Singles

JGM Pick of the Week: September 25, 2017

“Enter In” Chrystal Rucker HBK Media (2017) By Bob Marovich Chrystal Rucker is one of the finest voices in gospel music today. Her vocal talent is on ample display on “Enter In,” the follow up to her Top 30 single, “Excuse Me.” The finer of the two singles, “Enter In” is a prayerful, uncomplicated worship ballad that allows Rucker sufficient space to improvise. Supported by powerful background voices, she builds from soft to sanctified, tossing in growls, shouts, and skyrocketing flights of soprano to convince the saved and sinner alike that when we come to the end of ourselves, when we can ...

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“My Faith is Working” – The New Christianaires

“My Faith is Working” The New Christianaires Carter Classic Records (2017) www.thenewchristianaires.com By Bob Marovich According to the New Christianaires, and many others, the impact of problems on your life can be improved greatly by the way you handle it. That’s the premise of the quartet’s latest single, “My Faith is Working.” Viewing personal and societal problems through the lens of “what my God can do” can make dealing with life’s challenges infinitely easier to swallow. And, shouts lead singer Elvis Brumfield Jr., “I can’t let Satan take my blessing from me.” The arrangement has the meaty mid-tempo quartet strut characteristic of the New Christianaires. Minister George N. ...

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“Believe” – Marnae Greenhill

“Believe” Marnae Greenhill GStar Entertainment (release date: January 27, 2017) www.marnaegreenhill.org By Bob Marovich Biblical references about Jesus’s miracles abound in this up-tempo selection, especially his raising up of Lazarus, whose emergence from the darkness of death into the light of life is a metaphor for singer Marnae Greenhill’s personal rescue “from a dark place.” The Baltimore native gives the song a decent, energetic reading, as befits the subject matter.  The recording would have been better without the over-caffeinated electronic burbles and a more strategic use of the background vocalists, all of which enthuse over Greenhill’s overcoming but too often overshadow the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 18, 2017

“I Thank You Lord” Terri McConnell Royal T Records (release date: August 29, 2017) www.terrimcconnell.com By Bob Marovich From its southern-fried funky beat to Terri McConnell’s wizened alto, “I Thank You Lord” is as traditional and delicious as sweet tea. McConnell gushes with gratitude to God for creating a path for her, but her blessings are not over yet. Quoting 1 Corinthians 2:9, she sings that “eyes have not seen nor ears heard” what God has in store for her. When she moves into “makes me wanna moan sometimes,” she has us. A two-time Rhythm of Gospel Award winner, Terri ...

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“Jesus” – Tracy Neal

“Jesus” Tracy Neal Holy Ground Music Group (released July 25, 2017) Available on iTunes and from CD Baby By Bob Marovich A worship song written in the 1990s by Minister J. David Bratton (“Every Praise”), “Jesus” is a hypnotic litany of adjectives and characteristics that Tracy Neal sings to describe the Son of God. Electric guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards steadily pick up the energy behind Neal until the musicians and background vocalists drop into an insistent groove during the vamp. Neal uses the vamp to improvise on the many names of Jesus and what he has been to her. ...

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“Nobody But You” – Chaddrick Wood feat. Lowell Pye

“Nobody But You” Chaddrick Wood feat. Lowell Pye Rebirth Soul Entertainment (2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/chaddrickwood By Bob Marovich The husky-voiced Lowell Pye, formerly of Men of Standard, is an ideal duet partner for the equally throaty Chaddrick Wood. On Wood’s single, “Nobody But You,” the two men argue against DIY as a way to solve one’s problems. It only causes stress. Instead, call on Jesus. He’ll relieve your burdens, fix your problems on the job, and heal you. No stress. To a Williams Brothers-esque funky, loping accompaniment, the duo weave improvisational vocal lines and interjections until they conclude with a hymn-like delicacy. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 5, 2017

“Never Give Up on You” Dennis Yancey http://www.igaraa.com/dennis-yancey.html By Bob Marovich Indie gospel artist Dennis Yancey’s “Never Give Up on You” is a simple, effective, and tunefully smooth ballad about maintaining complete trust in God, especially during the tough times, because God has never given up on us. Yancey’s relaxed vocals make his singing sound effortless. Sparkling production by Suga Mike Allen ensures that the message is undeniably clear. It’s reminiscent of their earlier collaboration on the equally compelling ballad of faith, “Though You Slay Me.” From Queens, New York, Dennis Yancey just celebrated his 40th birthday last month. A full ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 29, 2017

“Higher Place” Angelo and Veronica From the forthcoming A & V Music CD The Truth http://angeloandveronica.com/ By Bob Marovich In 1992, fresh on the scene and armed with training from Berklee College of Music, contemporary Christian singing duo Angelo and Veronica released their first album, Higher Place, on A & M Records. Among the songs they co-wrote for their debut disc was the title track, a song about a “place where you can just be you.” Luring the listener with the lyric line, “You take me to a higher place / You take me to a place I’ve never been ...

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“Holy, Holy” – Fresh Anointing

“Holy, Holy” Fresh Anointing Enon Music Group (release date: March 17, 2017) Available from digital media outlets By Bob Marovich Released in March of this year by the young adult choir Fresh Anointing of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church, “Holy, Holy” is a contemporary take on the nineteenth-century hymn. Garland “Miche” Waller, Enon’s minister of music, packs his adagio arrangement of the beloved hymn with the bold, round harmonies characteristic of the modern gospel choir. Fresh Anointing builds the song’s dynamics incrementally, but as soon as they hit the song’s emotional apex and you expect a key change or big, dramatic ...

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“Jesus Is Lord” – Calvin Bridges

“Jesus is Lord” Calvin Bridges From the PNEUMA/Spirit Recordings, Inc. EP Jesus is Lord (release date: July 18, 2017) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/calvinbridges15 By Bob Marovich Back in February of this year, Greater Harvest M. B. Church on Chicago’s South Side was the live recording headquarters for the award-winning gospel singer-songwriter Calvin Bridges (“I Can Go to God in Prayer”). Among the songs he introduced that evening was “Jesus Is Lord.” This radio-friendly R&P song evokes the effervescence of the artist himself in its periodic staccato blasts of funk from the musicians and tight call-and-response between Bridges and his choir. Bridges wraps his ...

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