Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week:  August 8, 2022

“Never Stop Trusting God” Lemmie Battles DAF Entertainment Group (release date: June 17, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich Every song Lemmie Battles sings sounds like her personal testimony. Probably because every song is. Same with “Never Stop Trusting God.” Written by Percy Gray and produced by Jeral Gray Sr., the single features that Chicago-style pew-burning tempo and Battles’ trademark shouting and squalling. “I’ve had some good days and I’ve had some bad,” she declares, “but I never stop trusting God.” The indefatigable Battles’ second single on the DAF imprint makes it plain that no matter how many praise teams or ...

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JGM Pick of the Week:  August 1, 2022

“With Joy We Draw Water” The Bishop’s Choir feat. Kyle Sanders Enon Music Group (release date: April 15, 2022) www.enonmusic.com By Robert M. Marovich The Bishop’s Choir gives the original John Howard Caravan classic, “With Joy We Draw Water,” a full-throated rendering, complete with impassioned lead by Min. Kyle Sanders. From the Sim Wilson Jr. and John Howard Caravan album If You Need a Blessing (Savoy 1981), “With Joy We Draw Water” takes its text from Isaiah 12:3. With introductions from a chirpy church organ, the Bishop’s Choir layers its harmonies section-by-section as the members sing the title line like ...

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JGM Pick of the Week:  July 25, 2022

“Jesus Knows” Lisa Knowles-Smith and the Brown Singers EvoWorld Music (release date: May 13, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich For their new single, Lisa Knowles-Smith and the Brown Singers draw on key lyrics from the folk spiritual, “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.” But that’s where the comparison ends. Whereas the spiritual is slow and mournful, “Jesus Knows” is rapid-tempo and optimistic. Propelled by a twangy rhythm guitar, Smith and the Brown Singers emote not from a place of sorrow but from a sense of spiritual happiness. Church aphorisms spring off their tongues with delight as they revel in the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – July 18, 2022

“Proud of Me” Treva Chezmusique (release date: June 18, 2022) www.trevajones.com By Robert M. Marovich Treva Jones is no stranger to gospel music or to the Journal of Gospel Music. Written by the premier songwriter V. Michael McKay, “Proud of Me” is Jones’s latest single. Her warm, resonant alto curls around a lyric that expresses the challenges as well as the joys of being a disciple of Christ. “When you look in my direction,” she sings upward, “I pray that my reflection will make you put a smile on your face.” Produced by Sanchez Harley and co-produced by Paul Richards, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – July 12, 2022

“Grace Over Me” Mike Geo Independent (release date: July 8, 2022) www.MikeGeoMusic.com By Robert M. Marovich What Staten Island CCM artist Michael Giordano, aka Mike Geo, offers in “Grace Over Me” is a fizzy, energetic outpouring of gratitude for salvation. When the walls are closing in, Geo closes his eyes and remembers that God’s grace covers him. His charming tenor and acoustic guitar work deliver a cheery enthusiasm, a Jonathan McReynolds-meets-Jamie Grace vibe. The song is simple, short, and to the point.

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JGM Pick of the Week – July 5, 2022

“Take Me to the River” VAA’DAM KJ Productions (release date: March 8, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich The last time JGM heard from Dallas, Texas-based female duo VAA’DAM, they were featured on Kisha Grandy’s 2021 album Epitome. Trina and Quita are back with “Take Me to the River,” a laidback and soulful paean to the power of redemption through baptism. It’s not a redux of the spiritual sometimes called “None but the Righteous,” but a new song written by Kelton Je’Von. The group’s nod to folk spirituals continues in its reference to going “down to the riverside / to study ...

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JGM Pick of the Week:  June 27, 2022

“That Name Is Jesus” Beloved St. John Evangelistic Church Independent (2022) www.BelovedStJohn.org By Robert M. Marovich As long as Pastor Clement M. Lumpton III and the Beloved St. John Evangelistic Church of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, keep on singing, the church choir will remain relevant. On its latest single, “That Name is Jesus,” the choir celebrates the name and the intercession of Jesus with a traditional-sounding melody and arrangement complete with a backbeat supported by handclapping. A delightfully raspy-voiced female lead vocalist conducts a call-and-response with the choir. It’s especially effective during a litany of the many names of Jesus. Founded in ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – June 20, 2022

“He is the King” M. Cornelius Wyche & Octave Praise From the Enon Music Group album The Script (release date: January 14, 2022) www.enonmusic.com By Robert M. Marovich On their latest single, “He is the King,” M. Cornelius Wyche & Octave Praise worship the Lord, who is the antidote for the depression and despondency brought on by the extended pandemic. Along with featured soloists Dr. Kevin Bond and Pastor Suzie Wright, the choir delivers its worship with heavy harmonies and throaty vibrato, while the rhythm section pounds the beat deep into the earth. Pastor Suzie Wright of Zion Apostolic Christian ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – June 13, 2022

“Nothing Else Matters (Instead of Complaining, Praise Him)” Brent Jones JDI Records By Robert M. Marovich Brent Jones’ latest single, “Nothing Else Matters,” is a four-minute festival of praise set to a bouncy mid-tempo arrangement featuring Jones and the full-throated choir in call-and-response. “I don’t care who’s looking at me,” Jones declares, preparing to get his praise on as the choir handclaps. “Nothing Else Matters” follows “Open Your Mouth and Say Something,” a Billboard chart-topper for more than 54 weeks, earning Dove and Stellar Award nominations. While the new single is less complex than “Mouth,” the big choir sound and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – June 6, 2022

“Majestic One” Katy Weirich Independent (release date: January 14, 2022) https://katyweirich.com/ By Robert M. Marovich A life filled with ups and downs, joys and sorrows, depression and happiness informs the songs and singing of Katy Weirich. A young vocalist and worship leader who evokes Lauren Daigle and Hillsong’s Brooke Fraser, Weirich offers the praise power ballad “Majestic One.” Set to a panoramic arrangement and grounded by pounding drums, “Majestic One” is an anthem that articulates, in twenty-first century musical language, the gushing litany of Isaiah 9:7. More to come from Weirich, as her EP, Out of the Blue, is slated ...

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