Reviews

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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Pastor Dewayne Charleston – Don’t Wait

Pastor Dewayne Charleston Don’t Wait JJ Music Media (release date: April 1, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich Although Pastor Dewayne Charleston’s Don’t Wait is a solo project, the soulful singing, the quartet harmonies, the wooden church spirituality, and the traditional-leaning arrangements endow it with the spirit of a quartet CD. In this case, the quartet harmonies supporting Charleston are handled by a duo, Jerome Larkin and Dion Bell. Assisting the singers is a team of steady-handed musicians led by Jerald “JJ” Griffin, who manages multiple duties on bass guitar, keys, horns, and strings. The album’s current single is the easy-loping ...

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“My Everything” – Min. Golanda Walton-Blackwell

“My Everything” Min. Golanda Walton-Blackwell SG&E Records (release date: April 16, 2022) By Robert M. Marovich Georgia gospel singer Min. Golanda Walton-Blackwell pulls out all the stops for her debut single, “My Everything.” The song’s message of praise and gratitude are set to a contemporary gospel slow-burner that resolves in a fiery vamp. Here, Min. Golanda lets loose like an evangelist with her testimony and as a result does her finest singing. She peppers lines with blue notes as the radio edit fades, leaving the listener wanting to hear the rest. Comforting and compelling.

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“Power in the Blood” – Dr. Prince Yelder & the Disciples for Christ

“Power in the Blood” Dr. Prince Yelder & the Disciples for Christ Tyscot Records (release date: April 1, 2022) www.tyscot.com By Robert M. Marovich With a nod to the song’s composer, Bishop Leonard Scott, Dr. Prince Yelder & the Disciples for Christ offer a resounding and high-energy version of “Power in the Blood.” In her commanding alto, lead singer Brenda Card testifies about the power of the blood in a lyrical conversation with the choir, as the musicians pump out a bracing beat. The choir uses its brief solo to deliver majestic New G-style chords and cascading harmonies. The song ...

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Angelo & Veronica: The Original Recordings, 1990-1991

Angelo & Veronica The Original Recordings, 1990-1991 A&V Music (release date: April 25, 2022) www.angeloandveronica.com By Robert M. Marovich Christian music duo Angelo & Veronica’s recent release, The Original Recordings: 1990-1991, could easily have been titled (with deference to Dylan) The Basement Tapes. The twelve-track collection was recorded in Angelo Petrucci’s mother’s basement in 1990 and 1991, prior to the duo’s signing with the Benson Company and the company’s subsequent decision to hire another producer for the group’s debut album. The basement tape was long forgotten until Angelo came across it in his garage, not the worse for wear. Indeed, ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – May 23, 2022

“I Can’t Forget” David Daughtry Independent (single release date: February 18, 2022) www.daviddaughtrymusic.com By Robert M. Marovich Vocalist David Daughtry lets his COGIC roots show on “I Can’t Forget,” an up-tempo, handclapping gush of gratitude to God that incorporates the congregational favorite, “Oh What He’s Done For Me” and snippets of lyrics from “Jesus I Can’t Forget.” The single blends traditional gospel singing with contemporary musicianship, and it packs plenty of Pentecostal power. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, David Daughtry is director of praise and worship for the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles, California, under the ...

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“Everything Will Be Alright” – Harold Wade Sr.

“Everything Will Be Alright” Harold Wade Sr. Independent (release date: August 31, 2021) By Robert M. Marovich Little Rock, Arkansas, pastor Harold Wade Sr. and his choir offer tender words of encouragement on this comforting ballad that hearkens back to the golden era of recording church choirs. “Everything Will Be Alright” features call-and-response as Wade, leader of New Life Church, speaks the lyrics as the choir and vocalist Tiana Green respond in kind with song—a technique gospel enthusiasts will remember either from James Cleveland’s work with the Caravans on “Solid Rock” or Kirk Franklin’s hit, “Why We Sing.” Though not ...

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“God Said It” – The Canton Spirituals ft. Doug Williams and Darrel Petties

“God Said It”The Canton Spirituals ft. Doug Williams and Pastor Darrel PettiesFrom the Malaco Music Group album Hallelujah Anyhow(release date: January 28, 2022)www.malaco.com By Robert M. Marovich It’s a Mississippi singers reunion as the Canton Spirituals, Doug Williams of the Williams Brothers, and Pastor Darrel Petties of Olive Branch, Mississippi, assemble to sing that if God said it, “you can count it all done.” To hammer home the point, Harvey Watkins Jr. and Company provide listeners with a few examples from the Old and New Testaments when God did just what He said. I think it’s Doug Williams who interjects ...

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JGM Pick of the Week – May 16, 2022

“Shake ‘Em Off” David E. Johnson Jr. feat. 1K Phew Trucast Music Digital (release date: March 25, 2022) www.DavidEJohnsonJr.com By Robert M. Marovich On “Shake ‘Em Off,” Memphis native David E. Johnson Jr. summons the percussive go-go sound of Washington, DC,  to bid good riddance to the devil. Johnson launched his gospel career in October 2021 with the original version of “Shake ‘Em Off,” co-written with Makeba Riddick-Woods. The extended version features a double-time rap interlude from Christian hip-hop artist Isaac “1K Phew” Gordon. The dynamic refrain is ready-made for full-body congregational participation. Plenty of kinetic energy in this piece.

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Michele Thomas – The Assumption

Michele Thomas The Assumption Soulstream Music (release date: March 25, 2022) www.michelethomasmusic.com By Robert M. Marovich First of all, the title of The Assumption, jazz singer Michele Thomas’s third album, is a play on words. By referencing the Roman Catholic Church’s belief (assumption) that Mary, mother of Jesus, departed immediately to heaven upon death, she puts a sacred touch on the project’s point: trust. Second, Thomas combines her experience as a church singer, which included forming the gospel choir at North Park University, with her jazz career. The result is a sound as easy as Sunday morning but with messages ...

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