Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: October 16, 2017

“Just Like You” Freewill Available October 20, 2017 http://hyperurl.co/f07w9w By Bob Marovich Will Robinson, aka Freewill, teams up with producer Jor’Dan Armstrong on “Just Like You,” an inspirational song about the importance of moving beyond the cultural divide, “past the drama and the issues,” to the realization that we are, deep down, all the same. A schoolteacher from Atlanta, Georgia (and a Chicago White Sox fan, apparently), Freewill explains the song’s concept: “I believe we have a lot more in common than we think, but our differences sometimes stop the opportunity for us to have an open dialogue.” He gets this ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: October 10, 2017

“I’ve Got to Win” Tonya Lewis-Taylor From the EARS Entertainment Group I’ve Got to Win 2.0 (EP, released August 24, 2017) www.tonyalewistaylor.com By Bob Marovich “I’ve Got to Win” is Tonya Lewis-Taylor at her most expressive. This slow burner of a title track is a modified and more radio-ready version of the title track and emotional highpoint of her 2014 live album, Delayed but Not Denied. Like its predecessor, the inspirational “I’ve Got to Win” benefits from delicate musical accompaniment that provides Lewis-Taylor ample room to emote about how she has persisted in her journey despite almost insurmountable odds. A ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: October 2, 2017

“Even Then” Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir From the Shanachie / SRT CD The Favor of God www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich Man plans and God laughs, the saying goes. “Even Then,” the latest single from Reverend Barnes’ 2016 CD, The Favor of God, is about man trying to understand God’s plan for his life, especially during the challenging moments. In this case, Barnes thinks he knows his destiny but questions God’s thinking when it goes awry. Like the famous “Footprints” poem, Barnes realizes that God was there all the time, carrying him through the darkest hours ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: September 25, 2017

“Enter In” Chrystal Rucker HBK Media (2017) By Bob Marovich Chrystal Rucker is one of the finest voices in gospel music today. Her vocal talent is on ample display on “Enter In,” the follow up to her Top 30 single, “Excuse Me.” The finer of the two singles, “Enter In” is a prayerful, uncomplicated worship ballad that allows Rucker sufficient space to improvise. Supported by powerful background voices, she builds from soft to sanctified, tossing in growls, shouts, and skyrocketing flights of soprano to convince the saved and sinner alike that when we come to the end of ourselves, when we can ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: September 18, 2017

“I Thank You Lord” Terri McConnell Royal T Records (release date: August 29, 2017) www.terrimcconnell.com By Bob Marovich From its southern-fried funky beat to Terri McConnell’s wizened alto, “I Thank You Lord” is as traditional and delicious as sweet tea. McConnell gushes with gratitude to God for creating a path for her, but her blessings are not over yet. Quoting 1 Corinthians 2:9, she sings that “eyes have not seen nor ears heard” what God has in store for her. When she moves into “makes me wanna moan sometimes,” she has us. A two-time Rhythm of Gospel Award winner, Terri ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: September 5, 2017

“Never Give Up on You” Dennis Yancey http://www.igaraa.com/dennis-yancey.html By Bob Marovich Indie gospel artist Dennis Yancey’s “Never Give Up on You” is a simple, effective, and tunefully smooth ballad about maintaining complete trust in God, especially during the tough times, because God has never given up on us. Yancey’s relaxed vocals make his singing sound effortless. Sparkling production by Suga Mike Allen ensures that the message is undeniably clear. It’s reminiscent of their earlier collaboration on the equally compelling ballad of faith, “Though You Slay Me.” From Queens, New York, Dennis Yancey just celebrated his 40th birthday last month. A full ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: August 29, 2017

“Higher Place” Angelo and Veronica From the forthcoming A & V Music CD The Truth http://angeloandveronica.com/ By Bob Marovich In 1992, fresh on the scene and armed with training from Berklee College of Music, contemporary Christian singing duo Angelo and Veronica released their first album, Higher Place, on A & M Records. Among the songs they co-wrote for their debut disc was the title track, a song about a “place where you can just be you.” Luring the listener with the lyric line, “You take me to a higher place / You take me to a place I’ve never been ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: August 21, 2017

“Too Hard Not To” Tina Campbell Malaco Music Group / Gee Tee Creative (2017) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Tina Campbell’s new single, “Too Hard Not To,” feels like an intimate girlfriend-to-girlfriend conversation about the difficulty, and also the importance, of forgiving and forgetting. The intimacy not only comes from the song’s lyric, but also from the stripped down acoustic piano accompaniment. Delivering the lovely melody with grace and tenderness, Campbell reminds the listener that no matter how bad a situation gets, no matter how hard it is to forgive those who have done the unthinkable to you, there’s “someone so loving and ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: August 14, 2017

“Well Done” Ernest J. Lee feat. Donnie Tuck From Anthems from the Vault Vol. 1 www.ernestjleemusic.org By Bob Marovich Ernest J. Lee’s “Well Done” drops a fetching quartet backbeat and a drive tempo behind the two words every Christian hopes to hear upon entering the Pearly Gates: well done. The husky-voiced Donnie Tuck and a group of female background vocalists more than assist the Detroiter on this joyous old-school-meets-new-school evocation of the happy hereafter for the saved, sanctified, and Holy Ghost filled. It’s all about joy and shouting victory because there’s no night there. “Now put your hands together one ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: August 1, 2017

“It Pays to Serve Jesus” Lady LaVarnga Hubbard Utopia Music Group (2017) Available from digital media stores By Bob Marovich No matter how many vocalists travel down the P&W path, you can count on Lady LaVarnga Hubbard, the Duchess of Gospel, to keep delivering church rousers the old-school way. “It Pays to Serve Jesus” is the latest single (and the third) pulled from Hubbard’s album, Better Is Coming, released on Bishop Larry Trotter’s Utopia Music Group. True to form, the Duchess glides along the backbeat, inviting listeners to sidestep the static and remember that following Christ is the route to solving ...

Read More »