Author Archives: Bob Marovich

JGM Pick of the Week: July 30, 2018

“Give It All to Him” The Oladipo Sisters From The Rebirth (release date: June 10, 2018) www.oladiposisters.com By Bob Marovich Boston’s Oladipo Sisters—nineteen-year-old Oladunni and seventeen-year-old Olayeni-make a joyful noise on “Give It All to Him.” Though born in Massachusetts, the sisters’ combination British and Nigerian heritage is on display in the song’s simple melody and harmonies, and its lyrics of praise and worship. Their American experience comes through their gospel vocal techniques, including some delightfully improvised soprano notes at the end. The song is on the sisters’ sophomore project, The Rebirth, which follows their 2011 debut The Mighty One and a couple ...

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Javen – Grace

Javen Grace Tyscot Records (release date: June 22, 2018) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich It’s been five years since actor and P&W recording artist Javen released Worship in the Now – Live, but Grace is worth the wait. Rare is the album that features so many quality original songs, but Grace is one of those. Javen Campbell wrote or co-wrote all of the material, save for “Amazing Grace.” And also with one exception (again, “Amazing Grace”), each track features a strong guest vocalist, the most notable of them being Tye Tribbett, Da’ T.R.U.T.H., Tim Bowman Jr., and Candy West. The album’s singular selections are ...

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RIP: Lavelle Lacy, Gospel Musician and Songwriter

JGM learned the sad news that Chicagoan and longtime gospel musician Lavelle Lacy has gone from labor to reward. The number of gospel artists he accompanied is numerous, and includes Inez Andrews, Rev. Maceo Woods and the Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir, Rev. Ernest Franklin, and the Starlight St. James Choir.  Lacy was part of a coterie of top-notch gospel musicians in Chicago who give your music special oomph. He also wrote songs for the likes of the Chicago Mass Choir, Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer Warriors, and Ricky Dillard and New G. Lacy was a featured keyboardist on the 2016 release of Lift Me Up: ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 23, 2018

“Even Louder” Steven Malcolm feat. Leeland From the IVAV (Word Entertainment) EP The Second City, Pt. 2 (release date: June 8, 2018) www.StevenMalcolm.com By Bob Marovich “Even Louder,” written by Steven Malcolm and Leeland Mooring, blends musical understatement with Malcolm’s declarative rap about the many wonders of salvation. Its lullaby-like melody, incessant beat, atmospheric swirl of background voices (courtesy of Christian worship band Leeland), and string-laden interlude combine to create a captivating conclusion to Malcolm’s second in a four-part EP series called The Second City. From Grand Rapids, Michigan, Steven Malcolm is part Jamaican and celebrates his roots on the EP ...

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JGM Music Hour – Episode 125

              Playlist for Episode 125: I’m determined – Bemeche’ God has kept me – Wardlaw Brothers Now I’m on my way – Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir If God – Casey J Forever – Jason Nelson Prayer changes things – Adriann Lewis-Freeman Keys to the kingdom – David Whitfield & Whitfield Production Your presence – Bruce Parham Beautiful name – Chrisafari Mercy’s tree – Firma Collective feat. Lexi Jones Can’t wait to see Mama – Prez Blackmon That mountain – Charles Jenkins I’m depending on you – Zion Messengers

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Brenda Jefferson – Invocation

Brenda Jefferson Invocation Scripture Music Group (release date: April 7, 2017) Available on Amazon.com By Bob Marovich Brenda Jefferson is a songwriter who can sing. On her 2007 album, A Time of Refreshing, Jefferson held her own on duets with such leading lights as Lisa Page Brooks and Joe Ligon. On Invocation, however, Jefferson prefers to focus on writing the songs and offering spoken word introductions and inspirational interludes. She leaves the singing of her songs to such an impressive passel of featured artists that the album could easily have been titled Brenda Jefferson and Friends. The album’s high point comes ...

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RIP: Stan Lewis, Record Company Owner

Stanley “Stan” Lewis, owner of Jewel Records, passed away July 14, 2018, at the age of 91. In 1948, he and his wife Pauline opened Stan’s Record Shop in Shreveport, Louisiana. One of their customers was a young Elvis Presley. From there, the Lewis’s built their enterprise into a mail order company, a distributor, and founded Jewel, Paula, and Ronn labels. Their labels featured a potpourri of American roots music, including blues, R&B, country, gospel, rock, and soul. More on Lewis’s life and many contributions to the record industry can be found in the obituary here: Stan Lewis. We at JGM ...

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Phil Cook – People Are My Drug

Phil Cook People Are My Drug Psychic Hotline / Thirty Tigers (release date: June 1, 2018) www.philcookmusic.com By Bob Marovich Rootsy gospel vibes abound on Phil Cook’s second solo album, People Are My Drug. A native of from Wisconsin now living in Durham, North Carolina, Cook counts among his inspirations such classic gospel artists as the Staple Singers, the Sensational Nightingales, Margaret Allison, Shirley Caesar, and Brother Joe May. It’s evident, too, in the album’s sound, its lyrics, and even in the quartet-like vamp on two tracks (“Steampowered Blues” and “Every Mother’s Son”). “Tide of Life,” which Cook and his ensemble cover, was written by ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 16, 2018

“Holy Ghost” Frozene Lott Hayes LotHay Music (2018) Available on iTunes By Bob Marovich You can be certain that a song titled “Holy Ghost” is going to be a church burner, and Frozene Hayes delivers on this promise. Supported by a chugging band and a choir of BGVs, Hayes sings about the exhilaration of salvation like a veteran church soloist. She has that deliciously raspy alto voice that can make “Happy Birthday to You” sound sanctified. She sang a live version of “Holy Ghost” at last month’s Rhythm of Gospel Awards, where it was named Traditional Song of the Year. It brought ...

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“The Pain is Going to End” – Bonita Burney Simmons

“The Pain is Going to End” Bonita Burney Simmons Bursimslow (release date: January 1, 2018) www.bonitaburneysimmons.com By Bob Marovich On her newest single, “The Pain is Going to End,” Bonita Burney Simmons reminds the listener that joy cometh in the morning, no matter how dark everything may look and feel. The song moves from general encouragement to personal testimony when she sings, “it’s just a test to what I believe – it will get better,” and later drops that new church axiom, “I don’t look like what I’ve been through.” The five-and-a-half minute track cries out for a radio edit to ...

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