Praise & Worship

JGM’s Pick of the Week: October 6, 2014

“The Greater” J. Grant Thompson Available on iTunes and other digital outlets on October 7, 2014 “The Greater” is the debut single from Washington, DC singer, songwriter, producer, and PK J. Grant Thompson. A notable debut it is. It is the gorgeous arrangement that imbues this lyrically and musically uncomplicated P&W anthem with its distinctive character. Thompson establishes an effective call and response with the background vocalists. I can imagine “The Greater” becoming just as popular with praise teams as songs by William McDowell and VaShawn Mitchell.

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David Daughtry – David Daughtry

David Daughtry Self-Titled Karew Records/eOne Entertainment www.karewrecords.com By Bob Marovich It is fascinating how gospel music, a genre where the signature sound is brisk and exuberant, can be most beautiful when sung slowly and melodically. David Daughtry includes both the rapid and the measured on his impressive self-titled debut project. Although Daughtry delivers several fine uptempo selections on the album, the worshipful ballads “You Are” and the hypnotic “I Call Your Name” demonstrate his dexterous, earnest tenor. He launches falsetto notes well into the upper register and gets as high as Philippe Wynne (Spinners) on a cover of the Winans’ question-and-answer ...

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Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise – Redemption

Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise Redemption Daveshand Productions (2014) www.joedouglassministries.com By Bob Marovich Joe Douglass & Spirit of Praise pulls out all the stops on Redemption. Douglass, a twenty-five-year-old Californian, organized Spirit of Praise a few years ago. The group released a single, “It Belongs to You,” in April 2012 and subsequently recorded Redemption, their debut live CD. It was released in June 2014. A lineup of gospel stars populates the album, although they were not necessary, as SOP is a strong vocal organization in its own right. A better than average “&” group in a galaxy of “&” ...

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Pick of the Week: August 11, 2014

“Your Destiny” Kevin LeVar & One Sound From Destiny Live at the Dream Center and More… (album release date: August 12, 2014) www.kevinlevar.com Inspirational balladeer Kevin LeVar has sung his way into the hearts of many with such lovely selections as “A Heart That Forgives,” “You Are Not Alone,” and “We’re Just Getting Started,” which he wrote for his own nuptials. “Your Destiny,” from Kevin LeVar & One Sound’s new CD, Live at the Dream Center and More… is fashioned in much the same formula: easy pop melody (evocative of early Seal), dramatic delivery, and lyrics that encourage strength in ...

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“Worthy God” – M. Roger Holland

“Worthy God” M. Roger Holland From the forthcoming GIA CD Building Up the Kingdom www.giamusic.com M. Roger Holland gives what could be just another P&W ballad a richness through a nuanced arrangement complete with strings, background vocalists, canny melodic changes, and expert use of dynamics.  His voice is a mix of Luther Vandross and Peabo Bryson (two of his inspirations), especially at the song’s apex.  His tenor nearly leaps out of the speakers when he holds notes and leaps into falsetto. The musicality is not surprising.  In addition to vocalist, Holland is a pianist, organist, composer, arranger, and symphony director.  ...

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Jai Reed – Songs From My Heart

Jai Reed Songs From My Heart K. Lamp Entertainment, LLC (2014) klampentertainment@gmail.com By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog Although he is a New Orleans guy, Pastor Jai Reed must still consider it a treat to sing in the Gospel Tent at the Crescent City’s legendary Jazz and Heritage Festival.  This year, he was on the program during the festival’s first weekend, and no doubt performed selections from his new CD, Songs From My Heart. Two components that emerge from the album are Reed’s clear, melodic tenor; and quality songs from the pen of producer/musician/songwriter Kevin Lampton.  First the ...

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TBGB Pick of the Week: June 18, 2012

“The Only God” Livre’ Glory2Glory Records/PRODIGY Entertainment Group http://livreofficial.blogspot.com/ Available on iTunes On their single, “The Only God,” Livre’ (pron. liv-ray – it means “free” in Latin) praises in tight, bright harmonies evocative of foreverJONES.  Theirs is a gentle, pretty sound that blends CCR and gospel. While singing at the Bronx Mass Choir Reunion program, this twelve-member group (seven singers and five musicians) from New York City caught the attention of Alicia Keys’ managers Jeff and J. Conrad Robinson.  They subsequently backed Keys on her “How Does it Feel to Fly,” and she will reciprocate on their debut CD, currently ...

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Myron Butler: It’s About Songs for Sunday Morning

By Bob Marovich for The Black Gospel Blog. Myron Butler is an award-winning singer, songwriter, worship leader and producer.  He spent time with TBGB recently to talk about his latest CD, Worship, released last month on EMI Gospel. Born in Bradenton, Florida, the Baptist-bred Butler’s first taste of gospel music came, naturally, in church. “Before I ever had a song recorded,” he said, “I played for Sunday School.” He also directed the church’s youth Sunshine Band. From the start, Butler was inspired by the music of the late Thomas Whitfield. “Thomas Whitfield was where it began,” he said. “From his harmonic structure to the ...

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Preashea Hilliard – Live Out Loud

Preashea Hilliard Live Out Loud Blacksmoke Music Worldwide (2010) www.preshmusic.com To Preashea Hilliard, “LOL” means Live Out Loud. And loud – in energy, enthusiasm, volume and message – is exactly what her debut project, Live Out Loud, exudes. The Houstonian vocalist is the youngest daughter of Bishop I.V. and Lady Bridget Hilliard of Houston’s New Light Church, where the CD was recorded live in April 2010. Preashea smartly assembles songs from talented writers such as Deitrick Haddon, Israel Houghton and Kurt Carr, and contributes a few of her own compositions, to create an impressive debut album, produced by Grammy Award-winning ...

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Kassandra McGhee – Completely

Kassandra McGhee Completely (2007) http://www.mypower4living.com/ Singer-songwriter Kassandra McGhee of Forest Park, Illinois, a suburb west of Chicago, has sung background or shared the stage with such notable contemporary gospel and praise and worship artists such as Edwin Hawkins, Phil Tarver and Vanessa Dukes of the Brown Sisters. Not surprisingly, given McGhee’s performance experience and service as a praise and worship leader, her self-produced debut CD Completely is an assemblage of P&W songs she composed. Her sweet, breathy soprano reminds me of Deniece Williams, who started singing gospel as a member of the COGIC church in Gary, Indiana before moving into ...

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