Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: December 3, 2018

“Working for My Good” Brandon Mitchell & S.W.A.P. feat. Lisa Knowles-Smith From the BAMSWAP Music album Amazing By Bob Marovich Once again, an AyRon Lewis production makes our list: “Working For My Good,” by Brandon Mitchell & S.W.A.P. (Singers With A Purpose). This selection, rendered in the 12/8 “rocking chair” time signature, belongs as much to the effervescent Lisa Knowles-Smith as to the Mitchell group. Like Dorinda Clark-Cole, Lisa turns the temperature up anytime she is a featured vocalist. She doesn’t just recommend faith in God as the ultimate balm, she demands it. When Mitchell shouts, “Let’s take it to Mississippi,” ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 27, 2018

“The Great I Am” Shree Isabell Kamasia Music (release date: September 28, 2018) www.shreeisabell.com By Bob Marovich “The Great I Am” is an explosive new single from Evangelist Shree Isabell, a member of Dr. Bobby Jones’ Nashville Super Choir. Through the retelling of biblical stories about freeing the Israelites and God’s appearance to Moses, Shree and her BGVs offer examples of God as way maker.  Shree’s point is that if God made a way years ago, he will make one for you today. The musicians match Shree’s vocal strength with eight cylinders of their own muscle. Together, the team functions like an engine without ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 19, 2018

“On Time” Bishop Larry D. Trotter & Sweet Holy Spirit Choir From the forthcoming Utopia Music Group CD Restored! By Bob Marovich Bishop Larry Trotter’s Sweet Holy Spirit Church on Chicago’s South Side is doing its part to “bring the choir back” (as if it ever left) with “On Time.” The radio-friendly single contains the fiery, full-voiced, no-nonsense sound that listeners come to expect from the Sweet Holy Spirit Choir. The message of God stepping in “right on time” is timeless, and when combined with the pulsating tempo at which the choir moves, the song should bring everybody to their ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 13, 2018

“He Worked It Out” The Tommies Reunion Tyscot Records (release date: October 26, 2018) www.tommiesreunion.com By Bob Marovich Darius Brooks, Percy Bady, and a hand-picked group of key members of the Thompson Community Singers from its fifteen-year reign as one of the most influential gospel choirs in America (1982-1997) come together for “He Worked It Out.” Short, simple, and to the point, “He Worked It Out” is the “it’s already done” message bathed in characteristically animated Tommies harmonies, a muscular brass section led by Lloyd Barry, and a rhythmic swagger to catch the attention of those who weren’t even born ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 5, 2018

“Waiting on Jesus” True Believers 4 Winds Records (release date: October 23, 2018) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich On “Waiting on Jesus,” Castro Coleman and the True Believers exude gobs of enthusiasm about the coming of the Lord. Using the tried-and-true call-and-response format, the group sings about fasting and praying until the great day comes. The song moves with that slow-strutting tempo and the crashing drum backbeat characteristic of deep southern soul gospel quartet singing. The lyrics and music are ready-made for extroverted physical movement by audience and quartet alike. Coleman is no stranger to gospel music. He traces his roots back ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 22, 2018

“Blue” Juliana Schnee (release date: October 5, 2018) Available on iTunes By Bob Marovich With her soaring tones accented by endearing yodels, twenty-two-year-old singer Juliana Schnee sounds like a young LeAnn Rimes. Her inspirational song “Blue” is made all the more effective by the understated small jazz combo and strings that accompany her winsome urging to not let life get you down.  “Blue” blends jazz and inspirational lyrics in a way that dignifies both. A self-described lover of “Jesus and Jazz,” Schnee is from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. As a child, she taught herself to play piano and ukulele and wrote ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 15, 2018

“Time to Climb” Lee Walker and Spirit CCLT Records (release date: July 2, 2018) http://leewalkerandspirit.com By Bob Marovich The group name suggests a male-led small choir but make no mistake: Lee Walker and Spirit is made of solid quartet muscle. Appropriately, the “moving up to higher ground” theme of their latest single, “Time to Climb,” is delivered in drive tempo. The instrumental and vocal rhythm evoke the euphoria of climbing up a heaven-bound ladder one rung at a time. From Virginia, or as he announces on “Time to Climb,” “born in the country,” Walker worked with the Echoes of Glory of ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 8, 2018

“God Is Doing It” Ernest Billups & Tribe of Levi feat. C. Ashley Brown-Lawrence E’Mazin Entertainment (release date: October 5, 2018) Available on Amazon.com By Bob Marovich “God Is Doing It” is Ernest Billups & the Tribe of Levi’s finest single to date. This slow burner with a dramatic melody features a passionate vocal assist from C. Ashley Brown-Lawrence (“I’ve Got the Victory”), who gets downright evangelistic by the vamp as she duets with Billups, who also serves as the songwriter and producer. Like some of the best songs in any genre, “God Is Doing It” was composed during a period ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 18, 2018

“Unto the Lamb” Kim Stratton Kingdom Records (release date: May 15, 2018) By Bob Marovich On “Unto the Lamb,” Chicago-based gospel songstress Kim Stratton sings “a brand new song.” Although she’s referencing salvation, in another sense, “Unto the Lamb” is itself a brand new song – her first in six years. After focusing  on growing her catering business, the powerhouse church singer tears into Julie Meyer’s “blood” composition with the dramatic vitality that listeners have come to expect from the powerhouse church singer. The radio edit concludes just as Stratton is getting fired up, so I’d recommend the full length version. Regardless, a new ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 10, 2018

“You Say” Lauren Daigle From the Centricity Music album Look Up Child (release date: September 7, 2018) www.laurendaigle.com By Bob Marovich “You Say,” by multi-award-winning CCM songstress Lauren Daigle, is a stunning piano-led ballad about God’s positive response to every one of our doubts and insecurities. When we are lonely, God is there. When we feel weak, God is strong. Especially encouraging words in an era of anxiety and uncertainty. Daigle’s energetic, full-throated delivery on this selection falls somewhere between that of Adele and Lady Gaga. Its universal message gives the song plenty of crossover pop potential, especially if it ...

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