Gospel Music

JGM Pick of the Week: August 9, 2021

“Amazing” Pastor Mike Jr. Blacksmoke Music Worldwide (release date: July 30, 2021) www.pastormikejr.com By Robert M. Marovich Pastor Mike McClure Jr., better known as Pastor Mike Jr., the 2021 Stellar Awards Artist of the Year and gospel music’s current It Guy, cleverly gospelizes Gnarls Barkley’s 2006 smash hit “Crazy” as “Amazing.” Amazingly, it works. To a chill arrangement and with ample support from a full-throated choir of background vocalists, Pastor Mike Jr. takes his time with the famous melody. He stretches the tension to the breaking point, then lets the choir handle the finish. Expect groups around the country to ...

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“Stayed On Him” – Terrian

“Stayed On Him”TerrianFrom the Gotee Records EP Genesis of Terrian(release date: February 26, 2021)www.iamterrian.com Robert M. Marovich If you didn’t know better, you’d think DOE is the vocalist on “Stayed on Him.” It’s actually Terrian Bass, aka Terrian, a Memphis-based singer-songwriter and member of TobyMac’s DiverseCity. The only gospel artist selected as one of Pandora’s Artists to Watch in 2021, Terrian navigates a lyric like a test driver navigates curves. Her voice is pleasant and her energy buoyant. Terrian demonstrates her singing skills on the sing-song and hook-laden “Stayed on Him,” released on the multi-cultural Christian indie, Gotee Records. The message ...

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“People of Light” – Ritasoul

“People of Light” Ritasoul A4 Music Records (release date: June 8, 2021) http://www.praisecamp.com.ng By Robert M. Marovich From time to time, JGM likes to find interesting songs from Africa, where gospel music is vibrant, and present them here. “People of Light” is one. This beautifully-produced and stirring anthem calls on believers to join forces as an army of good and let their light shine “like never before.” It is led by Ritasoul, a Nigerian singer whose commanding soprano is fortified by a team of tight musicians and background vocalists who literally sound like the army she calls forth. Relevant words ...

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Various Artists – Gospel Songs by Lee Hawkins, Volume One

Various Artists Gospel Songs by Lee Hawkins, Volume One Devine Jamz (release date: July 2021) www.devinejamz.net By Robert M. Marovich Here’s something you don’t see that often: an “…and then I wrote” compilation of gospel and praise & worship songs. Produced, arranged, and composed by award-winning songwriter Lee Hawkins, by day a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, Gospel Songs Volume One is a collection of well-produced demos of eight Hawkins songs delivered by young and talented artists. Hawkins’ thoroughly contemporary compositions are unvarying, introspective, serious, lyrical, melodic, and with a hint of classical influence. For example, both the unplugged and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 26, 2021

“It’s Time” Mary Glover Independent (released October 20, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich In tone, tempo, and message, Mary Glover’s “It’s Time” commands people to snap out of it, get right, act right, and be joyful in the Lord. Glover’s sassy and declarative alto, honed in the community of quartet singers, is the ideal vehicle to lift everyone out of their seats and feel the excitement she feels. As such, she evokes other powerhouse gospel singers like Monica Lisa Stevenson, Lemmie Battles, and Lisa Knowles. From Lima, Ohio, and now living in Cleveland, Glover started singing at age six and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 19, 2021

“I’d Rather Have Jesus” True Believers Malaco Music Group / 4 Winds (release date: June 23, 2021) www.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich From the opening vocal harmony riff and the incessant piano triplets to the ultra-soulful lead vocals by Castro Coleman, “I’d Rather Have Jesus” sounds like a 1960s soul record but it is as new as a minute ago. Lyrically, the song by the True Believers quartet evokes the 1922 hymn with the same title, about forsaking the riches of the world for the wealth of eternity. The twist is that Coleman references the modern era when he describes ...

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“Survivor” – Mika Morrow

“Survivor” Mika Morrow Cardo Morrow Records (release date: April 30, 2021) www.MikaMorrowMusic.com By Robert M. Marovich “Survivor,” the new single from singer-songwriter Tamika (Mika) Morrow, has a message for these times: no matter what you’re going through, you’re still here because God made you strong. Pop inflections permeate this song, from the percussive piano backing and the intense melody to Morrow’s sweet-to-stentorian delivery. At times, the vocal track seems a little too separated from the rhythm track but regardless, gospel music proves to be a music about resilience.

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Winners at 36th Annual Stellar Awards

Congratulations to the nominees and winners at the 36th Annual Stellar Awards, held Saturday, July 10, at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Jonathan McReynolds, Pastor Mike Jr. Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Jekalyn Carr, Kierra Sheard, and the Clark Sisters were among the evening’s top awardees. The youngest host in Stellar Awards history, Jekalyn Carr shared emcee duties with Tye Tribbett. BET will air the program on August 1. Here is a partial list of winners, posted originally on the Get Up! Mornings with Erica Campbell website: Artist of the Year: Pastor Mike Jr. Song of the Year: “Something Has ...

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“Jesus Cares” – Leporia Logan

“Jesus Cares”Leporia LoganGodSent Music Group (2021)www.iamhollywoodlogan.com By Robert M. Marovich As “Hollywood” Logan, Leporia Logan was a member of the world-famous Drifters, entertaining audiences with classic vocal harmony renditions of “Under the Boardwalk,” “Up on the Roof,” and “Stand By Me.” Prior to that, however, Logan was a gospel singer and musician. He traveled with Howard “Slim” Hunt and the Supreme Angels, Doc McKenzie and the Hi-Lites, and the Fantastic Violinaires, the latter alongside legendary lead singer Robert Blair. Logan returns to his gospel—and specifically gospel quartet—roots on “Jesus Cares.” With a gruff voice that evokes Blair as well as ...

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“America Bless God” – Bonita Burney Simmons

“America Bless God” Bonita Burney Simmons Independent (release date: January 7, 2021) www.bonitaburneysimmons.com By Robert M. Marovich In the introduction to “America Bless God,” the award-winning North Carolina gospel singer Bonita Burney Simmons offers an invitation to worship by quoting the patriotic anthem written by Irving Berlin in 1938, but then flips the title and transitions into a brand new song. Simmons looks back on 2020, with its hurricanes, pandemic, and political division, and declares that it’s time to come together and give God praise. Some of the lyric lines don’t fall trippingly from the tongue but the sentiment is ...

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