Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: April 13, 2015

“I Am Free” Ladell Cole From the CD I Am Free www.cdbaby.com/cd/ladellcole2 Singer-songwriter Ladell Cole lofts falsetto notes over this gentle, hand waving anthem of eternal gratitude to Jesus for the price he paid to purchase the world’s freedom. The melody is lovely and the key change adds just the right amount of punch to the concluding chorus. Ladell Cole is worship pastor at Christ Fellowship Church in Tampa, Florida, and organizer of the city’s popular Worship United celebration.  The song is the title track from Cole’s sophomore album, released last August.

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 6, 2015

“Pray” Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir From the CD Pray (released February 2015) www.brooklyntabernacle.org Lead vocalist Timiney Figueroa sings passionately about the power of prayer as the wave of delicious sound that is the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir rolls over her in giant washes of majestic harmony. The song is the title track of the multicultural choir’s 29th album since its founding by Carol Cymbala in 1973. Of this live recording, Cymbala says: “With so many tragic events happening in the world today, Pray serves as a reminder of the importance of having a relationship with Jesus, because communion is what He longs ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 30, 2015

“Forever I Will” Lonnie Hunter feat. Structure From the forthcoming Tyscot CD #GETITDONE www.lonniehuntermusic.com Recently signed to major gospel label Tyscot Music and Entertainment, the Stellar Award-winning singer, choir director, Radio One show host, former male model, Air Force veteran, and native Chicagoan Lonnie Hunter wasted no time getting a new single to market. Written by Davie Moore, “Forever I Will” is the first single release from Hunter’s forthcoming Tyscot album, #GETITDONE. It is a dramatic, radio-friendly contemporary ballad reminiscent of Kirk Franklin’s early work. Hunter serves as minister to Structure’s congregation as they combine praise with supplication.

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 23, 2015

“Just For Me” Tim Spady feat. Jeff Murrell Available on iTunes (release date: March 20, 2015) https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/just-for-me-feat.-jeff-murrell/id978825762 The always-melodic songwriter Tim Spady of Philadelphia teams with vocalist Jeff Murrell on the Easter-themed “Just For Me.” Over Spady’s dramatic and semi-classical musicianship, Murrell praises Jesus for paying the price “just for me.” His tear-stained tenor is the ideal medium for this song about the ultimate sacrifice.

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 16, 2015

“Persona” Corey Barksdale www.coreybarksdalemusic.com “I know this for myself / I don’t have to be like anyone else.” Corey Barksdale drops into a finger-popping acoustic groove to declare that he’s done listening to what other people think he should be. God knew what he was doing when he made me, he sings, and that’s all there is to it. Besides, “everybody fails at being just like somebody else.” This breezy, inspirational selection gives the vocally flexible Barksdale space to run up and down the bass and treble clefs like stair steps.

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 10, 2015

“I Got Better Coming” LaVarnga Hubbard Utopia Music Group (2015) On her new single, Lady LaVarnga Hubbard of Chicago has “got better coming,” and she’s not afraid to shout down the church rafters to let you know. Church shouting is what the “Duchess of Gospel Music” does.  She rollicks along on the up-tempo, traditional-laden “I Got Better Coming” like a twin sister of fellow Chicagoans Lemmie Battles or Angie Spivey. Old-fashioned gospel music will never die as long as the likes of Lady LaVarnga have a breath in their body. She comes from the Caravans-Davis Sisters-Gospel Harmonettes tradition, where Zion ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 3, 2015

“He Delivered Me” Pastor Marlon Lock From the CD Good Seed Project www.pastormarlonlock.com Pastor Marlon Lock’s testimonial “He Delivered Me” has all the flavor of a quartet song, complete with the up-tempo southern-fried backbeat, the congregational song lyric, the call and response between male background vocalists, and the extended vamp. It is fun, communal-style handclapping gospel music The pastor’s love for quartet singing goes way back. His first solo, at age ten, came from the Mighty Clouds of Joy songbook. He cites Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs among his influences. The Clouds’ Earvin Williams guests on the Good Seed Project ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 23, 2015

“Never Forget It” God’s Chosen From the CD 1 & 6 www.gc3music.com Promising to remember all the things God has brought them through, God’s Chosen brings to “Never Forget” the cheerful harmonies and bubbly tempos of the Clark Sisters, Trin-i-tee 5:7, Virtue, and Mary Mary. Also known as GC3, God’s Chosen—Zebrina Anderson, Nikeisha Whittier, and Sarah Stephens—hails from St. Louis, Missouri. Meeting in high school, the ladies received their first public confirmation as a gospel trio in 2002 when they won the Six Flags Gospel Day Competition and earned a spot as opening act for Yolanda Adams. “Never Forget” is from their independently ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 16, 2015

“Jesus is Real” The Volunteer State Mass Choir (radio release: February 24, 2015) www.facebook.com/TheVolunteerStateMassChoir The Volunteer State Mass Choir gets gospel bluesy and traditional on “Jesus is Real.” The organ warbles, the piano offers dramatic chording, drums emphasize the beat, and the choir participates in a call and response with the lead singers. The lyrics hearken back to old fashioned devotionals and personal testimonies of Jesus’s goodness and saving power. As its name indicates, the Volunteer State Mass Choir hails from Tennessee. Founded in April 2006 by Jeffery Wilford of Nashville, the choir has been nominated in three Rhythm of Gospel ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 9, 2015

“Take Your Burdens” Juan Santiago & Uninhibited Praise www.jsuplive.com The group that in 2011 offered one of the most inspirational and uplifting arrangements of the spiritual “Were You There” I have ever heard is back with “Take Your Burdens.” The choir’s new single, led by Jeneal Johnson, is a straight-up traditional choir shouter with a rocking chair tempo and cascading parts evocative of Ricky Dillard, Keith Pringle, or the golden days of Gospel Music Workshop of America.  Righteous!

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