Pick of the Week

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 ...

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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, ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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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