Singles

“God Has Done” – Bishop Kenneth Robinson & Chosen

“God Has Done” Bishop Kenneth Robinson & Chosen From the forthcoming album Churchin’ with Chosen (2015) The group’s name suggests it’s a small choir, but make no mistake: Bishop Kenneth Robinson & Chosen is a gospel quartet, complete with shouts, squalls, and leaps into falsetto. On “God Has Done,” the group instructs the listener to trust God, because he’s already done what he said he would do.  They give the song that energizing drive-tempo quartet rhythm—some might call it a “hip slapping” beat, but who hip slaps anymore? One of the “Singing Bishops” featured on a 2008 Light Records CD ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 17, 2015

“I’ll Say Yes to My Lord” Pastor Angela Walker & Divine Revelation From the forthcoming CD Door to the Next Level This spirited Chicago choir goes 100 percent church on “I’ll Say Yes to My Lord,” complete with cascading choral parts, a frenetic pace and even faster vamp, and an interpolation of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”  To those who think trad gospel is dead, I say, listen to groups such as Divine Revelation. Organized in 2006 and winners of the 2014 Urban Broadcast Media Voices of Praise Battle Competition, Pastor Angela Walker and Divine Revelation can be heard each Sunday at God’s ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 10, 2015

“Grace” Yael Hilton Available on iTunes Fayetteville, North Carolina’s Yael Hilton sings the stuffing out of “Grace,” an unbridled exultation of the power of God’s abundant mercy on her life. Written by Hilton and produced by GRAMMY Award-winner Kevin Bond, “Grace” is the twenty-something’s debut solo single and possibly a glimpse at what she is putting into her forthcoming full-length album. Catch the song’s first vamp and then hold on tightly for the second vamp to hear what this young woman can do.  An amazing talent who deserves major label attention. Hilton is director and minister of music at the Fayetteville ...

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“Something Big (Live)” – Jekalyn Carr

“Something Big (Live)” Jekalyn Carr Lunjeal Music Group (released August 7, 2015) www.malaco.com Eighteen-year-old gospel singing sensation Jekalyn Carr reprises “Something Big,” her single from earlier this year, as a live performance, complete with ambient shouts from her appreciative audience. Carr is energetic and exudes the power of positive thinking in this live performance. Perhaps the single is a teaser for a forthcoming live album, the release of which would make sense, but as a live single, it would have been better to hear her sing something new.

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Mechelle Johnson – “Urgent”

“Urgent” Mechelle Johnson Al-Go-Rhythm (2015) On “Urgent,” Memphis-based gospel singer Mechelle Johnson scats, swoons, whooos, and reads lines with rhythmic staccato accents, performing with more jazz than gospel in her voice. Her well-honed performance approach supports the song’s premise, which encourages listeners to go beyond the church walls and “into the highways and hedges” to deliver souls to God. The melody of this smooth jazz arrangement contains a bluesy twist, though the lyrics are inspirational, as Johnson charges listeners to accept discipleship and “shine for Him” through good works. Have a listen yourself: “Urgent”

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 3, 2015

“I’ll Be the One” Bri Babineaux Marquis Boone Enterprises (2015) www.brination.org Bri (Briana) Babineaux eagerly accepts the call to discipleship on her debut single, “I’ll Be the One.” The lovely twenty-year-old coed from the University of Louisiana evokes another emerging artist, Casey J, by placing her youthful and confident voice atop sinuous musicianship and supportive background vocalists. The gentle P&W ballad caught the industry by surprise when it debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Gospel Digital Download chart. It made history by landing the top spot without major radio airplay, personal appearances, or prior sales. It also entered the Hot Singles Sales Chart ...

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“Victory Right Now” – Angela “Missy” Billups

“Victory Right Now” Angela “Missy” Billups From My Inspiration II E’Mazin Entertainment (2015) Available on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon Remember the days when disc jockeys would listen to the B side of a record and decide that was the hit? “Get a Job” by the Silhouettes is just one of many examples of flip sides that became radio classics. “Victory Right Now,” from Angela “Missy” Billups’s EP remix of the single, “My Inspiration,” fills this bill. Traditional gospel with a powerful message of hope and faith is Missy’s strong suit and that’s what the uptempo “Victory” is about. It’s hard ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 27, 2015

“He Was Always There (That’s Why I Praise Him)” Zenobia Dewely Available on Amazon.com How can you not love a woman who “sangs” and runs a baked goods enterprise at the same time? Zenobia Pinckney Dewely, owner of Zenobia’s Sweet Tooth, is known as the “Cookie Lady,” but she sings the sweetening out of “He Was Always There (That’s Why I Praise Him).” Accompanied by a warbling B3 and an appreciative congregation, Dewely proclaims, “They said I would not make it / But my God, He stepped in right on time.”  The organ follows Dewely as she delivers her tuneful ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 20, 2015

“Back to Basics 2.0 – The Remix” Mel Holder feat. Gerald Alston Psalmist Music Group (2015) www.melholder.com There’s a first time for everything, and saxophonist Mel Holder’s single, “Back to Basics,” may be the first gospel song to include a slithery klezmer riff. A chugging beat doubles the tempo of the original “Back to Basics” as guest vocalist Gerald Alston of the Manhattans reflects back on the power and the glory of old school church. He implores listeners to “get back to the rudiments: prayer, praise, worship, and the Word.” Born in Queens, New York, of Panamanian descent, the Grammy- and ...

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“Healer” – Lady Renee

“Healer” Lady Renee www.LadyRenee.org To a conventional CCM melody penned by Australian artist Michael Guglielmucci, Lady Renee sings praises to the Lord with rising passion and gusto that can only come from the wellspring of personal conviction. Towards the end of the song, Lady Renee lines out a litany of issues, including depression, oppression, cancer, and AIDS, but the battle she fought was infertility, which resulted in several miscarriages. Yet and still (as the old folks would say), she and her husband finally conceived a child, which no doubt fueled her emotional outpouring on the single. Lady Renee is Chief ...

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