Urban AC Gospel

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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JGM Pick of the Week: December 4, 2019

“Okay” Rahdyah Renee’ Mike2Mike Music (release date: October 29, 2019) www.rahdyahrenee.com By Bob Marovich “Okay,” the debut single by Philadelphia-born vocalist Rahdyah Renee’, latches onto your subconscious in the first few bars and doesn’t let go until you sit up and take notice. It’s a well-crafted, and well-sung, sacred pop song that reassures listeners life will get better, no matter how bad it seems. God has your back. Michael R. Stokes and Johana McCoy are the writers on “Okay.” A background vocalist for Jekalyn Carr, Rahdyah has also performed with the Voices of Zamar gospel group. Her sound is evocative ...

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“I Choose You” – Marjane’

“I Choose You” Marjane’ J Jane Music (release date: September 19, 2019) www.marjanemusic.com By Bob Marovich Many gospel music enthusiasts know Marjane’ (pron. Mar-ja-nay) from her many awards appearances, but the Journal of Gospel Music keyed in on her vocal talent ten years ago with the release of her sophomore album, Won’t Let Go. “I Choose You,” Marjane’s latest single, is the latest example of her breezy, quiet storm style of sacred music. She expresses her love for God in a chill ‘90s retro soul mode complete with smooth BGVs and a deliberately understated rhythm section, synth, and electric piano. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: September 16, 2019

“I Can Do Anything” Joanna Hale-McGill McGill Music Group (release date: June 22, 2019) From the CD New Sound, Same God Vol. 1 www.JoannaHaleMcGill.com By Bob Marovich Singer-songwriter Joanna Hale-McGill has a keen ear for song hooks. On “I Can Do Anything,” the praise & worship leader of His Will Worship Center in Slidell, Louisiana, embeds memorable hooks in the lyrics, in the music, in the bits of electronica, in the overall arrangement, and sometimes even in the spaces between. The song is an anthem of heaven-bestowed empowerment bathed in a bubbly, shoulder-shaking vibe and driven by insistent eighth notes ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 13, 2019

“Don’t Judge Me” Kierra Sheard feat. Missy Elliott Karew Entertainment / RCA Inspiration (release date: August 9, 2019) By Bob Marovich The latest gospel-R&B mashup, “Don’t Judge Me,” teams Grammy-nominated and Stellar Award-winning Kierra Sheard of Detroit’s legendary Clark-Moss dynasty with Missy Elliott, iconic hip hop artist and soon-to-be MTV Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Awardee. In a tone of humility laced with media fatigue, Sheard sings “I just ran through the fire; please don’t judge me.” Though directly in response to those who put Sheard’s every move under a microscope, the song also serves as a rejoinder to haters everywhere ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 20, 2019

“Don’t Break” Micah Lee DarkChild Gospel (release date: May 10, 2019) By Bob Marovich Micah Lee sings praises for God’s amazing grace in the testimonial “Don’t Break.” Referencing a near fatal car accident that nearly left him unable to walk, Lee reiterates how the power of faith pulled him through. Even in the worst of times, “when you have nothing left,” he sings, don’t give up. Just hold on. “Don’t break before your breakthrough.” Written by Alvin Garrett and produced by Fred “Uncle Freddie” Jerkins, “Don’t Break” moves to a steady hand-clapping beat, with Lee’s confident tenor smiling through the ...

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“Blessings on Blessings” – Anthony Brown and Group TherAPy

“Blessings on Blessings” Anthony Brown and Group TherAPy Key of A / Tyscot / FairTrade (release date: May 3, 2019) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich “Every time I turn around…blessings,” Anthony Brown sings, and he knows whereof he speaks. The group has gone from backing Maurette Brown Clark on her highly-acclaimed album The Dream (2007) to racking up their own chart action, which led to numerous Stellar Award wins, Grammy and Billboard Music Award nominations, and other honors. Inspired by the go-go style popularized in the Washington, DC, area, “Blessings on Blessings” is a bouncing, joyous paean to the sunshine that ...

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“You Deserve My Praise” – M’Renee

“You Deserve My Praise”M’ReneeFrom the EP You Deserve My Praise (2014)www.mreneemusik.com By Bob Marovich “Chosen” might be the single, but the title track of M’Renee’s EP You Deserve My Praise is more memorable.  It is an uncomplicated rhythm and praise offering that bristles with the sunny electronica and perky beat of today’s pop radio. That’s the way the Richmond, Virginia, songstress rolls. Her arrangements tend to be aerobic, the melodies and lyrics optimistic and encouraging. It’s worship and dance music blended into a ball of steady rolling energy. “You Deserve My Praise” is characteristic of her catalog.

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“It’s Like Fire” – Lady Bartee

“It’s Like Fire” Lady Bartee BRG Records (2018) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/ladybartee By Bob Marovich Lady Bartee sounds a little like Janelle Monae or the late Amy Winehouse on the amalgam of sonic intensity that is her latest single, “It’s Like Fire.” Raised Pentecostal, Bartee knows a thing or two about Holy Ghost fire, and she expresses it with barely restrained passion on this haunting and atmospheric minor-keyed song. Less a melody than a repeated riff that ebbs and flows in intensity, “It’s Like Fire” marches fearlessly forward and ends with sky-raking crackles of thunder that presuppose the lightning. A native of Poughkeepsie, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 8, 2019

“Go” Trin-i-tee 5:7 From the DarkChild Music CD A Project of Healing (2018) By Bob Marovich In the context of A Project of Healing, Fred Jerkins’ various artists CD from which it comes, “Go” represents more than a reunion of Angel and Chanelle of Trin-i-tee 5:7. It also represents, in lyric and arrangement, the unsettling emotions that come with moving forward on faith. The ladies are like two voices in one’s head, trying to come to terms with the shock of the present and the uncertainty of the future. Jerkins and DarkChild Gospel’s various artists album is as much a bear ...

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