Singles

“Unbelief” – Stephen King

“Unbelief” Stephen King From the CD No Secrets (release date: April 28, 2018) By Bob Marovich Not the best-selling author of horror and suspense novels, this Stephen King is a Christian rap artist from Battle Creek, Michigan, who now calls New Orleans home. “Unbelief” is from King’s debut album, 2018’s No Secrets. It’s an anguished prayer for divine assistance during a time of supreme doubt. By the end, he turns the moral of faith into a message of hope for those still trapped in anguish. If you listen hard, you will hear a recurring sample from B. B. King’s classic ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 2, 2020

“Patiently Praising” Fred Jerkins feat. Lowell Pye From Fred Jerkins Presents: A Project of Healing DarkChild Gospel (album release date: September 28, 2018) By Bob Marovich Men of Standard founder Lowell Pye injects the smooth soulful vocal style of his former group in the current single, “Patiently Praising.” Turning to the wisdom of Psalm 34 after receiving unsettling news, Pye commits to being patient, keeping the faith, praising the Lord, and offering thanksgiving for each new day. And as many survivors know, an optimistic attitude can indeed help the healing process. “Patiently Praising” comes from Fred Jerkins’s multi-artist A Project ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 24, 2020

“Big” Pastor Mike Jr. Blacksmoke Music Worldwide/Rock City Media Group (release date: May 10, 2019) By Bob Marovich In a time when Kanye West is dominating Billboard‘s Top Gospel Singles and Albums charts, whatever space is left is occupied by legacy artists like Kirk Franklin and Tamela Mann. There’s scant room for new artists. Nevertheless, Pastor Mike Jr. has broken through onto the charts with “Big” and his album Free. As sonically enormous as its subject, “Big” evokes the work of James Fortune & FIYA in its use of spoken calls to sung choral responses, outsized production, and zealous optimism. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 17, 2020

“Jehovah God (I Will Trust You)” Gospel Heritage 2.0 feat. Madelyn Berry From the Integrity Music & Tyscot Records CD Next Wave of Praise (single release date: January 24, 2020) By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter Madelyn Berry leads her own P&W composition, “Jehovah God (I Will Trust You)” as a choir of worship leaders, assembled by fellow P&W singer-songwriter and producer VaShawn Mitchell, provides the melodic foundation that lets her improvise freely. Although the melody and lyrics are akin to other modern P&W ballads, this one is distinguished by Berry’s passionate delivery, which starts out with fiery intensity and never cools. ...

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“Look to the Hills” – Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir

“Look to the Hills” Rev. Luther Barnes & the Restoration Worship Center Choir Shanachie / SRT Entertainment (release date: January 24, 2020) www.shanachie.com By Bob Marovich On the heels of “God’s Grace,” a remarkable hit for the Reverend Luther Barnes and the choir from his Restoration Worship Center in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, comes another heartwarming single, “Look to the Hills.” Barnes takes Psalm 121 as his text for this selection. Citing money problems as well as adding an alarming verse about a health scare that one can only hope is not autobiographical, he and the choir offer a reassuring ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 10, 2020

“God Wants to Heal You” Earnest Pugh Black Smoke Music (from the 2017 album Survive) By Bob Marovich Recorded originally in 2006 by Apostle Kevin Davidson and the Voices, the Davidson-penned “God Wants to Heal You,” which was covered by Earnest Pugh as early as 2009, is being promoted as a single. Much shorter in its new go-around than Davidson’s original, the gospel ballad nevertheless receives a faithful treatment from Pugh, whose tenor voice is similar in texture to the composer’s own (both are from Memphis). Pugh also brings along an ensemble of background vocalists to assist as the choir. ...

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“Come See About Me” – Exciting Holy Sons

“Come See About Me” Exciting Holy Sons Deznell Music Group (release date: June 1, 2018) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/theholysons By Bob Marovich One of Chicago’s most popular male quartets, the Exciting Holy Sons maintain one foot in traditional gospel and the other in more modern arrangements, or a style the Sons associate with the “New Quartet Nation.” Their single, “Come See About Me,” is a good example of what landed them on the preliminary ballot of this year’s Stellar Awards. Produced by the Williams Singers of Indianapolis, the song captures the Exciting Holy Sons’ live energy as they sing, growl, and shout the ...

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“Look at God” – Darrell Luster featuring the Legends of Quartet

“Look at God” Darrell Luster featuring the Legends of Quartet 4 Winds Records / Malaco Music Group (release date: February 2020) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich What if Spencer Taylor Jr. of the Highway QCs, Rev. Thomas Spann of the Brooklyn All Stars, Willie Rogers of the Soul Stirrers, JoJo Wallace and Horace Thompson of the Sensational Nightingales, and Cleave Graham of the Pilgrim Jubilees got together to sing? Further, what if they told the story of how hard the gospel highway was in the golden era? That’s what you get on “Look at God,” a new composition by Darrell Luster ...

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“I Hear Rain” – Edwrin Sutton & Kingdom Culture

“I Hear Rain” Edwrin Sutton & Kingdom Culture Blacksmoke Music Worldwide (release date: May 2, 2019) “I Hear Rain” is a song of encouragement in a time of despair. Its spoken call and sung response between Sutton and Kingdom Culture evokes James Fortune and Kirk Franklin’s own use of the technique. The coming storm is nothing to fear, the ensemble sings, because the rain means greater is coming. In anticipation of the gathering clouds and the eventual downpour of blessings, the group builds the song’s tension, though it ends before the sweet release. This is a case where the longer ...

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“The Blood” – Rev. R. L. Bush & the New Swan Silvertones

“The Blood” Rev. R. L. Bush and the New Swan Silvertones From the album Live and UpClose https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/revrlbtnss By Bob Marovich During more than 80 years of singing, the Swan Silvertones quartet has remained relevant by shifting its style to keep up with the times. From rhythmic jubilee singing to church-wrecking power to sweet harmonizing to contemporary quartet, the Swans have done it all. On “The Blood,” the New Swan Silvertones, featuring the Reverend R. L. Bush, keep it old school. With nothing but a drum beat to sing to and the bass singer imitating a stand-up bass  in his ...

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