Reviews

“Wanna Be” – Wincey

“Wanna Be” Wincey Winceyco Music (2015) www.winceycomusic.com Wincey Terry-Bryant’s “Wanna Be,” co-written with musician Ted Brancato, is an ironic play on the definition of a person who seeks the spotlight but lacks the talent to get there.  The kind of “wanna be” Wincey sings about is one who wants to live not only according to her God-given purpose but aspires to follow the tenets and precepts of a loving Jesus. The bridge of this delicate and breezy retro soul gospel could use more oomph, but the singing and production are so well done that it doesn’t get in the way ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 6, 2015

“Pray” Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir From the CD Pray (released February 2015) www.brooklyntabernacle.org Lead vocalist Timiney Figueroa sings passionately about the power of prayer as the wave of delicious sound that is the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir rolls over her in giant washes of majestic harmony. The song is the title track of the multicultural choir’s 29th album since its founding by Carol Cymbala in 1973. Of this live recording, Cymbala says: “With so many tragic events happening in the world today, Pray serves as a reminder of the importance of having a relationship with Jesus, because communion is what He longs ...

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“On the Other Side of Through” – Prez Blackmon

“On the Other Side of Through” Prez Blackmon www.cdbaby.com/cd/prezblackmon5 Over a churchy flourish of warbling organ, Prez Blackmon, of the Stellar-nominated duo Renee Spearman & Prez, traverses up and down the treble scale as he waxes melismatic on the theme, “there’s a blessing on the other side of through.” Background vocalists join him on this slow, bluesy gospel song of encouragement, complete with rocking chair tempo. Camille Grigsby and Cassandra Renee Grigsby-Chism take over the vamp, asking for God’s help to make it to that other side where the blessings flow. Sweetly, warmly traditional.

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Damien Sneed feat. the Levites – Broken to Minister: The Deluxe Edition

Damien Sneed Featuring the Levites Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition LeChateau Earl Records (release date: March 3, 2015) www.lechateauearl.com By Bob Marovich Recorded live in Baltimore, Maryland, in 2013, Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition builds on Damien Sneed and the Levites’ previously released Broken To Minister EP. The classically- and church-trained Sneed is a member of the orchestral school of gospel music populated by artists such as Richard Smallwood, Donald Lawrence, and the late Thomas Whitfield. In this school, lush, dense vocal harmonies combine with astute songwriting and arranging to present gospel music at its most contemporary while ...

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Jor’Dan Armstrong – 52 Weeks of Summer

Jor’Dan Armstrong 52 Weeks of Summer Power Move Management (release date: March 31, 2015) www.jordanarmstrongmusic.com By Bob Marovich If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, summer is nigh upon you. Jor’Dan Armstrong’s new CD, 52 Weeks of Summer, is an aural siren signaling the warmer, better days ahead, literally and figuratively. Armstrong’s songs are meant to be entertaining, breezy, and spirit-inspired, aimed at a young demographic wanting to pray and play. “With this project, I wanted people to know that you can have fun and still be a Christian,” Armstrong says. “52 Weeks Of Summer is the soundtrack for that.” ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 30, 2015

“Forever I Will” Lonnie Hunter feat. Structure From the forthcoming Tyscot CD #GETITDONE www.lonniehuntermusic.com Recently signed to major gospel label Tyscot Music and Entertainment, the Stellar Award-winning singer, choir director, Radio One show host, former male model, Air Force veteran, and native Chicagoan Lonnie Hunter wasted no time getting a new single to market. Written by Davie Moore, “Forever I Will” is the first single release from Hunter’s forthcoming Tyscot album, #GETITDONE. It is a dramatic, radio-friendly contemporary ballad reminiscent of Kirk Franklin’s early work. Hunter serves as minister to Structure’s congregation as they combine praise with supplication.

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Page CXVI – The Church Calendar Series

Page CXVI The Church Calendar Series: – Advent to Christmas – Lent to Maundy Thursday – Good Friday to Easter (new release) www.pagecxvi.com By Bob Marovich I discovered the intriguing music of Page CXVI via an email from Noisetrade about Good Friday to Easter, the trio’s latest and final release in their Church Calendar Series. There they were—husband-and-wife team Reid and Latifah Phillips and Dann Stockton—rendering church hymns with humble melodies and a pop underlay of gently jangling guitars, emotional violin, and contemplative keys.  The group could just as easily direct a meditation service as make a college radio playlist. It turns out ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 23, 2015

“Just For Me” Tim Spady feat. Jeff Murrell Available on iTunes (release date: March 20, 2015) https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/just-for-me-feat.-jeff-murrell/id978825762 The always-melodic songwriter Tim Spady of Philadelphia teams with vocalist Jeff Murrell on the Easter-themed “Just For Me.” Over Spady’s dramatic and semi-classical musicianship, Murrell praises Jesus for paying the price “just for me.” His tear-stained tenor is the ideal medium for this song about the ultimate sacrifice.

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Tay Clemons – Journey to Love

Tay Clemons Journey to Love We Dream Entertainment Group (December 2014) www.tayclemons.com By Bob Marovich No love song written and performed by a woman is nearly as powerful and heartfelt as those she has written to express her affection for Jesus. Proof of this hypothesis can be found among the songs on Shantavia “Tay” Clemons’s debut album Journey to Love. Born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Clemons wraps her clear, pop-inflected voice around a stack of love songs to the Most High. She receives ample support in the first few cuts by processed electronic urban AC and solid rap interludes from ...

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Mississippi Mass Choir – Declaration of Dependence

Mississippi Mass Choir Declaration of Dependence Malaco Records (2014) www.malaco.com By Bob Marovich Halfway through Declaration of Dependence, the Mississippi Mass Choir’s latest album, I realized that the choir has inherited the mantle once worn by the celebrated Thompson Community Singers. Just as music ministers could not wait for the latest Tommies album to discover new songs and arrangements to teach their church choirs, Mississippi Mass Choir albums offer the same opportunity for today’s directors. Miss Mass hits such as “He’ll Carry You,” “God Made Me,” and “When I Rose This Morning” went from CD to choir lofts around the ...

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