Detroit gospel artist, and former host of WEXL 1340AM's "Joy and Jones In The Morning," Chris Jones, passed away October 8, 2006, from a massive heart attack. Our prayers go out to Chris' family. Chris will be greatly missed. (Link to Tyscot Records Announcement)>>Click for PDF of Chris Jones' Obituary
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Tribute to Chris Jones by Carl B. Phillips
Sitting in the choir stand this past Sunday, one of my choir members leaned over and told me he had just been text-messaged that my friend, Chris Jones, had passed. I didn’t want to believe it; I prayed it was a false rumor. But sadly, after service I discovered it was not a rumor, the story was true, the city of Detroit had lost one of its gospel stars, Minister Chris Jones.
Over the past few days, I reflected back to my first meeting Chris at Highland Park High School. At the time he was singing with a group called “The Word.” Over the years I had the opportunity to watch the ministry of Chris Jones mature, from the debut of his ensemble of singers, to the first time I heard Chris say, “When I say 'Shabach' you say 'praise'.” Chris never changed, whenever I saw him he had that big smile, and when you left his presence he would use his favorite saying, “may God bless your heart and all your parts.”
His recordings included “Like A Rock” featuring the hit “Like A Rock,” also the #1 song “Exalt The King,” and the song he dedicated to his mother, “Can’t Wait.” Chris also recorded with his brother, Stan Jones, under the group name “The Word.” The CD “How U Gonna Live” was produced by childhood friend Tony Rich. He was a featured vocalist on "Detroit Sings Nu Hymns," bringing new life to the hymn “I Know It Was The Blood.” His last recording “Dance” came out earlier this year, once again showcasing Chris' vocal prowess.
Our prayers go out to his family and the Wings of Love Baptist Church where Chris faithfully served. No matter where his career took him, he always found time to be in support of his church. We also pray for his group “Word of Praise” in the loss of their beloved founder.
The last time I saw Chris I teased him about his new CD “Dance” and I joked that I was still waiting to see him dance. Chris you’re in a place now where you can dance and never get tired you don’t have to wait any longer. You’re in a place where you can “Exalt The King.”
The following is an interview that Detroit Gospel.com conducted with Chris in March of this year. We have no doubt that though Chris is absent from us, he is now present with the Lord. We will see him again...
"Chris Jones Invites You To 'DANCE' "
By: Keith Crosby
Justin's Music owner, Ronald Stringer, with Chris Jones
March 5, 2006 - Detroit Gospel.com was in the house “representin’ ” at the recent Gospel Brunch Listening Party for the release of Chris Jones’ latest project Dance, held at Justin’s Music. There was standing room only as Chris Jones’ fans and well-wishers came out to support him. It was a great way to kick off the release of his latest nationally distributed project, which hit stores on February 28, 2006.
Chris and Word of Praise treated all those in attendance to great music from his new project as they lit up the place with songs such as “Fight My Battles,” “Zion,” “Arise,” “Don’t Give Up,” and “Everything.” They closed out the set with the upbeat and lively title track “Dance” which is appropriately named because it’ll surely get you up on your feet dancing for the Lord.
Among the supporters in the audience were Executive Producer Michael Mindingall, who also wrote several of the songs on the new CD, recording artist Mark Holley, and Carl B. Phillips of Detroit Gospel.com.
During the gospel brunch Detroit Gospel.com had the privilege of spending a few minutes interviewing Chris about his new release.
DG.com: What was the inspiration behind your new CD Dance?
Jones: It was written out of a lot of my personal experiences. I wrote about 5 or 6 songs on the new project. A lot of them have been written out of the stuff I’ve been going through between the last project and this project. It was just some stuff that was on my heart and we collaborated with a couple of other guys and producers that I know within the city. We got together and we made it happen.
DG.com: What can listeners expect from Dance?
Jones: You can expect a lot more [than the last CD]: some worship, some good songs that you can dance to-that’s why we’re entitling it Dance-some good battle songs and some stuff that will help to just bring you through. I like writing stuff that’s going to help people when they are going through down times, so there is a lot of stuff that will bless people while they are going through what they are going through.
DG.com: How long have you been doing this?
Jones: Man, you’re trying to tell my age?
DG. Com: No (laughter)
Jones: You’re trying to get me to tell my age. Well, I’ve been singing professionally for about 18 years. I started out with a couple of friends of mine, with my group, the Word. Then I left and did R & B with the Tony Rich project and Jay Dubb. A lot of the guys were doing secular stuff. We all started doing our own thing. I’ve been doing it now about maybe18 years.
DG.com: Over those 18 years, who are a few people who have influenced you musically?
Jones: Being from Detroit, you already now who it is!
DG.com: Go ahead and share with us!
Jones: Pastor Marvin L. Winans! Let me tell you something, I did an interview with him not too long ago. You know, I was 17 thinking I was the next Luther. I was in there singing Luther's "A House Is Not A Home". Just hearing [Pastor Winans] took me over because I was like, "Man, gospel music has really grown from when I was growing up on it." I was brought up on Quartet music. It really changed. Pastor Winans, Rance Allen and Stevie Wonder were some of my influences coming up as a young singer.
DG.com: Why do you do what you do?
Jones: It was something birthed in me when I was coming up. [Gospel music] was something that I loved doing because it was another way for me to help people. It was another way for me to minister to people. I loved it. If I were doing it for the money, I would have quit it 18 years ago. I do it for the love. One girl hit up my website years ago when I did my first CD. She said, "It helped me to go on and deal with all that I’m going through." She said on the website that one of my songs, which was entitled "Fading Away", encouraged her to stop selling her body on the street. That was probably one of the biggest rewards that I could ever receive doing gospel music.
DG.com: Any advice to new artists?
Jones: I must say it’s not about the person or the personality. It has to be about ministry. Ministry doesn’t necessarily have to be “blown up” for it to be seen. You need to first of all make sure that this is something that God is sending you to do. You have to know that God commissioned you because you can get out here and get disappointed doing this, and it wasn’t what God told you to do. Then you’re disappointed with God's work because it didn’t work. It takes a lot of sacrifice. It takes a lot of giving of yourself. Just know that this is what God wants you to do. Allow ministry to be first and it will work.
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