“God Is Love” – Steve Dalton & The Leviticus Singers of Charlotte

“God Is Love”
Steve Dalton & The Leviticus Singers of Charlotte (LSOC) (2020)
www.facebook.com/LSOC2014

Steve Dalton & LSOC God is Love cover artBy Janie Sheeley-Torain
GMF Special Contributor

Steve Dalton & The Leviticus Singers’ riveting vocals and soul-rousing lyrics minister to the brokenhearted and the downtrodden through their latest single, “God Is Love.” It is a powerful but simple message, packaged with an upbeat tempo, which serves as a vivid reminder of the all-embracing reach of the love of God.  Dalton’s finely calibrated declarations mixed with LSOC’s stylistic background vocals that are centered around God’s love will uplift your spirit and stir up your soul.  The ensemble’s vocal vitality and beats are contagious, and as you listen you will be transformed from tapping your toes, praising and worshiping, to eventually pointing to yourself in the mirror and singing, “He’ll never stop loving you!”

“God Is Love” is the first single from Steve Dalton & LSOC’s upcoming EP, The Introduction.

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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.

“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.

“Love Is A God Word” – Samuel Obie

“Love Is A God Word”
Samuel Obie
From the CD, Cat-A-Fly (2019)
Available on all digital outlets 

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Samuel Obie foregoes excessive vocals and layers of synthesized sound to deliver the current single from his Cat-A-Fly CD, “Love Is A God Word.”

Obie is a songwriter.  His songs have been recorded by three of the biggest names in gospel music: Shirley Caesar, Edwin Hawkins, and John P. Kee.  Notwithstanding, in this particular composition, the only lyric you’ll hear shows up in the refrain and is the song’s title.  Perhaps this is because Obie is also a seasoned musician.  On this inspirational jazz piece, he chooses to put his organ chops front and center.  It’s a tasteful choice with nimble, expressive fingerwork that interprets love’s divinity in both melody and timbre while the supporting instruments know their place and contently ride the groove.

Obie is a native of Hillsborough, NC who presently resides in the Charlotte metro area.

Andrea René Williams debuts ‘Count It As Done’ lyric video

Enjoy this lyric video from Andrea René Williams titled, “Count It As Done.”

“‘Count It As Done’ was a song that came to me in two separate dreams,” says Williams, the song’s composer, arranger, producer and engineer. “The message and the music are so powerful to me. I don’t believe we realize what power we’ve been given as believers. Even in the climate of this current COVID-19 pandemic, we can use the word of God to speak healing and restoration over this nation and this world. We need to use the authority that the Lord gave us in Matthew 11:23 and speak to the mountains in our lives. We need to exercise our faith.”

Williams’ music résumé is robust.  In addition to being a gospel artist, she is a pianist, former GRAMMY Awards manager, former gospel music publicist, 2019 summa cum laude graduate of Berklee College of Music, and two-time 2020 WAMMIE Award nominee.

“I Can” – Adaora ft. Papa San

“I Can”
Adaora feat. Papa San (2018)
Available at iTunes

By Janie Sheeley-Torain
GMF Special Contributor
 
Encourage yourself with “I Can” from Adaora Nwokoye’, popularly called Adaora. Pop it into your ears when you head off to work, school, or play. When you listen to this song, you’ll not only want to find the lyrics so you can quickly learn and sing along, but you’ll want to share it to lift up somebody else.


I Can,” with its Reggae style and Caribbean feel, reminds us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, according to the scriptures. We can start our day positively, and remain positive no matter what the enemy throws our way. Keep singing it: “I can do all things through Christ my Saviour / Nothing can hold me back or take my place!”


Adaora’s uptempo inspirational single features world renown Reggae maestro Papa San and is produced by US-based Nigerian music maker Lexisuger.

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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 Always Be Thankful" – Duranice Pace ft. The Pace Family

“I’ll Always Be Thankful”
Duranice Pace ft. The Pace Family (2017)
Madison Music Group

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Duranice Pace is the eldest sister and a lead singer with gospel’s beloved Anointed Pace Sisters.  She’s appeared in a number of stage plays and once upon a time appeared weekly on BET’s Bobby Jones Gospel as a Nashville Super Choir cast member, the backing choir for Jones.  Those who weren’t already acquainted have been introduced through video clips of her trademark entrances at family gatherings and impromptu performances at places like Walmart and IHOP, which spread like wildfire across social media.

At the family’s most recent Thanksgiving Day get-together, Duranice burst through the front door with melody.  Her musical family–which includes matriarch Pastor Bettie Pace and Duranice’s eight singing sisters–has come to expect as much, so the phone’s cameras were rolling.  The footage, posted by younger sister LaTrice, became an instant hit and within a few days, “I’ll Always Be Thankful”–the song that brought everyone joy, tears, and tears of joy–was released as a single.  It’s easy to see why the inspirational uptempo song of gratitude, celebration, and fond remembrance resonated with hundreds of thousands: “Here we are again sitting at the dinner table / Talking to one another / Ain’t nothing like family and friends…”

“I’ll Always Be Thankful” features the Pace family and is produced by Duranice’s nephew, Dennis Lamar Martin, Jr.

"Grateful" – Ted Winn & Balance feat. Maranda

“Grateful”
Ted Winn & Balance feat. Maranda (2016)
Shanachie Entertainment
Available at iTunes


By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever


Ted Winn’s gospel ballad “Grateful” doubles as a personal expression of thanks and a tribute to his friend and musical influence, the late Bishop Walter Hawkins.  


Inspired by Hawkins as well as three generations of matriarchs in his own family, Winn said of the self-penned single, “‘Grateful’ is a song I penned as I thought about the significance of my mom, my grandmother and great-grandmother in my life. My dad wasn’t present but God orchestrated it so that these powerful women were.  So I realized you can cry over who left or celebrate who stayed. I chose to be grateful.”


Strings and a simple piano chord progression open the track, leaving ample room for Winn’s impassioned words of gratitude:


Taught me how to love myself 
Recognized my value, my internal wealth
Now I see my potential the way you do
And I am grateful to you


The song ascends from its bridge to the chorus, accompanied by group members Balance, before making its segue into the Hawkins classic “Be Grateful,” where jazzy Maranda Willis trades the lead with Winn.


“Grateful” is from Winn’s forthcoming album, set for release in 2017.

"I'm A Winner" – Tonya Lewis-Taylor

“I’m A Winner”
Tonya Lewis-Taylor
From the upcoming EP, I’ve Got to Win (2016)
www.tonyalewistaylor.com

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

“I’m A Winner” is the uptempo inspirational debut single from Tonya Lewis-Taylor’s forthcoming EP, I’ve Got to Win.

Abundant with self-affirmations, Tonya (pronounced Tone-yah) makes one declaration after another, echoed by her background vocalists:

“I can do all things through Christ…”
“I can be whatever He wants me to be…”
“I can have whatever He wants me to have…”
“I’m the head and not the tail…”

Tonya wrote and co-produced “I’m A Winner” with Martin Christie and her husband J.P. Taylor.

"Never Let You Go" – Dennis Garner ft. Truman Comer

“Never Let You Go”
Dennis Garner feat. Truman Comer (2015)
Available at iTunes

By Libra Boyd
Gospel Music Fever

Nope, it’s not Maze featuring Frankie Beverly.  And the only reason I’m telling you is because when you hear the intro, you just might think otherwise.

Nope, it’s not the 1980s R&B hit “Before I Let Go.”  The single is actually its gospelized equivalent, “Never Let You Go,” by Dennis Garner featuring Truman Comer.  The music is entirely familiar, but Garner’s lyrics are conspicuously different: “I am so grateful You saved my soul….You are my Savior, and I’ll never let You go.”

The producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist has worked with Quincy Jones and other industry heavyweights throughout his decades-long career.  The Greensboro, NC native also made a pair of movie appearances in The Color Purple (as a guitar player) and Eddie.

Official Video – "Back Where You Belong" – Brian Nhira

 Enjoy Brian Nhira’s music video “Back Where You Belong,” produced by Faith Nhira and directed by Isaiah Cartledge.
The poignant composition communicates the compelling request of a child for his father’s active daily presence.  The song is from Brian’s album, Hope’s Stand, and brings attention to the issue of families with absent fathers.