Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: March 11, 2019

“Haven’t Seen It Yet” Danny Gokey Sparrow / Capitol Christian Music Group (release date: January 11, 2019) www.dannygokeymusic.com By Bob Marovich After a two-year hiatus, American Idol finalist and CCM star Danny Gokey is back with a new single, “Haven’t Seen It Yet.” The single evokes in melody and arrangement the pop hits of Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran, while the lyrics about the force of faith have the kind of dance-ready beat that propelled Jamie Grace’s equally motivational 2014 single, “Do Life Big.” Gokey’s album of the same title is scheduled for release in April.

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: March 4, 2019

“It’s All About You” Rev. Stef & Jubilation (independent, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/RevStefandJubilation By Bob Marovich The Reverend Dr. Stefanie Minatee, aka Rev. Stef, is back doing what she loves—directing Jubilation, the gospel choir that, among other achievements, backed Queen Latifah on the title track of the GRAMMY Award-winning various artists gospel compilation, Oh Happy Day (EMI, 2009). After recovering from an April 2015 stroke that severely impacted her mobility, Rev. Stef is now preparing the choir for a 20th anniversary performance in June at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.  It was there that the ensemble formed initially to accompany Evangelist ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: February 25, 2019

“Blessing Me” CHurCHicago Independent (release date: February 8, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/Churchicago By Bob Marovich The first couple of singles by CHurCHicago left me regretfully nonplussed, but their latest, “Blessing Me,” is a different story. A drive-tempo selection fitted with a fiery vamp and feisty guitar licks, “Blessing Me” is a plea for continued blessings in spite of our fumbling and failings. Planting their petition firmly in the here and now, CHurCHicago seeks blessings while driving, “sweeping the floor,” “cooking dinner,” “walking through the grocery store,” and even “taking the kids to school.” Nor is their request selfish—they ask for blessings on ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: February 19, 2019

“Anchored”God’s PosseIndependent (release date: January 30, 2019) By Bob Marovich Acknowledging at the outset that “Anchored” is actually an old song with a new twist, God’s Posse of Chicago proceeds to provide an up-tempo reading of said old song, complete with soft harmonies, a lead-trading vamp, and contemporary arrangement. The metaphoric “Anchored” teaches that, in the midst of life’s storms, it’s best to hitch one’s line to the Lord. The single is yet another reason why God’s Posse is among the city’s top gospel quartets. God’s Posse, itself anchored by the music tutelage of the Windy City Four’s Nelson Larkins, ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: February 4, 2019

“He Has Been Good” Bernice Brown Gregory From the EP Faithful (EP release date: July 28, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/bernicebrowngregory By Bob Marovich The opening track of Bernice Brown Gregory’s Faithful, an EP of relaxed contemporary praise songs and a digitally orchestrated version of “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” is an up-tempo churchy tune called “He Has Been Good.” Evoking the exuberance of the Chicago Mass Choir, Bernice and her background choir raise the roof on this declaration of God’s marvelous work within their lives. It’s Bernice’s first commercial recording since 2008’s God’s Been Good to Me, whose title track is similar in ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: January 28, 2019

“Deliver Me (This is My Exodus)” Donald Lawrence Presents the Tri-City Singers feat. Le’Andria Johnson From the forthcoming RCA Inspiration album Goshen (release date: February 1, 2019) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich Le’Andria Johnson has one of the most searing voices in gospel music today. But like any singer, or actor for that matter, the material (song, film) makes the difference. Le’Andria is at her best when presented with good gospel material. Like “Deliver Me (This is My Exodus),” her feature turn with Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers. From the troupe’s thematic album Goshen, this reflection on spiritual release from ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: January 21, 2019

“Take Care of You” C. J. Taylor & Men of Fellowship From the CD He Made a Way (release date: September 9, 2018) https://cjtaylor.org/ By Bob Marovich “Take Care of You” is a drive-tempo selection from C. J. Taylor & Men of Fellowship, a quartet of young men with old souls when it comes to traditional gospel music. The song is about the earthly and heavenly benefits of living right and praying right. To hammer home the point, Taylor and the group offer the biblical story of the woman with the issue of blood (Luke 8:43). All told, the song ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: January 8, 2019

“Go” Trin-i-tee 5:7 From the DarkChild Music CD A Project of Healing (2018) By Bob Marovich In the context of A Project of Healing, Fred Jerkins’ various artists CD from which it comes, “Go” represents more than a reunion of Angel and Chanelle of Trin-i-tee 5:7. It also represents, in lyric and arrangement, the unsettling emotions that come with moving forward on faith. The ladies are like two voices in one’s head, trying to come to terms with the shock of the present and the uncertainty of the future. Jerkins and DarkChild Gospel’s various artists album is as much a bear ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: December 10, 2018

“Cycles” Jonathan McReynolds feat. DOE From the eOne Music album Make Room (2018) By Bob Marovich Jonathan McReynolds and DOE (Dominique Jones of Forever Jones) go together like bacon and eggs. Musically, they are the Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova of Christian music. Their duet on the delicately acoustic and introspective “Cycles” has the simplicity of a living room jam session, though the presence of a live and engaged audience places a larger frame around the presentation. Lyrically, it is part prayer, part mantra, both seeking strength to overcome whatever life challenges the devil tries to throw at them. This ...

Read More »

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,” ...

Read More »