Tag Archives: Donald Lawrence

JGM Pick of the Week: February 14, 2017

“Testify” James Douglas feat. LeJuene Thompson From the forthcoming project Still I Praise https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jamesdouglas42 It could be intimidating for some artists to have a fiery singer like LeJuene Thompson on their single, but James Douglas proves an equally effective vocalist on “Testify.” “Testify” is as it sounds: despite having his name scandalized, despite going through the fire and the flood, and even despite the prospect of “throwing in the towel,” which in context sounds like a contemplation of suicide, Douglas declares that every time, God “made a way somehow.” Moaning her way into the song’s vamp, Thompson gives her testimony ...

Read More »

JGM Pick of the Week: November 7, 2016

“Escaped to Tell” Blanche McAllister-Dykes From the Escaped To Tell Movie Soundtrack www.escapedtotell.com Sung by Blanche McAllister-Dykes, whose vocal vulnerability gives the song the feel of a church testimony, “Escaped to Tell” is the title track of a Christian-themed film by songwriter and author, Nefateri Smalls, who co-wrote the song with Chad Chambers. An alumna of Donald Lawrence & the Tri-City Singers, McAllister-Dykes builds from victim to victorious to advocate through a steadily building passion that is echoed by her background vocalists. By the conclusion, she is shouting praises to God for bringing her through the emotional pain of domestic violence ...

Read More »

The Gospel Sensations: Trendsetting With Old School Harmonies

By Bob Marovich To carve out a niche in a quartet community crowded with local and national artists, the Gospel Sensations are employing a time-honored principle that has been all but abandoned in gospel music. A cappella harmony singing. That’s right: trendsetting by going back to the way gospel quartets sang prior to the 1950s: without musical instruments. And people like it. “Sometimes music takes a more commercial turn, and I get that,” said Robert C. Marion Jr., member of the Gospel Sensations. “It takes money to finance a ministry, but the a cappella sound, when it is done right, ...

Read More »

Jonathan Nelson On Songwriting: “When It’s Flowing, It’s Just Flowing”

By Bob Marovich On March 18, the Stellar Award-winning singer-songwriter Jonathan Nelson released Fearless (Light Records / eOne Music), a live recording that JGM gave its highest possible rating, five stars, for its ability to “be musically versatile and passionate yet remain firmly rooted in the atmospheric and hypnotic P&W technique.” Nelson spoke to JGM about how his songwriting process contributed to the creation of Fearless. “My songwriting process is ‘when it comes,’” Nelson said. “I could be in a car–and a lot of times songs come to me in the car because I’m alone–or in meditation time, and I pull ...

Read More »

Genesis of a Gospel Song: “Amazing” – Tiff Joy

Tiff Joy, as told to Bob Marovich: I knew I wanted to do something ministry-wise, but I didn’t know if it was going to be preaching or music. It was probably during my late years at Rich South High School in Richton Park, Illinois, when I started to connect with music and knew that it was something that I would do. I was with a group called Tony Tidwell & Uncommon Favor for a couple of years. We were going to do a record—we didn’t actually go through with it—but I wrote a song for the record called “Thank You.” ...

Read More »

Another R.I.P. – Psalmist Erica Bratton-McCollough

By Bob Marovich The year 2016 is not even two months old and is already looking like it will go down in history as The Year the Music Died. One more gospel artist, and a young person, no less, has left this earth for her eternal reward. Erica Bratton-McCollough, 43, a North Carolina native, was an early member of Donald Lawrence’s Tri-City Singers.  Many remember her work in particular on the ensemble’s “When the Saints Go to Worship.”  She died February 11, 2016, after an extended illness. According to Gregory Gay of GOSPELflava, Bratton-McCollough was also a stage actress and ...

Read More »

JGM Music Hour: Episode 95

Click on the image above to begin listening. JGM Music Hour: Episode 95 Track List: Victory right now – Angela “Missy” Billups He was always there (that’s why I praise Him) – Zenobia Dewely I am so grateful – Kevan Peabody All I need is you – AsOne We don’t always understand – Laura Kaczor Back to basics 2.0 (the remix) – Mel Holder feat. Gerald Alston My everything – The Selvys Promise – Tiff Joy Do what Jesus says – Jenise La Vonne Healer – Lady Renee Let thy kingdom – Jason Alvarez My words have power – Karen ...

Read More »

Damion Murrill & Siloam – Take a Stand

Damion Murrill & Siloam Take a Stand Divinity Music Group (release date: June 9, 2015) https://www.facebook.com/damionmurrill2 By Bob Marovich On his debut solo CD, Take a Stand, Damion Murrill demonstrates effective tutelage as a protégé of Donald Lawrence as he leads his own gospel group, Siloam (pron. Sill-OAM) on a baker’s dozen of thoughtful and rousing selections. Damion Murrill & Siloam possess that room-filling extroverted vocal sound representative of today’s contemporary gospel ensembles. The musicians’ complex chords and learned changes are also emblematic of this popular style. What is distinctive about Take a Stand, however, is its lyrical emphasis on ...

Read More »

Karen Clark Sheard – Destined to Win

Karen Clark Sheard Destined to Win Karew Records (2015) www.karewrecords.com By Bob Marovich “Can I take some time to talk to you? / To share a message to encourage you?” Karen Clark Sheard asks in “The Who Doesn’t Matter,” the opening of her new CD, Destined to Win, and a selection featuring fellow songstress Faith Evans. Sheard’s simple request sets the thematic tone for a live album that is chock-a-block with airs of encouragement and reassurance that no matter what happens in life, God will be there to make things right. Just believe and don’t give up. Bolstered by the deft ...

Read More »

Detroit’s Karen Clark Sheard Reflects on Recording Her New Album in Chicago

By Bob Marovich In some ways, it was like attending a gospel music hall of fame event wrapped inside a live recording session. The Clark Sisters were seated in the front row. Richard Smallwood sat behind them. Rows of gospel announcers, gospel music producers, and popular singers were to their left and right. Chicago’s House of Hope was filled with expectation as Karen Clark Sheard, with Donald Lawrence and Company as the choir, began recording Destined to Win, her sixth solo album and second for her label, Karew Records. That was September 9, 2013. Since then, the album’s contemplative debut ...

Read More »