Tag Archives: pick of the week

JGM Pick of the Week: June 14, 2017

“Alabaster Box” Lillie Nicole McCloud From the album Red Apples (release date: May 27, 2015) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/lillienicolemccloud By Bob Marovich In 2013, Lillie Nicole McCloud of Orlando, Florida, wowed all four judges and the entire audience on Season 3 of the television competition show The X Factor with her rendition of CeCe Winans’ lovely Biblical ballad, “Alabaster Box.” McCloud’s dramatic pacing channels the late Whitney Houston and captures the gravitas of the story in Matthew about the woman who anoints Jesus’s head with oil. But the song, which highlights the tale’s message about the power of worship and salvation, also has strains ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 5, 2017

“I Am Blessed” MarQuez Curtis feat. Tiffanie “Tutu” Agee Mary Elizabeth Music Group (2017) By Bob Marovich For those wondering what Tiffanie “Tutu” Agee of the Truthettes has been up to lately, it’s joining MarQuez Curtis in giving effusive testimony for blessings bestowed by God—blessings that neither singer takes for granted. That’s the premise of “I Am Blessed,” a spirited hand-clapper that blends the sleekness of contemporary gospel with the churchiness of quartet singing, complete with a vamp that could have gone on even longer. From Memphis, Tennessee, MarQuez Curtis attends Light of Glory International Church (LOGIC) under the leadership ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 29, 2017

“He Won’t Let You Down” Victoria Brown From the album Journey (release date: May 2, 2017) www.victoriabrownministries.com By Bob Marovich Hearing “He Won’t Let You Down” leaves no doubt that traditional gospel is in Victoria Brown’s DNA. Brown travels from sweet to shout on this bluesy and evangelistic selection. It is as much an internal conversation about inaccurate past assumptions as a directive to the listener that only God can make things right. The song’s vamp gives Brown space to extemporize, which I imagine pulls audiences out of their seat in affirmation whenever Brown sings it live. No stranger to the recording process, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 1, 2017

“In His Presence” Geneatha Wright Feat. the Bible Faith Tabernacle Choir and Denise Renee Godfather Records (release date: March 27, 2017) www.cdbaby.com/cd/geneathawright2 By Bob Marovich First Lady Geneatha Wright gives her all to “In His Presence,” a simple, sweet ballad written by her husband, Pastor David Wright, about being where Jesus is because where Jesus is, there is peace, freedom, and liberty. Together with the Bible Faith Tabernacle Choir and soloist Denise Renee, Wright builds the intensity of the song until it ends in fiery evangelistic shouting. The instruments drop out at one point to accentuate the singing.  “In His ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 25, 2017

“He’s the One” Monica Lisa Stevenson feat. Pastor Walter E. Ellis From the album Kainos (The Acoustic Documentary) Puretonez Production/eOne Distribution (release date: September 2016) www.monicalisastevenson.com By Bob Marovich Those who appreciate the fiery traditional singing of Monica Lisa Stevenson, the proverbial fifth Caravan, will be slightly taken aback by her softer, gentler, and overall acoustic approach to “He’s the One.” I say slightly taken aback because “Try Jesus (He’s the One)” is not a new song: MLS’s father and uncles, who had formed a quartet, sang it on their programs. It’s a traditional song.  Only the smooth arrangement and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 12, 2017

“Forever Mercy” Lamont Sanders Independent release, October 2015 www.lamontsanders.com On “Forever Mercy,” New Jersey singer and songwriter Lamont Sanders—a self-described mashup of John P. Kee and Luther Vandross—contributes his combined experience in church music and R&B to this deftly-produced ballad that extols the grace and mercy of Jesus. Sanders not only gives thanks for that grace and mercy, but he seeks an invitation to discipleship because, after all, “we are nothing without you.” The repeated line, “Hallelujah Jesus, your mercy endures forever” gives the ballad its P&W moment and makes for an ideal congregational singalong in a worship service or ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 3, 2017

“Keep Pushin” Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson SRT Entertainment (release date: March 24, 2017) To a hard-charging funk arrangement, Keith “Wonderboy” Johnson encourages listeners to not give up because God “will never leave you by yourself.” Working two jobs? Body in pain? “Just keep pushin’.” A young man born with an old soul, Johnson has helped keep the traditional quartet sound alive, though “Keep Pushin” has more in common with mid-‘70s Isley Brothers. Nevertheless, Johnson lets loose with a good old quartet shout several times during the song. Johnson recently paid tribute to Spencer Taylor Jr., “the Godfather of Gospel,” with a ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 27, 2017

“Joy!” Warren Dean Flandez, feat. Top Line Vocal Collective From the CD Eternally Grateful www.wdfworld.com On his new project, Eternally Grateful, Vancouver gospel sensation Warren Dean Flandez reprises the five-star material from his EP What the World Needs Now, adding additional tracks to round the package out. “Joy!,” featuring the talented 50-member choir known as Top Line Vocal Collective, is one of the songs brought forward from the EP. This paean to God’s goodness blends old and new seamlessly, capturing the celebratory mood found in both traditional and contemporary gospel music. Reviewing What the World Needs Now last March, I had ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 20, 2017

“Continuous Praise (Over and Over)” Zion’s Joy! Damascus Road Recording (release date: January 14, 2017) www.zionsjoy.com On “Continuous Praise (Over and Over),” Zion’s Joy!, an eleven-member multicultural gospel group from Indianapolis, evokes Kirk Franklin’s ensembles with its staccato vocals, musical swagger, ear candy hooks, and professional production. It’s a praise song with the zest to lift congregants up out of the pews and into the aisles, especially during the vamp, when the singers move into Friends of Distinction mode and begin singing contrapuntal motives. A workout mix, released in February, accentuates the electronica to optimize aerobic effort. Founded in 2008 ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: March 13, 2017

“Light Up the Darkness” Andre Byrd Independent release (March 2016) www.andrebyrdonline.com With “Light Up the Darkness,” Stamford, Connecticut, singer-songwriter Andre Byrd injects into song his call for direct social action. To a hook-laden pop melody that shimmers with Shellback-style blasts of electronica, Byrd appeals to us to stop acting like mannequins, going along with whatever society tells us, and let our little light shine to make the world a better place. Andre Byrd is a product of Jamaican-born parents who fostered within him a love for reggae as well as of traditional gospel. Growing up in the U.S., Byrd soaked ...

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