AYSK: Chi-Town Edition
We continue Season 3 of AYSK by featuring artists from my hometown of Chicago, IL. While I enjoy connecting with artists across the country, there is something special about featuring people that I have some connection to — either geographical, personal or professional. There is a sense of pride in talking about artists that come from Chi-town and feature the soulful and diverse sounds that make our city unique. Here are a few more Artists You Should Know
Evangelist Chrysann Moore
Evangelist Chrysann Moore has been a quiet storm for years. When I say quiet storm, I mean quiet STORM! She remains faithful to her home church (Redeem Church of God in Christ Ministries, Joliet, IL.) as Minister of Music. All the while, she has consistently given fiery, Spirit-charged performances, giving her all each time she graces the stage. In the annals of the Church of God in Christ and beyond, her name evokes images of a powerful singer who can memorize and electrify those who hear her.
“He’s Been So Good” (feat. Evangelist Chrysann Moore)
She has been a great boon to live audiences, but she has a few recordings under her belt as well. SoundCloud offers a glimpse into the multi-faceted artist with tunes like “My Passion” and the foot-stomping “He’s Been So Good“.
“O Give Thanks” is Moore’s latest foray into music. A catchy swing tune that checks all the right boxes: Clear, easy to decipher music…Check! A capable, talented singer…Check! Supporting vocalists who uphold their role of enhancing the song…Check! Great mixing and mastering…Check! A tune that is unconvoluted, and easy to remember …Check!
Well known for being able to bring the house down with a traditional song, here, Chrysann skillfully wields notes and phrases. Her placement is sure, rivaling many of the “best” singers of the day. The song easily shows the artist’s diversity.
“O Give Thanks” by Chrysann Moore
Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary and Natalie Wilson & S.O.P. brought about the advent of songs that younger people could (, like the Hip-Hop nation,)ride proud, roll their windows down and turn the volume up on their convictions. I think that songs like “O Give Thanks“ bring about a resurgence of this movement. Evangelist Moore recently did a live recording. If this song is just a taste of what we can expect from that event, we await with bated breath. Easily worth more than a dollar. Definitely worth a closer look. Sold-out and sanctified, Evangelist Chrysann Moore is well known to many and an Artist You Should Know.
That is the one word I exclaimed upon hearing a single track from this artist’s newest release, “See The Song“. It wasn’t because I couldn’t understand it. It was simply because that happened to be the title of the track. In addition, “A Little Fun” and “Promises” make for good, easy listening tracks that are upbeat, but not overbearing. While it is definitely an instrumental project, voices still resonate on “How Long” and the title track.
Long regarded as a pioneer and master musician, Cornell Thigpen‘s adroitness on keys is clearly evident with each song. Sharing his gift with ministries in three different states in his early years, the world is treated to musical feast with this project. It is wonderful that great musicians like the Weatherspoons and Thigpens of the world have provided great music that has undergirded incredible voices for years. Now they produce great music that stands alone and let you visualize the heart of the musician. Maybe that is why Thigpen named his project “See The Song“.
“Turn That Down” by Cornell Thigpen
B.J. McKenzie has been featured in our series twice before. The first time, he had no project to call his own and the second was a collaboration. Now, B.J. McKenzie can share his own musical voice with “Encouraging God’s Nation (Isaiah 6:1)“. After releasing the hit single, “Born 2 Win” in 2016, McKenzie went onto the lab and put the finishing touches on a stellar project to accompany the single.
Leonard Maddox Sr. is well known as a master of the Hammond organ and musician extraordinaire. He not only plays a part as musician here, but serves as Producer for the project. Wife, Pastor Julia Maddox lends her amazing pen as guest writer.
Filled with encouraging messages, the artist conveys his enjoyment through vocals in this project. Songs of note include; the uplifting “Keep Smiling“, “Trust In Jesus“, “I’m Prepared” – and its stepper’s vibe. The finale tune, “Drive ‘Ol Satan Away” is well worth the cost of admission. If B.J.’s youthful rendition of the traditional classic weren’t enough, the reprise includes a cameo by his father, Bishop Bernard McKenzie. No. I won’t say it, but the old adage about apples and trees seems to aptly fit here. B.J. McKenzie: Faithful musician, son of God-fearing parents, gifted singer and Artist You Should Know.
“Drive Ol’ Satan Away” by B.J. McKenzie
Currently residing in the Nation’s capital, he is included here because Chicago still claims him as theirs. He has left an indelible mark on the city by lending his gifts to projects from Lonnie V. Hunter & The Voices of St. Mark, Bishop Larry D. Trotter & The Sweet Holy Spirit Choir, Mark Hubbard & The Voices, Shekinah Glory Ministry, Bridgette Campbell, Kim Stratton and Phil Tarver to name a few.
Darwin Hobbs, 3 Winans Brothers, Karen Clark-Sheard, Donald Lawrence, Jovonta Patton, Beyoncé, Marvin Sapp, Fred Hammond and Richard Smallwood help to round out a short list of the names that he has worked with outside his beloved home town.
Grammy Award-winning producer, Daniel Weatherspoon has released “The Langley Park Project” (named after his home turf in Maryland) a collection, so diverse and well-crafted, it is hard to choose a favorite. Talents like Adam Agate, Javier Solis and Tommy Sims lend a helping hand in taking the listener on a joyful journey of energizing high points and placid moments in music. Every musician is sure to like the clever arrangements and the fact that the tracks are not too short nor too long. A feat not easy to master when an instrumental project is the order of the day. Post-production quality is exactly what you’d expect from a top-tier producer like Weatherspoon. From “Boston Ave” to the “East West Highway” through “Old Town” and into “Thursday“, Daniel helps us understand why his talent is respected by fellow musicians and by the industry as a whole. A project you should have by an Artist You Should Know.
“Brother (feat. Tommy Sims)” by Daniel Weatherspoon
It is important that every artist be faithful to their craft. Always enhancing their skill with constant personal improvement, professionalism and presenting nothing short of excellence. Not long ago, we featured “Just Jesus” as the newest single . Now he returns with another song that is sure to be a hit.
“I Didn’t Die” from vocalist extraordinaire, Ron Poindexter features the same impeccable timing and finesse (we’ve used that word to describe him before) of any of his past works. Filled with cutting edge production mastery from the genius that is Curtis Lindsey, it’s a fine showing of complex simplicity. Poindexter invites us to an introspective depicting Grace in a form quite fitting for millennials as well as centennials. Revisiting past experiences and missteps, he bring us to the track’s title — a conclusion in itself. The music is top shelf – as is the supporting cast’s delivery. Both of which feature every up-to-date musical phrase appropriate. “I Didn’t Die” is only a prelude to what is down the road for the gifted young singer.
“I Didn’t Die” by Ron Poindexter
As we fore-stated, Ron continues to reach new heights because he will do what many who want to be like him won’t: Enhance his skill with constant personal improvement, exude professionalism and present nothing short of excellence. His name has been recognized by greats such as Todd Dulaney, Shirley Caesar, Donald Lawrence, and Percy Gray. The industry knows him and the rumblings are sure to increase as he matures into the phenomenal talent he was always destined to be. He is a voice you should hear and an Artist You Should Know.
What we call Praise & Worship music has always been a pure form of expression in other circles. It was never meant to be complicated or flashy. Just a simple way for people to announce and exalt the name of the Lord. This seems to be captured in the straightforward project by Anthony Catchings.
His sincerity and love for God shine through in his EP’s title song, “My God Is Worthy” and permeates through “So Good” and onto the closer, “My King“. The songs may seem too elementary for some, but I truly appreciate the clarity of each song’s message. None of the songs are overdosed by production or under-worked by shoddy quality. Each song stands on its own merit and softly but confidently uplifts a worshiper’s sentiment to their Savior.
If the saying is true that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, then Anthony Catchings has delivered a precise product for Worship Leaders everywhere to listen to, implement and enjoy. When we are done with the Top 40 Countdown and indulgent list of current hits that masks itself as Praise & Worship, this Artist You Should Know has taken us back to the genre’s original intent — to allow people from all levels access to the Throne.