Praise & Worship

JGM Pick of the Week – November 21, 2022

“God is Great” Kara Nichole Independent (release date: September 5, 2022) www.karanichole.com By Robert M. Marovich San Antonio, Texas, worship leader Kara Nicole converts the worship language of Psalm 145 into an appropriately joyful song called “God is Great.” The diminutive Kara is in complete command of this performance, singing her own praises while directing the audience to follow her lead in filling the sky with gratitude to God. The relentless rhythm is ideal for the sentiments of the song. Given that Kara was still riding high in the spirit by the conclusion, “God is Great” could have (and perhaps ...

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Nona Brown – Songs From My Journal, Volume 2

Nona Brown Songs From My Journal, Volume 2 Signature Music Group (release date: August 27, 2022) https://nonabrown.org/ By Robert M. Marovich Bay Area singer-songwriter Nona Brown’s new album is a follow-up to her Songs From My Journal, Volume 1. On this second volume and live outing, she sings her way through a stack of worship songs from her own portfolio. The energetic “All Unto You” is a conventional worship service opener, with plenty of call-and-response between Brown and her background vocalists. The late tenor Leonard Conner is featured vocalist and duets with Brown on “Praises to You,” a mellow but ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – October 3, 2022

“Holy” Grant Allison IV One Nation Under God Records (release date: July 31, 2019) www.grantallisoniv.com By Robert M. Marovich Once again, JGM digs deep into Chicago worship pastor Grant Allison’s catalogue and comes up with “Holy.” The atmospheric P&W outing is based on Philippians 2:10 and Hebrews 13:8. Its simple melody, singable chorus, and dramatic arrangement will set the congregation to hand waving. Released originally in 2019, it remains relevant in sound and message in 2022.

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“Arise” – Strong Tower Church feat. Richard T. Davis

“Arise” Strong Tower Church feat. Richard T. Davis From the album Fresh Wind – New Waves www.strongtowerlive.com By Robert M. Marovich Last year, Strong Tower Church dropped “Waves,” featuring Maurette Brown Clark. The Virginia music ministry is back with another song with a single word title: “Arise.” From the 2021 album, Fresh Wind – New Waves, “Arise” is conventional in melody but packs plenty of punch in the rhythm section and the vocals. Its lyric is inspired by Isaiah 60 (“Arise, shine; for your light has come.”). The song was written and is led by Richard T. Davis, Creative Director ...

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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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William Murphy – Worship & Justice

William Murphy Worship & Justice RCA Inspiration (release date: July 15, 2022) www.rcainspiration.com By Robert M. Marovich Do gospel artists have a responsibility to speak truth to power through their songs? Isn’t all gospel music message music, or should it be more explicit when it comes to the social gospel? Answers vary from artist to artist. For his part, Bishop William Murphy embraces the responsibility of social leadership through music ministry on Worship & Justice, his seventh album and first since 2019’s GRAMMYⓇ-nominated Settle Here. Recorded live in December 2021, at dReam Center Church in Atlanta, the album finds Murphy ...

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Maverick City x Kirk Franklin – Kingdom Book One

Maverick City x Kirk Franklin Kingdom Book One Tribl Records / Fo Yo Soul / RCA Inspiration (release date: June 17, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich Maverick City Music, gospel’s current “it” group, joined with the venerable Kirk Franklin, no stranger to special event gospel projects, to bring music and ministry to 1,300 Florida inmates. Kingdom Book One is the result. Recorded at the Everglades Correctional Institution in Miami, the album showcases MCM / Chandler Moore compositions and Franklin classics, a weary-sounding Franklin punctuating the communal singing and worship with exhortations, preaching moments, and Biblical lessons. Talented vocalists like Naomi ...

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“Never Lost” – Tribl

“Never Lost” Tribl featuring Joe L. Barnes, Lizzie Morgan & Melvin Crispell III Tribl Music (album release date: November 11, 2021) www.tribl.com By Robert M. Marovich If you follow gospel music, you are aware of the rise of worship collectives like Elevation Worship, Nashville Life Music, and the recent Grammy Award-winning Maverick City Music. Worship collectives, which are often multicultural in composition, possess a style that falls somewhere between CCM and gospel. Sometimes this blend, designed to appeal to an increasingly multicultural megachurch environment, lands the groups’ music on the CCM and gospel charts at the same time. Tribl is ...

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Martha Munizzi – Best Days

Martha Munizzi Best Days Martha Munizzi Music (release date: July 29, 2021) www.marthamunizzi.com By Robert M. Marovich Martha Munizzi’s latest live album, Best Days, is a well-orchestrated worship service that focuses on the reasons to celebrate, not worry, in the midst of today’s uncertainty. The paradox of joy in the midst of a raging storm permeates the project—after all, the album was recorded in November 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. It’s also the ultimate test of faith, Munizzi teaches, in songs that are energetic and pop-inflected with beefy instrumental flourishes. She assumes pastoral authority, exhorting during songs, encouraging ...

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