Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: March 1, 2021

“You Kept Me” Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir Shanachie Entertainment / SRT Entertainment www.shanachie.com By Robert M. Marovich Like the title track of the Reverend Luther Barnes and the Restoration Worship Center Choir’s five-star album, Look to the Hills, the new single “You Kept Me” has traditional gospel roots but sufficient musical heft to garner the ear of today’s listeners. Barnes’ pleading lead (you can always count on a solid vocal from the veteran quartetter) is a gush of gratitude to a God who never gave up on him. On the album-length version, the assembly builds ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 22, 2021

“Pull Together” Roy & Revelation Malaco / 4 Winds Records (2021) www.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich “When you look in the mirror / Are you proud of your reflection?” That’s what Roy & Revelation want to know on their new single, “Pull Together.” When people continue to be judged by the color of their skin and not the content of their character, it’s time to take a stand…again. That’s the only way we can make the world a better place, they sing. And those who don’t want to join the multicultural protest, well, they need to reconsider the purpose of ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 15, 2021

“Pick You Back Up” Michael David Harrison feat. Beverly Crawford Independent (release date: January 31, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich If the jaunty piano opening doesn’t wake the dead from their slumber, Beverly Crawford’s characteristic evangelistic vocalizing will do the trick. Pick You Back Up” was produced by Linton Weems and penned by up-and-coming songwriter Michael David Harrison. Originally from Virginia but now living in Houston, Harrison mines that churchy traditional vibe to provide this unsubtle reminder that when you stumble and fall into the arms of the devil, the Lord is there to pick you up. If you are ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 8, 2021

“Judgement Day” Jules Schroeder Jules Schroeder Music (release date: November 17, 2020) https://julesschroedermusic.com/ On “Judgement Day,” inspirational singer-songwriter Jules Schroeder offers a poignant anthem of freedom. Evoking current times (“a world of hate”) in melody, mood, and lyric, she sings: “In the last hour when you’re standing by the gate, there will be no one left to blame for every choice that you’ve made.” Assisted by the Marcus Mosely Choir, Schroeder sounds like Neko Case when singing the declarative “live free or die” refrain. For those who peddle hate, she has but one message as they gingerly approach the pearly ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 1, 2021

“Alpha and Omega” Jude Philips https://www.facebook.com/jude.akamien.9 By Robert M. Marovich On his gorgeous new single, “Alpha and Omega,” Nigerian medical doctor and gospel music minister Jude Philips expresses what he declares is “the unusual greatness and supremacy of God which makes all things possible through Him.” The mystical opening strains introduce a very simple major key melody characteristic of African gospel writ large. Philips sings lyrics of praise and adoration in two languages while his background vocalists offer a silky curtain of sound and a saxophone punctuates the atmosphere. As Philips and his team illustrate, less can be more. Dr. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 25, 2021

“Thank God for What Didn’t Happen” Prez Blackmon Pearl’s Son Music (release date: January 1, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich The title alone is a testament to the times. But for God, Blackmon sings in his elastic tenor, it could have been me, it could have been worse, it could have been tragic. It’s a statement Blackmon heard his pastor, Bishop Noel Jones of the City of Refuge L.A., say many times. This past year’s worrisome mix of physical and social trials, however, really put it in focus for the singer. Blackmon sets his message of gratitude to an appropriately ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 11, 2021

“Forgive Me” Toneisha Harris Connected Sound Music Group (release date: October 1, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Toneisha Harris makes as transparent a confession of sin as one is likely to hear on “Forgive Me.” Harris’s impassioned and melismatic pleas are set to a soulful rhythm section that receives dramatic emphasis from insistent piano triplets. Her mea culpas buckle the walls of her prayer closet. The runner-up in 2020’s The Voice vocal competition on NBC, Toneisha Harris was first heard by JGM in 2007 as a featured vocalist on Bruce Parham’s single, “Call Jesus.” We called her “spectacular” then and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 4, 2021

“God is Working” Deon Kipping The Underestimated Group (release date: November 20, 2020) www.deonkipping.com By Robert M. Marovich “That Dude” Deon Kipping, the singer-songwriter responsible for JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise’s 2005 hit, “Incredible God, Incredible Praise,” delivers a heartwarming new gospel ballad called “God is Working.” The song’s image is of a God who never rests in service to his people. When things look grim and we don’t have all of the answers, Kipping sings, remember that God is working “behind the scenes.” The main line is “Just before you start to fall apart / Remember God does all ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 21, 2020

“Silent Night”HamiltonesFrom the Young Vintage CDA Hamiltone Christmas (release date: November 30, 2017)www.watchtheton3s.com By Robert M. Marovich Although labeled a soul and R&B group, the Hamiltones of North Carolina sound for all the world like a gospel quartet on “Silent Night.” From converting the song’s 6/8 time signature to 12/8 to the shouting vocals, gritty guitar work, adlibbing, and crackling vinyl intro, this is old school quartet, I don’t care what anybody says. Then again, the Grammy-nominated trio has been featured on albums by Anthony Hamilton, PJ Morton, Jonathan McReynolds, and Tori Kelly, so there’s that. Released in 2017, the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 7, 2020

“Born to Die” Angela Moss Poole 141st Lane Media (release date: 2014) www.AngelaMossPoole.com By Robert M. Marovich Not the Glenn Burleigh cantata, this “Born to Die” is a song written and performed by Dr. Angela Moss Poole of Miami, Florida. A bittersweet ballad, “Born to Die” reminds us of the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Poole sets the song on that “special night” in Bethlehem, but she also references Christ’s ultimate sacrifice at the cross as the true gift that keeps on giving. An exceptional production and arrangement, coupled with Poole’s lithe soprano reading, sell this holiday treat, a re-release ...

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