As we begin Season 3 of Artists You Should Know, we thank all the artists who are making a difference in the musical landscape. We also would like to thank all of those who were gracious enough to send us materials when we asked so that we could make sure we included accurate information. Finally, we thank all of our readers, followers and friends who read our reviews and support these amazing artists. Let’s start by paying homage to my home town – Chicago, IL. – and introduction you to some amazing artists that we have had the pleasure of knowing, meeting and experiencing.
Many times, I’ve seen her in the company of amazing artists like Corey Barksdale, Jonathan McReynolds and Grashovia “Grandy” Wilson. Always doing whatever she could to make their performance as an artist easier. She once told me that she “…I just have a lot of talented friends…” and I agreed with her. Her freshman release, “Follow” makes me wonder if they were actually saying the same of her all along.
Britney Delagraentiss forges her own path with laser-sharp accuracy, perfect placement and a tone that is delicate, but definite. While her vocal ability is strong, her conviction is stronger and her song expresses it brilliantly. This is a fresh sound that I admonish you not to pass up. While she is new to the scene, her sound resonates with experience. Stay tuned. There is more to come from this humble genius.
TONY TIDWELL & UNCOMMON FAVOR
While “Leap!” (David Daughtry) and “He Reigns” (Vincent Bohanon & The Sound of Victory Fellowship Choir) have done their part to get the church up on their feet, I don’t think that there is a song available presently that does for me what “Dance In Advance” does.
Tony Tidwell & Uncommon Favor are careful to preserve the classic “Chicago Bump” elements that are common to their city while giving modern worshippers the sound they crave for. It begins with a familiar phrasing and ends with a strong drive and a flood of energy that encourages to do just what the song says. Tidwell has hit all the right buttons with this one — emotionally engaging, easy for local assemblies to learn and interesting for musicians to play — the hallmarks of a good song.
With the one and only Evangelist Darlene Allen-Nichols admonishing listeners through exhortation and Scripture and an armada of great musicians and singers, this is a song that moves your feet and encourages your heart. Go ahead and download a copy of this song and “Dance In Advance“
Fresh off the heels of delivering a hit song with her church choir (Bishop Larry D. Trotter & Sweet Holy Spirit Choir – “Lord I Wanna Thank You“), Lady LaVarnga Hubbard does it again with her new single, “Worthy“
A definite service opener, its friendly call-and-response style is easy for all music lovers to enjoy and music leaders to reproduce. Although its construction is simple, the composition is no walk in the park. First-class vocals respond to Hubbard’s crisp, raspy phrasing. Orchestration of the highest caliber make this a tune on the level of Tamela Mann, Judy McAllister or Miranda Willis. The energy this song gives is infectious and surely should become a part of any worship team’s repertoire. Hubbard brings the song home with a simple drive that has complex timing – not a bad thing. She changes things up leading to an ending one could edit as they see fit. All ages, all skillsets and all sects should enjoy this light and moving presentation. I’m very proud of this next-level production and styling of this respected Gospel chanteuse.
Upon hearing the first few lines of “Be Glorified/Oh Jesus” I was drawn in. I was always a huge fan if the original Ron Kenoly hit and love how Jason Davis incorporates it into a balanced and pleasurable listening experience.
Throughout the project, Jason is accompanied by some of the most gifted worship artists in our area (and the country, for that matter). Included in that roster is Atmosphere Of Heaven’s Jon Jones, Tiff Joy, who has her own project, but is also the writer/vocalist of “Amazing”. Isaac Tarver, son of artist and Pastor Phil Tarver and amazing singer in his own right, Heather Cooper and Ron Poindexter, who have graced this column before, the latter featured on an acoustic treat called “Changed“. LaRue who delivers a powerful performance on “More Than A Conqueror” and a host of other incredible talents too numerous to all name here.
Please don’t let the outsource of talent lead you to believe that Jason is incapable. He has a host of songs that feature him alone and are executed with excellence. Admittedly, I don’t know Jason personally. I don’t know his struggles. I don’t know his history, but I do know his passion….worship. He has a heart for God that is expressed through many musical styles and is the theme of this record. Jason Davis is definitely not chasing average, he is in “The Pursuit Of More“
The voice of Tanya Ray has always served as a clarion call for believers. For years, under the tutelage of her mother, the late Dr. Angie Ray (a champion of prayer and faith), she declared Gods sentiments with authority.
Her new release “Overcomer” is evidence that she has not wavered in her stand. It is a perfect song to kick off any gathering of believers by galvanizing people for a common cause. In the song, she declares that we are exactly what the Bible calls us; overcomers. Her voice is clearer that I’ve ever heard it and she is accompanied by skilled vocalists and musicians who help take the message from ear to heart. She did not dive into the spiritual aspect without embracing production and mixing needs for a quality product. So many have come and gone in this industry, which is expected. I am glad to celebrate Tanya Ray, an artist who may not have been celebrated on the world’s greatest stages, but has always remained constant and focused on her message and mission. If you like good music coming from good people, this is definitely a ‘must-have’.
PASTOR CHRIS HARRIS
Lets say you weren’t around to remember his stint with Mark S. Hubbard and The United Voices. Perhaps you missed the passionate plea he made with Bishop David G. Evans that swept the country entitled”Let It Be Me“. Or maybe you couldn’t grab a copy of his 2005 project “So Amazing”. You may not have been aware of his Thanksgiving Song that was featured on YouTube or his contribution to the movement to stop the senseless violence from officers and civilians called “Black Lives Matter“. Poor you!
Well, now is your chance to experience Pastor Chris Harris. His skillful voice has been treasured in Chicago for years and he allows this voice to radiate throughout the country once again with “Destined to Win“.
Definitely on the vibe of something you’d hear at Willow Creek or Lakepoint Church, Pastor Harris delivers with clarity and precision that make it palatable in any setting. With lyrics like “…and there is One who goes before you to calm the sea. And there is a King who leads His people to victory…”, Harris makes sure that we know the one who fights beside us. Lines such as; “…we’ve learned in His footsteps that crosses in life must precede the crown.” are the kind of words that reassure us that our battle is not in vain.
This song is a real winner that takes us to another place and time yet transcends it. His voice draws you in with warmth and feeling that are as genuine as the passion of the man. I highly recommend this song. You will listen to it again and again.