Singles

JGM Pick of the Week: September 18, 2018

“Unto the Lamb” Kim Stratton Kingdom Records (release date: May 15, 2018) By Bob Marovich On “Unto the Lamb,” Chicago-based gospel songstress Kim Stratton sings “a brand new song.” Although she’s referencing salvation, in another sense, “Unto the Lamb” is itself a brand new song – her first in six years. After focusing  on growing her catering business, the powerhouse church singer tears into Julie Meyer’s “blood” composition with the dramatic vitality that listeners have come to expect from the powerhouse church singer. The radio edit concludes just as Stratton is getting fired up, so I’d recommend the full length version. Regardless, a new ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 10, 2018

“You Say” Lauren Daigle From the Centricity Music album Look Up Child (release date: September 7, 2018) www.laurendaigle.com By Bob Marovich “You Say,” by multi-award-winning CCM songstress Lauren Daigle, is a stunning piano-led ballad about God’s positive response to every one of our doubts and insecurities. When we are lonely, God is there. When we feel weak, God is strong. Especially encouraging words in an era of anxiety and uncertainty. Daigle’s energetic, full-throated delivery on this selection falls somewhere between that of Adele and Lady Gaga. Its universal message gives the song plenty of crossover pop potential, especially if it ...

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“Changed Me” – Vonnie Blackshear

“Changed Me” Vonnie Blackshear (release date: August 10, 2018) Available on iTunes By Bob Marovich Dramatic vocalist Vonnie Blackshear of Mount Rainier, Maryland, out-sings the swirl of synthesizers on this declaration of appreciation for being transformed and made stronger by God’s love. While the musicianship gives the song a quiet storm vibe, and in a way, it works because Blackshear’s soaring high notes cry out for equal amounts of musical muscle, I suspect the song would be just as intense, if not more so, were Blackshear backed by just piano, organ, and drums. I’d love to hear a remix version!

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 4, 2018

“He’s Never Failed Me Yet” Saint Mark Sanctuary Choir From The Saint Mark Experience Live (2018) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/saintmarksanctuarychoir By Bob Marovich From the opening strains of “He’s Never Failed Me Yet,” the Sanctuary Choir of Saint Mark Baptist Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, is unrelenting in its praise of an unfailing God. Backed by deliciously thick harmonies from the open-throated choir, the lead singer declares that “Momma may fail / Daddy may fail / Sister may fail / Brother may fail / Friend may fail / Pastor may fail,” but God won’t fail. Under the leadership of Darius Nelson, the choir dedicated its album ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 27, 2018

“Love Somebody Today” Genessis & Nikki From the album Genessis & Nikki https://genessisandnikki.com/ By Bob Marovich If the sister duo Genessis & Nikki wanted the single from their self-titled debut album to be a whopper, they sure picked one in “Love Somebody Today.” Written by Riley Clemmons, Gabe Patillo, and the duo’s producer Phil Sillas, “Love Somebody Today” is a rousing, joy-filled anthem that lunges at the listener with a battery of hooks and inspirational messages. The ladies not only believe that love has the power to change the world, they declare that it’s our job to take the first step ...

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“So Glad” – Lady Voncile Belcher

“So Glad” Lady Voncile Belcher Glory Bound Records (release date: June 15, 2018) By Bob Marovich When Lady Voncile Belcher opens her mouth to sing, you know she has been formed in the crucible of traditional gospel music. On her latest single, “So Glad,” Lady Voncile sings and shouts unbridled exclamations of enthusiasm to a God who has protected her from danger. Her gratitude transitions into praise as the song grinds to a conclusion.  It’s tried and true old school. A longstanding member of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Lady Voncile’s first lead vocal on a recording was “Do You ...

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“Ain’t Gonna Whistle Dixie Anymore” – Paul Metsa and Willie Walker feat. Sounds of Blackness

“Ain’t Gonna Whistle Dixie Anymore” Paul Metsa and Willie Walker feat. Sounds of Blackness Rock the Cause Records (release date: August 8, 2018) http://irockthecause.org/aint-gonna-whistle-dixie-anymore-paul-me By Bob Marovich This multi-cultural mashup of genres—think Nitty Gritty Dirt Band meets gospel choir—is the ideal backdrop for a song denouncing white nationalism and its brazen disregard of historic fact and common sense. Reflecting on the memory of recent marches, hate crimes, Nazism, and symbols of the Confederacy, Twin Cities folk singer Paul Metsa, blues singer Willie Walker, and the award-winning Sounds of Blackness declare they “ain’t gonna whistle Dixie anymore.” In a play on the original lyrics ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 20, 2018

“Oh How I Love You” Zacardi Cortez Blacksmoke Music Worldwide (release date: March 8, 2018) By Bob Marovich “You see, a man ain’t supposed to cry,” Zacardi Cortez sings on “Oh How I Love You,” but the tears flow anyhow as he delivers lyrics that gush with gratitude to Jesus for, well, everything. And while Cortez admits to falling prey to the very human interest in material things, “at the end of the day,” nothing matters but Jesus. This mid-tempo song opens with a blithe piano and expands into a delicious mix of retro soul and urban AC. Cortez’s vocals ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 13, 2018

“With All My Heart” Marlon McDaniel M2 Music (release date: August 4, 2016) www.marlonmcdaniel.com By Bob Marovich Accompanied only by piano, gospel singer-songwriter Marlon McDaniel delivers a delicate ballad of praise in “With All My Heart.” The song’s audience-melting sweetness earned the Ohio singer from the Church of God in Christ two Rhythm of Gospel Awards this summer: Best Performance by a Male Artist, and Praise & Worship Male Vocalist of the Year. With its lovely melody and uncomplicated lyrics, “With All My Heart” allows so much space for vocal improvisation that gospel singers who hear it will be dying to ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 7, 2018

“I Owe God a Praise” Jimmy Hicks & ACOJ From the Blacksmoke Music Worldwide album Waterway (release date: August 4, 2017) By Bob Marovich What I like about Jimmy Hicks is how he can transform a church song into what sounds like a big number from a gospel musical. Hicks and his Voices of Integrity did that with 2006’s “Born Blessed” and “This Kind By Fasting and Prayer.” He has done it again with “I Owe God a Praise,” an effervescent hand-clapper featuring call-and-response with the Apostolic Church of Jesus (ACOJ) Choir and Hicks’s favorite singing duet partner, Diana Hicks. The ...

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