Singles

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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“Miracles” – Kingdmusic

“Miracles” Kingdmusic Independent (release date: July 1, 2022) www.kingdmusic.com By Robert M. Marovich Pulling its text from Matthew 17:20, “Miracles” by Kingdmusic is a bright, optimistic worship anthem designed to remind listeners that belief in God can overcome all crises. Kingdmusic premiered the composition at a worship service in Pretoria, South Africa, and had the congregants singing along. The memorable melody and hypnotic chorus is ready-made for congregational participation. From Venda, South Africa, Denga “Kingdmusic” Takalani, is a multi-award-winning artist, songwriter, worship leader and record producer. To my ears, this is his best single to date.

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“We Call” – Grant Allison IV

“We Call” Grant Allison IV One Nation Under God Records (Release date: April 14, 2020) www.grantallisoniv.com By Robert M. Marovich Though worship pastor Grant Allison IV has a new single (“Here”) and “We Call” has been around a while, I’m nevertheless struck by the loveliness and power of the latter song. “We Call” is orchestrated dramatically to fit its message of a community calling on Jesus during times of confusion. The chorus is deliberately hypnotic to capture the hushed vibe of a worship moment. It’s well-sung P&W with a pop flavor, courtesy of the thumping drums and recurrent electric guitar ...

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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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“Worship Him” – Donnell Russell

“Worship Him” Donnell Russell Independent (release date: May 30, 2022) www.donnellrussell.com By Robert M. Marovich “Worship Him” is a blast of extroverted praise by New Orleans’ own Elder Donnell Russell. If it sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the late Bruce Ballinger’s classic hymn given a hyper-rhythmic arrangement. While the background singers get bluesy on the vamp, Russell flexes his preacher’s voice to declare his praise by lining out the many names for Jesus. His use of a portion of the Lord’s Prayer in call-and-response with his singers is another time-honored gospel singing technique. Altogether, “Worship Him” packs a wallop. No ...

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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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“Lord of All” – Carolyn Wright

“Lord of All” Carolyn Wright Independent (release date: April 3, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich Ms. Carolyn Wright lit up the Rhythm of Gospel Awards in Jacksonville, Florida, last month with her lead vocals for one of the many talented church choirs that were in attendance. I wasn’t alone in my plaudits—many present at the event singled her out for the poised, polished, and passionate singing you hear on her single, “Lord of All.” Written and produced by Courtney Franklin, “Lord of All” has the musical majesty of a contemporized hymn. Just as importantly as the song’s message and noble ...

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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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