Singles

JGM Pick of the Week: November 11, 2019

“Leave It Alone” Alvin Darling From the Emtro Gospel CD Leave It Alone (release date: September 20, 2019) By Bob Marovich From singer, songwriter, pastor, and Stellar and Dove Award nominee Alvin Darling comes “Leave It Alone,” a quartet-flavored roof-raiser. The verses string together familiar church aphorisms while the chorus sums it up: “God can fix it better than you can.” An agreeable lead vocal with ample support from background vocalists and musicians evoke Darling’s zesty 2003 album, Waiting Right Here. His foundation in quartet and Pentecostal music is evident throughout the single, which is short and simple but effective.

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 4, 2019

“Saved” April Hall Enon Music Group (release date: March 27, 2019) By Bob Marovich The featured soloist on Damon Little’s 2016 Billboard-charting “I Won’t Be Defeated,” April Hall returns with her own single, “Saved.” This new take on a traditional song finds Hall singing with austerity while the musicians and background vocalists move at double time. Halfway through, she drops the austerity and begins to deliver her trademark church-wrecking shouts, growls, and whoos, learned from a lifetime of listening to gospel quartets in her hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. By the end, you can imagine her engaging in a holy dance. ...

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“Arise” – Jason Williams

“Arise” Jason Williams Paper City Records (release date: October 9, 2019) By Bob Marovich “Arise” by Jason Williams is an easy-to-learn worship song suited for church praise teams. Though on the single, an almost breathless Williams and his background vocalists are accompanied by bumping bass, grinding guitar, flashes of organ, and the complex drumming characteristic of post-modern gospel, the song can easily be stripped down for a simpler arrangement. The song concludes with a praise-inducing vamp that likely lights up audiences at live programs. Williams is an Arkansas-based singer and songwriter. “Arise” is the first release from his forthcoming EP, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 28, 2019

“I’ve Decided to Make Jesus My Choice” Marcel McManus Sr. Independent (release date: September 4, 2018) By Bob Marovich Sometimes you just need to hear gospel done the old fashioned way, like they used to do in church: solo voice and piano. A young man with an old soul, Marcel McManus Sr. accompanies himself on piano on a cover of Harrison Johnson’s testimonial, “I’ve Decided to Make Jesus My Choice.” The singer takes what was originally arranged for choir and turns it into a solo spotlight, offering up a host of vocal flowers and frills while staying true to the ...

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“Praying and Believing” – Erica Campbell

“Praying and Believing” Erica Campbell My Block Records (release date: August 25, 2019) By Bob Marovich On this quintessential “coming to Jesus” song, Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell recognizes that the problems and complications she’s experiencing (first verse) and society is facing (second verse) are ours to accept but not to fix. Rather than blaming God for all the troubles, Erica prays to God for healing and strength—for herself and everyone, including “the mother praying for her child to come home.” The arrangement, featuring dramatic percussion and an imploring choir, gives Erica plenty of room to improvise. By the end, she ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 21, 2019

“All In His Plan” PJ Morton feat. Le’Andria Johnson and Mary Mary Morton Inspiration/Tyscot (release date: September 20, 2019) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich “All In His Plan” addresses the issue we all grapple with: why do bad or hurtful things happen to us when God has the power to wipe it all away? The song’s conclusion: it’s “all in His plan.” There is a reason for everything—we just can’t see it yet. As maddening as it feels sometimes, we have to put our trust in God “because He already worked it out, in the end.” PJ Morton gives the ballad ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 14, 2019

“He Loves Me” Yael Hilton Light Records / eOne Music (release date: August 30, 2019) By Bob Marovich Light Records was very fortunate to sign Yael Hilton, one of the most talented female vocalists to emerge from today’s galaxy of independent gospel artists. Her newest single, “God Can,” released in September, is a singing tour de force, but it’s “He Loves Me” that has the greatest radio potential. To a brassy and infectious Motown swagger, Hilton dominates the vocal line like a seasoned soloist. She weaves blue notes and Le’Andria-like raves on this feel-good song that sounds at first blush ...

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“Revelation” – Keith Reed Jr.

“Revelation” Keith Reed Jr. (release date: August 28, 2019) www.newsoundmusicgroup.org By Bob Marovich Supported by his group, the New Sound of Worship, Keith Reed Jr. asks God in “Revelation” to reveal His life-giving light during an especially dark moment. But despite the stressful circumstances that inspired the song, including Reed finding himself out of work and almost homeless, “Revelation” is surprisingly unruffled and even-tempered. The smooth jazz arrangement, conventional melody, and easygoing vocals smooth over the drama. The Columbus, Ohio, native currently serves as minister of music for Destiny Church International under the pastorate of Apostle Theodore Caesar. “Revelation” was ...

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“Psalms 34” – Chris Wesley & Undignified Praise, feat. Dana Hemphill

“Psalms 34” Chris Wesley & Undignified Praise, feat. Dana Hemphill Undignified Music (release date: April 5, 2019) www.undignifiedpraise.com By Bob Marovich Pastor Chris Wesley plays the role of exhorter as vocalist Dana Hemphill fronts Undignified Praise on this reading of “Psalms 34.” Written by Paul Shepherd and Tramaul Love, and arranged by Patrick Wright, Roy Cotton, and Wesley, this second single by Wesley and UDP is a praise song that improvises on the line, “I will praise the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Its simple structure and melody are suited for a worship ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 2, 2019

“Take Your Burdens” Chrystal Rucker From the forthcoming album Graced for This www.habakkukmusic.com By Bob Marovich Chrystal Rucker is one of the finest gospel singers today. Whether on her own or as a featured vocalist, she can turn a good gospel song into a great one. That’s what she does with “Take Your Burdens,” a conventional song of hope and encouragement written and produced by Asaph Ward. The single gets full-barrel Chrystal. She starts out by giving the song a melodic reading, then opens up her arsenal of growls, squalls, falsetto notes, leaving the listener thoroughly bedazzled by the end. ...

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