Contemporary Gospel

“Wait” – Kevan Peabody

“Wait” Kevan Peabody Twinkem Productions (release date: October 16, 2020) www.twinkemp.com By Robert M. Marovich Taking Proverbs 3:5-6 in part for his text, veteran gospel singer Kevan Peabody implores listeners on “Wait” not to despair but to trust and “wait on the Lord.” To a traditional-flavored but sonically robust arrangement featuring piano and warbling organ, Peabody croons his declarations in a mellow tenor peppered by blues notes. “Trust and never doubt,” he sings, “God will always bring you out.” The song, written by Steven Roberts, has the feel of a church solo augmented by a full studio backing. Bay Area ...

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Latisha Johnson Montgomery – Issues of My Heart (EP)

Latisha Johnson Montgomery Issues of My Heart (EP) Independent (release date: January 1, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Gospel singer Latisha Johnson Montgomery’s high notes evoke the crackly rawness of Jennifer Hudson. I wouldn’t be surprised if Montgomery finds inspiration in Hudson’s singing, as the latter’s sometimes gruff delivery, along with  electronic swagger drawn from pop, R&B, and hip hop, dominate Issues of My Heart. Following her single, “Take Me Back,” recorded at the iconic Sound of Birmingham Studio—no stranger to gospel over the decades—Issues of My Heart is the Alabaman Montgomery’s debut EP. “Message” is the declaration of a ...

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“Keeper” – De’Leon Carr ft. Duranice Pace

“Keeper” De’Leon Carr ft. Duranice Pace From the Enon Music Group CD Life Is (release date: February 19, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Before gospel singer Duranice Pace passed away on January 14, 2021, she was the featured singer on a track from De’Leon Carr’s new album, Life Is. “Keeper,” originally written and recorded by Bishop Eric McDaniel, finds the two singers blending their distinctive voices on a song of gratitude to God for blessings received and obstacles avoided. To the traditional gospel waltz tempo, Durance and De’Leon slowly build the temperature to evangelistic as they take turns declaring God’s ...

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Chrysann Moore – Cover Us

Chrysann Moore Cover Us Independent (release date: January 1, 2021) www.chrysannmoore.com By Robert M. Marovich On Cover Us, singer-songwriter Chrysann Moore of south suburban Chicago offers samplings of both sides of the hyphened adjective. The nine album selections range from contemporary to P&W to traditional foot-stomping gospel and summarize her musical career over the past few years. “Jesus, I’m Depending On You,” a 2020 single, is a lovingly-rendered call for divine assistance in times of special trouble, because “I can’t make it without you.” Starting out in a quiet storm mood, the song concludes with percussive explosions of evangelistic singing. ...

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“Stand Up” – Damon Little

“Stand Up” Damon Little Little World Music/Partners Music Company (release date: February 5, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Damon Little croons “Stand Up” to lyrics that sound culled from late ‘60s message music and an arrangement that evokes ‘70s Al Green. Little references the tragic fact that a black man can’t be certain he will make it home to his family on any given day. He calls for racial unity when asking black and white to take a stand against hatred and racially-motivated violence. “We can no longer sit down and endure this pain,” he sings, “stand up for what ...

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“Still Everything” – Benita Jones

“Still Everything” Benita Jones From the album The Entreating [Live] Tyscot Music & Entertainment (2020) www.tyscot.com By Robert M. Marovich Benita Jones (formerly known as Benita Washington) digs deep down into her solar plexus for “Still Everything,” a song about the omnipresent light in life’s darkest moments. “Still Everything” is inspired by true events—Jones’s own. She channels her 2018 divorce, relocation to a new city, and experience raising two teenage children by herself into this piece, which she co-wrote with Michael Farren and Ernest Vaughn. The song’s transition from melodic CCM to gut-wrenching gospel is a testament to a songwriting ...

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“I Made It” – Darius Paulk

I Made It”Darius PaulkAIR / Malaco Music Groupwww.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich The intro to singer-songwriter Darius Paulk’s new single, “I Made It,” is straight out of the James Cleveland songbook. Percussive piano, check. Chirping organ, check. Gospel waltz tempo, check. The lyrics, on the other hand, offer a timeless message: surviving the trials and tribulations of life is the result of God’s goodness. But Paulk reminds the listener that it’s not always easy to keep the faith. He gets real: “The pressures of life are so hard to bear / And sometimes it seems like no one cares.” Later ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 25, 2021

“Thank God for What Didn’t Happen” Prez Blackmon Pearl’s Son Music (release date: January 1, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich The title alone is a testament to the times. But for God, Blackmon sings in his elastic tenor, it could have been me, it could have been worse, it could have been tragic. It’s a statement Blackmon heard his pastor, Bishop Noel Jones of the City of Refuge L.A., say many times. This past year’s worrisome mix of physical and social trials, however, really put it in focus for the singer. Blackmon sets his message of gratitude to an appropriately ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 11, 2021

“Forgive Me” Toneisha Harris Connected Sound Music Group (release date: October 1, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Toneisha Harris makes as transparent a confession of sin as one is likely to hear on “Forgive Me.” Harris’s impassioned and melismatic pleas are set to a soulful rhythm section that receives dramatic emphasis from insistent piano triplets. Her mea culpas buckle the walls of her prayer closet. The runner-up in 2020’s The Voice vocal competition on NBC, Toneisha Harris was first heard by JGM in 2007 as a featured vocalist on Bruce Parham’s single, “Call Jesus.” We called her “spectacular” then and ...

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