Tag Archives: Rhythm of Gospel Awards

Jesse Cann – A New Song

Jesse CannA New SongJordan Line Music (2019)www.jessecann.com By Bob Marovich At the Rhythm of Gospel Awards this summer, a distinguished-looking bearded gentleman named Jesse Cann sat down at a keyboard. In the midst of a musical program featuring thunderous choirs, ecstatic groups, and spirited singers, he offered up an unassuming but nevertheless earnest solo. The audience loved it. Later, Cann, a cancer survivor, took home the Special Event / Instrumental Artist of the Year Award. Cann’s latest album, A New Song, does include an instrumental track and highlights his talent on keys, flugelhorn, and trumpet, but it is a vocal ...

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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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Faithful Connection – Personal Experience

Faithful Connection Personal Experience (release date: March 22, 2019) https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/faithfulconnection12 By Bob Marovich Rhythm of Gospel Awardee Faithful Connection of Fredericksburg, Virginia, is a gospel quartet that blends elements of traditional gospel singing and lyricism with contemporary instrumentation and bass-heavy beats. They celebrate their tenth anniversary with a new EP, Personal Experience, produced by Richard Davis. As on the quartet’s 2015 album Thank You, the majority of the tracks on Personal Experience are led by group founder Jonathan Mercer, with cameos and ad-libs by TaWan Gray. The EP’s initial single and opening track, “I Made It,” is a gritty piece ...

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“Selfie Song” – Jada Redmond

“Selfie Song” Jada Redmond From the 4Red Music EP My Season (release date: January 4, 2019) https://tpministries.wixsite.com/jada By Bob Marovich For decades, gospel music has mined spiritual metaphors out of the latest technology. Bessie Griffin sang about Heaven’s radio, Charles Taylor about God’s television, and the Friendly Brothers called Jesus through the intersession of the telephone operator. And speaking of telephones, there’s the congregational favorite, “Jesus on the Main Line.” The latest example is teen singer Jada Redmond’s single, “Selfie Song.” To an unrelenting Jamaican beat and a hook-laden chorus with a percussive “Snap! Snap!” that just aches for a ...

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“I Need You” – Jermane C. Milton

“I Need You” Jermane C. Milton Harmony House Ministries (release date: April 14, 2017) Available on Amazon By Bob Marovich It may be that Jermane C. Milton’s cover of Shirley Caesar’s “This Joy,” made over with slamming funk bass runs courtesy of James Coleman, is the artist’s single and what earned him a 2018 Rhythm of Gospel Award for Urban Contemporary Male Vocalist, but for my money, it’s his “I Need You” that deserves the attention. A simple, light, piano-led melodic praise ballad whose only fault is a more-than-five-minute length, “I Need You” starts undistinguished enough, but Milton and his ...

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“Thirst 4 U” – Richard Davis

“Thirst 4 U” Richard Davis R2D Music / 9585 Records (release date: April 28, 2017) www.r2dmusic.com By Bob Marovich Water has been, and continues to be, a popular metaphor in spirituals and gospel music. From the Jordan River to the baptismal pool to a manifestation in rain, water represents rebirth and renewal. So it is with Richard Davis’s “Thirst 4 U,” where rain showers down an overflow of blessings. The song is enhanced by an energetic arrangement punctuated by flourishes of brass and smooth jazz overtones. The radio edit leaves out a good portion of the intro section, though for my money, I’d add ...

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“Reset” – Jonathan J. Wimbush

“Reset” Jonathan J. Wimbush From The Calling (EP) www.jonathanjwimbush.com By Bob Marovich Christian urban contemporary artist Jonathan J. Wimbush rode “Reset” and The Calling EP from which it came through the 2018 Rhythm of Gospel Awards this summer. He garnered three statues in the process. To a taffy-like gait of burbling electronica and background vocals, Wimbush rues on “Reset” that he wishes there were a magic button or magic potion to help him get his life back in order (he was inspired in part by the iconic Staples’ “Easy” button). In the bridge, he unveils what that reset is: prayer. Watching the ...

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“So Glad” – Lady Voncile Belcher

“So Glad” Lady Voncile Belcher Glory Bound Records (release date: June 15, 2018) By Bob Marovich When Lady Voncile Belcher opens her mouth to sing, you know she has been formed in the crucible of traditional gospel music. On her latest single, “So Glad,” Lady Voncile sings and shouts unbridled exclamations of enthusiasm to a God who has protected her from danger. Her gratitude transitions into praise as the song grinds to a conclusion.  It’s tried and true old school. A longstanding member of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Lady Voncile’s first lead vocal on a recording was “Do You ...

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“You Reign” – Deanna Ransom

“You Reign” Deanna Ransom LizaRan Music (release date: April 17, 2018) www.deannaransom.com By Bob Marovich Songstress Deanna Ransom hits “You Reign” out of the park. This praise song works because its simmering, repetitive four-chord foundation gives Ransom plenty of room to improvise, especially at the conclusion, where she runs up and down the stave with closed-eyes abandon, alive in the throes of worship. The Glassboro, New Jersey, native began her singing career as a five year-old member of her family’s group, the Heavenly Children. She was named Artist of the Year by the Rhythm of Gospel Awards in 2013.

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