Pick of the Week

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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JGM Pick of the Week: August 29, 2017

“Higher Place” Angelo and Veronica From the forthcoming A & V Music CD The Truth http://angeloandveronica.com/ By Bob Marovich In 1992, fresh on the scene and armed with training from Berklee College of Music, contemporary Christian singing duo Angelo and Veronica released their first album, Higher Place, on A & M Records. Among the songs they co-wrote for their debut disc was the title track, a song about a “place where you can just be you.” Luring the listener with the lyric line, “You take me to a higher place / You take me to a place I’ve never been ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 21, 2017

“Too Hard Not To” Tina Campbell Malaco Music Group / Gee Tee Creative (2017) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Tina Campbell’s new single, “Too Hard Not To,” feels like an intimate girlfriend-to-girlfriend conversation about the difficulty, and also the importance, of forgiving and forgetting. The intimacy not only comes from the song’s lyric, but also from the stripped down acoustic piano accompaniment. Delivering the lovely melody with grace and tenderness, Campbell reminds the listener that no matter how bad a situation gets, no matter how hard it is to forgive those who have done the unthinkable to you, there’s “someone so loving and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 14, 2017

“Well Done” Ernest J. Lee feat. Donnie Tuck From Anthems from the Vault Vol. 1 www.ernestjleemusic.org By Bob Marovich Ernest J. Lee’s “Well Done” drops a fetching quartet backbeat and a drive tempo behind the two words every Christian hopes to hear upon entering the Pearly Gates: well done. The husky-voiced Donnie Tuck and a group of female background vocalists more than assist the Detroiter on this joyous old-school-meets-new-school evocation of the happy hereafter for the saved, sanctified, and Holy Ghost filled. It’s all about joy and shouting victory because there’s no night there. “Now put your hands together one ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 1, 2017

“It Pays to Serve Jesus” Lady LaVarnga Hubbard Utopia Music Group (2017) Available from digital media stores By Bob Marovich No matter how many vocalists travel down the P&W path, you can count on Lady LaVarnga Hubbard, the Duchess of Gospel, to keep delivering church rousers the old-school way. “It Pays to Serve Jesus” is the latest single (and the third) pulled from Hubbard’s album, Better Is Coming, released on Bishop Larry Trotter’s Utopia Music Group. True to form, the Duchess glides along the backbeat, inviting listeners to sidestep the static and remember that following Christ is the route to solving ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 24, 2017

“I Give You Praise” Robert E. Person feat. Richard Smallwood From the forthcoming REP album Classic Covers www.roberteperson.com By Bob Marovich Covering Richard Smallwood’s composition “I Give You Praise” is commendable. Having the maestro himself accompany on piano is inspired. Originally released by Smallwood on his 1989 album Portrait (Word Entertainment), “I Give You Praise” combines the drama of high theater with the passion of high church in offering plaudits to the Most High. Vocalist Robert E. Person’s classical training is in evidence on this version from the quiet opening to the expansive coda. Roderick Giles & Grace, who accompanied Bryan Andrew Wilson ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 17, 2017

“Grace” Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago feat. Le’Andria Johnson Inspired People, LLC (release date: July 7, 2017) Available from digital media outlets By Bob Marovich Pastor Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago’s “Grace” feels like a quicker-tempo version of Kirk Franklin’s “I Smile” with its plinky piano, chirpy melody, finger-popping rhythm, and unison singing. The choir declares that they don’t look like what they’ve been through, and it’s because of God’s favor. God has brought them from a mighty long way. They’re blessed by the best. Then Le’Andria Johnson jumps in and drops a healthy helping of righteous southern soul on ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 11, 2017

“So Good” Bri (Release date: June 9, 2017) Available from digital music outlets By Bob Marovich When on “So Good” Bri (Briana Babineaux) sings “God’s been so good to me,” there are plenty of reasons for her to express that sentiment. In a relatively short period of time, she went from unknown to YouTube sensation to Billboard-charting artist to multiple Stellar Award winner. But here, she focuses instead on the victory God has given her over the metaphorical shackles that once bound her down spiritually. Her newest single is buoyed by a quick-step tempo and BGVs that return every ounce ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 3, 2017

“Grace & Mercy” Tamika Patton feat. Min. Earl Bynum Available on iTunes and other Digital Media www.TamikaPatton.com By Bob Marovich On the independent single, “Grace & Mercy,” Tamika Patton proclaims her gratitude to God for his unconditional love and forgiveness. Such compassion, given “to a wretch like me,” has inspired her to pass it forward. The song’s carefree arrangement and mid-tempo two-step rhythm echo Patton’s exhilaration. She and featured guest vocalist Minister Earl Bynum, who joins halfway through, complement one another well. Their melodic voices, gilded with gospel grit, have a tangy blend, like salt and vinegar, as they go ...

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