Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: July 16, 2019

“Praise Belongs to You” Jason Clayborn & the Atmosphere Changers Tyscot Records www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich “Praise Belongs to You,” co-written by Grammy Award-nominated gospel songwriter Jason Clayborn, author of such hits as Hezekiah Walker’s “Better” and Ricky Dillard’s “I Survived It,” is Clayborn’s debut single as an artist for Tyscot Records. Assisted by his small choir, the Atmosphere Changers, Clayborn offers a radio-ready praise anthem aided by full-bodied production, dramatic key changes, and lead vocal assists from Isaiah Freeman and Matt Austin. The Atmosphere Changers incrementally build the song’s tension with passionate and full-throated harmonies until the only place ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 8, 2019

“Amazing Grace” Rachel Hawkes Independent (release date: May 1, 2019) We know the hymn, but English singer Rachel Hawkes makes it her own with a new verse, harmonica-tight harmonies, and an easy, delightful delivery. The contrast between the thumping percussion and Hawkes’ honey-smooth voice sells the song. Classically trained—she played cello for two orchestras—Rachel Hawkes has been singing and writing for more ten years. Her cello solo on Saint-Saens’ “Le Cygne” is just as disarming as her work on “Amazing Grace.” With more than six albums to her credit, she may just be one of the best singers you’ve never ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 2, 2019

“Hold Out” Tim Rogers and the Fellas feat. Calvin Richardson SAG Music Group (release date: April 26, 2019) By Bob Marovich As they make plain on their new single, “Hold Out,” Tim Rogers and the Fellows work hard to keep the traditional quartet vibe alive. The single is forged in the crucible of wooden-church worship with enough contemporary accouterments to appeal to today’s radio listeners. Indeed, Rogers expects the song to hit the airwaves because he calls out to “those of you in radio land and are listening to my voice” to turn the volume up. Gospel singer turned R&B ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 24, 2019

“One Minute” Coleen (release date: February 5, 2019) By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter Coleen’s “One Minute” is not only the first song she wrote, it is autobiographical. At a time when everything was going wrong in her life, when she couldn’t hold on for another minute, Coleen cried out to the Lord and was subsequently able to endure. That’s the message of the song, a call to all women who, like her, have suffered emotional and physical abuse: “If He did it for me, He can do it for you.” Its retro acoustic guitar sound, easy rhythm, and folksy harmonies mask ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 17, 2019

“I’m So Glad” Bishop Neal Roberson feat. Bishop Paul S. Morton Malaco Music Group (2019) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Those who know Bishop Neal Roberson as an upbeat man with a wonderful sense of humor will be taken aback by his spoken word introduction to “I’m So Glad.” In a sobering tone, he informs listeners about his lung cancer diagnosis, then moves into “I’m So Glad,” a gentle hymn about God as a miracle worker. Halfway through, Roberson is joined by Bishop Paul S. Morton, who offers his own testimony of deliverance from cancer. It’s the reassurance Roberson needed to ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 11, 2019

“Amazing”The Davis’Heartbeatz Productions LLCwww.realdavismusic.com By Bob Marovich A family that prays together stays together, and that goes double for family groups that sing their prayers. Like the Davis Family of Inkster, Michigan. The members of this sibling act–Carl, James, Andrea and Angela (the girls are twins)—demonstrate their choir-honed harmonies and church-refined song delivery on their new single, “Amazing.” To choruses of sunny “shoo-doos” and equally cheerful musicianship, the four express admiration at all God has created. Then they call on fellow Michigander Twinkie Clark, who changes the song’s mood from contemporary to traditional by injecting into the mix a battery ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 4, 2019

“I Have So Much to Thank God For” Bishop Jonathan Greer feat. Evangelist Lorraine Punch Baldwin Dorothy Norwood Music Group (release date: May 31, 2019) By Bob Marovich With Bishop Jonathan Greer doing a song co-written by Dorothy Norwood and featuring fiery shouting and squalling from the Georgia Mass Choir’s Lorraine Punch Baldwin, “I Have So Much to Thank God For” is a trifecta of traditional gospel. Evangelist Baldwin delivers a bushel full of church aphorisms as the choir answers her calls. This strutting “stomp-the-floorboards” gospel song is about thanksgiving for God’s abundant blessings, especially those that rain down during ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 27, 2019

“One Praise Away” Kevin Davidson Infinity Music Group (release date: March 1, 2019) By Bob Marovich “One Praise Away” is a spirit-filled Sunday morning song, a call-and-response declamation of victory between the Memphis-based Kevin Davidson, Cheryl Rogers, and the Voices, their choral harmonies full-throated and thunderous. The organ chirps, the drums and bass set a solid rhythm section, and the handclapping ensues. It evokes the work of fellow Memphian, the late O’Landa Draper, as well as Ricky Dillard & New G. Kevin Davidson and the Voices (formerly the Voices of Binghamton) recorded a number of albums for New Haven Records ...

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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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