Reviews

JGM Pick of the Week: February 17, 2020

“Jehovah God (I Will Trust You)” Gospel Heritage 2.0 feat. Madelyn Berry From the Integrity Music & Tyscot Records CD Next Wave of Praise (single release date: January 24, 2020) By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter Madelyn Berry leads her own P&W composition, “Jehovah God (I Will Trust You)” as a choir of worship leaders, assembled by fellow P&W singer-songwriter and producer VaShawn Mitchell, provides the melodic foundation that lets her improvise freely. Although the melody and lyrics are akin to other modern P&W ballads, this one is distinguished by Berry’s passionate delivery, which starts out with fiery intensity and never cools. ...

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“Look to the Hills” – Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir

“Look to the Hills” Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir Shanachie / SRT Entertainment (release date: January 24, 2020) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich On the heels of “God’s Grace,” a remarkable hit for the Reverend Luther Barnes and the choir from his Restoration Worship Center in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, comes another heartwarming single, “Look to the Hills.” Barnes takes Psalm 121 as his text for this selection. Citing money problems as well as adding an alarming verse about a health scare that one can only hope is not autobiographical, he and the choir offer a reassuring ...

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For the Lord – I’m Gonna Do Your Will

For the Lord I’m Gonna Do Your Will Independent (2019) By Bob Marovich From the Soul Stirrers to Endurance, Houston, Texas, has a strong gospel quartet history. For the Lord is another quartet that hails from the 713. As demonstrated on its full-length release, I’m Gonna Do Your Will, the group possesses an easy, relaxed sound, pulling elements from the smooth-singing R&B male groups of the 1990s. That is not to say For the Lord doesn’t have drive tempo tracks up their sleeve. One of them, “Yes I Did,” opens the album. The song is led by Phillip Grant, who ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 10, 2020

“God Wants to Heal You” Earnest Pugh Black Smoke Music (from the 2017 album Survive) By Bob Marovich Recorded originally in 2006 by Apostle Kevin Davidson and the Voices, the Davidson-penned “God Wants to Heal You,” which was covered by Earnest Pugh as early as 2009, is being promoted as a single. Much shorter in its new go-around than Davidson’s original, the gospel ballad nevertheless receives a faithful treatment from Pugh, whose tenor voice is similar in texture to the composer’s own (both are from Memphis). Pugh also brings along an ensemble of background vocalists to assist as the choir. ...

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“Come See About Me” – Exciting Holy Sons

“Come See About Me” Exciting Holy Sons Deznell Music Group (release date: June 1, 2018) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/theholysons By Bob Marovich One of Chicago’s most popular male quartets, the Exciting Holy Sons maintain one foot in traditional gospel and the other in more modern arrangements, or a style the Sons associate with the “New Quartet Nation.” Their single, “Come See About Me,” is a good example of what landed them on the preliminary ballot of this year’s Stellar Awards. Produced by the Williams Singers of Indianapolis, the song captures the Exciting Holy Sons’ live energy as they sing, growl, and shout the ...

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“Look at God” – Darrell Luster featuring the Legends of Quartet

“Look at God” Darrell Luster featuring the Legends of Quartet 4 Winds Records / Malaco Music Group (release date: February 2020) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich What if Spencer Taylor Jr. of the Highway QCs, Rev. Thomas Spann of the Brooklyn All Stars, Willie Rogers of the Soul Stirrers, JoJo Wallace and Horace Thompson of the Sensational Nightingales, and Cleave Graham of the Pilgrim Jubilees got together to sing? Further, what if they told the story of how hard the gospel highway was in the golden era? That’s what you get on “Look at God,” a new composition by Darrell Luster ...

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Mighty Men of Faith – Live at Valley Christian

Mighty Men of Faith Live at Valley Christian N2L Records (release date: January 21, 2020) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/mightymenoffaith15 By Bob Marovich Live at Valley Christian by the Mighty Men of Faith was recorded in front of 2,400 enthusiastic young students at the Valley Christian School in San Jose, California. Typically, there’s no more critical crowd of listeners than a group of young people, but the Mighty Men of Faith appear to have won them over. The smooth modern quartet brought their friendly and relaxed delivery to the school—they sound like the Dells singing gospel. The California-based quartet’s music is driven by a ...

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“I Hear Rain” – Edwrin Sutton & Kingdom Culture

“I Hear Rain” Edwrin Sutton & Kingdom Culture Blacksmoke Music Worldwide (release date: May 2, 2019) “I Hear Rain” is a song of encouragement in a time of despair. Its spoken call and sung response between Sutton and Kingdom Culture evokes James Fortune and Kirk Franklin’s own use of the technique. The coming storm is nothing to fear, the ensemble sings, because the rain means greater is coming. In anticipation of the gathering clouds and the eventual downpour of blessings, the group builds the song’s tension, though it ends before the sweet release. This is a case where the longer ...

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“The Blood” – Rev. R. L. Bush & the New Swan Silvertones

“The Blood” Rev. R. L. Bush and the New Swan Silvertones From the album Live and UpClose https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/revrlbtnss By Bob Marovich During more than 80 years of singing, the Swan Silvertones quartet has remained relevant by shifting its style to keep up with the times. From rhythmic jubilee singing to church-wrecking power to sweet harmonizing to contemporary quartet, the Swans have done it all. On “The Blood,” the New Swan Silvertones, featuring the Reverend R. L. Bush, keep it old school. With nothing but a drum beat to sing to and the bass singer imitating a stand-up bass  in his ...

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“Been Good” – Torry Dulaney

“Been Good” Torry Dulaney Raw Camp Records (release date: May 24, 2019) By Bob Marovich If you didn’t know that gospel wunderkind Todd Dulaney has a singing brother, now you know. Serving as minster of music for the Church at Rock Creek in Little Rock, Arkansas, Torry Dulaney is a solo artist who put out a Christmas album a few years ago. Torry’s latest single, “Been Good,” represents a musical style he calls “R&G,” or rhythm and gospel. This song of adulation and gratitude to the Most High fuses the uncomplicated honesty of modern gospel quartet singing to a beat ...

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