Tag Archives: houston

JGM Pick of the Week: March 23, 2021

“It Was the Blood” Minister James Willis & Nu Praze From the CD The Book of James V. 1 http://minjamesawillisjr.com By Robert M. Marovich Blood songs are especially relevant during the Lenten season, and Minister James Willis & Nu Praze deliver one in “It Was the Blood.” The musicians and singers embed bluesy notes in this simple but effective song that all but calls for congregational participation on the chorus. Powerhouse vocalist Treva Jones is her remarkable self as featured soloist, especially during the vamp, when she offers a litany of ills that Jesus’s blood has healed. Despite surges of ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: February 15, 2021

“Pick You Back Up” Michael David Harrison feat. Beverly Crawford Independent (release date: January 31, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich If the jaunty piano opening doesn’t wake the dead from their slumber, Beverly Crawford’s characteristic evangelistic vocalizing will do the trick. Pick You Back Up” was produced by Linton Weems and penned by up-and-coming songwriter Michael David Harrison. Originally from Virginia but now living in Houston, Harrison mines that churchy traditional vibe to provide this unsubtle reminder that when you stumble and fall into the arms of the devil, the Lord is there to pick you up. If you are ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: August 11, 2020

“Trust and Believe”Mona MooreIndependent (release date: July 2, 2020)Available on iTunes By Bob Marovich Mona Moore’s affecting treatment of the dramatic “Trust and Believe” is what sells the single. From Houston, Texas, Moore reminds the listener that God is a “miracle worker,” so don’t fret: “God will do what he said He will do.” The lyric inspiration comes in part from Psalm 46:10 (“Be still and know that I am God”). Like a veteran vocalist, Moore begins softly, almost whispery, then moves incrementally into shouting evangelist mode as the mood of the song alters. “Trust and Believe” continues building to ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 28, 2020

“Leap of Faith” YimikaSoul From the Yimikasoulfactory CD Leap of Faith (release date: March 20, 2020) By Bob Marovich Houston, Texas singer YimikaSoul opens “Leap of Faith” like a veteran gospel stomper, her voice big and expansive like an evangelist starting a prayer service. From there, she shares the spotlight with a cheerful choir on this handclapper, reportedly based on personal experience, about how faith can make great things happen. The verse packs ten pounds of lyrics in five pounds of space, but the song’s traditional-sounding chorus, its theatricality, and a vamp with key changes more than make up for ...

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For the Lord – I’m Gonna Do Your Will

For the Lord I’m Gonna Do Your Will Independent (2019) By Bob Marovich From the Soul Stirrers to Endurance, Houston, Texas, has a strong gospel quartet history. For the Lord is another quartet that hails from the 713. As demonstrated on its full-length release, I’m Gonna Do Your Will, the group possesses an easy, relaxed sound, pulling elements from the smooth-singing R&B male groups of the 1990s. That is not to say For the Lord doesn’t have drive tempo tracks up their sleeve. One of them, “Yes I Did,” opens the album. The song is led by Phillip Grant, who ...

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Nikki Berry – Journey to Restoration

Nikki Berry Journey to Restoration Reviving Dreams Enterprises (release date: November 8, 2018) www.nikkiberrymusic.com By Bob Marovich Houston, Texas-based singer-songwriter Nikki Berry is one of the only gospel singers I know who also has a degree in mechanical engineering. I met Berry this summer at the Rhythm of Gospel Awards celebration in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she was crowned Ms. N.I.G.M.A. (National and Independent Gospel Music Awards). Journey to Restoration is her latest album. Striving and overcoming are the thematic strands that hold the project together and are, in her hands, the motive forces of achieving restoration. For example, “The ...

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“Give Him Glory” – Dr. LaTonya Earl

“Give Him Glory” Dr. LaTonya Earl Latonyaearl1@gmail.com By Bob Marovich Houstonian Dr. LaTonya Earl’s sassy single “When I Stopped Playing with Jesus” is distinctive in melody and lyric, but it’s her work on the worship ballad “Give Him Glory” that best sells her skills to the gospel music public. This simple song, with its singularly singable melody, finds Earl at her unbridled best. Like a seasoned gospel soloist, she raises the song’s temperature from cool and even to a breathless apex without coming close to going off the melismatic cliff. The independent artist Dr. LaTonya Earl has earned honors at ...

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“Weather the Storm” – Dorothy Norwood

“Weather the Storm” Dorothy Norwood Dorothy Norwood Music Group (release date: June 4, 2018) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/dorothynorwood5 By Bob Marovich Evangelist Dorothy Norwood goes into classic storyteller mode as she describes how a Houston, Texas, family is rescued from the roof of their home during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. While the recency of the event undoubtedly touched the live audience, Norwood sees the story as more than recent history: it’s a demonstration of God’s assistance “in the nick of time,” and a chance to shout “Hallelujah” for a successful ending. She peppers the song with lyric snippets about miracles, rejoicing, and joy coming in the ...

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Jabari Johnson: “A Raphael Saddiq Who Sings Gospel”

By Bob Marovich It’s not unusual to hear how a gospel song touched someone’s life. Every now and then, you even hear about how a gospel song saved someone’s life. But what about when a song saves the life of its own creator? That is the story behind “Have Your Way,” the new single from singer, songwriter, and musician Jabari Johnson. “Two years ago, I was getting ready to commit suicide,” Jabari said. “But God gave me the lyrics [to ‘Have Your Way’]. I sang the song at an event in Houston that night, and my breakthrough happened. Ever since ...

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Endurance (feat. the late Joe Ligon)

Endurance (feat. The Late Joe Ligon) Changed SCCME Records (release date: September 29, 2017) http://musicbyendurance.com/ By Bob Marovich The Stellar Award-nominated gospel quartet Endurance of Houston, Texas, had the mixed blessing of being responsible for Joe Ligon’s last known recording. It was a mixed blessing because they got to work with the iconic lead singer of the Mighty Clouds of Joy, but I’m sure that if they had their druthers, they wouldn’t have wanted it to be his last trip to the studio. Nevertheless, on the title track, Ligon’s hard shouting style fits perfectly with Michael Robertson’s own. Like two deacons in spirited conversation, Ligon ...

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