Author Archives: Bob Marovich

JGM Pick of the Week: July 23, 2019

“I Got Jesus”Keyondra LockettFrom the Bella Dawn Music CD The Heal(release date: September 21, 2018) By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter Keyondra Lockett, member of the two-time Stellar-nominated female group Z’iel from Shreveport, Louisiana, follows her recent charting single “Try” with “I Got Jesus.” Co-written with TedyP Williams, “I Got Jesus” is most notable for its display of Lockett’s shimmering vocals, which evoke the Clark Sisters in the frictionless way they rocket above, below, and along the melody line. Stopping short of a full fireworks display of melisma, Lockett expresses her gratitude that Jesus is in her heart and in her life. ...

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1st Annual Independent Gospel Artists Alliance Awards Winners Announced

Winners announced for National nonprofit education and mentorship organization 2019 Awards for excellence in Gospel, Christian, and Inspirational music by independent label owners and independent artists Washington, DC — National nonprofit education and mentorship organization announces 2019 winners for its 1st Annual Independent Gospel Artists Alliance Awards. The Independent Gospel Artists Alliance (IGAA) has awarded the winners in ten (10) categories in Gospel, Christian, and Inspirational music. The categories are: song, album, producer, contemporary Christian music (CCM), choir or group, jazz, Christian Hip Hop, music video, artist and new artist. The winners in each of the categories are distinguished artists ...

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Vessel – Christ Walker (EP)

Vessel Christ Walker EP Independent (release date: December 11, 2018) By Bob Marovich Although not all gospel music from Jamaica has historically been reggae-flavored, the artist known as Vessel infuses his praise songs with electronic reggae on his EP Christ Walker. Singing in a staccato Jamaican patois, Vessel is as much a Christ Walker as the EP and title track suggest. In one way or another, the selections are about accepting the responsibility of true discipleship. For example, on “The Way I Go,” Vessel asks Jesus, “the way and the light,” to order his steps (Psalm 119:133). “Wherever He leads ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 16, 2019

“Praise Belongs to You” Jason Clayborn & the Atmosphere Changers Tyscot Records www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich “Praise Belongs to You,” co-written by Grammy Award-nominated gospel songwriter Jason Clayborn, author of such hits as Hezekiah Walker’s “Better” and Ricky Dillard’s “I Survived It,” is Clayborn’s debut single as an artist for Tyscot Records. Assisted by his small choir, the Atmosphere Changers, Clayborn offers a radio-ready praise anthem aided by full-bodied production, dramatic key changes, and lead vocal assists from Isaiah Freeman and Matt Austin. The Atmosphere Changers incrementally build the song’s tension with passionate and full-throated harmonies until the only place ...

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“After All These Years” – Freddi Rene

“After All These Years” Freddi Rene From the CD Guide Me www.freddirene.com By Bob Marovich On its surface, “After All These Years,” written by Carl Phillips, Gabriel Young, and producer Gregory G. Pearson, sounds like a conventional love song. But in the song’s first few seconds, Freddi Rene asserts that the source of her love is the Lord. The breezy contemporary single contains hints of Freddi’s hometown of Detroit in its Whitfield-esque jazz chord progressions and complex melody. In fact, if you slowed it down, “After All These Years” sounds like something the Clark Sisters would sing. Freddi Rene has ...

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“Something About that Name” – True Believers

“Something About that Name” True Believers From the 4 Winds CD Back to the Roots (release date: February 1, 2019) www.malaco.com The True Believers gospel quartet marvels at the wonderful name of Jesus and all the name represents on their new single, “Something About that Name.” “Something” lopes along with a gospel-bluesy strut evocative of the Caravans’ “Mary Don’t You Weep,” as periodic explosions of percussion put exclamation points on the group’s declamations. Just as Inez Andrews looked for Jesus, the True Believers’ lead vocalist Castro Coleman calls for Jesus. By the end, the entire ensemble is in joyous swing, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 8, 2019

“Amazing Grace” Rachel Hawkes Independent (release date: May 1, 2019) We know the hymn, but English singer Rachel Hawkes makes it her own with a new verse, harmonica-tight harmonies, and an easy, delightful delivery. The contrast between the thumping percussion and Hawkes’ honey-smooth voice sells the song. Classically trained—she played cello for two orchestras—Rachel Hawkes has been singing and writing for more ten years. Her cello solo on Saint-Saens’ “Le Cygne” is just as disarming as her work on “Amazing Grace.” With more than six albums to her credit, she may just be one of the best singers you’ve never ...

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“The Greater the Trials, the Greater the Blessings” – Mary Pugh & the Pugh Singers

“The Greater the Trials, the Greater the Blessings” Mary Pugh & the Pugh Singers Overboard Records (2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/marypughthepughsingers By Bob Marovich On “The Greater the Trials, the Greater the Blessings,” Grove Hill, Alabama, female quartet Mary Pugh & the Pugh Singers offers an encouraging paradox that sounds as if it came straight from the Sunday morning pulpit. “Looking back over the years / I’ve been through some storms,” Mary sings, adding that she knew God would “show up in the rain.” To reinforce its James 1:12 message about the reward of being tried by fire and enduring, the group quotes ...

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Nashville Life Music – The Taylor House Sessions (EP)

Nashville Life Music The Taylor House Sessions (EP) Integrity Music (release date: May 24, 2019) www.nashvillelifemusic.com By Bob Marovich From the loping tempo and bass-heavy opening of the single “My God,” and the playful use of auto-tune by Byron Chambers (aka Mr. Talkbox) as a medium for scatting and raising lyric lines, you know that Nashville Life Music has soul. The overall feeling of the group’s Taylor House Sessions EP, recorded at the Taylor House Studio in East Nashville, Tennessee, and especially given the cheering and applause between selections, is of a relaxed communal singalong powered by a throbbing rhythm ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 2, 2019

“Hold Out” Tim Rogers and the Fellas feat. Calvin Richardson SAG Music Group (release date: April 26, 2019) By Bob Marovich As they make plain on their new single, “Hold Out,” Tim Rogers and the Fellows work hard to keep the traditional quartet vibe alive. The single is forged in the crucible of wooden-church worship with enough contemporary accouterments to appeal to today’s radio listeners. Indeed, Rogers expects the song to hit the airwaves because he calls out to “those of you in radio land and are listening to my voice” to turn the volume up. Gospel singer turned R&B ...

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