Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: May 20, 2019

“Don’t Break” Micah Lee DarkChild Gospel (release date: May 10, 2019) By Bob Marovich Micah Lee sings praises for God’s amazing grace in the testimonial “Don’t Break.” Referencing a near fatal car accident that nearly left him unable to walk, Lee reiterates how the power of faith pulled him through. Even in the worst of times, “when you have nothing left,” he sings, don’t give up. Just hold on. “Don’t break before your breakthrough.” Written by Alvin Garrett and produced by Fred “Uncle Freddie” Jerkins, “Don’t Break” moves to a steady hand-clapping beat, with Lee’s confident tenor smiling through the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 13, 2019

“Hallelujah” E. D. Mondaine’ From the Achaia Records release Hallelujah (release date: February 7, 2019) www.edmondaine.com By Bob Marovich Sure, Leonard Cohen’s masterpiece “Hallelujah” is about a love affair gone sour, but given that it is gilded with lines from Scripture, I’m surprised that more Christian artists haven’t gospelized it over the years. Gospel artist and pastor Apostle E. D. Mondaine’ has just rendered the beautiful ballad, made it the title track of his new album, and altered some of the lyrics to make it more spiritual. He opens the song with the same lovingly delicate reading that most singers ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 6, 2019

“Keep Me” Carrington Alyse Brown Clarkstone Music Group (release date: March 1, 2019) By Bob Marovich With thunderous encouragement from a backing choir, seventeen-year-old Carrington Alyse Brown delivers her debut single, “Keep Me,” with steadily increasing intensity and passion. Produced by Jason Clark, executive director of the Tennessee Mass Choir, “Keep Me” is a traditional-flavored song with a message grounded in God’s constancy. That’s not surprising; she told Xuam Lawson on “Real Gospel with the Xman” that she likes traditional gospel because she is a “churchy girl.” Her sound is evocative of another young singer, and one of her favorite ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 29, 2019

“Won’t He Do It”Kim RuffSarahschild Records (release date: April 19, 2019) By Bob Marovich A bracing tempo with hard-charging musicians and background vocalists support Stellar Award winner Kim Ruff on her new single, “Won’t He Do It.” Ruff gives this simple song with a simple message an invigorating delivery. Exploding with gratitude over God’s intercession in her life and wanting to share it with the world, she shouts, scoops, and delivers staccato lines with gusto. Though one may be more familiar with Ruff’s smooth singing, such as on the ballad masterpiece “As Good as It Gets” from her 2009 Ready ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 23, 2019

“Hold My Hand Lord” Donny Pomerlee feat. Paul Porter BBG Entertainment, LLC (release date: February 24, 2019) www.wrightmusicgroup.org By Bob Marovich On “Hold My Hand Lord,” Donny Pomerlee’s lithe tenor and Paul Porter’s gritty growl are like sugar and salt, and are just as addictive together. A native of Chicago, Pomerlee honed his vocal and instrumental skills in city churches. He was named Praise and Worship Artist of the Year at the first Chicago Gospel Music Awards. In lyric and style, however, “Hold My Hand Lord” is about as far from P&W as you can get. Pomerlee’s fourth single has ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 15, 2019

“You Don’t Know” Zacardi Cortez Black Smoke Music Worldwide (2019) By Bob Marovich “You don’t know my story,” is a frequently uttered church aphorism. “I don’t look like what I’ve been through” is another. On the appropriately-titled “You Don’t Know,” the popular gospel singer Zacardi Cortez (“Oh, How I Love You,” “1 On 1”) offers his own testimony. His big, rough-as-sandpaper shouting tenor, introduced to a national gospel audience on James Fortune & FIYA’s 2007 album The Transformation, is on full display on this deceptively powerful song, as much a recitative of gratitude as a cathartic expression of trials endured ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 8, 2019

“All That I Have (One God)” Lamont Sanders DarkChild Gospel / Bear Tag Entertainment By Bob Marovich In his muscular yet flexible baritone, Lamont Sanders delivers this pop-influenced rhythm ballad about giving back to God, who has given so much to us, especially his only begotten son. The background vocalists share the spotlight on this solid song and message for the Lenten season.  Lots to like here. The Willingboro, New Jersey, native earned a scholarship to study musical theater at the University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia and can play seven instruments. The way he works this song demonstrates ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 1, 2019

“Reach”DOEIndependent (release date: March 17, 2019)www.doejonesmusic.com By Bob Marovich “Reach,” the new single by GRAMMY-nominated gospel artist Dominique Jones (aka DOE), represents her finest work to date, amidst a string of quality songs. It’s simply and gently direct, a prayer rising from an anguished soul that builds in intensity and uplift as the song progresses. Doe’s vocals rise and fall like steady breathing.  The arrangement sounds ready-made for that poignant part of a drama when the protagonist discovers the answer, and musters the inner strength, to resolve the conflict. Praise & Worship music can tend towards the conventional, imitative, and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 26, 2019

“Moving Forward” Ken Heath & the True Disciples Keep Hope Music (release date: March 29, 2019) By Bob Marovich I’ll admit it: when I first heard Ken Heath shout “Move! Get up out of your seat!” on “Moving Forward,” I did immediately as commanded. The optimistic song about the joy that comes with forsaking the past and embracing a future made brighter by salvation moves with a righteous strut that transitions effortlessly into an extended vamp that sells the song. It’s during the vamp that Heath directs listeners to get up out of their seats and turn their life around ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 18, 2019

“I’ll Do It For You” The Fantastic Bibletones BTones Music (release date: January 29, 2019) www.thefantasticbibletones.com By Bob Marovich Not the Buffalo, New York, group of yesteryear, this Fantastic Bibletones is a female gospel quartet from St. Louis, Missouri, that sounds like a church-honed Sister Sledge. The ladies’ new single, “I’ll Do It For You,” is a bouncy, cheery ode to discipleship with an infectious rhythm section, fine call-and-response, and a bluesy vamp. Organized in 1971 and active until 1998, after which they took a break from the arduous gospel highway, the Fantastic Bibletones re-energized in 2009. They released two ...

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