Praise & Worship

JGM Pick of the Week: February 1, 2016

“By Myself” Deon Kipping From the RCA Inspiration EP A Place Called Victory (2015) www.rcainspiration.com The latest single from Deon Kipping’s A Place Called Victory EP is among his best tracks to date. “By Myself” has a hypnotic and ever-expanding arrangement, layered bit by bit with background vocals and more musicians until it apexes, then cools down.  All of this underpins a simple message: without God’s help, nothing we do individually will work. God must be in these details, because the recording works.  It could well be one of JGM‘s Best Singles of the Year.  Guaranteed to get arms waving ...

Read More »

Kassandra McGhee – Heavenscape: A Call to Worship

Kassandra McGhee Heavenscape: A Call to Worship (release date: August 28, 2015) www.mypower4living.com By Bob Marovich Ten tension-taming tracks comprise Evangelist Kassandra McGhee’s latest album, Heavenscape: A Call to Worship. True to its title, and in keeping with McGhee’s work as a praise and worship singer in and around Chicago, the songs in lyric and arrangement are all about vertical praise. It is clear from the opening selection, “Prelude of Worship,” that McGhee’s songwriting and voice have matured greatly since her 2009 release, Completely. First off, she is a more confident soprano, showing greater strength and support, but not to the ...

Read More »

“Overflow” – Bryan Andrew Wilson feat. Roderick Giles & Grace

“Overflow” Bryan Andrew Wilson Feat. Roderick Giles & Grace Bryan’s Songs Records (release date: January 2016) Bryan Andrew Wilson’s forthcoming single “Overflow” falls squarely within the current gospel appetite for brisk, mid-tempo P&W songs with easy to learn melodies and lyrics. As such, it seems ideal for praise team use. Wilson, along with Roderick Giles & Grace as background vocalists, and the musicians, build incrementally from zero to sixty in dynamics over the course of the four-plus minute selection. Giles, incidentally, formed the Southern Baptist Church (SBC) Chorale, which was a regional champ of Verizon’s “How Sweet the Sound” competition ...

Read More »

Bill Moss Jr. Rearranges CCM Classics for Forthcoming Album

By Bob Marovich When the chime struck five last Sunday afternoon, December 20, Third New Hope Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, was filled with eager anticipation. Members and music enthusiasts were on hand to support the church’s Worship Pastor, Bill Moss Jr., as he prepared to record his first live CD since his Billboard-charting Manifested Favor in 2008. “My church is a corporate-style worship church,” Moss told JGM by telephone just prior to the event. “I’ve been doing a bit of CCM [Contemporary Christian Music] and rearranging it to fit our culture. The response has been amazing. People have really ...

Read More »

“Thirsty for the Rain” – Keith Williams

“Thirsty for the Rain” Keith Williams EPM Music Group / eOne Entertainment (2015) www.epmmusicgroup.com “Thirsty for the Rain,” gospel crooner Keith Williams’ latest single, is a conventional but energetic and earnest entreaty for God to send down the rain, meaning blessings. It’s written by a committee, but an experienced one: Williams, Earnest Pugh, and Aaron Carter. While this worship anthem doesn’t take nearly as much advantage of Williams’ warm vocals as did his 2013 album Tone for Worship–there’s more call and response with the BGVs than straight-up lead work here–it will likely do well in the market because it bears lyric ...

Read More »

Travis Greene – The Hill

Travis Greene The Hill RCA Inspiration (release date: October 30, 2015) www.travisgreene.tv By Bob Marovich At age four, Travis Greene fell out of an apartment window in Germany and was pronounced dead. His praying mother believed otherwise. She picked up her limp toddler, called repetitively on Jesus, and little Travis opened his eyes. Greene relates this and other inspirational true stories on the title track of his major label debut album, The Hill, recorded live with a battalion of musicians and singers at Mosaic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. With such a remarkable backstory, it’s not surprising that Greene’s performance ...

Read More »

Tiff Joy – Tiff Joy

Tiff Joy (self titled) Walkway Music Group/VMan Entertainment/Tyscot Records (release date: September 25, 2015) www.tyscot.com By Bob Marovich Perhaps I’m just a softie for slow, poignant gospel songs, or it’s that Chicago’s Tiff Joy (Tiffany Joy McGhee), on her self-titled debut album, is at her very best when she sings such selections. Or both. I’m thinking both. At several points on Tiff Joy’s live album, the singer breaks from the tried-and-true high energy praise team warm-ups that pepper so many P&W albums these days to deliver heartfelt messages with heartrending music. On “The Promise,” for instance, Tiff reminds the listeners ...

Read More »

Bridgett Kern – No One Greater

Bridgett Kern No One Greater Dream Label Group (release date: August 7, 2015) www.bridgettkern.com By Bob Marovich Although not advertised explicitly as such, Bridgett Kern’s new Praise & Worship project, No One Greater, is a live recording. That’s a good thing, as P&W comes off best live. After all, the style was created to enliven the live worship experience. I would argue that almost all gospel music sounds better live, but that’s a discussion for another time. Back to No One Greater. The first portion of Kern’s CD features the energetic and effusive P&W singing and hard-hitting musicianship heard in ...

Read More »

Apostle Dr. Ross D. Garrison Jr. – We Will Worship, Volume 1

Apostle Dr. Ross D. Garrison Jr. We Will Worship – Volume One Lions Roar Productions (2011) By Bob Marovich It makes sense that Apostle Dr. Ross D. Garrison Jr.’s first live Praise & Worship CD was recorded at Love Center Ministries in Oakland, California, on July 11, 2011, exactly one year to the day after the passing of Bishop Walter Hawkins. The album, We Will Worship – Volume One, has more in common with the Hawkins Family’s choral outings than with today’s definition of Praise & Worship music. In fact, the album features so many delightfully traditional gospel elements that ...

Read More »

Yardley Griffin – Hear Me Now

Yardley Griffin Hear Me Now Black Market Blue (release date: September 11, 2015) www.blackmarket.blue By Bob Marovich Yardley Griffin knew from age seven that he wanted to serve God. At sixteen he began writing songs and turned his interest in music into a job as worship leader at Destiny Church, the Sacramento, California, church founded by his grandfather in 1963. Griffin is now executive pastor of Destiny Church, but more responsibility has not stalled his singing pursuit. In September, he released Hear Me Now, a mostly live recording of original songs. During Hear Me Now, we discover that the wiry Griffin is ...

Read More »