Pick of the Week

JGM Pick of the Week: July 5, 2021

“Ain’t Nobody Like Jesus” Ron Rawls Red Torch Music (release date: June 15, 2021) www.rawlsmusic.com By Robert M. Marovich Ron Rawls may be best known as the music director for Christian artist Mandisa; he worked on her Grammy and Dove Award-winning album, Overcomer (2013). On “Ain’t Nobody Like Jesus,” a bracing pop-flavored ode of gratitude to Jesus, Rawls shows his stuff as a solo artist. Its funky chorus evokes jams from the likes of John Legend and Bruno Mars. Fundamentally the song is a call-and-response between Rawls and the background vocalists, but the superb musicians and Rawls’ staccato delivery and ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 29, 2021

“Your Presence is a Gift” E. Dewey Smith Pebble Street Records (release date: March 5, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich If Dr. E. Dewey Smith, senior pastor of the House of Hope in Georgia, wanted to come out of the chute with just the right solo debut single, he could do no better than “Your Presence is a Gift.” Produced by John Webb and featuring Zaviel Janae and BET Sunday Best finalist Zebulon Ellis in the team of background vocalists, the song finds Smith delivering what amounts to his testimony in the silkiest vocals this side of Brian Courtney Wilson. ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 21, 2021

“Heavenly”TaMyya JFrom the MM Music Group CD Love for Your Namehttps://tamyya-j.com/ By Robert M. Marovich “Heavenly” is the type of contemporary gospel song you swear you’ve heard before, which means it’s a solid record. Former Mary Mary background singer TaMyya J, who has already posted some singles on the Billboard gospel charts, likely has another one. Written by Fred Jerkins III and Delisha Thomas Johnson, “Heavenly” is about the journey from brokenness to completion through the blessings of the Most High. “I take credit for nothing / ‘Cause I know where they come from,” the Willingboro, New Jersey, native sings ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 14, 2021

“Thank You”Rufus JohnsonMiddle Boy Media (release date: July 19, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Rufus Johnson, a native of Richmond, Virginia, expresses his gratitude to God on “Thank You” with a pocketful of shoulder-shaking beats and an R&B melody that is as fresh as right now. Johnson’s gratefulness for making it through the rough patches serves as the backdrop of this compelling, memorable, and expertly-produced song. Simple and effective in delivering its message. A Stellar-nominated singer-songwriter and music educator, Rufus Johnson was once a member of the male gospel group G.I. He co-wrote and sang on two of the group’s ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: June 8, 2021

“New Orleans Medley” Jerard and Jovaun Independent (release date: December 4, 2020) By Robert M. Marovich Yes, this single came out late last year and yes, whatever vestiges of Mardi Gras that were able to take place this year are but a memory, but nevertheless, the “New Orleans Medley” conjures sufficient joy to be without season. From Jerard and Jovaun Woods, a husband-and-wife duo who perform as Jerard and Jovaun, the medley sets congregational songs and gospels to New Orleans musical sass. The best part is when the couple breaks out into “What He’s Done for Me,” as a clarinet ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 31, 2021

“I Am With You” Tameka Ferebee Tameka Ferebee Productions (release date: February 12, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Gospel singer-songwriter Tameka Ferebee’s “I Am With You” is a melodic evocation of the parental love that God has for each of us. The lyrics are written from God’s point of view, the ultimate parent who encourages and consoles his children, especially during the darkest times. Strings swirl dramatically around a delicate melody led by piano. Ferebee becomes more vocally confident as the song moves into the bridge, and explores her high soprano range en route to the big finish. The singer ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 25, 2021

“Nothin’ but the Spirit” Lisa Bellamy From the Nspyre Music Group International EP What Will it Take (release date: January 22, 2021) https://nspyremusicgroupinternational.com/ By Robert M. Marovich Lisa Bellamy’s self-penned single “Nothin’ but the Spirit” is a cross between gospel and quiet storm R&B. On this slow and thoughtful ballad, the singer-songwriter shares how the spirit of God led her to far greater heights than her own choices. The talented soprano singer’s delicate touch gives glimpses of the power behind it all. Among her accomplishments, Bellamy, a classically-trained vocalist, has done opera, was a finalist on the BET Gospel Diva ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 17, 2021

“He’s Working on Me” The McDuffies feat. Bishop Darrell McFadden From the Ruffboyzmusic Group LLC album The Legacy Continues (album release date: January 15, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich The McDuffies salute the memory of their brother Ricky McDuffie with a new album and single. The single, “He’s Working on Me,” is a driving selection with hard lead singing from quartet veteran Bishop Darrell McFadden. He does Ricky proud with his raw vocals, well-timed shouts, and a gospel chuckle tossed in for good measure. Every time he feels like throwing in the towel, McFadden sings, he remembers that he’s a ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 10, 2021

“He’s Way Ahead of You” Denita Gibbs DGW Entertainment (release date: March 6, 2021) www.denitagibbs.com By Robert M. Marovich Now THIS is the Denita Gibbs I remember from her 2013 CD, Without You. The Birmingham, Alabama, native’s declarative vocals on “He’s Way Ahead of You” are locked in from the very start when she sings: “This world is crazy / Spinning out of control / People do the wildest things / And try to rob you of hope.” Having painted the painful scene, Gibbs then reminds the listener to refrain from bitterness because God promised that He’ll never leave you ...

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JGM Pick of the Week: May 3, 2021

“Be Alright” Friends aka Anointed Friends Thompson Records (release date: March 15, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich In “Be Alright,” the female quartet Friends (aka Anointed Friends) deliver a simple song of reassurance and encouragement to a driving countrified beat. The ladies pepper their lyrics with familiar church aphorisms (e.g., “He may not come when you want him but He’ll be on time”) and tag on an old-fashioned vamp designed to rouse anyone not already out of their seats. It all sounds straight out of the South, but the quartet actually hails from the New York City metropolitan area. Organized ...

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