Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: November 14, 2017

“Sweet Beulah Land” Eddie Ruth Bradford (release date: September 25, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/eddieruthbradford3 By Bob Marovich The gospel songbird of Clarksdale, Mississippi, is at it again, this time with a mournful hymn about the eternal home. Backed by minimal instrumentation and the producer’s voice multi-tracked to simulate a male quartet (and a good one, too), “Sweet Beulah Land” finds Eddie Ruth Bradford singing longingly about that place “across the river” where there will be no more goodbyes or sadness. The lonely, weary melody and ERB’s bluesy vocals express the fatigue of the soul living in an unforgiving earth, but the lyrics look ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 6, 2017

“Wood and Nails” Josh Garrels and Audrey Assad From Work Songs: The Porter’s Gate Worship Project, Volume 1 (Live) (release date: October 6, 2017) www.portersgateworship.com By Bob Marovich “Wood and Nails,” Josh Garrels and Audrey Assad’s feather-light and stunningly gorgeous duet, has its foundation in contemporary Christian music but its simplicity seems to come straight from a Shaker hymnbook. Assad’s vulnerable soprano is otherworldly, whether solo or in two-part harmony with Garrels. The spare acoustic arrangement is ideal for this prayerful meditation on how Jesus, the carpenter, built our home with the wood and nails of the Cross. The single is part of ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 30, 2017

“God is Making a Change” Endurance From the SCCME CD Changed (release date: September 29, 2017) www.musicbyendurance.com By Bob Marovich Infrequently in Journal of Gospel Music‘s 13-year history has an artist charted two successive Picks of the Week. Houston’s Endurance has done it this time. Last week, we featured the quartet’s “Changed,” featuring a lead vocal cameo by the late Joe Ligon of the Mighty Clouds of Joy. Endurance’s new single, “God is Making a Change,” is equally effective for its enthusiasm over the change that God has made in the lives of the members. Although the chorus follows the traditional ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 24, 2017

“Changed” Endurance feat. Joe Ligon SCCME (release date: January, 2017) www.musicbyendurance.com By Bob Marovich A few years ago, Houston’s Endurance quartet asked Joe Ligon, the legendary lead singer of the Mighty Clouds of Joy, to join them on “Changed” (not the Hawkins classic) and tell everyone about the life transforming properties of salvation. Ligon accepted. On “Changed,” he and Endurance’s Michael Robertson first trade leads and then sing to one another like two deacons so engaged in a praise conversation that they are oblivious to the congregation. “Joe, I know what you are singing about,” Robertson shouts in full quartet growl. “It’s ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 16, 2017

“Just Like You” Freewill Available October 20, 2017 http://hyperurl.co/f07w9w By Bob Marovich Will Robinson, aka Freewill, teams up with producer Jor’Dan Armstrong on “Just Like You,” an inspirational song about the importance of moving beyond the cultural divide, “past the drama and the issues,” to the realization that we are, deep down, all the same. A schoolteacher from Atlanta, Georgia (and a Chicago White Sox fan, apparently), Freewill explains the song’s concept: “I believe we have a lot more in common than we think, but our differences sometimes stop the opportunity for us to have an open dialogue.” He gets this ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 10, 2017

“I’ve Got to Win” Tonya Lewis-Taylor From the EARS Entertainment Group I’ve Got to Win 2.0 (EP, released August 24, 2017) www.tonyalewistaylor.com By Bob Marovich “I’ve Got to Win” is Tonya Lewis-Taylor at her most expressive. This slow burner of a title track is a modified and more radio-ready version of the title track and emotional highpoint of her 2014 live album, Delayed but Not Denied. Like its predecessor, the inspirational “I’ve Got to Win” benefits from delicate musical accompaniment that provides Lewis-Taylor ample room to emote about how she has persisted in her journey despite almost insurmountable odds. A ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 2, 2017

“Even Then” Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir From the Shanachie / SRT CD The Favor of God www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich Man plans and God laughs, the saying goes. “Even Then,” the latest single from Reverend Barnes’ 2016 CD, The Favor of God, is about man trying to understand God’s plan for his life, especially during the challenging moments. In this case, Barnes thinks he knows his destiny but questions God’s thinking when it goes awry. Like the famous “Footprints” poem, Barnes realizes that God was there all the time, carrying him through the darkest hours ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 25, 2017

“Enter In” Chrystal Rucker HBK Media (2017) By Bob Marovich Chrystal Rucker is one of the finest voices in gospel music today. Her vocal talent is on ample display on “Enter In,” the follow up to her Top 30 single, “Excuse Me.” The finer of the two singles, “Enter In” is a prayerful, uncomplicated worship ballad that allows Rucker sufficient space to improvise. Supported by powerful background voices, she builds from soft to sanctified, tossing in growls, shouts, and skyrocketing flights of soprano to convince the saved and sinner alike that when we come to the end of ourselves, when we can ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 18, 2017

“I Thank You Lord” Terri McConnell Royal T Records (release date: August 29, 2017) www.terrimcconnell.com By Bob Marovich From its southern-fried funky beat to Terri McConnell’s wizened alto, “I Thank You Lord” is as traditional and delicious as sweet tea. McConnell gushes with gratitude to God for creating a path for her, but her blessings are not over yet. Quoting 1 Corinthians 2:9, she sings that “eyes have not seen nor ears heard” what God has in store for her. When she moves into “makes me wanna moan sometimes,” she has us. A two-time Rhythm of Gospel Award winner, Terri ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 5, 2017

“Never Give Up on You” Dennis Yancey http://www.igaraa.com/dennis-yancey.html By Bob Marovich Indie gospel artist Dennis Yancey’s “Never Give Up on You” is a simple, effective, and tunefully smooth ballad about maintaining complete trust in God, especially during the tough times, because God has never given up on us. Yancey’s relaxed vocals make his singing sound effortless. Sparkling production by Suga Mike Allen ensures that the message is undeniably clear. It’s reminiscent of their earlier collaboration on the equally compelling ballad of faith, “Though You Slay Me.” From Queens, New York, Dennis Yancey just celebrated his 40th birthday last month. A full ...

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