Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: August 24, 2015

“You Can’t Give Up” Paul Porter From the Motown Gospel CD F.R.E.E. (2014) www.motowngospel.com Paul Porter lets his quartet roots show in this bluesy gospel song about staying encouraged in the midst of unbearable personal circumstances. Backed by a quartet, Porter sings and eventually shouts lyrics that contain what I call the spiritual ‘but’: sickness might be “getting worse and you don’t know what to do,” or “life for you has been so rough,” but hold on, put your trust in the Lord, and don’t give up–he will see you through. Porter knows whereof he sings. Stricken with a brain aneurysm in ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 17, 2015

“I’ll Say Yes to My Lord” Pastor Angela Walker & Divine Revelation From the forthcoming CD Door to the Next Level This spirited Chicago choir goes 100 percent church on “I’ll Say Yes to My Lord,” complete with cascading choral parts, a frenetic pace and even faster vamp, and an interpolation of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”  To those who think trad gospel is dead, I say, listen to groups such as Divine Revelation. Organized in 2006 and winners of the 2014 Urban Broadcast Media Voices of Praise Battle Competition, Pastor Angela Walker and Divine Revelation can be heard each Sunday at God’s ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 10, 2015

“Grace” Yael Hilton Available on iTunes Fayetteville, North Carolina’s Yael Hilton sings the stuffing out of “Grace,” an unbridled exultation of the power of God’s abundant mercy on her life. Written by Hilton and produced by GRAMMY Award-winner Kevin Bond, “Grace” is the twenty-something’s debut solo single and possibly a glimpse at what she is putting into her forthcoming full-length album. Catch the song’s first vamp and then hold on tightly for the second vamp to hear what this young woman can do.  An amazing talent who deserves major label attention. Hilton is director and minister of music at the Fayetteville ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 3, 2015

“I’ll Be the One” Bri Babineaux Marquis Boone Enterprises (2015) www.brination.org Bri (Briana) Babineaux eagerly accepts the call to discipleship on her debut single, “I’ll Be the One.” The lovely twenty-year-old coed from the University of Louisiana evokes another emerging artist, Casey J, by placing her youthful and confident voice atop sinuous musicianship and supportive background vocalists. The gentle P&W ballad caught the industry by surprise when it debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Gospel Digital Download chart. It made history by landing the top spot without major radio airplay, personal appearances, or prior sales. It also entered the Hot Singles Sales Chart ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 27, 2015

“He Was Always There (That’s Why I Praise Him)” Zenobia Dewely Available on Amazon.com How can you not love a woman who “sangs” and runs a baked goods enterprise at the same time? Zenobia Pinckney Dewely, owner of Zenobia’s Sweet Tooth, is known as the “Cookie Lady,” but she sings the sweetening out of “He Was Always There (That’s Why I Praise Him).” Accompanied by a warbling B3 and an appreciative congregation, Dewely proclaims, “They said I would not make it / But my God, He stepped in right on time.”  The organ follows Dewely as she delivers her tuneful ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 20, 2015

“Back to Basics 2.0 – The Remix” Mel Holder feat. Gerald Alston Psalmist Music Group (2015) www.melholder.com There’s a first time for everything, and saxophonist Mel Holder’s single, “Back to Basics,” may be the first gospel song to include a slithery klezmer riff. A chugging beat doubles the tempo of the original “Back to Basics” as guest vocalist Gerald Alston of the Manhattans reflects back on the power and the glory of old school church. He implores listeners to “get back to the rudiments: prayer, praise, worship, and the Word.” Born in Queens, New York, of Panamanian descent, the Grammy- and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 13, 2015

“The Promise” Tiff Joy Tyscot Records/Walkway Music Group/VMan Entertainment Chicagoan Tiffany Joy McGhee, known as Tiff Joy, wrote and was featured on “Amazing,” the title track of Ricky Dillard & New G’s latest, and arguably most popular, album. “Amazing” earned her a Stellar Award for Song of the Year. We hear Tiff Joy again on “The Promise.” This smoothly-produced, radio-ready single is a declaration to remain steadfast in faith and hope, because when “God said it, that settles it.” She carries the song in her sandy alto until the vamp, when she shouts the song’s explicit and final declaration: “It ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 6, 2015

“He Touched Me” Dr. LouDella Evans-Reid and the Traditional Gospel Choir www.loudellaevansreid.com If you like that aggressive, churchy gospel choir sound that came straight outta Chicago, false coda and all, you will love “He Touched Me.” This Thurston Frazier chestnut is given a full-throttle reading by the Traditional Gospel Choir, presented by Rev. Bryant Jones and directed by Dr. LouDella Evans-Reid. Both Jones and Reid have plenty of trad cred. Jones is a pastor and the son of gospel singer Jeannette Robinson Jones and the late Rev. Billy Jones. Reid is the longstanding and aerobic directress of the Fellowship Missionary ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 29, 2015

“Back 2 Life” Juzang From the EP Back 2 Life www.juzangmusic.com Check out the home page of the website of Alabama-based female gospel/inspirational group Juzang, and you will see the trio peacefully slumbering. Make no mistake: the ladies aren’t slumbering on their single, “Back 2 Life.”  They make a joyful noise by coupling sweet harmonies with powerful pulsating blasts of EDM. The song encourages listeners to put their trust in Jesus because “he’s got that power.” Representing power on the single is a sonic explosion of thumping electronic rhythm, courtesy of producer Fred “Blaze” Crawford. Gospel music runs in the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 22, 2015

“Something About That Name” Lorraine Stancil Anointed Sounds Records (2015) I’m rather stoked about the recent release of so many traditional-style gospel singles, including this one by Psalmist Lorraine Stancil-Lawson. Product of the Pentecostal church, Psalmist Stancil is known to kick off her shoes just like Shirley Caesar, and on “Something About that Name,” she shouts and squalls like Pastor Caesar in full throes of sanctified passion. Stancil’s call and response with the background vocalists/choir heightens the tension to the point where she emits a couple of dog whistle soprano notes. Also like Caesar, Lorraine Stancil-Lawson has entered the ministry. ...

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