“Jesus I’ll Never Forget” – Zak Williams & 1/Akord

“Jesus I’ll Never Forget”
Zak Williams & 1/Akord (October 7, 2022)
Enon Music Group

Zak Williams & 1/Akord art work

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Pretty much any song with the words, “Jesus I’ll never forget” will charge a church atmosphere. Zak Williams & 1/Akord’s “Jesus I’ll Never Forget” featuring Lowell Pye is a banger in both message and delivery.

The song itself, written by Gabriel Sharpe, is reminiscent of the great choir music from the ’90s; and Stellar Award-winning vocalist Lowell Pye is just the powerhouse to take “Jesus I’ll Never Forget” to church, sharing his personal testimony along the way. The high energy of the choir is captured excellently as their enthusiastic, dynamic vocals leap through the speakers.

Zak Williams & 1/Akord, torchbearers of the “Philly choir” sound, are planning to release an album in 2023, from which “Jesus I’ll Never Forget” is the single.

“Satan Is Defeated” – Jonathan Willis & Zion City

“Satan Is Defeated”
Jonathan Willis & Zion City (2022)
https://www.poftzc.com

Jonathan Willis Satan is Defeated cover art

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Jonathan Willis & Zion City are giving Sunday morning pentecostal congregational praise with “Satan Is Defeated,” and it sounds to me like that’s exactly what Willis and the song’s co-writer and producer Patrick Shorts intended. “Satan Is Defeated” offers foot-stomping, hand-clapping, call-and-response, led by Willis. Zion City begins in unison before branching into three-part harmony in time for the vamp, making it a number that even non-singers will find enjoyably easy to sing.

The message is as simple as the melody: Satan loses and Christ’s followers win, for God’s Word declares it to be so. “I’ve got it – the victory!” the aggregation proclaims.

Willis is the senior pastor of Prayer of Faith Temple Zion City Church of God in Christ in Lynchburg, VA.

“Look to the Hills” – Rev. Luther Barnes & The Restoration Worship Center Choir

“Look to the Hills”
Rev. Luther Barnes & The Restoration Worship Center Choir
From the forthcoming CD, Look to the Hills (available May 29, 2020)
www.shanachie.com 
  
By Janie Sheeley-Torain
GMF Special Contributor 

In “Look to the Hills,” Reverend Luther Barnes and The Restoration Worship Center Choir harmoniously encourage us with a testimony of the unstoppable miracles that only God can perform. Allow this song to reach deep down into your spirit with the reassuring message that whatever you’re facing is gonna get better for you if you just “look to the hills and be blessed!”

Barnes adheres to his signature smooth delivery and relatable lyrics, which he co-wrote with the late Derrick Adams, and both will entice you to sing along and encourage yourself.  “Look to the Hills” is an amazing song – powerful and much needed during this national crisis. 


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Janie Sheeley-Torain, Ed.D, is a gospel music enthusiast, author, National Board Certified Teacher, and life-long educator. She is an advocate of invigorating gospel music that inspires, elevates, and encourages the listener. She has published and is currently working on manuscripts that embolden the musicians of gospel music.

“I’ll Never Stop Praising the Lord” – Northern Delaware Chapter GMWA Recording Choir

“I’ll Never Stop Praising the Lord”
Northern Delaware Chapter GMWA Recording Choir
From the album, God Be Glorified (2019)
Enon Music Group

By Janie Sheeley-Torain
GMF Special Contributor

The vibrant voices of the Northern Delaware Chapter GMWA Recording Choir declare, “I’ll Never Stop Praising the Lord.”  The uptempo O’Landa Draper-esque track is featured on the aggregation’s project, God Be Glorified.

Let the spirited declaration inspire you to do the same: never stop praising the Lord.  You know you may have missed a few church services and choir anniversaries, but let this choir – led by Minister Wayne Carter, Sr. – take you to church.  And definitely let the lively band energize you to pick ’em up and put ’em down.  The joy of the Lord is your strength! 

Get ready!  Get ready!  Get ready!  Praise God like the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order is over! 

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Janie Sheeley-Torain, Ed.D, is a gospel music enthusiast, author, National Board Certified Teacher, and life-long educator. She is an advocate of invigorating gospel music that inspires, elevates, and encourages the listener. She has published and is currently working on manuscripts that embolden the musicians of gospel music.

 

“I Can’t Make It Without You” – Beloved St. John Evangelistic Church

“I Can’t Make It Without You”
Beloved St. John Evangelistic Church

From the album, The Praise Worship Experience (2019)
belovedstjohn.org

By Janie Sheeley-Torain
GMF Special Contributor

“I Can’t Make It Without You” is the single from Beloved St. John Evangelistic Church Music and Arts Ministry’s full-length project, The Praise Worship Experience.  The upbeat praise track is fueled by a punchy bassline that showcases the bass player’s chops and manages to stay out of the way of the singers and other musicians.  Meanwhile, the vertical lyrics, penned by Scot Stevens and driven by enthusiastic vocals of Beloved St. John Evangelistic Church, underscore our dependence on God and remind us perhaps now more than ever in our nation’s dark and divided days that we can rely on Christ to bring us through any situation. 


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Janie Sheeley-Torain, Ed.D, is a gospel music enthusiast, author, National Board Certified Teacher, and life-long educator. She is an advocate of invigorating gospel music that inspires, elevates, and encourages the listener. She has published and is currently working on manuscripts that embolden the musicians of gospel music.

"Open Your Mouth and Say Something" – Brent Jones

“Open Your Mouth and Say Something” 
Brent Jones (2018)
JDI Records

Brent Jones Open Your Mouth and Say Something artBy Janie Sheeley-Torain
GMF Special Contributor

All right now!  Get ready to tap those toes, clap those hands, get your body in motion, and definitely “Open Your Mouth and Say Something.”  

Grammy and Stellar Award winner Brent Jones should’ve added an advisory label to this uptempo traditional choir jam because if you are driving, you will positively need to pull over to get out of the car and take a praise breaklike back in the day when you heard “your song” on the cassette and stopped the car and–

Oh yeah, I did go there. 

Driven by the vocal hype of Waco Community Choir and a brass-punctuated music line, “Open Your Mouth and Say Something” will not only make you do just that, but it may very well become “your song” of the day.  So turn up the volume, get your shout on, and holler, “Hallelujah!”

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Janie Sheeley-Torain, Ed.D, is a gospel music enthusiast, author, National Board Certified Teacher, and lifelong educator. She is an advocate of invigorating gospel music that inspires, elevates, and encourages the listener. She has published and is currently working on manuscripts that embolden the musicians of gospel music.

“I Am Confident” – Dr. Charles Diggins ft. Queen with High Praise & Worship

“I Am Confident”
Dr. Charles Diggins ft. Queen with High Praise & Worship
From the CD, The Secret Place “Live” (2018)

Charles Diggns cover artBy Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Despite what many of today’s gospel and inspirational playlists might imply, traditional choir music is alive, thriving, and kept at the forefront by artists such as Dr. Charles Diggins ft. Queen With High Praise & Worship.

The aggregation’s current single, “I Am Confident,” is from the full-length CD, The Secret Place “Live”, and is centered squarely on Philippians 1:6.  High Praise & Worship fervently punctuates the biblical assertion in a staccato manner as the song moves along unhurriedly.  Diggins’ verve and phrasing on the Roland Perry composition are occasionally reminiscent of gospel great Douglas Miller–certainly not a critique but rather a nod to the popular era of choirs fronted by robust voices like Miller, Cleveland, Brunson, Biggham, and Kee.  Diggins is solid at the helm of the High Praise & Worship Chorale.  Additionally, the minister of music and Alabama native has presented his own compositions and arrangements all over the country to include GMWA, NCGCC, and the National Baptist Convention.

The full-length CD features Diggins’ wife and music partner, Queen.

"We Praise You" – Northern Delaware Chapter GMWA Recording Choir

“We Praise You”
Northern Delaware Chapter GMWA Recording Choir
From the CD, God Be Glorified (2016)

By Libra Boyd



“We Praise You” is the lively single from the Northern Delaware Chapter GMWA Recording Choir’s project, God Be Glorified.


It doesn’t take long to hear the choir handing out a lot of what we’ve been missing as a result of choir music’s diminishing radio presence: robust, bold, dynamic section harmonies; crisp hand-clapping; prominent organ and piano riffs; and the overall “Sunday morning” vibe.


Minister Wayne E. Carter, Sr. leads the Northern Delaware GMWA chapter and choir and is the project’s executive producer. 

"It is Well" – Joe Pace Presents: Pastor H.B. Charles, Jr. and the Shiloh Church Choir

“It is Well”
Pastor H.B. Charles, Jr. and the Shiloh Church Choir
From the CD, Joe Pace Presents: Pastor H.B. Charles, Jr. and the Shiloh Church Choir (September 23, 2016)
Shiloh Worship/360MusicWorX
www.Shiloh.church/music


By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever


The sacred hymn “It is Well (With My Soul)” is two years older than the 141 year-old Shiloh Baptist Church, shepherded by Pastor H.B. Charles, Jr.  Nevertheless, Joe Pace’s arrangement of the hymn staple, as featured on the project, Joe Pace Presents: Pastor H.B. Charles, Jr. and the Shiloh Church Choir, melds the tune’s enduring lyrics with modern musical and vocal stylings to refresh the morning worship standard for a new generation.  


The Shiloh Church Choir’s contemporized version of “It is Well” is characterized by an uptempo rhythmic bounce and a vamp in which they emphatically affirm, “It is well with my soul / It is well with my soul, it is well!


Pace is a Grammy, Dove, and Stellar-nominated songwriter, producer, and choir director.  The music industry veteran presently serves as Shiloh’s pastor of worship and arts.

“Come On Everybody” – Greater New Hope Mass Choir

“Come On Everybody”
Greater New Hope Mass Choir (2016)
Touch One Musiq
Available at CD Baby


By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever


Greater New Hope Mass Choir in Oxford, NC is having some foot-stomping church, and they don’t intend to do it alone.  They issue an exuberant invitation to “praise the Lord…for He is good, He is good, He is good” with their current single, “Come On Everybody,” recorded live during a spiritual service.


“Come On Everybody” has all the hand clapping, horn stabbing, organ riffing, and tambourine shaking you’d expect in a traditional church choir song.  Punctuated by pulsating bass and the lead vocal of the song’s writer and producer Brian Foster–who is Greater New Hope Baptist Church’s minister of music and co-founder of the North Carolina Community Choir (Malaco)–“Come on Everybody” has Sunday Morning written all over it.