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Stroke survivor Chrystal Rucker recovers to release “You Deserve” – available Aug. 14, 2012

Chrystal Rucker (Photo Provided)

For almost two decades, Chrystal Rucker has been the darling of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) denomination where she’s become known for her own spine-tingling renditions of Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow,” Tramaine Hawkins’ “Changed” and Lecresia Campbell’s classic, “Safety.” Then, in 2007 she suffered a stroke at age 35. If she couldn’t sing, she couldn’t work and over the next two years, she fought hard to get back to full health so that she could sing again and take care of her daughter.


 “When you have someone you have to live for it makes all the difference in the world in your healing process,” Rucker says in a news release.
 
After years of appearing on the albums of other artists, Rucker is back in top form and unveiling her first nationally-distributed solo CD, “You Deserve” (EPM Music Group), a brilliantly fascinating collection of heart-wrenching gospel ballads and pulsating praise tunes that hits retail stores and online portals everywhere on August 14, 2012. The 11-track set features the dynamic radio smash, “You Deserve,” which glistens with Rucker’s cascading high notes and squalls. Rucker also reintroduces Tramaine Hawkins’ 1975 classic, “Changed” and delivers a reverential hymn medley of “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and “Grateful.”
 
Even though she’s a church girl, Rucker shows she has a flair for urban pop on mid-tempo charmers such as “I Am So Grateful,” the jazzy “Nothing Less” and the infectious hand-clapper, “Make Me Wanna.” She creates a contagious joy on the heart-thumping “Come Bless His Name” while channeling the most poised and refined performance of the album on the soaring anthem, You Will Be My God” that shows off heavenly high notes and a tender sound of praise. For more information on Chrystal Rucker and other EPM Music Group artists, visit www.epmmusicgroup.com or www.chrystalrucker.net.

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Music leader exits Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church

Keith Williams

Keith Williams, EPM Music Group recording artist and senior vice president, has left his post as director of Music and Arts at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga., where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. served as pastor at the height of the ’60s Civil Rights Movement. His final service there took place on Easter Sunday.

“This was not a sudden decision,” says Williams in a news release, who will continue to live and work in the Atlanta area. “We’ve been planning this transition for months so that I can focus on my new duties as an executive with EPM Music Group and also so that I can finish my CD and fulfill the call I have to the national musical arena.”

Williams has been juggling many roles over the past year with his church duties, helping push Earnest Pugh’s smash hit “I Need Your Glory” to No. 1 on Billboard’s Gospel Chart and signing music veteran Chrystal Rucker as the first artist on EPM Music Group. At the same time, Williams has been sorting through songs and writing tunes for his August 14 sophomore CD release “Introducing Keith Williams.”

Williams is a classically trained pianist and vocalist. He’s spent the last two decades as a worship leader at prestigious churches across the United States such as Ebenezer A.M.E. Church in Fort Washington, Maryland,  and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Williams’ style is a cross between the legendary Douglas Miller’s nearly operatic baritone and John Stoddard’s polished notes. Over the years, Williams has written songs for Jennifer Holliday, Dottie Peoples, Vanessa Armstrong and Earnest Pugh.  His debut CD, “…& Again I Say Rejoice,” appeared in 2008. For more information, go to www.epmmusicgroup.com