Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: August 2, 2021

“Still Faithful” Christina Bell feat. Fred Hammond From the Malaco Music Group CD Still Faithful (release date: July 30, 2021) www.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich With or without assistance from gospel legend Fred Hammond, “Still Faithful” is former Z’iel member Christina Bell’s best solo single yet. To a lilting melody, Bell declares on the title track of her new album that regardless of the day’s pains and tragedies, and there are many, don’t worry, God is there for you. Hammond is in full agreement, grateful that God prevented potential problems from happening in his life. In true gospel song fashion, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 26, 2021

“It’s Time” Mary Glover Independent (released October 20, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich In tone, tempo, and message, Mary Glover’s “It’s Time” commands people to snap out of it, get right, act right, and be joyful in the Lord. Glover’s sassy and declarative alto, honed in the community of quartet singers, is the ideal vehicle to lift everyone out of their seats and feel the excitement she feels. As such, she evokes other powerhouse gospel singers like Monica Lisa Stevenson, Lemmie Battles, and Lisa Knowles. From Lima, Ohio, and now living in Cleveland, Glover started singing at age six and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 19, 2021

“I’d Rather Have Jesus” True Believers Malaco Music Group / 4 Winds (release date: June 23, 2021) www.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich From the opening vocal harmony riff and the incessant piano triplets to the ultra-soulful lead vocals by Castro Coleman, “I’d Rather Have Jesus” sounds like a 1960s soul record but it is as new as a minute ago. Lyrically, the song by the True Believers quartet evokes the 1922 hymn with the same title, about forsaking the riches of the world for the wealth of eternity. The twist is that Coleman references the modern era when he describes ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 5, 2021

“Ain’t Nobody Like Jesus” Ron Rawls Red Torch Music (release date: June 15, 2021) www.rawlsmusic.com By Robert M. Marovich Ron Rawls may be best known as the music director for Christian artist Mandisa; he worked on her Grammy and Dove Award-winning album, Overcomer (2013). On “Ain’t Nobody Like Jesus,” a bracing pop-flavored ode of gratitude to Jesus, Rawls shows his stuff as a solo artist. Its funky chorus evokes jams from the likes of John Legend and Bruno Mars. Fundamentally the song is a call-and-response between Rawls and the background vocalists, but the superb musicians and Rawls’ staccato delivery and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 29, 2021

“Your Presence is a Gift” E. Dewey Smith Pebble Street Records (release date: March 5, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich If Dr. E. Dewey Smith, senior pastor of the House of Hope in Georgia, wanted to come out of the chute with just the right solo debut single, he could do no better than “Your Presence is a Gift.” Produced by John Webb and featuring Zaviel Janae and BET Sunday Best finalist Zebulon Ellis in the team of background vocalists, the song finds Smith delivering what amounts to his testimony in the silkiest vocals this side of Brian Courtney Wilson. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 21, 2021

“Heavenly”TaMyya JFrom the MM Music Group CD Love for Your Namehttps://tamyya-j.com/ By Robert M. Marovich “Heavenly” is the type of contemporary gospel song you swear you’ve heard before, which means it’s a solid record. Former Mary Mary background singer TaMyya J, who has already posted some singles on the Billboard gospel charts, likely has another one. Written by Fred Jerkins III and Delisha Thomas Johnson, “Heavenly” is about the journey from brokenness to completion through the blessings of the Most High. “I take credit for nothing / ‘Cause I know where they come from,” the Willingboro, New Jersey, native sings ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 14, 2021

“Thank You”Rufus JohnsonMiddle Boy Media (release date: July 19, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Rufus Johnson, a native of Richmond, Virginia, expresses his gratitude to God on “Thank You” with a pocketful of shoulder-shaking beats and an R&B melody that is as fresh as right now. Johnson’s gratefulness for making it through the rough patches serves as the backdrop of this compelling, memorable, and expertly-produced song. Simple and effective in delivering its message. A Stellar-nominated singer-songwriter and music educator, Rufus Johnson was once a member of the male gospel group G.I. He co-wrote and sang on two of the group’s ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 8, 2021

“New Orleans Medley” Jerard and Jovaun Independent (release date: December 4, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Yes, this single came out late last year and yes, whatever vestiges of Mardi Gras that were able to take place this year are but a memory, but nevertheless, the “New Orleans Medley” conjures sufficient joy to be without season. From Jerard and Jovaun Woods, a husband-and-wife duo who perform as Jerard and Jovaun, the medley sets congregational songs and gospels to New Orleans musical sass. The best part is when the couple breaks out into “What He’s Done for Me,” as a clarinet ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 31, 2021

“I Am With You” Tameka Ferebee Tameka Ferebee Productions (release date: February 12, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Gospel singer-songwriter Tameka Ferebee’s “I Am With You” is a melodic evocation of the parental love that God has for each of us. The lyrics are written from God’s point of view, the ultimate parent who encourages and consoles his children, especially during the darkest times. Strings swirl dramatically around a delicate melody led by piano. Ferebee becomes more vocally confident as the song moves into the bridge, and explores her high soprano range en route to the big finish. The singer ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 25, 2021

“Nothin’ but the Spirit” Lisa Bellamy From the Nspyre Music Group International EP What Will it Take (release date: January 22, 2021) https://nspyremusicgroupinternational.com/ By Robert M. Marovich Lisa Bellamy’s self-penned single “Nothin’ but the Spirit” is a cross between gospel and quiet storm R&B. On this slow and thoughtful ballad, the singer-songwriter shares how the spirit of God led her to far greater heights than her own choices. The talented soprano singer’s delicate touch gives glimpses of the power behind it all. Among her accomplishments, Bellamy, a classically-trained vocalist, has done opera, was a finalist on the BET Gospel Diva ...

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