gospel music performances United States

Chrystal Rucker to perform at “Sharing the Harvest” benefit concert on Nov. 23

Chrystal Rucker

Chrystal Rucker has been giving back to Kansas City for years with her annual “Sharing the Harvest” benefit concert. This year will be no different as she’s giving Kansas City some great gospel music while raising funds for The Brookside Charter School, Ronald McDonald House and Sarita Lynne Ministries (which manages two homeless shelters). Appearing on the program will be gospel megastar Vashawn Mitchell of “Nobody Greater” fame, Top 20 newcomer Anita Wilson, Sheri Jones Moffett, smooth jazz bass player Julian Vaughn, sister act Tobbi and Tommi and Kansas City worship leader, Na’Ron Hamilton.

Although, she’s been singing professionally for two decades, Rucker just released her first CD this year. The new project, “You Deserve” (EPM Music Group), debuted at No. 10 on Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart this summer and the dynamic radio single, “You Deserve” is a Top 30 smash.

“To say that Chrystal Rucker is a power vocalist is an understatement,” reviewer Gregory Gay writes in a recent commentary. “To her credit, she can preach in the middle of the song and close with a run that will leave the listener in awe, asking, `Now, how did she do that?’”

The event takes place at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23 at Trinity Temple Church of God in Christ, 11922 Food Lane, Grandview, Mo., with host pastors Ben Stephens III and First Lady LaTanya Stephens. Tickets are $10 and available by calling (816) 665-0506. For more information on Rucker and other EPM Music Group artists, go to or


gospel music performances releases United States

Gospel’s balladeer Earnest Pugh to release his first Christmas CD

Over the last half dozen years, Earnest Pugh has established himself as Gospel Music’s Leading Man with soul stirring, #1 radio smashes such as “Rain on Us” and “I Need Your Glory” that also hit the Adult R&B Airplay charts. Now, he’s joining the ranks of Johnny Mathis, Mahalia Jackson and Nat “King” Cole by creating a holiday album, “Christmas with Earnest Pugh & Friends” (EPM Music Group/$15.98 MSRP), due in stores on Oct. 16 that is sure to become an annual yuletide listening treat.

The 14-track set marks Pugh’s first time sitting in the producer’s chair and he shares the mic with some of his best and most talented friends in the music biz. The initial radio single, “Ring Dem Bells”, a rousing mid-tempo ballad features impassioned backing vocals by Charles Butler & Trinity. A soulful “Silent Night” features the smooth tenor of Quadrius Salters. Baritone Keith Williams joins Pugh on “Holy 2 U” while powerhouse soprano Chrystal Rucker does a majestic rendition of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” with a simple piano arrangement. Lisa Knowles of the Brown Sisters and Pugh trade adlibs on a churchy rendition of “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Vincent Tharpe & Kenois create a warm and cozy groove on “Go Tell It” while newcomer Martha Buries brings a jazzy vibe to Ann McCrary’s “Remember Not 2 Forget”. Veteran vocalist Nikki Ross sits us down on the front pew of a Sunday morning church service to deliver a dramatic version of  “Walk in the Light”.

Christmas music has always been a staple In Pugh’s home.

“With very little money and 12 kids – music was all we had when I was growing up,” he says in a news release. “Our household was filled with love, music and good food during the holidays. This CD is near and dear to my heart because it was one of the final requests that my mother made just prior to passing away on New Year’s Eve 2006, that I make a Christmas CD. The concept of the CD catches me interacting with some kids during a choir rehearsal to prepare them to go caroling throughout the neighborhood.”

There are plans in the works for a 10-city Christmas with Earnest Pugh Tour that would also feature EPM Music Group artists such as Vincent Tharpe and Kenosis, Chrystal Rucker and Keith Williams. For more info on EPM and its various projects, go to