Urban AC Gospel

“Can’t Wait” – Red Hands feat. Jonathan McReynolds

“Can’t Wait” Red Hands feat. Jonathan McReynolds Black Suit Music (release date: October 29, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich The six-member Ohio band Red Hands sways and swaggers like The Roots sans brass while Jonathan McReynolds moves and grooves as the featured vocalist on “Can’t Wait.” The funky and optimistic arrangement, amplified by the wide-eyed wonder apparent in McReynolds’ voice, portrays the journey from this life to the next not something to fear but to anticipate as eagerly as summer vacation. Finger popping all the way up the heavenly staircase. Over there is unity, singing, and worship. (I’m hoping also ...

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“Truth” – Charles Martin

“Truth” Charles Martin Chuck’s Room (release date: September 2020) By Robert M. Marovich A singer, songwriter, actor, and former member of Deitrick Haddon’s Stellar Award-winning group Voices of Unity, Charles Martin flexes his melodious tenor voice on “Truth,” an atmospheric ballad he co-wrote with Rachard “Chardyroc” Williams. The song is partly a prayer seeking wisdom and guidance, and partly a prayer of gratitude for the freedom of salvation. It’s inspired by Martin’s own struggles as well as those of the nation. The freedom theme can be heard not only in Martin’s unfettered vocals during the vamp, but also in the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week August 23, 2021

“Redeemed” Denita Gibbs IndieBlu / eOne Music (release date: June 25, 2021) www.denitagibbs.com By Robert M. Marovich Denita Gibbs of Birmingham, Alabama (now living in Nashville), is an excellent gospel artist who has not gotten an even break since her 2013 project, the five-star Without You (Audiostate 55 Entertainment). For “Redeemed,” a jumping celebration of salvation, Gibbs employs the talented producer Sean D. Scales, who injects the arrangement with gallons of urban AC swagger. Perhaps this selection will not only express her joy at redemption but be redemptive for her career. She certainly deserves it. This woman can sing!

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Pastor Mike Jr. – I Got It: Singles Ministry

Pastor Mike Jr. I Got It: Singles Ministry Blacksmoke Music Worldwide (release date: August 13, 2021) www.pastormikejr.com By Robert M. Marovich Marriage as the ultimate culmination of a love relationship has been a mainstay of artistic expression for longer than anyone can remember. It’s the happy ending in Broadway and Hollywood musicals. Jukeboxes are packed with songs sung by men and women with marriage on their mind. Pastor Mike Jr. has something to say about that. His personal and ministerial experience suggests that the talk about coupling as the be-all and end-all to life can give singles an undeserved case ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 21, 2021

“Heavenly”TaMyya JFrom the MM Music Group CD Love for Your Namehttps://tamyya-j.com/ By Robert M. Marovich “Heavenly” is the type of contemporary gospel song you swear you’ve heard before, which means it’s a solid record. Former Mary Mary background singer TaMyya J, who has already posted some singles on the Billboard gospel charts, likely has another one. Written by Fred Jerkins III and Delisha Thomas Johnson, “Heavenly” is about the journey from brokenness to completion through the blessings of the Most High. “I take credit for nothing / ‘Cause I know where they come from,” the Willingboro, New Jersey, native sings ...

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Koryn Hawthorne – I Am

Koryn Hawthorne I Am RCA Inspiration (release date: September 18, 2020) www.rcainspiration.com By Bob Marovich I Am, the new album by Koryn Hawthorne, the award-winning gospel singer and finalist on The Voice, is as contemporary as this minute. The musical mission of her best-selling 2018 debut Unstoppable, to bathe Christian messages in an ocean of contemporary soul and R&B sounds, continues on I Am. Her vocals are just as sassy on the current single, a love song to the Most High called “Speak to Me,” as on her breakthrough hit, “Won’t He Do It.” But much of the lyrical mood ...

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“Everyday” – K-Anthony

“Everyday” K-Anthony K-Anthony Music (release date: May 15, 2020) www.kanthonylive.com By Bob Marovich Expressions of worship come in many forms. Some are clothed in hymnody, others in straight-outta-church gospel, and yet others in flourishes of pop. “Everyday” is the latter. Christian singer K-Anthony coats this explosion of joy in a sugary-sweet melody with bright beats, buzzing electronica, and breezy chord changes. The earnest lyrics, sung with barely-contained enthusiasm, is in the language of someone whose life has just changed for the better. And there’s “no going back, I’ll not be the same.” From Falmouth, Jamaica, K-Anthony is a classically-trained musician ...

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Erica Reed – (s/t)

Erica Reed Erica Reed Independent (release date: January 10, 2020) www.ericareedmusic.com By Bob Marovich On her new, self-titled album, the St. Louis-based singer-songwriter Erica Reed journeys into new production territory. For example, atmospheric electronica and 808 beats propel several selections, such as “Enough,” where Reed testifies about Jesus’s ability to heal suffering. “Get Up” is a call to celebrate and dance out our differences and divisions rather than ruminate on them. The sunny “New Day” weaves its call to discipleship in ‘80s Madonna-like snappiness. On the other hand, “Sorry,” with its heartbeat rhythm, has a small combo sound, a memorable ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 16, 2019

“Kingdom Come” Churchppl and Sir the Baptist Tymple Music (release date: December 13, 2019) By Bob Marovich What “Kingdom Come” lacks in total running time it more than makes up for in theatricality—from a thudding Pentecostal backbeat to ever-shifting musical textures. Like Moses with Pharaoh, the song depicts a standoff between the power of the people and the people with the power. It’s clear who has right on their side and who is going to win in the end. Sir the Baptist mines his family’s Mississippi roots to construct the song’s dramatic ensemble singing. Insisting that they are not a ...

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