Singles

“I Will Call Upon the Lord” – Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver II & the Hallelujah Singers

“I Will Call Upon the Lord” Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver II & the Hallelujah Singers (release date: September 1, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Whenever I hear “I Will Call Upon the Lord,” the latest single from Detroit choir Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver & the Hallelujah Singers, I am reminded of the city’s iconic Joe Louis Fist sculpture. The song exemplifies in lyric and arrangement the majestic might of that fist. The song’s testimony to resilience “during these perilous times” and the choir’s steadfast faith in the Lord in the midst of their enemies are manifested in thunderous staccato singing ...

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“I’m Yours” – Leah Oduro-Kwarten

“I’m Yours” Leah Oduro-Kwarten Independent (release date: August 13, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Like Leah Oduro-Kwarten’s 2018 single “He Worked It Out,” her new outing, “I’m Yours,” is expansive in production and extroverted in delivery. Unlike her previous single, it moves with a more contemporary strut. Leah delivers the song’s premise—a request for conversion from an old life to a new and more fulfilling one—with the same outpouring of passion she showed while leading 2016’s “All Power” for Dr. Cynthia Nunn and the Illinois Midwest Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Mass Choir. While Leah’s sweet spot is churchy traditional gospel, with “I’m ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 30, 2021

“UWait2021” Walter Barnes Jr. & Men of Ministry From the Barnyard Records CD Nothing Shall Separate (release date: May 28, 2021) www.BarnYardRecordsllc.com/ By Robert M. Marovich What immediately struck me about “UWait2021” was not its bouncy tempo, its spirited vamp, or its earnest message of encouragement—all important—but the fact that Walter Barnes Jr. & Men of Ministry has that rarest of rarities: a bass singer. Said bass singer adds a nice touch, too. Bring bass singers back to quartet! The song was originally released as “U Wait” on the quartet’s self-titled 2008 album. Naturally, since things do not seem to ...

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“Better” – Pastor Skylar Patterson & Predestined (feat. Minister Lisa Knowles Smith)

“Better”Pastor Skylar Patterson & PredestinedFeat. Minister Lisa Knowles SmithFrom the CD Testify (release date: September 25, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Although the group’s name suggests a male-led small choir that sings contemporary gospel, Pastor Skylar Patterson & Predestined is a quartet with meaty old-school harmonies and a wicked kick drum anchoring the rhythm section. Their single, “Better,” came out last fall but is still, and probably always will be, relevant. Its message of hope and encouragement in the face of trials is amped up by featured vocalist and force of nature Lisa Knowles Smith. Not only does Smith help ...

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JGM Pick of the Week August 23, 2021

“Redeemed” Denita Gibbs IndieBlu / eOne Music (release date: June 25, 2021) www.denitagibbs.com By Robert M. Marovich Denita Gibbs of Birmingham, Alabama (now living in Nashville), is an excellent gospel artist who has not gotten an even break since her 2013 project, the five-star Without You (Audiostate 55 Entertainment). For “Redeemed,” a jumping celebration of salvation, Gibbs employs the talented producer Sean D. Scales, who injects the arrangement with gallons of urban AC swagger. Perhaps this selection will not only express her joy at redemption but be redemptive for her career. She certainly deserves it. This woman can sing!

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JGM Pick of the Week August 16, 2021

“Fear is Not Welcome” Brian Courtney Wilson feat. Hilary Scott From the Motown Gospel CD Still (Deluxe) (single release date: July 9, 2021) www.motowngospel.com By Robert M. Marovich While the original version of Brian Courtney Wilson’s “Fear is Not Welcome” was potent enough, for the Deluxe edition of Still, he duets with Hilary Scott, co-lead singer of Lady A (formerly Lady Antebellum) and who, as Hillary Scott & the Scott Family, released the Grammy Award-winning Christian music album, Love Remains. Together, the two declare holy war on fear, but not without a call for assistance from on high. Echoes of Psalm ...

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“I’m Not Tired Yet…Running for Jesus” – Calvin Bridges ft. Ann Bridges

“I’m Not Tired Yet…Running for Jesus” Calvin Bridges ft. Ann Bridges From the PNEUMA/Spirit Recordings, Inc. CD Gospel Church Generations (single release date: February 2, 2021) www.calvinbridges.org By Robert M. Marovich Although he is a talented songwriter, Calvin Bridges reaches back to the Caravans catalog for an oldie but goodie. Together with Ann Bridges, Calvin belts out this fire starter with a passel of fine supporting vocalists. Although the team takes the tempo a little slower than Inez Andrews did in 1958 and Pastor Shirley Caesar some years later, it still moves at a brisk pace. “I’m Not Tired Yet…Running ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 9, 2021

“Amazing” Pastor Mike Jr. Blacksmoke Music Worldwide (release date: July 30, 2021) www.pastormikejr.com By Robert M. Marovich Pastor Mike McClure Jr., better known as Pastor Mike Jr., the 2021 Stellar Awards Artist of the Year and gospel music’s current It Guy, cleverly gospelizes Gnarls Barkley’s 2006 smash hit “Crazy” as “Amazing.” Amazingly, it works. To a chill arrangement and with ample support from a full-throated choir of background vocalists, Pastor Mike Jr. takes his time with the famous melody. He stretches the tension to the breaking point, then lets the choir handle the finish. Expect groups around the country to ...

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“People of Light” – Ritasoul

“People of Light” Ritasoul A4 Music Records (release date: June 8, 2021) http://www.praisecamp.com.ng By Robert M. Marovich From time to time, JGM likes to find interesting songs from Africa, where gospel music is vibrant, and present them here. “People of Light” is one. This beautifully-produced and stirring anthem calls on believers to join forces as an army of good and let their light shine “like never before.” It is led by Ritasoul, a Nigerian singer whose commanding soprano is fortified by a team of tight musicians and background vocalists who literally sound like the army she calls forth. Relevant words ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 2, 2021

“Still Faithful” Christina Bell feat. Fred Hammond From the Malaco Music Group CD Still Faithful (release date: July 30, 2021) www.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich With or without assistance from gospel legend Fred Hammond, “Still Faithful” is former Z’iel member Christina Bell’s best solo single yet. To a lilting melody, Bell declares on the title track of her new album that regardless of the day’s pains and tragedies, and there are many, don’t worry, God is there for you. Hammond is in full agreement, grateful that God prevented potential problems from happening in his life. In true gospel song fashion, ...

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