Tag Archives: chicago

JGM Pick of the Week: February 25, 2019

“Blessing Me” CHurCHicago Independent (release date: February 8, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/Churchicago By Bob Marovich The first couple of singles by CHurCHicago left me regretfully nonplussed, but their latest, “Blessing Me,” is a different story. A drive-tempo selection fitted with a fiery vamp and feisty guitar licks, “Blessing Me” is a plea for continued blessings in spite of our fumbling and failings. Planting their petition firmly in the here and now, CHurCHicago seeks blessings while driving, “sweeping the floor,” “cooking dinner,” “walking through the grocery store,” and even “taking the kids to school.” Nor is their request selfish—they ask for blessings on ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: February 19, 2019

“Anchored”God’s PosseIndependent (release date: January 30, 2019) By Bob Marovich Acknowledging at the outset that “Anchored” is actually an old song with a new twist, God’s Posse of Chicago proceeds to provide an up-tempo reading of said old song, complete with soft harmonies, a lead-trading vamp, and contemporary arrangement. The metaphoric “Anchored” teaches that, in the midst of life’s storms, it’s best to hitch one’s line to the Lord. The single is yet another reason why God’s Posse is among the city’s top gospel quartets. God’s Posse, itself anchored by the music tutelage of the Windy City Four’s Nelson Larkins, ...

Read More »

The Many – All Belong Here

The Many All Belong Here Independent (release date: July 10, 2017) www.themanyarehere.com By Bob Marovich The title track of The Many’s All Belong Here could be the group’s official anthem. Everyone is welcome at the table of humanity, sings this Christian vocal harmony group from Chicago. Featuring the talents of Darren Calhoun, Hannah Rand, and Leslie Michelle, The Many walks the talk. It is as intentionally diverse and inclusive as the songs the group sings. Their harmonies may be sublime and their musical arrangements mostly laid back and delicate, but the singers are woke when it comes to acknowledging reality. ...

Read More »

Gospel Music Workshop of America Detroit Chapter – Bringing It Back Home

Gospel Music Workshop of America Detroit Chapter Bringing it Back Home GMWA Detroit Chapter (release date: September 1, 2018) By Bob Marovich After listening to Bringing it Back Home, I’d say the Detroit Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA) has the best choir of all workshop chapters in existence today. This live album, recorded on the 50th anniversary of GMWA’s founding in Detroit, Michigan, evokes those marvelous chapter choir albums and their Sunday morning-ready songs that were ubiquitous in the 1970s and 1980s. Although the home of the modern gospel choir movement is situated in Chicago, Detroit ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: November 19, 2018

“On Time” Bishop Larry D. Trotter & Sweet Holy Spirit Choir From the forthcoming Utopia Music Group CD Restored! By Bob Marovich Bishop Larry Trotter’s Sweet Holy Spirit Church on Chicago’s South Side is doing its part to “bring the choir back” (as if it ever left) with “On Time.” The radio-friendly single contains the fiery, full-voiced, no-nonsense sound that listeners come to expect from the Sweet Holy Spirit Choir. The message of God stepping in “right on time” is timeless, and when combined with the pulsating tempo at which the choir moves, the song should bring everybody to their ...

Read More »

“It Is Possible” – Jeanetta Williams

“It Is Possible” Jeanetta Williams (independent release 2014) For information: mdwil48@gmail.com By Bob Marovich If you are a gospel choir enthusiast, you know Jeanetta “Songbird” Williams from her solo turns as a member of the Thompson Community Singers. A few years ago, Williams gathered together friends and family to be her background singers on “It Is Possible,” a recording of her own composition. The singer offers a raw and genuine treatment to this simple, inspirational contemporary gospel song with references to Philippians 4:13. The melodic hook in the title verse hearkens back to the Hawkins style. A radio edit comprised of the best parts ...

Read More »

Shunice Hill-Sullivan – He Won’t Leave Me Alone (EP)

Shunice Hill-Sullivan He Won’t Leave Me Alone (EP) Independent (release date: September 1, 2015) www.ShuniceHillSullivan.com By Bob Marovich On her EP He Won’t Leave Me Alone, Christian singer Shunice Hill-Sullivan eschews gospel music histrionics for understated lyrics and arrangements. A gentle electric piano guides a small quiet storm combo through the four-cut project, which features prayer closet conversations with God. For example, on “Breakthrough,” Shunice speaks to God from a place of unspecific personal trials. She seeks forgiveness and a return to discipleship, knowing that a breakthrough is possible only after she is back in God’s good graces. “Draw Me ...

Read More »

Ananais Montague – Remember Me: Songs from the Cross, Vol. 1

Ananais Montague Remember Me: Songs from the Cross Vol. 1 Ananais Montague Music www.amusac.com By Bob Marovich Remember Me: Songs from the Cross, Volume 1, from the Chicago born and raised Ananais “Markey” Montague, is a two-disc, seventeen song project that appears to have two main purposes: to follow the narrative from Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) to his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension; and to introduce the songs, either wholly composed or co-written by Montague, to other music ministers. What Montague provides is a collection of contemporary church choir songs–some simple, others more challenging–that combine the classical underpinning of Richard Smallwood with ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: February 26, 2018

“Your Blessing is on its Way” God’s Posse From The Kind of God We Serve: Live in Chicago (EP) Trewworks Music Group/Denzell Music Group By Bob Marovich The Chicago-based quartet God’s Posse offers a traditional drive-tempo workout in “Your Blessing is on its Way.” The infectious backbeat, the singers’ palpable enthusiasm, the muscular music, and the live audience’s handclapping are ideal complements to the song’s message of hope and encouragement. It also points out the importance of recording gospel music in front of an audience or congregation. Gospel music recorded in the studio is fine, but there’s something magical about hearing a ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: December 5, 2017

“I’m Saved” Dexter Walker & Zion Movement (release date: December 1, 2017) Available from Amazon.com By Bob Marovich Chicago is a choir town. Always has been. One of Chicago’s current crop of choir stars is Dexter Walker & Zion Movement. Crowned the best church choir in America at the 2012 Verizon How Sweet the Sound contest, the group has a new single, “I’m Saved.” “I’m Saved” evokes the exuberance of Ricky Dillard & New G and Chicago Mass Choir with its energetic tempo, rhythm thick with tambourine jingles (it’s subtitled “The Tambourine Song,” after all), and rotund gospel choir harmonies ...

Read More »