Singles

JGM Pick of the Week: March 30, 2015

“Forever I Will” Lonnie Hunter feat. Structure From the forthcoming Tyscot CD #GETITDONE www.lonniehuntermusic.com Recently signed to major gospel label Tyscot Music and Entertainment, the Stellar Award-winning singer, choir director, Radio One show host, former male model, Air Force veteran, and native Chicagoan Lonnie Hunter wasted no time getting a new single to market. Written by Davie Moore, “Forever I Will” is the first single release from Hunter’s forthcoming Tyscot album, #GETITDONE. It is a dramatic, radio-friendly contemporary ballad reminiscent of Kirk Franklin’s early work. Hunter serves as minister to Structure’s congregation as they combine praise with supplication.

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 23, 2015

“Just For Me” Tim Spady feat. Jeff Murrell Available on iTunes (release date: March 20, 2015) https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/just-for-me-feat.-jeff-murrell/id978825762 The always-melodic songwriter Tim Spady of Philadelphia teams with vocalist Jeff Murrell on the Easter-themed “Just For Me.” Over Spady’s dramatic and semi-classical musicianship, Murrell praises Jesus for paying the price “just for me.” His tear-stained tenor is the ideal medium for this song about the ultimate sacrifice.

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 16, 2015

“Persona” Corey Barksdale www.coreybarksdalemusic.com “I know this for myself / I don’t have to be like anyone else.” Corey Barksdale drops into a finger-popping acoustic groove to declare that he’s done listening to what other people think he should be. God knew what he was doing when he made me, he sings, and that’s all there is to it. Besides, “everybody fails at being just like somebody else.” This breezy, inspirational selection gives the vocally flexible Barksdale space to run up and down the bass and treble clefs like stair steps.

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“I Know a Man Named Jesus” – Shawn Brown & Da Boyz

“I Know a Man Named Jesus” Shawn Brown & Da Boyz 4 Winds Records (2015) www.malaco.com To a spanking backbeat and driving mid-tempo groove, Shawn Brown & Da Boyz of East St. Louis, Illinois, declare to their live audience that they know a man “who will make a way.” The answer to the rhetorical question is “Jesus,” and Brown and the group hammer home the point by exhorting “Jesus” back and forth during the song’s vamp. Their call-and-response akin to a preacher and his congregation, Shawn Brown & Da Boyz go old school on this neo-traditional composition. The quartet’s live CD, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 10, 2015

“I Got Better Coming” LaVarnga Hubbard Utopia Music Group (2015) On her new single, Lady LaVarnga Hubbard of Chicago has “got better coming,” and she’s not afraid to shout down the church rafters to let you know. Church shouting is what the “Duchess of Gospel Music” does.  She rollicks along on the up-tempo, traditional-laden “I Got Better Coming” like a twin sister of fellow Chicagoans Lemmie Battles or Angie Spivey. Old-fashioned gospel music will never die as long as the likes of Lady LaVarnga have a breath in their body. She comes from the Caravans-Davis Sisters-Gospel Harmonettes tradition, where Zion ...

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“The Wonder of You” – Jenise La Vonne

“The Wonder of You” Jenise La Vonne www.lovejeniselavonne.com Although the wispy classical-and-acoustic-guitar intro of “The Wonder of You” reveals the marvel that Jenise La Vonne feels in the presence of the Lord, her penetrating vocals offer a more dramatic scenario: she’s actually drifted away and is looking to reclaim that time “when I first believed.” Nominated for four 2015 Rhythm of Gospel Awards, indie artist Jenise is a PK who has literally grown up in church. She’s fervent in her delivery, a singer navigating the deceptively complex demands of a gospel song. The innocence that “The Wonder of You” exudes will likely appeal ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 3, 2015

“He Delivered Me” Pastor Marlon Lock From the CD Good Seed Project www.pastormarlonlock.com Pastor Marlon Lock’s testimonial “He Delivered Me” has all the flavor of a quartet song, complete with the up-tempo southern-fried backbeat, the congregational song lyric, the call and response between male background vocalists, and the extended vamp. It is fun, communal-style handclapping gospel music The pastor’s love for quartet singing goes way back. His first solo, at age ten, came from the Mighty Clouds of Joy songbook. He cites Lee Williams and the Spiritual QCs among his influences. The Clouds’ Earvin Williams guests on the Good Seed Project ...

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“Gotta Believe in Me” – Ebony Archer

“Gotta Believe in Me” Ebony Archer www.ebony-archer.com Ebony Archer is an independent solo artist whose single, “Gotta Believe in Me,” is a youth empowerment anthem with a Jamie Grace vibe in its bubbly cheerfulness. Its message of self-confidence is bolstered by assertive electronica and a thumping backbeat. “Doesn’t matter if I fall,” she sings, “Gonna make it through it all.” Ebony is an alumna of the world-famous Walt Whitman and the Soul Children of Chicago, a group she joined in 2000 at age eight. In 2012, she was runner up, with more than 40,000 votes, in a contest held by Black ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 23, 2015

“Never Forget It” God’s Chosen From the CD 1 & 6 www.gc3music.com Promising to remember all the things God has brought them through, God’s Chosen brings to “Never Forget” the cheerful harmonies and bubbly tempos of the Clark Sisters, Trin-i-tee 5:7, Virtue, and Mary Mary. Also known as GC3, God’s Chosen—Zebrina Anderson, Nikeisha Whittier, and Sarah Stephens—hails from St. Louis, Missouri. Meeting in high school, the ladies received their first public confirmation as a gospel trio in 2002 when they won the Six Flags Gospel Day Competition and earned a spot as opening act for Yolanda Adams. “Never Forget” is from their independently ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 16, 2015

“Jesus is Real” The Volunteer State Mass Choir (radio release: February 24, 2015) www.facebook.com/TheVolunteerStateMassChoir The Volunteer State Mass Choir gets gospel bluesy and traditional on “Jesus is Real.” The organ warbles, the piano offers dramatic chording, drums emphasize the beat, and the choir participates in a call and response with the lead singers. The lyrics hearken back to old fashioned devotionals and personal testimonies of Jesus’s goodness and saving power. As its name indicates, the Volunteer State Mass Choir hails from Tennessee. Founded in April 2006 by Jeffery Wilford of Nashville, the choir has been nominated in three Rhythm of Gospel ...

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