Singles

“Let It All Go” – Anthony Faulkner feat. Nikki Potts

“Let It All Go” Anthony Faulkner feat. Nikki Potts 7th Chapter Music (2015) http://afaulkner.com/ Like a gentler James Fortune, internationally-renowned singer Anthony Faulkner introduces his new single, “Let It All Go,” with a spoken admonition to let go your cares and cast them on God during times of trouble. From there, he joins L. A. Mass Choir alumna and Kurt Carr Singer Nikki Potts on an extended sung improvisation on the theme. Potts’s extroverted singing, which takes zero-to-sixty flights into a higher register during the song’s apex, contrasts well with Faulkner’s smooth, even delivery and the straightforward flow of the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 15, 2016

“Breakthrough” Bonita Burney Simmons (released October 19, 2015) www.bonitaburneysimmons.com Bonita Burney Simmons infuses her single, “Breakthrough,” with a toolkit of traditional church soloist techniques. Melismatic runs, soulful top notes, and lyric attacks a la Jennifer Hudson–all in the service of encouraging listeners to stay faithful, because their own breakthroughs are on the way. Born in Connecticut and raised in North Carolina, Simmons has been a singer since preschool. She entered the ministry in 2000 and serves as Co-Pastor and Outreach Coordinator of the Family Worship Church, “Ministry of Restoration,” in Kinston, North Carolina, where George E. Fields Jr. is pastor. A ...

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“My All and All” – Derrell Thomas

“My All and All” Derrell Thomas Full Circle Records www.fullcirclerecords.us Commencing with a compelling piano intro that resonates with Elton John’s deftness for encircling a melody with bright and shiny musical jewels, Derrell Thomas’s “My All and All” offers a melody and chorus that combine to be one heck of an earworm. Lyrically, the single gushes with simple statements of praise to the Lord. The Lord is not just a friend, Thomas sings, but “the very air that I breathe…my everything.” There’s not much to it, but the song works largely because of that relentless earworm melody. Born in Florida, Derrell Thomas ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 1, 2016

“By Myself” Deon Kipping From the RCA Inspiration EP A Place Called Victory (2015) www.rcainspiration.com The latest single from Deon Kipping’s A Place Called Victory EP is among his best tracks to date. “By Myself” has a hypnotic and ever-expanding arrangement, layered bit by bit with background vocals and more musicians until it apexes, then cools down.  All of this underpins a simple message: without God’s help, nothing we do individually will work. God must be in these details, because the recording works.  It could well be one of JGM‘s Best Singles of the Year.  Guaranteed to get arms waving ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 25, 2016

“Call Him” Earl Bynum feat. Andra Cross Mann-Up Muzik (2015) www.earlbynummusic.com Minister Earl Bynum is known throughout the gospel music industry for his award-winning work with large choirs, but make no mistake: he is also a solo singer. His 2009 Open My Heart album garnered two Stellar Award nominations: Contemporary Male Vocalist of the Year and Contemporary Choir of the Year. Bynum does some of his most soulful singing on “Call Him,” the debut single from his forthcoming solo album. During what might be described as a sacred slow jam, he encourages—nay, pleads with—the listener to call on Jesus because He answers prayer ...

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“Jesus” – Rodriquez Linson & Ministry

“Jesus” Rodriquez Linson & Ministry Linson Enterprise & BigBoyMusicGroup www.cdbaby.com/Artist/RodriquezLinsonMinistry Detroit organist Rod Linson & Ministry’s single, “Jesus,” is an intense call-and-response invocation of the Lord’s name and goodness. With flourishes of thunderous harmony, the ensemble sings in a minor key but resolves the motives in a major key. Nominated for four 2016 Rhythm of Gospel Awards, the group released its debut album, Oh Lord, Hear My Cry (Psalms 141) in late 2014. Fellow Detroiter Dr. E. LaQuint Weaver contributes two lead solos on the album.

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 18, 2016

“Trust and Depend” Voncile Belcher From the CD Phenomenal www.ladyvoncile.com Taken at pulse-racing praise break tempo, “Trust and Depend” finds traditional gospel singer Lady Voncile Belcher clad in her shouting shoes, evangelizing to the congregation about the importance of leaning on the Lord during the toughest of times. If your “life’s in despair” or your “bills are due and all your money’s gone,” the Alabama native sings, trust Him. You can imagine her walking the full length of the aisle teaching this time-honored lesson. Meanwhile, the synth imitates brass as the drums bear down with a vengeance. Quick and effective.

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 11, 2016

“Make a Way” Shanta Gray From her CD The Blood (2014) www.shantagraymusic.com On her new single, “Make a Way,” Alisa “Shanta” Gray doesn’t stray one iota from her roots as a member of the tradition-keeping Chicago Mass Choir, New Direction (founded by her husband, Jeral V. Gray), and other Chicago-based gospel choral ensembles. In fact, the single has a distinctly Cosmopolitan Warriors vibe with the frenetic pace, handclapping choir, churchy vocals, charging musicians, crowd-grabbing vamp, and Gray’s shouting vocals topping it all. “Make a Way” couldn’t be more Chicago if it wore a Bears cap and called every bridge a ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 4, 2016

“Use What I Have” Dynamic Abraham Brothers From the album Family Reunion Available on iTunes In the spirit of Psalm 98, the Dynamic Abraham Brothers encourage praising God by making a joyful noise in all the Earth. If you have a harp, trumpet, or cornet, shouts the lead singer, go on ahead and use them. But if you don’t have those instruments, “use what you have.” To the strutting downbeat characteristic of gospel quartets in drive mode, the Abraham Brothers demonstrate how using one’s hands, legs, and even eyes to clap, dance, and witness in praise of God’s blessings are more than adequate ...

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“Overflow” – Bryan Andrew Wilson feat. Roderick Giles & Grace

“Overflow” Bryan Andrew Wilson Feat. Roderick Giles & Grace Bryan’s Songs Records (release date: January 2016) Bryan Andrew Wilson’s forthcoming single “Overflow” falls squarely within the current gospel appetite for brisk, mid-tempo P&W songs with easy to learn melodies and lyrics. As such, it seems ideal for praise team use. Wilson, along with Roderick Giles & Grace as background vocalists, and the musicians, build incrementally from zero to sixty in dynamics over the course of the four-plus minute selection. Giles, incidentally, formed the Southern Baptist Church (SBC) Chorale, which was a regional champ of Verizon’s “How Sweet the Sound” competition ...

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