Reviews

Pastor Marlon Lock – Unleashed (EP)

Pastor Marlon Lock Unleashed (2016) www.pastormarlonlock.com By Bob Marovich “You Covered Me,” a single from Stellar Award-nominated Pastor Marlon Lock of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, made JGM’s Pick of the Week last June. It appears on his EP, Unleashed, a collection of seven cuts that showcase Lock’s urban adult contemporary approach to mostly introspective songs and stories about one’s relationship with God. While I am a proponent of hiring a group of musicians versus having the computer do it all, the electronically engineered low-key accompaniment for most of the selections seems to fit the album’s confessional vibe. The lead track and single, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 29, 2017

“He Won’t Let You Down” Victoria Brown From the album Journey (release date: May 2, 2017) www.victoriabrownministries.com By Bob Marovich Hearing “He Won’t Let You Down” leaves no doubt that traditional gospel is in Victoria Brown’s DNA. Brown travels from sweet to shout on this bluesy and evangelistic selection. It is as much an internal conversation about inaccurate past assumptions as a directive to the listener that only God can make things right. The song’s vamp gives Brown space to extemporize, which I imagine pulls audiences out of their seat in affirmation whenever Brown sings it live. No stranger to the recording process, ...

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Treva Jones: I Am Praise – The Project

Treva Jones I Am Praise – The Project Chezmusique (2017) www.trevajones.com By Bob Marovich Treva Jones wasn’t taking any chances when she assembled I Am Praise – The Project. The Houston, Texas, resident packed her latest release with some of gospel music’s finest singers, songwriters, and producers. She also took her time to put it together—three years to be exact—with the 2014 release of the I Am Praise EP but a preview of things to come. With songs written by V. Michael McKay, Margaret Douroux, and the late O’Landa Draper; with San Franklin Jackson and Mark Kibble (Take 6) as background ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 22, 2017

“Lord, You’ve Been Good to Me” Tim Woodson & the Heirs of Harmony Peacock Music Group (release date: April 11, 2017) www.peacockmusicgroup.com By Bob Marovich With their version of a gospel quartet classic recorded in 1961 by the Original Five Blind Boys (and credited to the late Lloyd Woodard), Tim Woodson & the Heirs of Harmony give a contemporary touch to what is otherwise a straight ahead old-school sound. The track opens with a low-volume and stripped down version of the song and then transitions, as from black and white to color, into the Heirs of Harmony’s version. “Lord, You’ve Been Good to ...

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“O My Soul” – The Southeastern Gospel Music Workshop Choir

“O My Soul” The Southeastern Gospel Music Workshop Choir From the NGE Records Let God Arise (Live) (release date: August 1, 2016) Available on digital music outlets By Bob Marovich The Southeastern Gospel Music Workshop Choir’s debut single, “Let God Arise,” is the type of aurally aerobic song that praise teams use to open a worship service, and therefore also comprises a live album’s opening moments. It is the kind of song popular with today’s gospel radio programmers. But the choir’s slower and more reflective “O My Soul” grabbed my attention. “O My Soul” possesses in grace, dignity, and reverence ...

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“Everybody Ought to Know” – D. Corey Shipley feat. Estee Bullock

“Everybody Ought to Know” D. Corey Shipley feat. Estee Bullock DuCosh Music Group (release date: April 28, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/dcoreyshipley By Bob Marovich “Everybody Ought to Know” is a humble worship song that riffs on the various names for God but reminds us that no matter the name, God is the solid rock. D. Corey Shipley and Estee Bullock (Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir) weave their confident lead vocals through the backing group’s assertive harmonies. The musicians keep the head bobbing funk beat, a slow stomp, moving steadily ahead throughout. D. Corey Shipley hails from Trenton, New Jersey, and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 17, 2017

“You Can Call on Jesus” Donnie, Darryl & the Joyboyz From the JSound Records album He Did It (release date: October 21, 2016) By Bob Marovich From Nashville, Tennessee, Donnie and Darryl Frierson are known as the “smallest men in gospel” because they each hit four-and-a-half feet tall and not much more than that. But good things come in small packages, and the brothers prove it on the 2016 selection, “You Can Call on Jesus.”  It’s a joyous Sunday morning shouting song with a quartet backbeat that has the live recording audience clapping along. The Friersons sing the encouraging word ...

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BJ McKenzie – Encouraging God’s Nation (Isaiah 61:1)

BJ McKenzie Encouraging God’s Nation (Isaiah 61:1) BJ Muzic (release date: September 6, 2016) www.bjmuzic.org By Bob Marovich Taking Isaiah 61:1 for his thematic anchor, award-winning solo artist and choir director Bernard “BJ” McKenzie Jr. of Chicago offers a healthy dose of optimism on his debut solo album, Encouraging God’s Nation. But the lyrics do not stop at simply getting through life’s trials.  Getting to one’s favor, or blessings (breakthrough), is just as significant. McKenzie offers these linked messages of hope and expectation time and again, most particularly on the single, “Born 2 Win.” It is a contemporary gospel song about looking past ...

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Showers Family Video of New Single Recounts its March 2017 House Fire

HAMMOND, LA (Monday, May 15, 2017) – Stellar Award nominated family group The Showers released the music video for their heartfelt rising radio single “I Need You Lord,” written by group member Titus Showers, Sr. and co-written by Tasha Page Lockhart with production by Bruce Robinson, Jr. and Page-Lockhart. Watch the concept music video here: “I Need You, Lord” is the lead single from the group’s forthcoming national sophomore album set to be released this fall on their family owned A&P Records imprint and is available now on all digital providers on sale including iTunes, GooglePlay and AmazonMusic. The new ...

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“Release” – The Church Choir feat. Pastor John P. Kee and Maranda Curtis

“Release” The Church Choir feat. Maranda Curtis & Pastor John P. Kee From the Kee Music Group CD If God Be For Us (release date: August 26, 2016) Available from digital music outlets By Bob Marovich If anyone has a stake in the “bring the church choir back” movement, it’s Pastor John P. Kee. Church choirs have been his life and continue to be. Last year, Kee, the award-winning founder of the New Life Community Choir, united a choir with gospel stars such as Zacardi Cortez and Hezekiah Walker for If God Be For Us.  The album was intended to help rekindle ...

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