Singles

JGM Christmas Pick of the Week: November 29, 2014

“Share Some Love” The North Carolina Community Choir From A Malaco Christmas (2014) Malaco Records www.malaco.com The irresistible North Carolina Community Choir offers this easygoing reminder of the real reason for the season. A team of tuneful soloists handles the verses, the choir harmonizes on the chorus, and a saxophone adds jazzy fills as well as a solo in the middle. What was supposed to be a one-time recording gig for a group of singers in 2010 became the genesis of the North Carolina Community Choir.  The ensemble produced an album, A Story To Tell, that garnered five of five stars ...

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Bishop Charles R. Lyles & the New John Howard Gospel Caravan – “According to the Power”

“According to the Power” Bishop Charles R. Lyles & the New John Howard Gospel Caravan From the EP Payday (released August 2014) www.JHGCaravaninc.org The musicians set the drum machine tempo to rapid-fire, then all instrumentalists (including the human drummer) and the singers join in on this church-wrecking selection. Bishop Charles R. Lyles, Pastor Wendy Mason-Harris, and Elder Ida Mae Graves take turns shouting on Ephesians 3:20, about being filled with the power of God, and in this context, filled with Holy Ghost fire. As with many songs about Holy Ghost fire, the song jumps with praise break furor. The group’s ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 25, 2014

“Real” BeWill www.bewillmusic.com Virginia singer, songwriter, rapper, and producer Will Stewart (aka BeWill) offers a brisk, refreshing ode to faith. It’s about the power of a God who he can’t see but nevertheless knows guides him throughout his day and provides beautiful gifts “from up above.” The inspirational message is fortified by a pulsing pop-urban AC arrangement and strong background vocalists. BeWill’s new EP, Praying for a Miracle, features Grace Gilliam and can be heard and purchased here: (prayingforamiracle.bandcamp.com/album/praying-for-a-miracle). The title track is a semifinalist in The International Songwriting Competition and also song of the month winner in The Songwriters ...

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“Are You Ready” – J. Maddox

“Are You Ready” J. Maddox Jadox Music Group (2014) www.IAmJMaddox.com On “Are You Ready,” urban AC gospel artist William Jermaine Maddox (aka J. Maddox) knows what to do to prepare, should Jesus come “like a thief in the night.” Later in the song, he turns the question outward, to the listener. Are you ready should Jesus come? The simplicity of the question is augmented by the minimal instrumentation (mostly keys) and a dramatic melody, which seems to float in space. In addition to his solo career, J. Maddox is a member of Kevin Lemons & Higher Calling and sings with ...

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JGM Christmas Pick of the Week: November 19, 2014

“Christ Is Born” Maurice Griffin From the CD My Holiday (2014) www.MauriceGriffinOnline.com Maurice Griffin’s new single, “Christ Is Born,” is a Christmas hymn and Praise & Worship song all in one gift-wrapped package (though I have a friend who thinks all P&W songs sound like Christmas songs). A finalist on the second season of BET’s Sunday Best, Stellar Award nominee, and an entertaining program emcee, Griffin is in great tenor voice on this selection. He and the background vocalists lift hallelujahs and announce Christ’s natal day like a choir of angels. Griffin, who keeps getting better and better vocally, will take his ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 17, 2014

“I Got the Victory” Signature From the Birmingham Entertainment/Epic Entity Music Group album Bigger Than All (2014) www.WeAreSignatureMusic.com “I Got the Victory,” the latest single from Birmingham, Alabama female trio Signature, pulls its extroverted beats and holy swagger from the musical playbooks of Mary Mary and Trin-i-tee 5:7. Signature sings several triumphal chants of joy for having favor, all prefaced by a dramatic movie-intro flourish. Comprised of Kristie Robinson, Bonnie Lett, and Michelle Lett, Signature garnered public attention after their single, “Bigger Than All,” bubbled under in Billboard. If dissimilar in melody, “Bigger” and “Victory” share a bold vocal sound, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 11, 2014

“Sanctified Circle” Roy Tyler & Raphael Saadiq www.reverbnation.com/roytyler (510) 839-2884 – call between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time Former Gospel Hummingbird Roy Tyler and former Tony! Toni! Toné! member Raphael Saadiq have been teaming up recently to keep the standard of R&B-flavored gospel uplifted. This includes a recently released single, “Sanctified Circle.” Evoking the ring shout tradition in spirit if not technically in rhythm, “Sanctified Circle” is an uptempo piece about “crossing the separating line,” entering “the sanctified circle,” and getting a new walk and new dance. In between verses, the musicians break into a ’60s twist riff ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: November 4, 2014

“Greater” Chad Brawley From the forthcoming album The We Worship Experience (Spring 2015) Available from digital music providers A melodic, energetic, and eminently radio-friendly praiser from Houston’s Chad Brawley. He and his background vocalists sing with muscle and conviction about the greatness of God. “Greater” evokes the quintessential urban P&W sound of artists such as VaShawn Mitchell and William McDowell. An experienced music minister, Brawley has worked for The Potter’s House, Heritage Christian Center, and Good Hope Baptist Church in Houston. He is currently Director of Worship Arts at The Luke Church of Humble, TX, cited as one of the fastest ...

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“He Shall Reign” – Bridgett Kern

“He Shall Reign” Bridgett Kern Platinum Image Music Group (2014) www.BridgettKern.com A worship leader, songwriter, and pastor, Bridgett Kern delivers this vertical praiser that combines the feel-good melodicism of CCM with the bracing, energetic punch of rock, and vocals from the modern gospel tradition. The CCM feel is not coincidental: the song was written by Israel Houghton collaborators BJ Putnam and Doug Engquist, and produced by Putnam. Kern leads worship at Radiant Life Church in Phoenix, Arizona. She and her husband, Dr. Joseph Kern, founded the church. The single is from her forthcoming album, No One Greater, scheduled for release in ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: October 28, 2014

“I Need Thee” Beulah Grove Mass Choir feat. Monica Lisa Stevenson Released digitally October 21, 2014 www.beulahgrove.org Beulah Grove Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia (Dr. Sam Davis, Pastor), celebrates its centennial with a rousing gospel version of the hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour,” rendered with spirit by the always effervescent Monica Lisa Stevenson. The choir and musicians set a praise party atmosphere as MLS ups the trad cred an extra notch by interpolating lyrics from “I Love the Lord, He Heard My Cry.” “I Need Thee” is the single from the church’s Live at the Grove CD.

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