Pick of the Week

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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JGM Pick of the Week: February 2, 2015

“He Steps In” Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Mass Choir From the CD Oh To Be Kept By Jesus (Anniversary Edition) If you like gospel choir singing like it was done in the 1980s, you will love the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Mass Choir’s new single, “He Steps In.” This Houston church, where Dr. Marcus Cosby is pastor and the late Hanq Neal was music minister, channels the super-charged, hand-clapping effervescence of classic late twentieth-century gospel choruses such as the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Choir, the Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer Choir, Christian Tabernacle Concert Choir, Keith Pringle’s ensembles, and a whole handful ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 26, 2015

“Storms” Donald Malloy From LIVE. . .Finally Home www.donaldmalloyministries.com Recorded live a couple of years ago in Donald Malloy’s hometown of Cheraw, South Carolina, “Storms” leads the audience down the “don’t be discouraged” path about the storms of life. Just when you anticipate that Malloy will follow with, “but God will see you through,” he sings instead about the internal strength and character that storms bring to our lives. Now released as a single, “Storms” is a fine contemporary gospel performance that Malloy builds in dynamic intensity from husky, handsome crooning to preacher-like hard singing.

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 19, 2015

“You Are” Virtue www.virtuegirls3.com Who said America has lost its Virtue? Nearly a decade has lapsed since their last release, but the Dove Award-winning and Grammy-nominated sister ensemble Virtue has returned with a new single, “You Are.” Set in the same rich urban AC groove that marked the group’s prior work, albeit updated to meet contemporary tastes, “You Are” is a dramatic declaration of fidelity to God, “the alpha and omega” who promises light at the end of life’s dark tunnels. The 2015 iteration of Virtue that recorded “You Are” is Ebony Holland, Karima Kibble, and Heather Martin. The women sound ...

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