Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: August 8, 2016

“He Chose Me” Chadwick (released March 4, 2016) www.therealchadwick.com Chadwick Johnson, known simply as Chadwick, is an indie gospel artist from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His single, “He Chose Me,” is a balladic declaration of gratitude for forgiveness. Speaking as a former Prodigal Son, Chadwick sings in his high tenor that “out of everyone in the world” and after “all the wrong I’ve done. . . .He chose me.” The song’s pop melody and intense beat, which forever increases the tension, give “He Chose Me” a Top 40 feel. An EP is expected this summer.

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 1, 2016

“The Master’s Calling” Deborah Joy Winans Malaco Records www.malaco.com “The Master’s Calling” by singer and actor Deborah Joy Winans is at turns haunting, electrifying, and inspiring, and quite possibly one of the best gospel songs of the year. Written by Thad Cockrell, the song opens with a solemn piano and organ and features an earnest and delicate Winans answered by a commanding gospel choir. “Listen while you still can hear / The Master’s calling.” The daughter of contemporary gospel pioneer Carvin Winans, Deborah plays Charity Greenleaf-Satterlee on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) drama, Greenleaf, from whence the song comes. Although most know ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 25, 2016

“All I Need” Ramona J. Sanders From the CD Beginning With Me www.cdbaby.com/cd/ramonajsanders Opening with a tinkling piano and a marching beat, “All I Need” finds New York singer Ramona J. Sanders rendering praises to the Most High, the only one she really needs in her life, with genuine conviction and studied vocal versatility. She is supported by treble background vocalists who help her build the song’s intensity until the moment when the spirit is the highest and praises just spill out of Sanders with gut-wrenching, no-holds-barred passion. Gospel enthusiasts may remember Sanders as a member of the Angel’lics female gospel ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 18, 2016

“More than a Conqueror” Gregory D and Company (available digitally) www.cbgministries.com During this election season, the concept of winning is tossed around like a greased football, but for Elder Gregory DeMyers Jr. (Gregory D) and his singers, winning is a far more personal, temporal, and even eternal pursuit. On the even-tempered but nonetheless passionate “More than a Conqueror,” DeMyers’ contemporary gospel ensemble Gregory D and Company sings of personal hope and encouragement in such a time as this. Drawing directly from Romans 8:37, the group proclaims that all are conquerors “through Him who loved us.” To bring it to street ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 11, 2016

“Holy Spirit” Nia Allen (available from digital music outlets) www.niaallenmusic.com From the first few bars of “Holy Spirit,” praise and worship singer-songwriter Nia Allen draws the listener in with her lithe and lovely soprano, her tone breathing in the song’s reverent invitation for the Holy Spirit to come and fill the room. Written by Jesus Culture’s Bryan and Katie Torwalt, and providing them a GRAMMY for Best Christian Song of the Year, “Holy Spirit” is delicate and dramatic, blending the atmospheric strains of CCM with gospel-inspired vocal improvisation. No stranger to recording—she has two solo albums to her credit—Allen is a Berklee College ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 5, 2016

“Closer to You” Carrington Gaines From the EP The Process (released November, 2015) www.cdbaby.com/cd/carringtongaines Cut from the same musical mold as current gospel vocalists Jonathan McReynolds and Travis Greene, Carrington Gaines offers “Closer to You.” It’s an introspective ballad led by acoustic guitar and propelled by a delicate finger-popping beat. At one point, the song possesses the lyrical and melodic gravitas of a hymn.  At other times, it unfolds like an informal prayer closet conversation. Throughout, Gaines declares that he will seek restoration of his connection with God after a past marked by separation. A native of Buffalo, New York, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 27, 2016

“Christian Walk” Darren Deac From the Quality of Life Music album Christian Walk www.cdbaby.com/cd/darrendeac Just because we walk in the path of righteousness doesn’t mean we can’t throw a little shape to our step. That’s what Christian Hip Hop artist “Darren Deac” Edward demonstrated to the audience at the Rhythm of Gospel Awards main event last Saturday evening in Memphis, Tennessee. The “Christian Walk” is a modified two-step, a sanctified shuffle. The song has an infectious hook and an explicit message that expounds the life-giving power of service and prayer. From Newark, New Jersey, Edward started his career in secular ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 13, 2016

“Glory to the Lamb” Micah Stampley From the Interface Entertainment album To the King. . .Vertical Worship Live www.micahstampley.org I recognize that “Glory to the Lamb” is not the current single from Micah Stampley’s latest album—that honor belongs to the equally persuasive “Be Lifted”—but nevertheless, it is one of Stampley’s best selections since his cover of “Come to Jesus.” The song demonstrates his passionate singing better than any other track on the album. With instrumentation held to a minimum and the vocals set at high intensity, “Glory to the Lamb” is exactly the kind of song we anticipate from Stampley. It ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 6, 2016

“You Covered Me” Pastor Marlon Lock Available digitally www.pastormarlonlock.com Stellar-nominated gospel artist Pastor Marlon Lock of Milwaukee delivers a gentle contemporary ballad about how he got over: it was all because of God’s protective covering.  Lock delivers this forthright declaration with melodic tenderness but he’s moved by the end to shout a little for having gotten over. Lock’s quartet-flavored “He Delivered Me” was not only a Pick of the Week last year but became one of the Journal of Gospel Music‘s top 10 gospel singles of 2015. “Pastor T,” as Lock is affectionately known, pastors the church his grandfather founded: ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 30, 2016

“Testimony” Monica Lisa Stevenson Puretonez Productions (release date: April 21, 2016) www.monicazmuzik.com Award-winning gospel singer Monica Lisa Stevenson—the “fifth Caravan”—is adept at updating the traditional gospel sound for today’s ears. Hew new single, the brassy and soulful “Testimony,” with its funky take-charge rhythm, is the first taste we get of her forthcoming album, due out this fall. Featuring Doobie Powell and the Williams Singers of Indianapolis, “Testimony” is Stevenson making her witness public to encourage others to keep the faith. God will not only provide, she declares, but He can go beyond simple provision. Her exclamation, “Look at the shoes ...

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