Kirk Franklin packs the State Theatre for 'Rock My Soul' concert

CLEVELAND - His music has soared on gospel and R&B charts alike.  So when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame paid tribute to the gospel roots of rock 'n' roll, Kirk Franklin was the man of the hour.

The seven-time Grammy award winner played to a packed house at the State Theatre Tuesday night.

"Kirk Franklin introduced me to gospel music," Franklin fan Heather Goldman said.

Franklin has a flare for mixing Christian lyrics with a contemporary hip hop beat. His debut album was the first gospel album in history to sell more than a million copies.

"He was the first one who came out with the R&B style," Franklin fan Marvin Wyatt, Jr. said. "He put nice flavor to it and I just love his music."

The free concert called "Rock My Soul" was part of the festivities for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Week.

"Gospel music was the baseline for all African-American music," said Howard Kramer, curatorial director for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

"Even when you look at some of the blues singers from the early 20s and 30s, their musical education came first through the church and then they found what we would call secular music. It really is the baseline for everything."

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