Contemporary Gospel

JGM Pick of the Week: March 27, 2017

“Joy!” Warren Dean Flandez, feat. Top Line Vocal Collective From the CD Eternally Grateful www.wdfworld.com On his new project, Eternally Grateful, Vancouver gospel sensation Warren Dean Flandez reprises the five-star material from his EP What the World Needs Now, adding additional tracks to round the package out. “Joy!,” featuring the talented 50-member choir known as Top Line Vocal Collective, is one of the songs brought forward from the EP. This paean to God’s goodness blends old and new seamlessly, capturing the celebratory mood found in both traditional and contemporary gospel music. Reviewing What the World Needs Now last March, I had ...

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“Victorious” – Ernest Billups & Tribe of Levi feat. Bishop Eric McDaniel

“Victorious” Ernest Billups & Tribe of Levi feat. Bishop Eric McDaniel E’mazin Entertainment (released August 2016) www.emazinentertainment.com “Victorious” is a spirited litany of positive affirmations from Ernest Billups and his sprightly vocal group Tribe of Levi. It is also Billups’s testimony of how God has granted him victory over personal challenges–that no matter how bad things are, God will help you overcome them. Using the “no weapon formed against you shall prosper” Scripture for support, Billups & Tribe of Levi tell the enemy what they really think of him. Then Bishop Eric McDaniel, pastor of The Lord’s Church in the Bronx and North ...

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Eagle Rock Gospel Singers Preview New Song and Video

The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers premiere their video of “Lay Down Low,” a new song recorded in a historic nineteenth-century Episcopal church in Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles. The song is from the group’s forthcoming album, No Glory. “‘Lay Down Low’ started with a simple little melody for the verses. I wrote what I thought could be a concise telling of the story of Jesus using that melody as a springboard. I wanted something bittersweet for the chorus that had some teeth and gave the story an arc. I used a melody that could be percussively barked and had no home ...

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Stay Connected – The Choirs of Trinity United Church of Christ

The Choirs of Trinity United Church of Christ Stay Connected Unashamed Media Group (release date: February 28, 2017) Available on Amazon.com, itunes, other digital outlets. The hard copy with the 36 page color booklet will be available at the church by March 3, 2017, through its bookstore and website. By Bob Marovich Disc One of Stay Connected, the forthcoming two-disc project from Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ music and arts ministries, is alone sufficient to declare the project excellent. That it contains two discs makes it spectacular. It has been fifteen years since the South Side church has released ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 20, 2017

“Outpour” Lynn McCree featuring Judah 1st www.igaraa.com/lynn-mccree.html Songs that open with hushed piano and vocal never fail to get my attention. Lynn McCree’s “Outpour” got my attention. It’s a lovely ballad, lovingly sung, a prayer closet pleading to the Lord for a pouring out of blessings. “Pour out your joy / I don’t want to cry no more,” McCree and her Judah 1st singers express. The song is as passionate and delicate as the blessings they seek, and it feels as if it could even extend beyond its 3:42 length. The production expertly focuses on the singing, with the piano taking a secondary but ...

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Sharon Moore – Jesus Wants to Bless You

Sharon Moore Jesus Wants to Bless You Heavenly Calm Records By Bob Marovich Those who attended the 2016 Rhythm of Gospel Awards weekend in Memphis, Tennessee, heard the singer and songwriter Sharon Moore perform “Jesus Wants to Bless You,” the title track of her latest album, in a number of showcases. With a beat and melody evocative of A Taste of Honey’s 1978 disco hit, “Boogie Oogie Oogie,” Moore sings that Jesus doesn’t just want to bless you, he wants to “press down, shake it together” your blessings.  That’s the songs hook.  So many blessings you won’t have room to ...

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“When I Stopped Playing with Jesus” – LaTonya Earl

“When I Stopped Playing with Jesus” LaTonya Earl (private release, 2014) To purchase a copy, email Latonyaearl1@gmail.com Houston gospel singer LaTonya Earl gets transparent on “When I Stopped Playing with Jesus.” After “playing with,” or not fully accepting, the Lord, Earl “plants her feet” in church and sees the light. She cleverly interpolates the gospel hymns “I Saw the Light” and “Jesus, the Light of the World” to reaffirm her conversion message. The handclapping rhythm and whirling organ give the song a traditional feel, and a call-and-response with the background vocalists is like a quartet vamp, but an R&B bounce throughout ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 6, 2017

“God’s FreqWincey” Wincey From God’s FreqWincey (released in 2015) www.winceycomusic.com On her new single, “God’s FreqWincey,” Wincey Terry-Bryant plays off her first name to testify about how prayer gives her a clearer focus on her past, present, and future. The song has a breezy California vibe and Wincey’s singing has the light touch of fellow Newark native Dionne Warwick. Wincey has healthy doses of performing experience, having worked in the television and film industries, and even recorded with jazz great Grover Washington Jr. Being on “God’s FreqWincey” certainly enables Wincey to do plenty of important work. She runs a nonprofit called Nanababies ...

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“My Brothers” – Brotha Mike

“My Brothers” Brotha Mike From the EP Second Chance (released December 2016) www.cdbaby.com/cd/brothamike1 Gospel music is made for such a time as this. On “My Brothers,” Detroit’s Brotha Mike defends those who haven’t had the same opportunities as others and those who deserve a second chance. “They didn’t make us,” he sings, “so they can’t break us.” As a saxophone wails and the arrangement gets progressively bluesier, Brotha Mike moves from empathy to encouragement: “Keep your head high / You don’t have to look down.” By the end, he is enjoining everyone to come together “to make a better world.” ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 30, 2017

“I Got Out” Bryan Popin Little Boy Wonder Music (release date: January 15, 2017) www.bryanpopin.com Dubbed “Little Boy Wonder” by Stevie Wonder, gospel artist Bryan Popin infuses”I Got Out” with a Pentecostal-flavored explosion of gratitude to God for helping him escape his personal trials.  Popin assures that God will help you out of your “going through,” also. The single is reminiscent of the traditional-meets-contemporary blend of “Alright” and “Thank You Jesus” from Popin’s 2013 album, You Can Make It. From an old-school congregational singalong opening to its evangelist-on-fire vamp, “I Got Out” rocks so hard, it burns to a crisp, ...

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