Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: June 15, 2020

“Be Alright”Dexter Walker & Zion MovementIntersound (release date: May 29, 2020) By Bob Marovich It’s hard to believe, but on “Be Alright,” the award-winning Chicago gospel choir Dexter Walker & Zion Movement moved the needle on its effervescence-o-meter, already at fever pitch, further to the right. The song’s message is appropriate for all times, but especially for this time: keep the faith, trust in God, and everything will be all right. Lead vocalist Jazmine Jones shouts, squalls, and otherwise wrecks the church on this frenetic and relentless musical cousin of a praise break. The choir responds with full-throated section work ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 9, 2020

“Stand On His Promises” Tamika Patton feat. Pastor Korey Mickie (release date: May 22, 2020) www.TamikaPattonMusic.com By Bob Marovich Philadelphia native and fiery gospel singer Tamika Patton sings the stuffing out of this double-time church wrecker that encourages those who “stumble and fall” to keep going, “lean on the Lord,” and “stand on His promises.” Pastor Korey Mickie interjects with impassioned evangelism. The single, written by Patton and the late Eric B. Franks, also of the City of Brotherly Love, was produced and arranged by Ramon Shelton. It moves with the motive force of praise break music, which, for many, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 1, 2020

“A Charge”Desmond Roberson & the Roberson BunchFrom the 3 Sonz Records Here’s the Story(release date: May 22, 2020) By Bob Marovich Don’t let the amusing Brady Bunch-like cover fool you. There’s some serious singing on “A Charge,” from Desmond Roberson & the Roberson Bunch. It is an exhilarating Pentecostal-meets-quartet take on the hymn “A Charge to Keep I Have,” arranged by husband-and-wife team Desmond and Tammy Roberson. The piece, which serves as the finale of a live recording by the family band from Valdosta, Georgia, allows the congregation a chance to get their last long praise on. Desmond leads with ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 25, 2020

“I’ll Serve Him” Ken Heath & the True Disciples Keep Hope Music (release date: March 20, 2020) By Bob Marovich The latest single by the Richmond, Virginia-based quartet Ken Heath & the True Disciples rolls along on a simple message about discipleship and the blood of Jesus that has kept him and his family safe. Like 2019’s “Moving Forward,” the group’s new song has that quintessential quartet strut rhythm and a classic call-and-response vamp. “I’ll Serve Him” is a sure-enough hand clapper that the group no doubt extends on live programs for maximum spiritual impact.

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 18, 2020

“He Made a Way for Me” New Christianaires Carter Classic (2020) www.newchristianaires.com By Bob Marovich The New Christianaires’ single “He Made a Way for Me” has all the quartet goods: an old school up-tempo beat, plenty of call-and-response singing between the lead vocalist and the group, high-octane shouting, and a rollicking extended vamp. Both the lyrical content and arrangement exude the joy and gratitude of those who have been blessed by God. It’s the group’s best single to date. Minister George N. Carter Sr., a member of the original Christianaires of Sontag, Mississippi, reorganized the group in Florida by adding ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 11, 2020

“Better Days” Joe Daccache Independent (release date: April 3, 2020) By Bob Marovich “Better Days” is a pop-styled song with an inspirational message from Joe Daccache. A thumping beat with swatches of warbling organ, plunky piano, hand claps, and flourishes of brass give the impression of being in the church as well as in the park, as if Cee Lo Green and Kirk Franklin were jamming together. Inspired by his mother’s battle with cancer (she’s currently cancer-free), Daccache wrote “Better Days” with Autumn Marie Buysse and Tony Chetta. The song offers gratitude to God for blessings received, and brings a ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 4, 2020

“Keep Running” Jimmy Hicks feat. Diana Hicks Blacksmoke Music Worldwide By Bob Marovich Jimmy Hicks has a knack for making his singles feel as if they have one foot in the church and the other on the musical stage. “Born Blessed,” “Blessed Like That,” and “God’s Got It” are just three visually-evocative tracks he has released over the past fifteen years or so. Jimmy and Diana Hicks use their latest creation, the peppy “Keep Running,” to thank God for getting them through the challenges of several decades, and to encourage those who feel lost during this new decade. Employing the ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 28, 2020

“Leap of Faith” YimikaSoul From the Yimikasoulfactory CD Leap of Faith (release date: March 20, 2020) By Bob Marovich Houston, Texas singer YimikaSoul opens “Leap of Faith” like a veteran gospel stomper, her voice big and expansive like an evangelist starting a prayer service. From there, she shares the spotlight with a cheerful choir on this handclapper, reportedly based on personal experience, about how faith can make great things happen. The verse packs ten pounds of lyrics in five pounds of space, but the song’s traditional-sounding chorus, its theatricality, and a vamp with key changes more than make up for ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 20, 2020

“We Are Family, We Are Friends” Darius Twyman & Destiny Character Music LLC (release date: February 21, 2020) By Bob Marovich Detroit singer, songwriter, and choir leader Darius Twyman teams up with his longstanding choir, Destiny, for a song with a dual purpose: to encourage global unity and to offer much-needed words of comfort and hope to the discouraged everywhere. Lush choir harmonies and Twyman’s impassioned vocals evoke the work of the Reverend Donald Vails, whose Voices of Deliverance was where a preteen Twyman cut his vocal teeth. The song is smooth, inspirational, and steeped in the Motor City’s polished ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: April 14, 2020

“While Traveling Through” Shonda English feat. Lemmie Battles From the forthcoming album Travelin’ (release date: March 13, 2020) By Bob Marovich Combine the sanctuary-honed talents of Shonda English and Lemmie Battles, veteran musician Richard Gibbs, and David Walker & High Praise of Atlanta, Georgia, and you have the ingredients of an old-fashioned church rouser, low country handclap and all. “While Traveling Through” doesn’t disappoint. English and Battles sing and shout the glory down as they remind the listener that since this “barren world” is not our home, we are just travelers on our way to a better place. English is ...

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