Singles

“When the Church Begins to Pray” – Dorothy Norwood feat. Melvin Williams

“When the Church Begins to Pray” Dorothy Norwood feat. Melvin Williams From the Dorothy Norwood Music Group CD An Incredible Journey (2014) Recorded live at Reid Temple AME Church in Washington, DC, “When the Church Begins to Pray” is a paean to the power of congregational prayer. Starting in spoken word mode, Dorothy “The Storyteller” Norwood defines the premise while a contemporary choir coos behind her.  After Melvin Williams of the Williams Brothers joins in, the song becomes a shout fest between the two soloists.  The best part of the song is hearing two gospel veterans duetting.

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Pick of the Week: August 11, 2014

“Your Destiny” Kevin LeVar & One Sound From Destiny Live at the Dream Center and More… (album release date: August 12, 2014) www.kevinlevar.com Inspirational balladeer Kevin LeVar has sung his way into the hearts of many with such lovely selections as “A Heart That Forgives,” “You Are Not Alone,” and “We’re Just Getting Started,” which he wrote for his own nuptials. “Your Destiny,” from Kevin LeVar & One Sound’s new CD, Live at the Dream Center and More… is fashioned in much the same formula: easy pop melody (evocative of early Seal), dramatic delivery, and lyrics that encourage strength in ...

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“Turn Up Your Praise” – New Christianaires

“Turn Up Your Praise” New Christianaires Carter Classic Records (2014) www.thenewchristianaires.com Although Rhythm of Gospel Awardees the New Christianaires are better known for “Remember Me,” no one should overlook their shoulder-shaker, “Turn Up Your Praise.” “While you’re waiting on your change, you need to turn up your praise,” sings Jarmain Hawthorne. He encourages listeners to keep faith in their hearts and smiles on their faces. “There’s a blessing on the other side of your pain,” the quartet declares, so “open your mouth and lift up your hands.” Hailing from Florida, the New Christianaires were formed in 2010 by Minister George ...

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“It’s Gonna Happen” – Jekalyn Carr

“It’s Gonna Happen” Jekalyn Carr Lunjeal Music Group/Malaco Music Group (available on iTunes August 12) www.myjekalyncarr.net “It’s Gonna Happen” is the latest single from the seventeen-year-old from the Mid-South who brought you “Greater is Coming” and “They Said, But God Said.” In a chirpy vibrato that evokes the pre-teen Tanya Tucker, Jekalyn delivers a ballad of faith that good things will happen because God said they will. It’s the wisdom not of the aged but of youthful optimism and a steadfast belief in the substance of things not seen. Jekalyn first came to national attention when she sang “Amazing Grace” in the ...

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Pick of the Week: August 5, 2014

“Forever Mine Lord” The New Gospel Saints From the NGS Records CD Forever Mine Lord (2012) www.newgospelsaints.com On “Forever Mine Lord,” the doo-woppy title track of their 2012 CD, the New Gospel Saints of Chicago demonstrate why they are called the “Temptations of Gospel Music” Possessing a silky smoothness reminiscent of ‘70s soul vocal groups, the New Gospel Saints took home Quartet of the Year at the Rhythm of Gospel Awards. Last month, they performed “Forever Mine Lord,” a love song to Jesus, at the Awards’ main event in Birmingham, Alabama. Their choreography, harmonies, and well-timed pauses elicited more than ...

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“I Gotta Do Better” – Jon Plair

“I Gotta Do Better” Jon Plair www.jonplair.com With “I Gotta Do Better,” singer-songwriter, producer, musician, and COGIC PK Jonathan Plair admonishes those “slacking in their praise” to do better.  Do better, he exhorts, and you will change your life. The song is conventional in melody and arrangement, but Plair and his female background singers, who do most of the vocal heavy lifting, give “Better” an energetic reading.  And do I hear real honest-to-God brass in the background? Plair, who at age 25 founded Plair’s Music Institute of Performing Arts, also serves as vice president of Agape Jurisdictional Music Department under Bishop ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: July 21, 2014

“I Believe” Dr. Marcus Cosby & the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Mass Choir From the 2012 CD Oh to Be Kept By Jesus (Anniversary Edition) Available on Amazon.com “I Believe” is a robust, stadium-sized praise anthem and assertion of personal belief from the Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Mass Choir of Houston, Texas.  The orchestral flourishes come courtesy of the Nashville String Machine. The passionate song turns out to be the final recorded solo for the church’s music minister, the late Henry “Hanq” Neal.  A Fort Wayne, Indiana, native and former member of the Pentecostal Ambassadors and Donald Vails Choraleers, Neal ...

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“Beautiful” – Wincey

Wincey “Beautiful” From the CD Time to Say (2012) www.winceyco.com Wincey Terry-Bryant’s “Beautiful” is an acoustic love song to God, though it could also be an acoustic love song to another person, or even encouragement to one’s self, for that matter. Its lithe, lilting melody is lovely and in sync with other tracks on the Jersey City, New Jersey, native’s debut album, Time To Say, which she began recording in 2008 and released four years later. Although it may have difficulty breaking into gospel radio, which currently favors a denser, more flamboyant form of praise, “Beautiful” is the kind of ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: July 7, 2014

“Amazing Worth” Charles Butler & Trinity feat. Jeremiah Hicks From the EPM Music Group CD Better www.epmmusicgroup.com Gospel enthusiasts first became aware of Washington, DC’s Charles Butler & Trinity when the ensemble backed Earnest Pugh on his 2009 hit, “Rain On Us.”  In February 2013, the group released its debut album, Better, on Pugh’s EPM Music Group imprint. “Amazing Worth” is the latest single release off of Better.  While the song follows Pugh’s formula for delivering graceful P&W anthems, the passion of the singers is what sells it. Together with the musicians, Jeremiah Hicks and Trinity eke every ounce of ...

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“Worthy God” – M. Roger Holland

“Worthy God” M. Roger Holland From the forthcoming GIA CD Building Up the Kingdom www.giamusic.com M. Roger Holland gives what could be just another P&W ballad a richness through a nuanced arrangement complete with strings, background vocalists, canny melodic changes, and expert use of dynamics.  His voice is a mix of Luther Vandross and Peabo Bryson (two of his inspirations), especially at the song’s apex.  His tenor nearly leaps out of the speakers when he holds notes and leaps into falsetto. The musicality is not surprising.  In addition to vocalist, Holland is a pianist, organist, composer, arranger, and symphony director.  ...

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