Singles

JGM Christmas Pick of the Week: December 22, 2014

“Tis the Season for Miracles” Tarralyn Ramsey Nylarrat/Heartstrings Music (2014) www.tarralynramsey.com Tarralyn Ramsey translates the wonderment of Christmas  into a word of encouragement to people who don’t need presents under the tree—they need real miracles in their lives. Embellishing the melodramatic melody with melismatic runs from the Whitney Houston toolkit, Ramsey reminds the downhearted to keep steadfast in their belief: “Tis the season for miracles, tis the season for breakthrough.” Ramsey launches a note towards the end that is so high it may have taken out a star or two on its trajectory northward. Tarralyn Ramsey is a recording artist and the winner of the ...

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“Flow” – Jonathan Valencia

“Flow” Jonathan Valencia From the CD Kingdom Bound www.jonathanvalenciamusic.com This teenaged Rhythm of Gospel Award winning and Stellar nominated artist is better known for his Christian rap, “Kingdom Bound,” but he also sings. On “Flow,” a simple, atmospheric song with techno overtones, Jonathan calls on the Holy Spirit to pour into him so much that the blessings overflow. The innocent vulnerability in Jonathan’s voice suggests that behind the rap bravado is the fragility of childhood that we all carry around but are afraid to show the world.

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 14, 2014

“Gonna Tell the World About You” Eddie Ruth Bradford From the CD Blessed to Be a Blessing www.eddieruthbradfordmusic.com Eddie Ruth Bradford’s latest single is deliciously old-school, complete with whirring organ, funky backbeat, and multi-tracked quartet of voices on the chorus. By referencing Bible stories that demonstrate Jesus’s ability to give eyesight to the blind and heal the sick, she sends encouragement to listeners struggling through life’s trials. Bradford evokes Mavis Staples with her world-weary contralto, as does the deep and rootsy arrangement supporting her. The Stellar-nominated Bradford hails from Clarksville, Mississippi. She sang with her family group as a child and had dreams of singing gospel ...

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“Amazing” – Livre’

“Amazing” Livre’ Glory2Glory Records/PRODIGY Entertainment Group www.livremusic.com Taking their name from the Portugese word for “free,” Livre’ (pronounced Liv-Ray) is a young and talented vocal harmony quintet from the Bronx. JGM first learned of them in 2012 upon the release of their single, “I Will Be Alright.”  The song earned the site’s coveted Pick of the Week slot. The group’s newest single, “Amazing,” is packed with energetically sung hallelujahs to the Almighty for not giving up on evryone and, most especially, for “[taking] the fall” for our sins.  They incorporate a smidgen of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” near ...

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“Blessing Me” – J. Nichole

“Blessing Me” J. Nichole From No More Running (released October 2014) www.myjnicholesong.com Juliet Nichole Jones, aka J. Nichole, has a huge, soulful voice that is equally suited for sacred and secular music. Her original aspiration was to sing pop, but when she rededicated herself to the church, gospel music won over. To a subtly thumping beat, the swaggering “Blessing Me” finds the singer declaring how she has received God’s blessings, despite her worthiness or unworthiness. Top-shelf production and a powerful voice combine to make this a stunning selection. From Pennsylvania, J. Nichole is the 2013 Newsome Award Winner and 2014 ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 8, 2014

“He’ll Make It Alright” Pastor Antoine Hutchins featuring the Christian Unity Choir From the CD He Still Loves Me (2014) www.cdbaby.com/cd/pastorantoinehutchins No doubt the members of Christian Unity Baptist Church in Waldorf, Maryland, shout whenever Pastor Antoine Hutchins and the Christian Unity Choir break out the churchy Tommies hit, “He’ll Make It Alright.” This old-school rouser about the power of the Lord to fix any problem is appropriately joyous. Hutchins calls, the choir answers, and the musicians drive the rollicking tempo. “Y’all might as well have some fun with this one,” declares Hutchins, and they do.

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“Mary Did You Know” – The Bishops Quartet

“Mary Did You Know” The Bishops Quartet From I Know What Prayer Can Do (2014) www.thebishopsquartet.net Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene’s “Mary Did You Know” is one of the two or three Christmas songs to come out in recent times with real “legs,” or longevity. The Bishops Quartet gives it a contemporary quartet arrangement, and it works. Franky Smith’s electric guitar scatters blue notes like pixie dust while Thurman Hargrove Jr. lays down a warm Hammond B3 foundation. The quartet, comprised of Bishops Alvin Palmer (manager), Thurman Hargrove, James Coleman, and Elder Robert Brice, was organized in Orlando, Florida, and recorded ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 3, 2014

“Do Life Big” Jamie Grace From the Gotee album Ready to Fly (2014) www.gotee.com Isn’t it a pity and a shame how many in the gospel music community ignored Jamie Grace’s “Beautiful Day,” despite its longevity on the Billboard charts? It reminds me of how songstress Heather Headley won a Grammy for her worship masterpiece, Audience of One, yet the album made no noise at the Stellar Awards that year. Nevertheless, Grace’s new single, “Do Life Big” ought to help awaken more in the industry to the cheerful, life-embracing inspirational singer. Sugary-sweet pop beats support Grace’s effervescent vocals. “I came ...

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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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