Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: November 25, 2014

“Real” BeWill www.bewillmusic.com Virginia singer, songwriter, rapper, and producer Will Stewart (aka BeWill) offers a brisk, refreshing ode to faith. It’s about the power of a God who he can’t see but nevertheless knows guides him throughout his day and provides beautiful gifts “from up above.” The inspirational message is fortified by a pulsing pop-urban AC arrangement and strong background vocalists. BeWill’s new EP, Praying for a Miracle, features Grace Gilliam and can be heard and purchased here: (prayingforamiracle.bandcamp.com/album/praying-for-a-miracle). The title track is a semifinalist in The International Songwriting Competition and also song of the month winner in The Songwriters ...

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JGM Christmas Pick of the Week: November 19, 2014

“Christ Is Born” Maurice Griffin From the CD My Holiday (2014) www.MauriceGriffinOnline.com Maurice Griffin’s new single, “Christ Is Born,” is a Christmas hymn and Praise & Worship song all in one gift-wrapped package (though I have a friend who thinks all P&W songs sound like Christmas songs). A finalist on the second season of BET’s Sunday Best, Stellar Award nominee, and an entertaining program emcee, Griffin is in great tenor voice on this selection. He and the background vocalists lift hallelujahs and announce Christ’s natal day like a choir of angels. Griffin, who keeps getting better and better vocally, will take his ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 17, 2014

“I Got the Victory” Signature From the Birmingham Entertainment/Epic Entity Music Group album Bigger Than All (2014) www.WeAreSignatureMusic.com “I Got the Victory,” the latest single from Birmingham, Alabama female trio Signature, pulls its extroverted beats and holy swagger from the musical playbooks of Mary Mary and Trin-i-tee 5:7. Signature sings several triumphal chants of joy for having favor, all prefaced by a dramatic movie-intro flourish. Comprised of Kristie Robinson, Bonnie Lett, and Michelle Lett, Signature garnered public attention after their single, “Bigger Than All,” bubbled under in Billboard. If dissimilar in melody, “Bigger” and “Victory” share a bold vocal sound, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 11, 2014

“Sanctified Circle” Roy Tyler & Raphael Saadiq www.reverbnation.com/roytyler (510) 839-2884 – call between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time Former Gospel Hummingbird Roy Tyler and former Tony! Toni! Toné! member Raphael Saadiq have been teaming up recently to keep the standard of R&B-flavored gospel uplifted. This includes a recently released single, “Sanctified Circle.” Evoking the ring shout tradition in spirit if not technically in rhythm, “Sanctified Circle” is an uptempo piece about “crossing the separating line,” entering “the sanctified circle,” and getting a new walk and new dance. In between verses, the musicians break into a ’60s twist riff ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 4, 2014

“Greater” Chad Brawley From the forthcoming album The We Worship Experience (Spring 2015) Available from digital music providers A melodic, energetic, and eminently radio-friendly praiser from Houston’s Chad Brawley. He and his background vocalists sing with muscle and conviction about the greatness of God. “Greater” evokes the quintessential urban P&W sound of artists such as VaShawn Mitchell and William McDowell. An experienced music minister, Brawley has worked for The Potter’s House, Heritage Christian Center, and Good Hope Baptist Church in Houston. He is currently Director of Worship Arts at The Luke Church of Humble, TX, cited as one of the fastest ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 28, 2014

“I Need Thee” Beulah Grove Mass Choir feat. Monica Lisa Stevenson Released digitally October 21, 2014 www.beulahgrove.org Beulah Grove Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia (Dr. Sam Davis, Pastor), celebrates its centennial with a rousing gospel version of the hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour,” rendered with spirit by the always effervescent Monica Lisa Stevenson. The choir and musicians set a praise party atmosphere as MLS ups the trad cred an extra notch by interpolating lyrics from “I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry.” “I Need Thee” is the single from the church’s Live at the Grove CD.

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 20, 2014

“Take It to the Lord in Prayer” Patrick Lundy & the Ministers of Music (2014) From the CD Majesty: A Recording of Anthems, Hymns, and Spirituals www.plundymom.com Incorporating the semi-classical flourishes of Richard Smallwood and Donald Lawrence, Patrick Lundy and the Ministers of Music give Rev. Nolan Williams’ “Take It to the Lord In Prayer” a lush, restorative reading.  The voices rise and fall with the effortlessness of breathing. Though the melody is different, the lyrics pull verses from Joseph Scriven’s nineteenth-century hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Lundy and the MOM proclaim, “Some things we have not ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 13, 2014

“Hallelujah” Jewell & Converted From the Malaco CD For Real www.malaco.com “Hallelujah” is an up-tempo praiser from St. Louis-based female quartet Jewell & Converted. About a third of the way through, the lead singer gets downright Pentecostal, shouting and squalling about how she wants to “get her praise out,” then performs an extended call-and-response with the rest of the ladies, who maintain steady rhythmic harmonies. The musicians provide the quintessential hip-slapping accompaniment, complete with drum/bass backbeat and organ flourishes. A show stopper. Jewell & Converted organized in 2001 and is comprised of Jewell Taylor, Lydia Jones, Ni’Asia Hatch-Boyd, and Bablen ...

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JGM’s Pick of the Week: October 6, 2014

“The Greater” J. Grant Thompson Available on iTunes and other digital outlets on October 7, 2014 “The Greater” is the debut single from Washington, DC singer, songwriter, producer, and PK J. Grant Thompson. A notable debut it is. It is the gorgeous arrangement that imbues this lyrically and musically uncomplicated P&W anthem with its distinctive character. Thompson establishes an effective call and response with the background vocalists. I can imagine “The Greater” becoming just as popular with praise teams as songs by William McDowell and VaShawn Mitchell.

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 29, 2014

“Alright OK” J Moss PMG Gospel (released May 2014) If Pharrell Williams hit it with “Happy,” the feel good song of 2014, J Moss has the equally peppy “Alright OK.” An acoustic piano introduces a jaunty pop melody as J Moss explains how he focuses on the good and lets the bad roll right off his back. Knowing that God is watching out for him on the sunny as well as the rainy days, he concludes, “I won’t complain even if I could.” Produced by PAJAM, “Alright OK” is the singer’s most engaging single in some time.

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