Singles

JGM Pick of the Week: December 7, 2020

“Born to Die” Angela Moss Poole 141st Lane Media (release date: 2014) www.AngelaMossPoole.com By Robert M. Marovich Not the Glenn Burleigh cantata, this “Born to Die” is a song written and performed by Dr. Angela Moss Poole of Miami, Florida. A bittersweet ballad, “Born to Die” reminds us of the real reason we celebrate Christmas. Poole sets the song on that “special night” in Bethlehem, but she also references Christ’s ultimate sacrifice at the cross as the true gift that keeps on giving. An exceptional production and arrangement, coupled with Poole’s lithe soprano reading, sell this holiday treat, a re-release ...

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“Trust in the Lord” – Danielle Sunny Bryant

“Trust in the Lord” Danielle Sunny Bryant Ndamix Music Group (release date: November 13, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich On “Trust in the Lord,” Danielle Sunny Bryant encourages the discouraged by setting Proverbs 3: 5-6 to a meaty contemporary arrangement. Bryant’s attractive vocalizing toggles between modern and traditional, demonstrating her comfort with both styles. Starting out even-keeled, she moves the song toward the vamp, where the background vocalists do the melodic lifting so she can turn up the temperature and deliver a bluesy evangelism. The preferred extended version gives listeners a larger dose of Bryant’s vocal proclivities, including falsetto whoops ...

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“Come Praise the Lord” – Sounds of Imani

“Come Praise the Lord”Sounds of ImaniHeaven-Wings Records (release date: September 26, 2020)www.soundsofimani.com By Robert M. Marovich There have been husband-and-wife singing duos in gospel music since the beginning of the genre. For nearly 25 years, Pastor Gerald and Lady Carol Irvin have maintained the tradition, with “Come Praise the Lord” their latest single. Unlike the duo’s breezy, Hawkins-esque “Because of Who You Are,” the new song is a disco-driven piece that encourages everyone to dance while praising. “Move your feet to the beat,” the background vocalists chime, as Gerald and Carol weave their vocals together like a gospelized Yarborough and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 30, 2020

“He’s Here” Darrell McFadden & the Disciples From the RuffBoyz Music Group LLC / Overboard Records CD Book of Life, Vol. 1 (release date: May 29, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be stopping Ruff Boyz Music Group and Overboard Records. The partnership is minting some outstanding traditional gospel. In addition to last week’s feature by the Swanee Quintet, the partnership has produced Darrell McFadden & the Disciples’ album Book of Life, Vol. 1, and the single, “He’s Here.” This drive-tempo selection, which features call-and-response between McFadden and the group and, later, McFadden and a second lead, ...

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Jon Scott – “Freedom – A New Jerusalem”

“Freedom – A New Jerusalem” Jon Scott From the Brown Babes EP Freedom – A New Jerusalem (release date: November 17, 2020) Jon Scott, a London-based singer-songwriter (and first cousin to international singing star Seal), wrote “Freedom – A New Jerusalem” in response to President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. The murder of George Floyd only amplified Scott’s anger. With elements of Afrobeat and a U2-esque world pop sensibility, the title track of Scott’s four-track EP is an explicit call on the international community to break down the dividing walls and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 23, 2020

“Dr. Jesus” The Swanee Quintet From the Ruff Boyz Music Group LLC / Overboard Records CD Made in Augusta: Live at the Bell Auditorium (release date: June 20, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich “Dr. Jesus” is a Swanee Quintet perennial, a song they cannot eliminate from their repertory no matter how many years they are on the road or how many radio singles they accumulate. Nor should they: it’s a surefire way to lift congregations from their seats and start them to clapping and waving their hands. The Augusta, Georgia, quartet’s most recent recording of “Dr. Jesus” comes from a ...

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“I’m Not Ashamed” – Monica Lisa Stevenson feat. Paul Porter

“I’m Not Ashamed” Monica Lisa Stevenson feat. Paul Porter Puretonez Productions (release date: September 8, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich You can’t go wrong pairing Monica Lisa Stevenson and Paul Porter on a song brimming with evangelism. The two traditional vocalists sing and shout like veteran evangelists as the musicians and BGVs offer shoulder-shaking support. Former Christianaires member Porter lofts falsetto notes while Stevenson digs deep to deliver bluesy runs. Their most simmering singing occurs during the vamp, when they move, like preachers, from a reasoned to a more emotional testification. “I’m Not Ashamed” is written by VaShawn Mitchell and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 16, 2020

“Lord Give Me Another Chance” Apostle John E. Ross feat. Sean Scales & Tamara Lloyd Independent (preorder release date: November 13, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich A vocal duo of Sean Scales and Tamara Lloyd delivers a single so churchy that it all but stands up and testifies. A passionate plea for forgiveness, “Lord Give Me Another Chance,” written and arranged by Apostle John E. Ross, is fueled by the traditional gospel blues base and the 12/8 time signature that some elders call the “rocking chair” rhythm. Lead singer Scales offers fine singing at all ranges, from stave-topping falsetto flights ...

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“Come Back” – Elain Thomas

“Come Back” Elain Thomas From the EP Transformations Independent (release date: October 6, 2020) www.reverbnation.com/elainthomas By Robert M. Marovich Anchored by bold and insistent Brazilian percussion, “Come Back” is Elain Thomas’s finest single to date. It’s a rhythmic rumination on God’s constancy, a conversation between the self-styled jazz psalmist and her Savior. In her resonant contralto, Thomas delivers the Lord’s declaration, “Backslider, you belong to me,” not as a command but as a given. Many songs lasting two-and-a-half minutes are fine where they are, but “Come Back” could have gone on much longer without any loss of listener interest.

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“It’s Gonna Be Alright” – Mie’L & Company

“It’s Gonna Be Alright” Mie’L & Company Shekaycie Music (release date: September 5, 2019) https://www.thebash.com/gospel-band/mie-l-company By Robert M. Marovich From its name, pronounced My-L, Mie’L & Company sounds like a male-led small choir. From the cover of its EP, Another Chance, with its photo of group leader Richie Irby, it appears to be a solo act. But listening to the EP, one discovers that this Roebuck, South Carolina, troupe sings with the downhome passion of a quartet. “It’s Gonna Be Alright” is by far the best of the EP’s three cuts. It is straight-ahead Sunday morning service gospel quartet singing, ...

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