Singles

JGM Pick of the Week: February 8, 2021

“Judgement Day” Jules Schroeder Jules Schroeder Music (release date: November 17, 2020) https://julesschroedermusic.com/ On “Judgement Day,” inspirational singer-songwriter Jules Schroeder offers a poignant anthem of freedom. Evoking current times (“a world of hate”) in melody, mood, and lyric, she sings: “In the last hour when you’re standing by the gate, there will be no one left to blame for every choice that you’ve made.” Assisted by the Marcus Mosely Choir, Schroeder sounds like Neko Case when singing the declarative “live free or die” refrain. For those who peddle hate, she has but one message as they gingerly approach the pearly ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 1, 2021

“Alpha and Omega” Jude Philips https://www.facebook.com/jude.akamien.9 By Robert M. Marovich On his gorgeous new single, “Alpha and Omega,” Nigerian medical doctor and gospel music minister Jude Philips expresses what he declares is “the unusual greatness and supremacy of God which makes all things possible through Him.” The mystical opening strains introduce a very simple major key melody characteristic of African gospel writ large. Philips sings lyrics of praise and adoration in two languages while his background vocalists offer a silky curtain of sound and a saxophone punctuates the atmosphere. As Philips and his team illustrate, less can be more. Dr. ...

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“I Made It” – Darius Paulk

I Made It”Darius PaulkAIR / Malaco Music Groupwww.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich The intro to singer-songwriter Darius Paulk’s new single, “I Made It,” is straight out of the James Cleveland songbook. Percussive piano, check. Chirping organ, check. Gospel waltz tempo, check. The lyrics, on the other hand, offer a timeless message: surviving the trials and tribulations of life is the result of God’s goodness. But Paulk reminds the listener that it’s not always easy to keep the faith. He gets real: “The pressures of life are so hard to bear / And sometimes it seems like no one cares.” Later ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 25, 2021

“Thank God for What Didn’t Happen” Prez Blackmon Pearl’s Son Music (release date: January 1, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich The title alone is a testament to the times. But for God, Blackmon sings in his elastic tenor, it could have been me, it could have been worse, it could have been tragic. It’s a statement Blackmon heard his pastor, Bishop Noel Jones of the City of Refuge L.A., say many times. This past year’s worrisome mix of physical and social trials, however, really put it in focus for the singer. Blackmon sets his message of gratitude to an appropriately ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 11, 2021

“Forgive Me” Toneisha Harris Connected Sound Music Group (release date: October 1, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Toneisha Harris makes as transparent a confession of sin as one is likely to hear on “Forgive Me.” Harris’s impassioned and melismatic pleas are set to a soulful rhythm section that receives dramatic emphasis from insistent piano triplets. Her mea culpas buckle the walls of her prayer closet. The runner-up in 2020’s The Voice vocal competition on NBC, Toneisha Harris was first heard by JGM in 2007 as a featured vocalist on Bruce Parham’s single, “Call Jesus.” We called her “spectacular” then and ...

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“Get Right Church”- The Gospel Legends

“Get Right Church” The Gospel Legends From the OTH Records CD Just One Touch (release date: December 11, 2020) www.thegospellegends.com By Robert M. Marovich One day about fifteen years ago, I was at the Gospel Music Workshop of America when someone handed me an invitation to meet a group called the Gospel Legends at their booth in the exhibitors’ hall. Intrigued, I accepted the invitation, expecting to shake hands with a group of seniors from various veteran quartets. I’m sure the Gospel Legends of South Carolina smiled at the surprise on my face when I laid eyes on a group ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 4, 2021

“God is Working” Deon Kipping The Underestimated Group (release date: November 20, 2020) www.deonkipping.com By Robert M. Marovich “That Dude” Deon Kipping, the singer-songwriter responsible for JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise’s 2005 hit, “Incredible God, Incredible Praise,” delivers a heartwarming new gospel ballad called “God is Working.” The song’s image is of a God who never rests in service to his people. When things look grim and we don’t have all of the answers, Kipping sings, remember that God is working “behind the scenes.” The main line is “Just before you start to fall apart / Remember God does all ...

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“He Picked Me Up” – The Highway QCs featuring Spencer Taylor Jr.

“He Picked Me Up” The Highway QCs featuring Spencer Taylor Jr. Ruffboyzmusic Group, LLC / Overboard Records 2020 By Robert M. Marovich The Highway QCs under “The Godfather” Spencer Taylor Jr. have not only entered their eighth decade of spreading the good news through quartet harmony, they show no signs of slowing down. Taylor assumes the second lead on the effervescent single, “He Picked Me Up.” It’s full of energy, optimism, and zest—just what we need to get through the tough times. The single is another example of the noise Jontee Ruffin’s Ruffboyzmusic Group and Darrell Jay Jones’ Overboard Records ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 21, 2020

“Silent Night”HamiltonesFrom the Young Vintage CDA Hamiltone Christmas (release date: November 30, 2017)www.watchtheton3s.com By Robert M. Marovich Although labeled a soul and R&B group, the Hamiltones of North Carolina sound for all the world like a gospel quartet on “Silent Night.” From converting the song’s 6/8 time signature to 12/8 to the shouting vocals, gritty guitar work, adlibbing, and crackling vinyl intro, this is old school quartet, I don’t care what anybody says. Then again, the Grammy-nominated trio has been featured on albums by Anthony Hamilton, PJ Morton, Jonathan McReynolds, and Tori Kelly, so there’s that. Released in 2017, the ...

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“Jesus What a Wonderful Child” – Rhyme & Reason feat. April Hall

“Jesus What A Wonderful Child” Rhyme & Reason feat. April Hall From the Enon Music Group album A Reasonable Gift (release date: November 20, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich It does my heart good to know that the Angelic Gospel Singers’ “Glory, Glory to the New Born King,” once the most popular Christmas carol in the African-American community, is still being sung more than 70 years since its release. The production team of Josh Lay and Morgan Turner, known as Rhyme & Reason, covers it under its alternate title, “Jesus What a Wonderful Child.” Powerhouse singer April Hall gives the ...

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