Reviews

“Simply Because” – Dana Fields feat. Adam Brock

“Simply Because” Dana Fields feat. Adam Brock From the album A Personal Experience (2016) www.danafields.com By Bob Marovich Songstress Dana Fields’ silky smooth praise song “Simply Because” gets a double shot of passion courtesy of the soulful vocalizing of her duet partner, American Idol contestant Adam Brock. The two voices fit together like two puzzle pieces, a twenty-first century iteration of the sweet-and-spicy combo of Syreeta Wright and Billy Preston. Fields and Brock move perceptibly from gentle to big finish to render the uncomplicated lyrics and melody that surfaced in Fields’s spirit as she was going about her daily routine. This is how skilled vocalists ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 24, 2017

“I Give You Praise” Robert E. Person feat. Richard Smallwood From the forthcoming REP album Classic Covers www.roberteperson.com By Bob Marovich Covering Richard Smallwood’s composition “I Give You Praise” is commendable. Having the maestro himself accompany on piano is inspired. Originally released by Smallwood on his 1989 album Portrait (Word Entertainment), “I Give You Praise” combines the drama of high theater with the passion of high church in offering plaudits to the Most High. Vocalist Robert E. Person’s classical training is in evidence on this version from the quiet opening to the expansive coda. Roderick Giles & Grace, who accompanied Bryan Andrew Wilson ...

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Jermaine Dolly – The Dolly Express

Jermaine Dolly The Dolly Express DarkChild Gospel / By Any Means Necessary LLC (release date: June 9, 2017)                 By Bob Marovich The Dolly Express, the main conceit of Jermaine Dolly’s debut full-length album of the same name, bears similarity to the storied Gospel Train, the subject of old hymns, with a couple important exceptions. First, while only the saved are welcome on board the Gospel Train, Dolly’s locomotive invites everyone on this free trip. And second, the conductor is not Jesus but Dolly himself. His duty, like a good Christian, is to lead his ...

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Bigger Than Me – Le’Andria

Bigger Than Me Le’Andria RCA Inspiration (release date: July 21, 2017) By Bob Marovich Bigger Than Me, Le’Andria Johnson’s fifth album, is her best album since her 2011 debut, the chart-topping Music World Gospel release, The Awakening of Le’Andria Johnson. Best because the songs, for the first time since Awakening, feel right for her, melodically and lyrically. This album is direct and honest rather than focused on inspirational messages with an undercurrent of crossover aspiration. Song lyrics like “I’ve tried every shortcut” and have “gone through hell” (“Come Through”) and “I took on way too much…now I have to pay the cost” ...

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Sherwin Gardner – Greater

Sherwin Gardner Greater Flow Masters / Tyscot Records (global release: May 26, 2017) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Those who follow my reviews know I’m not typically sold on an album’s selected single, and often feel other tracks on the CD are far stronger. But “Because of You,” the first American single from Sherwin Gardner’s album Greater, deserves to be the one. I couldn’t get the melody and lyrics out of my head 24 hours after listening to it. Of the live and studio versions of “Because of You,” both offered on the CD, I prefer the live version. Here, the song’s lyrical apex, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 17, 2017

“Grace” Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago feat. Le’Andria Johnson Inspired People, LLC (release date: July 7, 2017) Available from digital media outlets By Bob Marovich Pastor Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago’s “Grace” feels like a quicker-tempo version of Kirk Franklin’s “I Smile” with its plinky piano, chirpy melody, finger-popping rhythm, and unison singing. The choir declares that they don’t look like what they’ve been through, and it’s because of God’s favor. God has brought them from a mighty long way. They’re blessed by the best. Then Le’Andria Johnson jumps in and drops a healthy helping of righteous southern soul on ...

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Jeanette Jones – Dreams All Come True

Jeanette Jones Dreams All Come True Playback Records (release date: May 19, 2017) www.playbackrecords.net By Bob Marovich The title of Playback’s compilation of every known secular and sacred solo recording by San Francisco singer Jeanette Jones is deliberately ironic. All the more so in that Jones’ beautifully-sung ballad, “Dreams All Come True,” which gives the album its title, was recorded in 1968 but did not see the light of day until 2000. As Alec Palao’s well-crafted and sympathetic essay for this compilation suggests, whatever career aspirations the comely alto may have had seemed never to materialize, despite her obvious vocal talent. So one released pop single ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 11, 2017

“So Good” Bri (Release date: June 9, 2017) Available from digital music outlets By Bob Marovich When on “So Good” Bri (Briana Babineaux) sings “God’s been so good to me,” there are plenty of reasons for her to express that sentiment. In a relatively short period of time, she went from unknown to YouTube sensation to Billboard-charting artist to multiple Stellar Award winner. But here, she focuses instead on the victory God has given her over the metaphorical shackles that once bound her down spiritually. Her newest single is buoyed by a quick-step tempo and BGVs that return every ounce ...

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CASS: Genesis – Second Season

CASS Genesis – Second Season http://officialcass.com By Bob Marovich Genesis – Second Season is the debut full-length solo album for New Zealand-based Christian singer/producer CASS, aka Cassandra Kanda. It follows on the heels of the Season 1 EP she produced to test the waters of recorded music ministry while completing a three-year church internship. To support her unpretentious lyrics of praise and love for God, CASS leaps more confidently into the pool of hook-laden, beat-built pop music than most gospel artists dare. Viscous keyboards burble in space. Electronic riffs transition into Cinemascope-sized blossoms. Beats, hooks, riffs, and rhythmic lyric lines come ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 3, 2017

“Grace & Mercy” Tamika Patton feat. Min. Earl Bynum Available on iTunes and other Digital Media www.TamikaPatton.com By Bob Marovich On the independent single, “Grace & Mercy,” Tamika Patton proclaims her gratitude to God for his unconditional love and forgiveness. Such compassion, given “to a wretch like me,” has inspired her to pass it forward. The song’s carefree arrangement and mid-tempo two-step rhythm echo Patton’s exhilaration. She and featured guest vocalist Minister Earl Bynum, who joins halfway through, complement one another well. Their melodic voices, gilded with gospel grit, have a tangy blend, like salt and vinegar, as they go ...

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