Tag Archives: Rhythm of Gospel Awards

“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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Jerrell Golden: J Rocks the Mic…for Jesus

By Bob Marovich Anyone who witnessed Tappahannock, Virginia, rapper J Rock during freestyle battles heard a young, hungry, and confident artist who didn’t just want to emulate Jay-Z: he wanted to be better than Jay-Z. But behind the scenes, the story looked different. “I was hooked on drugs and did a lot of bad stuff,” Christian hip hop artist Jerrell Golden told the Journal of Gospel Music. “Me and my mom, we weren’t seeing eye to eye, so she kicked me out,” he said. “And honestly, I deserved it. I went through a spell of being homeless, going from friend ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 16, 2018

“Holy Ghost” Frozene Lott Hayes LotHay Music (2018) Available on iTunes By Bob Marovich You can be certain that a song titled “Holy Ghost” is going to be a church burner, and Frozene Hayes delivers on this promise. Supported by a chugging band and a choir of BGVs, Hayes sings about the exhilaration of salvation like a veteran church soloist. She has that deliciously raspy alto voice that can make “Happy Birthday to You” sound sanctified. She sang a live version of “Holy Ghost” at last month’s Rhythm of Gospel Awards, where it was named Traditional Song of the Year. It brought ...

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“The Pain is Going to End” – Bonita Burney Simmons

“The Pain is Going to End” Bonita Burney Simmons Bursimslow (release date: January 1, 2018) www.bonitaburneysimmons.com By Bob Marovich On her newest single, “The Pain is Going to End,” Bonita Burney Simmons reminds the listener that joy cometh in the morning, no matter how dark everything may look and feel. The song moves from general encouragement to personal testimony when she sings, “it’s just a test to what I believe – it will get better,” and later drops that new church axiom, “I don’t look like what I’ve been through.” The five-and-a-half minute track cries out for a radio edit to ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: July 2, 2018

“Chainbreaker” Angela “Missy” Billups E’Mazin Entertainment (release date: May 15, 2018) Available digitally By Bob Marovich New York-based singer Angela “Missy” Billups is known for both traditional church wreckers and rhythmic praise ballads. Her latest single, “Chainbreaker,” is right in the middle in terms of tempo, while the lyrics are consistent with the message she has sung at a variety of speeds: that God can release us from the physical and emotional chains that bind us. But you gotta believe. “Chainbreaker,” which Billups sang to an appreciative audience at the Rhythm of Gospel Awards ceremony last month, was produced by ...

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Malcolm Williams & Great Faith, Jonathan J. Wimbush, Todd Curry Among Top Honorees at 10th Rhythm of Gospel Awards

By Bob Marovich Chicago’s Malcolm Williams & Great Faith walked off with no less than four honors, including Contemporary Choir of the Year and the coveted Rhythm of Gospel CD of the Year, during the 10th annual Rhythm of Gospel Awards this past week. Held in “Yeah That Greenville,” South Carolina, from June 20 to 24, the Rhythm of Gospel Awards celebrated its tenth anniversary with music showcases, awards ceremonies, banquets, and pageants. Other top honorees at the ceremonies included the remarkable holy hip hop artist Jonathan J. Wimbush with three awards; Ms. C. Ashley Brown-Lawrence, who picked up Contemporary Song ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 8, 2018

“Blessing Me” Dr. F. James Clark Presents NextGeneration Choir From the City of Peace CD Sure. Focused. Centered (2017) By Bob Marovich Despite the jaunty piano intro and thunderous singing of the NextGeneration Choir, “Blessing Me” belongs to its fiery lead vocalist, Meaghan Williams-McNeal. Her feisty shouts and squalls lead the group on this churchy offering of thanksgiving for blessings bestowed. It is one of those songs that seems to anticipate a praise break.  Not surprisingly, Williams-McNeal is pursuing a solo career. Dr. F. James Clark and the NextGeneration Choir hail from the Shalom Church (City of Peace) of Florissant, Missouri. Their debut album, 2015’s Simply Amazing, ...

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