven list The Jackson 5, Temptations, album. New Edition, BoyzIIMen, Fred Hammond, At this point, the third member of Treeo, and Marvin Sapp as their major musical influences. While a large part of their favorite Robert Parker, decided to leave the group. Brooks says he and Parker never met. music is indeed secular, the duo wants to assure the public that their focus is true. “Basically Treeo refused to carry on in a Both members of Treeo are members of local businesslike fashion, and that caused conflict. church choirs. In fact, Terrell is in four choirs. That lead to my decision not to release their Terrell: We’ve signed a contract with Christ. We’ve invited him into our hearts. Our gift comes from him. This was not a choice for us, it’s something that we were called to do. Steven: We grew up singing in Gospel Outreach Free Will Baptist Church. A man named William Wallace, who played guitar, did a lot to encourage us in the choir. He passed in 2005. He was a deacon in the

album “The Journey.” I own the album masters so the fate of the album is totally up to me,” Brooks said. To find out what Treeo is up to, please visit their website at www.myspace.com/treeo2007.

goSpel pageS // 06


Rainbow Records releases new Johnnie Williams single Gospel music great Johnnie Williams’ new single “He’s There� has been released by Curtis Brooks’ Rainbow Records. “This is a very uplifting song, and it’s very timely. There is a lot of turmoil in the world right now, and this song let’s people know that they are not alone,� Brooks said. Williams, who is a La Grange native, has previously released the popular “Here 4 You� CD. The new single will appeal to fans of his previous work, which has already sold over 5,000 copies. “Johnnie Williams is the marquee act of Rainbow Records. His music always sells well, and his live performances are legendary in the gospel music community,� Brooks said. Williams and Brooks are cousins, which, according to Brooks helps the two work out any issues that would usually put a strain on the artist/label relationship. While Brooks has placed his artists music on iTunes and CDBaby.com, direct sales are a large

part of his business. “I routinely set up a tables at stock yards in Rocky Mount, Wallace, and Ayden. I also sell a lot of product at area beauty salons and barber shops. I even go door to door,� Brooks said. This new single will be promoted with support from radio and internet outlets such as YouTube, MySpace and Facebook. “The fans are going to love this song. It’s Johnnie’s best work to date.� For more information, visit www.myspace.com/ gospelpages. Along with releasing a new CD on his label, Curtis Brooks is set to publish the first issue Gospel Pages, which is a music magazine aimed at the youth gospel market. “We’ve got some great interviews with local people that have made good. The magazine will have the look and feel of major magazines such as Rolling Stone and Gospel Today,� Brooks said.

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CD REVIEWS Darlene McCoy Self-Titled Darlene McCoy’s new album is an inspiring CD that sets a new standard for Praise & Worship music. EMI Gospel has released her self-titled debut project jam-packed with introspective sounds, with a Praise & Worship theme and a solid testament of how God transformed her life. The album begins with a soulful track entitled, ‘I Believe.’ The song speaks of how God has supplied all our needs through His unending faithfulness. Darlene’s strong vocals soar on this track, as she praises the God who gave her everything she has and will continue to supply her needs. Continuing on the same theme, ‘Good To Me’ also praises God for being so good and how extensive His love remains.

Tracks such as ‘Be With You,’ the all-powerful, ‘Amazing,’ and the soothing ‘Simply Because,’ delve into Darlene’s relationship with God. The set of songs speak so eloquently to the hearts and souls of us all. On ‘Be With You,’ the lyrics explore how being with God transforms ones’ life. While ‘Amazing’ glorifies God for providing love, peace, joy and light in a turbulent world, ‘Simply Because’ speaks of the deep desires of the heart to continue on a spiritual journey with God.

Sound Of The New Breed Freedom Sound Of The New Breed’s new album, Freedom, explores the theme of liberty in the life of a Christian. The album ceremoniously articulates freedom as a gift God showers down on His children.

New Breed has risen to new heights with the release of Freedom, as the band The contemporary arrangements and comof psalmists Israel first introduced to positions are evidenced throughout the althe world, explores a deeper sound and bum, fusing urban rhythms with a message spirit on their debut Praise & Worship of gratitude and adoration. Nevertheless, album. Expanding on their contribution there is diversity on the album, such as to the 2005 album Alive in South Africa, the classical piece, ‘I Adore You.’ Darlene Freedom incorporates a blend of African switches gears on the vintage ‘I Wanna rhythms, rock and soulful beats, thus Thank You,’ another catchy number that exhibiting a new musical manifestation. makes it difficult for one to stay seated. Similar to earlier releases produced and Darlene’s website at http://www.darlefeaturing Israel, Freedom remains loyal nemccoy.com contains a section where to the worship and live experience very viewers have the opportunity to enjoy clips audible on this album. of her soulful songs from the album. The Each track flows effortlessly, creating a website is interactive, fun and exciting. harmonious, welcomed reverence. The

group, under the direction of Israel Houghton, experienced a number of successful projects from the release of their goldcertified CD Live From Another Level to A Timeless Christmas in 2006. Having grown up in a White family, in a Hispanic neighborhood, Israel uses his multi-cultural upbringing to influence the sound on all of his productions. Freedom features this rich cultural blend in songs such as the appropriately titled track ‘Breakthrough’ The track is enriched with soft soulful melodies, while packing an important message. The song explores how one touch from the divine Father has allowed a breakthrough from doubt, fears, and pain towards happiness and joy. Blending African beats coupled with rock and contemporary gospel, sensational stellar track ‘I Am Free’ and ‘The Freedom We Know’ creatively explores how freedom expresses itself in the lives of those who have been free from sin. The songs talk of dancing in the spirit and how miracles will take place, based on the freedom received with the acceptance of Christ in our lives.

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The 10-track album features talented singers such as Danielle Stephens (who has ministered all over the world) and Jamil Whiting to name a few. These fervent singers put their ardent musical gifts to the test on tracks such as ‘Again I say Rejoice,’ ‘Made me Glad,’ and ‘Alpha and Omega.’ The songs not only reflect the artistic ability of the singers, they stir in our hearts the message of rejoicing in the spirit by overcoming a life of negativity. For more information on Israel and New Breed, visit their website at www.newbreedmusic.com

Jubilation Vol. I Various artists This CD kicks off with the queen of gospel Mahalia Jackson, and over the course of 18 tracks gives you a crash course in black gospel music. Most of these tracks were recorded in the 40s and 50s. The earliest recording is the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet’s acapella “Golden Gate Gospel Train� from 1937. There are two Seventies recordings. Shirley Caesar’s 1975 remake of the country hit “No Charge� is a touching song but hardly seems essential to a history of black gospel. Aretha Franklin and James Cleveland’s 1972 performance of “Precious Memories,� however, is an emotionally charged reading, and clocking in at over seven minutes is by far the longest track on the collection. “Oh Happy Day� by the Edwin Hawkins Singers proved that there was still a place in popular music for gospel even in 1969--it went to No. 4 and sold over a million copies. The songs by early gospel artists like The Swan Silvertones, the Dixie Hummingbirds and The Pilgrim Travelers. Instrumentation is generally sparse, as it should be, to keep the emphasis on the vocals. Sound quality at times is marginal. “The Old Ship of Zion� and “Sit Down, Servant,� for example, sound like they were mastered from scratchy 78’s. But this is powerful music. It’s difficult to imagine anyone listening to “Jesus Met the Woman at the Well� or “Do Lord Send Me� and not being spiritually moved. Black gospel music has a deep and rich history and this

collection is a great jumping off point for the gospel novice.

Kirk Franklin The Fight Of My Life Critics can’t say enough about Kanye West’s fusion of rap/hip-hop with pop. But long before West was getting so much undeserved attention, Kirk Franklin was bringing this same type of cross-genre genius to gospel music. Beginning with a boxing ring bell and running close to 80 minutes over 16 tracks, The Fight of My Life packs a multi-faceted emotional punch that might challenge fans of only feel-good, happy expressions of “God is Great, all the time� type songs. Exulting in shouts, interjections, and his trademark talk-rap style over an exuberant female choir, bright orchestrations, and edgy scratches, Franklin uses a brilliant reworking of the Kenny Loggins-Michael McDonald lite pop classic “This Is It� to fashion his upfront statement of faith “Declaration (This Is It).� Through this track, he attributes his ability to come through all his trials to the Almighty’s grace, but later, he (or rather, his female entourage) reflects refreshingly on his doubts on the gorgeous, heartfelt ballad “Help Me Believe.� Then comes “Hide Me,� in which he feels lost in life; while not understanding God’s ways, he seeks shelter to help his faith grow. More than simply, wonderfully honest, ultra-hip gospel, this is modern-day Psalming at its best.

Tankard has been hailed with titles from the Quincy Jones of Gospel to the Father of Gospel Jazz. He has won 8 Dove Awards, 9 Stellar Awards, and is the bestselling Gospel jazz instrumentalist in the world. Tankard played basketball and had dreams of playing professionally, until a knee injury forced him out of the game. God called Tankard, and for 15 years he has been blessing audiences around the world. He is also known for discovering famed gospel artists, such as Yolanda

Adams, and has collaborated with Fred Hammond, John P. Kee, and Take 6. On Piano Prophet, Tankard once again produces an exquisite musical treasure with his midas touch. The relished acoustical sounds and rich blend of rhythms make Piano Prophet one of this year’s instrumental best.

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Ben Tankard Piano Prophet As many psalmists before him, a true anointing is felt in this project as Tankard’s inner voice ministers through every track. Title cuts such as the bluesy ‘Piano Prophet’, and the quiet classical piece, ‘Bible Keys’ add a powerful depth to the album. The more upbeat cuts, such as ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now’ sung by Shirley Murdock, and the groovy ballad, ‘Keepmovin’ demonstrate Tankard’s musical prowess.

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Gospel Pages Magazine - Vol. 1 - Issue 1