Singles

JGM Pick of the Week: March 1, 2021

“You Kept Me” Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir Shanachie Entertainment / SRT Entertainment www.shanachie.com By Robert M. Marovich Like the title track of the Reverend Luther Barnes and the Restoration Worship Center Choir’s five-star album, Look to the Hills, the new single “You Kept Me” has traditional gospel roots but sufficient musical heft to garner the ear of today’s listeners. Barnes’ pleading lead (you can always count on a solid vocal from the veteran quartetter) is a gush of gratitude to a God who never gave up on him. On the album-length version, the assembly builds ...

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“Keeper” – De’Leon Carr ft. Duranice Pace

“Keeper” De’Leon Carr ft. Duranice Pace From the Enon Music Group CD Life Is (release date: February 19, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Before gospel singer Duranice Pace passed away on January 14, 2021, she was the featured singer on a track from De’Leon Carr’s new album, Life Is. “Keeper,” originally written and recorded by Bishop Eric McDaniel, finds the two singers blending their distinctive voices on a song of gratitude to God for blessings received and obstacles avoided. To the traditional gospel waltz tempo, Durance and De’Leon slowly build the temperature to evangelistic as they take turns declaring God’s ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 22, 2021

“Pull Together” Roy & Revelation Malaco / 4 Winds Records (2021) www.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich “When you look in the mirror / Are you proud of your reflection?” That’s what Roy & Revelation want to know on their new single, “Pull Together.” When people continue to be judged by the color of their skin and not the content of their character, it’s time to take a stand…again. That’s the only way we can make the world a better place, they sing. And those who don’t want to join the multicultural protest, well, they need to reconsider the purpose of ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 15, 2021

“Pick You Back Up” Michael David Harrison feat. Beverly Crawford Independent (release date: January 31, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich If the jaunty piano opening doesn’t wake the dead from their slumber, Beverly Crawford’s characteristic evangelistic vocalizing will do the trick. Pick You Back Up” was produced by Linton Weems and penned by up-and-coming songwriter Michael David Harrison. Originally from Virginia but now living in Houston, Harrison mines that churchy traditional vibe to provide this unsubtle reminder that when you stumble and fall into the arms of the devil, the Lord is there to pick you up. If you are ...

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“Stand Up” – Damon Little

“Stand Up” Damon Little Little World Music/Partners Music Company (release date: February 5, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Damon Little croons “Stand Up” to lyrics that sound culled from late ‘60s message music and an arrangement that evokes ‘70s Al Green. Little references the tragic fact that a black man can’t be certain he will make it home to his family on any given day. He calls for racial unity when asking black and white to take a stand against hatred and racially-motivated violence. “We can no longer sit down and endure this pain,” he sings, “stand up for what ...

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“Still Everything” – Benita Jones

“Still Everything” Benita Jones From the album The Entreating [Live] Tyscot Music & Entertainment (2020) www.tyscot.com By Robert M. Marovich Benita Jones (formerly known as Benita Washington) digs deep down into her solar plexus for “Still Everything,” a song about the omnipresent light in life’s darkest moments. “Still Everything” is inspired by true events—Jones’s own. She channels her 2018 divorce, relocation to a new city, and experience raising two teenage children by herself into this piece, which she co-wrote with Michael Farren and Ernest Vaughn. The song’s transition from melodic CCM to gut-wrenching gospel is a testament to a songwriting ...

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“Never Shakes, Never Will” – The Wood Drake Sessions

“Never Shakes, Never Will” The Wood Drake Sessions (Independent; release date: January 19, 2021) https://thewooddrakesessions.com/ By Robert M. Marovich Taking their text from Psalm 121 (“I lift my eyes to the hills”), the Wood Drake Sessions offers a word of personal encouragement in “Never Shakes, Never Will.” The song is bathed in an acoustic, laidback Levon Helm-meets-Southern-Gospel vibe. Crisp production makes for a peaceful, easy listening experience. Paul Ranheim and Kirk Sauers, aka The Wood Drake Sessions, are friends who met initially in Nashville. Today, Paul is a minister and songwriter in Colorado, and Kirk is a worship leader in ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 8, 2021

“Judgement Day” Jules Schroeder Jules Schroeder Music (release date: November 17, 2020) https://julesschroedermusic.com/ On “Judgement Day,” inspirational singer-songwriter Jules Schroeder offers a poignant anthem of freedom. Evoking current times (“a world of hate”) in melody, mood, and lyric, she sings: “In the last hour when you’re standing by the gate, there will be no one left to blame for every choice that you’ve made.” Assisted by the Marcus Mosely Choir, Schroeder sounds like Neko Case when singing the declarative “live free or die” refrain. For those who peddle hate, she has but one message as they gingerly approach the pearly ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 1, 2021

“Alpha and Omega” Jude Philips https://www.facebook.com/jude.akamien.9 By Robert M. Marovich On his gorgeous new single, “Alpha and Omega,” Nigerian medical doctor and gospel music minister Jude Philips expresses what he declares is “the unusual greatness and supremacy of God which makes all things possible through Him.” The mystical opening strains introduce a very simple major key melody characteristic of African gospel writ large. Philips sings lyrics of praise and adoration in two languages while his background vocalists offer a silky curtain of sound and a saxophone punctuates the atmosphere. As Philips and his team illustrate, less can be more. Dr. ...

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“I Made It” – Darius Paulk

I Made It”Darius PaulkAIR / Malaco Music Groupwww.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich The intro to singer-songwriter Darius Paulk’s new single, “I Made It,” is straight out of the James Cleveland songbook. Percussive piano, check. Chirping organ, check. Gospel waltz tempo, check. The lyrics, on the other hand, offer a timeless message: surviving the trials and tribulations of life is the result of God’s goodness. But Paulk reminds the listener that it’s not always easy to keep the faith. He gets real: “The pressures of life are so hard to bear / And sometimes it seems like no one cares.” Later ...

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