Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week – November 21, 2022

“God is Great” Kara Nichole Independent (release date: September 5, 2022) www.karanichole.com By Robert M. Marovich San Antonio, Texas, worship leader Kara Nicole converts the worship language of Psalm 145 into an appropriately joyful song called “God is Great.” The diminutive Kara is in complete command of this performance, singing her own praises while directing the audience to follow her lead in filling the sky with gratitude to God. The relentless rhythm is ideal for the sentiments of the song. Given that Kara was still riding high in the spirit by the conclusion, “God is Great” could have (and perhaps ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – November 7, 2022

“Impossible” Pastor Mike Jr. Black Smoke Music Worldwide (release date: October 22, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich Stylistically, Pastor Mike Jr.’s new single, “Impossible,” evokes the heavy-duty evangelism of Kirk Franklin and James Fortune by combining singing and preaching to express gratitude to God for doing what nobody else can do. Indeed, Fortune is the featured vocalist on the single as he, PMJ, and the background vocalists sing consistently in the red on this litany of ways in which the hand of God heals and protects. With six Stellar Awards this year, including his second consecutive Artist of the Year ...

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JGM Pick of the Week:  October 31, 2022

“Do You Know the Man” Harlem Gospel Travelers Colemine Records (release date: October 18, 2022) www.harlemgospeltravelers.com By Robert M. Marovich Covering the Virginia-based Crusader Gospel Singers’ “Do You Know the Man,” the Harlem Gospel Travelers evoke the soulful Seventies in their Northern Soul harmonies, George Marage’s falsetto lead, Eli Paperboy Reed’s wah-wah guitar and billowy major seventh chords, and the overall breezy tempo. The trio sings it better than the originals, too. Organized and produced by Reed, the Harlem Gospel Travelers is a troupe of young men dedicated to a particular time in gospel when the soul music the genre ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – October 24, 2022

“Jesus I’ll Never Forget” Zak Williams & 1/Akord feat. Lowell Pye Enon Music Group (release date: October 7, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich Lowell Pye shouts and squalls like a veteran quartet lead on “Jesus I’ll Never Forget,” the new single from Zak Williams & 1/Akord. It makes sense, as Pye was a member of the contemporary gospel quartet Men of Standard. Recorded live in Philadelphia, the song benefits from Zak & 1A’s thunderous delivery, which evokes something of a 1990s-vintage Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir. The team puts a funky shoulder-shaking rhythm to the old congregational ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – October 19, 2022

“View the City REMIX” RiZen DAF Entertainment Group (2022) By Robert M. Marovich I’m not a big fan of remixes in general, but I do like RiZen’s reboot of their 2003 “View the City”—which the JGM reviewed in one of its earliest posts—because it manages to take an already spirited song and make it more spectacularly energetic. This time, the ladies encourage audience participation in the form of holy dancing in the aisles. Otherwise, it remains a lively evocation of the hereafter, where one “can have a little talk with Jesus” and “shout troubles over.” The ladies are as confident ...

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JGM Pick of the Week:  October 10, 2022

“Believer” Jenise La Vonne Independent (release date: August 26, 2022) www.jeniselavonne.com By Robert M. Marovich “Believer” is indie gospel artist Jenise La Vonne’s best single to date. It has it all: a powerful open, sturdy vocals, compelling lyrics, solid song structure, and chart-quality production. To a loping rhythm, Jenise declares freedom from sin and her subsequent fidelity to Christ and the holy life. The hooky refrain will have listeners singing along. Captivating. Jenise La Vonne Wright was born in Queens, New York, and raised in Norcross, Georgia. Record labels looking for new talent might just want to check this single ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – October 3, 2022

“Holy” Grant Allison IV One Nation Under God Records (release date: July 31, 2019) www.grantallisoniv.com By Robert M. Marovich Once again, JGM digs deep into Chicago worship pastor Grant Allison’s catalogue and comes up with “Holy.” The atmospheric P&W outing is based on Philippians 2:10 and Hebrews 13:8. Its simple melody, singable chorus, and dramatic arrangement will set the congregation to hand waving. Released originally in 2019, it remains relevant in sound and message in 2022.

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JGM Pick of the Week:  September 26, 2022

“The Prayer” Whitney April feat. Rodrick Dixon Arete Records (release date: September 23, 2022) https://music.empi.re/theprayer By Robert M. Marovich “The Prayer” is a pop song, not a sacred song per se, but it IS a prayer, and hearing it rendered by the angelic-voiced Whitney April teamed with the operatic power of Rodrick Dixon of Three Mo’ Tenors, is a refreshing alternative to the more common versions. Interestingly, it was the 2003 cover by Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams that caught Whitney’s fancy. In any event, “The Prayer,” produced by Adams’s music director, Rodney East, and released last Friday, is a ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 20, 2022

“My Worship (Amapiano)” Kingdmusic feat. P-Tempo Independent (release date: July 15, 2022) www.kingdmusic.com By Robert M. Marovich Kingdmusic has been a busy bee this summer, pumping several new songs into the gospel bloodstream. One, “My Worship (Amapiano),” expresses how hard it can be to keep the faith in tough times, but keep worshipping anyhow. Bathed in atmospheric electronica, “My Worship (Amapiano)” is hypnotic and electrifying, ready-made for a return of 12” gospel singles (yes, that once was a thing). It possesses the chillness of a summer evening, one of the hallmarks of amapiano, a form of house music popular in ...

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JGM Pick of the Week:  September 13, 2022

“I’ve Saved It All” K-Anthony Independent (release date: July 8, 2022) www.kanthonylive.com By Robert M. Marovich I hear a Coldplay influence on K-Anthony’s “I’ve Saved It All,” from the melody to the mix of instruments to the atmospheric vibe. One difference: it doesn’t explode into a million colorful pieces at the conclusion like a Chris Martin arrangement but instead remains quiet, whispery, solemn, introspective. K-Anthony’s smooth singing is suspended in space, his praises to God for grace bestowed and their musical accompaniment echoing in the cosmic vastness surrounding him. K-Anthony is Kevin Anthony Fowler, a Jamaican artist who grew up ...

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