Singles

JGM Pick of the Week: July 16, 2019

“Praise Belongs to You” Jason Clayborn & the Atmosphere Changers Tyscot Records www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich “Praise Belongs to You,” co-written by Grammy Award-nominated gospel songwriter Jason Clayborn, author of such hits as Hezekiah Walker’s “Better” and Ricky Dillard’s “I Survived It,” is Clayborn’s debut single as an artist for Tyscot Records. Assisted by his small choir, the Atmosphere Changers, Clayborn offers a radio-ready praise anthem aided by full-bodied production, dramatic key changes, and lead vocal assists from Isaiah Freeman and Matt Austin. The Atmosphere Changers incrementally build the song’s tension with passionate and full-throated harmonies until the only place ...

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“After All These Years” – Freddi Rene

“After All These Years” Freddi Rene From the CD Guide Me www.freddirene.com By Bob Marovich On its surface, “After All These Years,” written by Carl Phillips, Gabriel Young, and producer Gregory G. Pearson, sounds like a conventional love song. But in the song’s first few seconds, Freddi Rene asserts that the source of her love is the Lord. The breezy contemporary single contains hints of Freddi’s hometown of Detroit in its Whitfield-esque jazz chord progressions and complex melody. In fact, if you slowed it down, “After All These Years” sounds like something the Clark Sisters would sing. Freddi Rene has ...

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“Something About that Name” – True Believers

“Something About that Name” True Believers From the 4 Winds CD Back to the Roots (release date: February 1, 2019) www.malaco.com The True Believers gospel quartet marvels at the wonderful name of Jesus and all the name represents on their new single, “Something About that Name.” “Something” lopes along with a gospel-bluesy strut evocative of the Caravans’ “Mary Don’t You Weep,” as periodic explosions of percussion put exclamation points on the group’s declamations. Just as Inez Andrews looked for Jesus, the True Believers’ lead vocalist Castro Coleman calls for Jesus. By the end, the entire ensemble is in joyous swing, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 8, 2019

“Amazing Grace” Rachel Hawkes Independent (release date: May 1, 2019) We know the hymn, but English singer Rachel Hawkes makes it her own with a new verse, harmonica-tight harmonies, and an easy, delightful delivery. The contrast between the thumping percussion and Hawkes’ honey-smooth voice sells the song. Classically trained—she played cello for two orchestras—Rachel Hawkes has been singing and writing for more ten years. Her cello solo on Saint-Saens’ “Le Cygne” is just as disarming as her work on “Amazing Grace.” With more than six albums to her credit, she may just be one of the best singers you’ve never ...

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“The Greater the Trials, the Greater the Blessings” – Mary Pugh & the Pugh Singers

“The Greater the Trials, the Greater the Blessings” Mary Pugh & the Pugh Singers Overboard Records (2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/marypughthepughsingers By Bob Marovich On “The Greater the Trials, the Greater the Blessings,” Grove Hill, Alabama, female quartet Mary Pugh & the Pugh Singers offers an encouraging paradox that sounds as if it came straight from the Sunday morning pulpit. “Looking back over the years / I’ve been through some storms,” Mary sings, adding that she knew God would “show up in the rain.” To reinforce its James 1:12 message about the reward of being tried by fire and enduring, the group quotes ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 2, 2019

“Hold Out” Tim Rogers and the Fellas feat. Calvin Richardson SAG Music Group (release date: April 26, 2019) By Bob Marovich As they make plain on their new single, “Hold Out,” Tim Rogers and the Fellows work hard to keep the traditional quartet vibe alive. The single is forged in the crucible of wooden-church worship with enough contemporary accouterments to appeal to today’s radio listeners. Indeed, Rogers expects the song to hit the airwaves because he calls out to “those of you in radio land and are listening to my voice” to turn the volume up. Gospel singer turned R&B ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 24, 2019

“One Minute” Coleen (release date: February 5, 2019) By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter Coleen’s “One Minute” is not only the first song she wrote, it is autobiographical. At a time when everything was going wrong in her life, when she couldn’t hold on for another minute, Coleen cried out to the Lord and was subsequently able to endure. That’s the message of the song, a call to all women who, like her, have suffered emotional and physical abuse: “If He did it for me, He can do it for you.” Its retro acoustic guitar sound, easy rhythm, and folksy harmonies mask ...

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“It’s Praying Time” – Frozene Lott-Hayes

“It’s Praying Time” Frozene Lott-Hayes Lothay Music (release date: February 1, 2019) By Bob Marovich To a live audience at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, traditional gospel singer Frozene Lott-Hayes renders this mid-tempo golden oldie with lyrics that are (unfortunately) as pertinent today as they were back when the Miami Mass Choir did it more than twenty years ago. “Wars and rumors of wars. . .earthquakes, famine, and diseases,” Frozene declares, reminding listeners that if ever there was a time to pray, it’s now. Her shifts from straight singing to growling to shouting are ideal for this song, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 17, 2019

“I’m So Glad” Bishop Neal Roberson feat. Bishop Paul S. Morton Malaco Music Group (2019) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Those who know Bishop Neal Roberson as an upbeat man with a wonderful sense of humor will be taken aback by his spoken word introduction to “I’m So Glad.” In a sobering tone, he informs listeners about his lung cancer diagnosis, then moves into “I’m So Glad,” a gentle hymn about God as a miracle worker. Halfway through, Roberson is joined by Bishop Paul S. Morton, who offers his own testimony of deliverance from cancer. It’s the reassurance Roberson needed to ...

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“Fresh Wind” – Kim Person

“Fresh Wind”Kim PersonFrom the KLP Enterprises CD The Journey(release date: January 26, 2019) By Bob Marovich As a child growing up in North Carolina, Kim Person was known for her big voice. Her big voice has gotten more substantial with time and experience and can be heard in full flower on her new single, “Fresh Wind.” “Fresh Wind” has the skeleton of a hymn and the flesh and blood of a gospel song. It features thickly (perhaps excessively) produced instrumentation, a bevy of background vocalists, and Kim Person’s ever-present exuberance, which builds in evangelistic intensity as the song moves to ...

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