Tag Archives: michigan

JGM Pick of the Week: May 21, 2018

“Keys to the Kingdom” Min. David Whitfield & Whitfield Productions, feat. Lena Starks Choirboi Records (release date: March 16, 2018) By Bob Marovich On this church rouser, Angelique “Lena” Starks, a sparkplug of a lead vocalist, breaks it down: you don’t have to be rich, or a doctor or lawyer, or even a warrior, to make it to Heaven. Just “be holy, be righteous,” she sings. Known to enjoy singing to a quick tempo, Starks gets downright evangelistic on the vamp as the choir supports her with lyric responses and handclaps. Min. David Whitfield & Whitfield Productions carries on the ...

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Pastor C. James Starks, Patriarch of the Starks Family, Makes His Transition

(Detroit, MI)  Members of the Gospel Music community at large offer prayers and condolences to the Starks family in the untimely passing of the family patriarch, Elder C. James Starks, on Monday, April 14. A loving and devoted husband, father, spiritual leader, and “man by example,” Pastor Starks was a mentor and inspiration to many, both young and old. “Dad was my hero,” said multiple Dove and Stellar Award-nominated composer and producer Derrick Starks. “I would not be the man or the musician I am today had it not been for his example. Over 54 years of marriage and 80 ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: January 1, 2018

“Your Will” Bill Moss Jr. feat. J Moss Salathiel Records (release date: July 21, 2017) www.billmossmusic.com By Bob Marovich Although they debuted on the gospel scene as the Moss Brothers, Bill and James “J” Moss have since pursued separate solo careers. They come together again on “Your Will,” an understated, piano-introduced, and jazzy rumination on the personal benefits of living a Godly life. On the single, from Bill Jr.’s project, Live with Third New Hope: Songbook of Praise & Worship, the brothers notch the gospel heat up with every newly sung verse. The song oozes class and sophistication as the brothers deliver ...

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“Calvary’s Cross” – Min. David A. Whitfield II & Whitfield Productions

“Calvary’s Cross” Minister David A. Whitfield II & Whitfield Productions (release date: September 29, 2017) http://dawhitfieldproductions.webs.com/ By Bob Marovich On their latest single, “Calvary’s Cross,” Minister David Whitfield II & Whitfield Productions raise aloft the standard of expansive contemporary choir singing established in part by David’s uncle, the late Maestro Thomas Whitfield. This call-and-response piece on the cleansing power of Jesus’s death on the cross is produced by Pastor Rudolph Stanfield Jr., another towering giant of Detroit gospel. Thunderous singing, thick harmonies, and melancholy instrumentation rise toward the conclusion like the ascent to Calvary. Whitfield Productions can trace its founding to a May 18, ...

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Tauren Wells Hopes “Hills and Valleys” is Your Soundtrack

By Bob Marovich “I hear so many stories about people who heard the right song at the right time, and it changed the trajectory of their life.” That’s Tauren Wells’ prayer for his first full-length solo album, Hills and Valleys, released by Reunion Records June 23. “I want [people] to walk away with something from every song,” he told the Journal of Gospel Music the day before the album’s release. Former frontman of the GRAMMY-nominated CCM group Royal Tailor, Wells was born in Battle Creek, Michigan. His parents separated when he was young.  Later, when his father started attending church, he ...

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“I’m Good” – Ryan Rutley feat. Erica Lancaster and Jason Rutley

“I’m Good” Ryan Rutley feat. Erica Lancaster and Jason Rutley Psalms Group Studios (released April 8, 2016) www.cdbaby.com/cd/ryanrutley2 When asked how they are doing, Ryan Rutley, Erica Lancaster, and Jason Rutley update the sentiment of the late Reverend Paul Jones’ “I Won’t Complain” with a simple “I’m Good.” Of course, “I’m Good” can be used to mask inner struggle and hurt, but the trio uses the response as an affirmation instead of an evasion. “I should lose my control, but I won’t,” they sing. The single’s chirpy pop sound, vivacious lead trading between the trio, and insistent electronic rhythm distinguish it ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 18, 2016

“More than a Conqueror” Gregory D and Company (available digitally) www.cbgministries.com During this election season, the concept of winning is tossed around like a greased football, but for Elder Gregory DeMyers Jr. (Gregory D) and his singers, winning is a far more personal, temporal, and even eternal pursuit. On the even-tempered but nonetheless passionate “More than a Conqueror,” DeMyers’ contemporary gospel ensemble Gregory D and Company sings of personal hope and encouragement in such a time as this. Drawing directly from Romans 8:37, the group proclaims that all are conquerors “through Him who loved us.” To bring it to street ...

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Jon Plair – Can You Imagine

Jon Plair Can You Imagine (self-released) www.jonplair.com By Bob Marovich Jon Plair surrounded himself with talented musicians and singers for his latest album, Can You Imagine, and it’s telling in the quality of the project. Plair, a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, who now calls Detroit home, functions on the album as a master of ceremonies, a bandleader, or even a preacher, for that matter.  His authoritative interaction with his background vocalists, as well as the messages of hope and encouragement in his songs, evoke James Fortune & FIYA. In fact, Plair’s music is so evocative of Fortune & FIYA that ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: December 28, 2015

“Satisfied” The Fantastic Violinaires Release date: June 30, 2015 Available from digital music stores Like several professional gospel quartets that organized during or before gospel’s golden age, the Fantastic Violinaires are still very much in the soul-saving business. Recharged with new personnel, the quartet founded in Detroit in 1952 maintains its trademark treble harmonies that inspire quartets even today.  And if “Satisfied” is any indication, the group still has plenty of drive in its system. The new single, which piles plaudits upon the Most High for graces bestowed, is vintage Violinaires, complete with piercing, punctuating harmonies, call and response, gritty ...

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Bill Moss Jr. Rearranges CCM Classics for Forthcoming Album

By Bob Marovich When the chime struck five last Sunday afternoon, December 20, Third New Hope Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, was filled with eager anticipation. Members and music enthusiasts were on hand to support the church’s Worship Pastor, Bill Moss Jr., as he prepared to record his first live CD since his Billboard-charting Manifested Favor in 2008. “My church is a corporate-style worship church,” Moss told JGM by telephone just prior to the event. “I’ve been doing a bit of CCM [Contemporary Christian Music] and rearranging it to fit our culture. The response has been amazing. People have really ...

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