Singles

“Such a Time as This” – Bryan Popin

“Such a Time as This” Bryan Popin Little Boy Wonder Music (rel. March 2016) www.bryanpopin.com Bryan Popin, the singer who Stevie Wonder once dubbed “Little Boy Wonder,” made his national debut as a gospel singer with 2013’s You Can Make It (eOne Music). The album’s message of encouragement and hope through Jesus resurfaces on Popin’s new single, “Such a Time as This.” Backed by a vocal ensemble, Popin figuratively rests his elbows on the table to empathize with the listener. “I know you hurt,” he sings, but with Jesus on your side, you will win, because “this is your time, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 25, 2016

“All I Need” Ramona J. Sanders From the CD Beginning With Me www.cdbaby.com/cd/ramonajsanders Opening with a tinkling piano and a marching beat, “All I Need” finds New York singer Ramona J. Sanders rendering praises to the Most High, the only one she really needs in her life, with genuine conviction and studied vocal versatility. She is supported by treble background vocalists who help her build the song’s intensity until the moment when the spirit is the highest and praises just spill out of Sanders with gut-wrenching, no-holds-barred passion. Gospel enthusiasts may remember Sanders as a member of the Angel’lics female gospel ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 18, 2016

“More than a Conqueror” Gregory D and Company (available digitally) www.cbgministries.com During this election season, the concept of winning is tossed around like a greased football, but for Elder Gregory DeMyers Jr. (Gregory D) and his singers, winning is a far more personal, temporal, and even eternal pursuit. On the even-tempered but nonetheless passionate “More than a Conqueror,” DeMyers’ contemporary gospel ensemble Gregory D and Company sings of personal hope and encouragement in such a time as this. Drawing directly from Romans 8:37, the group proclaims that all are conquerors “through Him who loved us.” To bring it to street ...

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“Your Life’s About to Change” – The Canton Spirituals feat. Pastor Tim Rogers

“Your Life’s About to Change” The Canton Spirituals feat. Pastor Tim Rogers From the Malaco CD Keep Knocking (2016) www.malaco.com On “Your Life’s About to Change,” the veteran Canton Spirituals get down to spiritual brass tacks with able solo assistance from Pastor Tim Rogers (Tim Rogers & the Fellas). Turning on the story of a single mother struggling to care for her children, the assemblage rolls up its collective vocal sleeves, lays down a languid tempo, and sings about the one Father who knows how much we can bear and will never let us down. No prosperity theology here, no ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 11, 2016

“Holy Spirit” Nia Allen (available from digital music outlets) www.niaallenmusic.com From the first few bars of “Holy Spirit,” praise and worship singer-songwriter Nia Allen draws the listener in with her lithe and lovely soprano, her tone breathing in the song’s reverent invitation for the Holy Spirit to come and fill the room. Written by Jesus Culture’s Bryan and Katie Torwalt, and providing them a GRAMMY for Best Christian Song of the Year, “Holy Spirit” is delicate and dramatic, blending the atmospheric strains of CCM with gospel-inspired vocal improvisation. No stranger to recording—she has two solo albums to her credit—Allen is a Berklee College ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 5, 2016

“Closer to You” Carrington Gaines From the EP The Process (released November, 2015) www.cdbaby.com/cd/carringtongaines Cut from the same musical mold as current gospel vocalists Jonathan McReynolds and Travis Greene, Carrington Gaines offers “Closer to You.” It’s an introspective ballad led by acoustic guitar and propelled by a delicate finger-popping beat. At one point, the song possesses the lyrical and melodic gravitas of a hymn.  At other times, it unfolds like an informal prayer closet conversation. Throughout, Gaines declares that he will seek restoration of his connection with God after a past marked by separation. A native of Buffalo, New York, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 27, 2016

“Christian Walk” Darren Deac From the Quality of Life Music album Christian Walk www.cdbaby.com/cd/darrendeac Just because we walk in the path of righteousness doesn’t mean we can’t throw a little shape to our step. That’s what Christian Hip Hop artist “Darren Deac” Edward demonstrated to the audience at the Rhythm of Gospel Awards main event last Saturday evening in Memphis, Tennessee. The “Christian Walk” is a modified two-step, a sanctified shuffle. The song has an infectious hook and an explicit message that expounds the life-giving power of service and prayer. From Newark, New Jersey, Edward started his career in secular ...

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“Steel Wheels” – Imari Tones

“Steel Wheels” Imari Tones From the album Revive the World www.imaritones.net Some stomp on the devil’s head. The Imari Tones crush bad under their steel wheels. Which is an appropriate metaphor from a Christian heavy metal band. Hailing from Japan, where only five percent of the population is Christian, the Imari Tones are indeed an anomaly. They started out as a straight-up heavy metal band, naming themselves after the founding member’s girlfriend (now wife). But Imari is also used to describe a style of Japanese painted pottery. So when the trio became the country’s first band to blend heavy metal with ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 13, 2016

“Glory to the Lamb” Micah Stampley From the Interface Entertainment album To the King. . .Vertical Worship Live www.micahstampley.org I recognize that “Glory to the Lamb” is not the current single from Micah Stampley’s latest album—that honor belongs to the equally persuasive “Be Lifted”—but nevertheless, it is one of Stampley’s best selections since his cover of “Come to Jesus.” The song demonstrates his passionate singing better than any other track on the album. With instrumentation held to a minimum and the vocals set at high intensity, “Glory to the Lamb” is exactly the kind of song we anticipate from Stampley. It ...

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“Zion Praise” – Clareta Haddon

“Zion Praise” Clareta Haddon From the album Contagious www.claretamusic.com Introduced with a “Sing, ReRe” by brother Deitrick, Clareta Haddon-Jackson drops into a rock steady rhythm for “Zion Praise.” Emulating the clipped lyrical patter of reggae artists one moment and lofting gospel shouts heavenward the next, Clareta reminds Zion (i.e., the church) that “everything you do is about God’s glory.” Coming from the Haddon Family, it’s not surprising that Clareta pushes the envelope in music and fashion—she is recognizable by her blue-tinged rocker ‘do and slate blue lipstick. It’s also not surprising that she can sing. The whole Haddon Family, all the ...

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