Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sweet, Sweet Spirit - Diapers 2 Depends - Mark Lowry and Cana's Voice

A few months ago, I saw an announcement about the Diapers 2 Depends tour coming to my home church. Needless to say, I was excited. I was looking forward to get to see Mark Lowry before he "retreaded" and hear Cana's Voice in concert, and it was going to be at my home church, which doesn't host gospel concerts much at all. The evening did not disappoint! From the first notes of the piano to the last words of "Mary, Did You Know?" the entire night was just incredible.

Pianist Stan Whitmire opened the night with several songs on the piano. Then, Cana's Voice (Doug Anderson, TaRanda Greene Beene and Jody McBrayer) took the stage with "Heavenly Father" featuring TaRanda. I saw this trio at a hymn sing before they were officially Cana's Voice, but this was my first time to hear their songs from This Changes Everything. Then, Doug was featured on "Love Anyway" and Jody on "All My Reasons Are You." Then, they sang "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," which is guaranteed to give you chills. Each of these artists are so amazing individually, but when they come together it's just incredible. They ended their first set with "Jesus Never Fails" (my favorite) and "I Give It To You."

The video introduced Mark Lowry and the came out from the back of the auditorium singing "What a Wonderful World." And in true Mark fashion, he danced with a few of the audience members during the song. He joked about the different denominations and getting old. He also told the story of his motorcycle wreck, which I hadn't heard him ever tell in person. Only Mark Lowry could make a story about breaking your leg from a motorcycle accident so funny! Mark ended the first half with "How We Love."

For the second half, both Mark and Cana's Voice were on stage the full time. It was good to hear them all together. Mark put together the male quartet of him, Stan, Jody and Doug singing "He Touched Me." It was a great moment of the night!

Then, at one point Mark wandered again out into the audience. "They have hymnals," he exclaimed. Then he encouraged everyone to pull out a hymnal, and he called out a number. The hymn was "Wonderful Grace of Jesus." We had a good congregational hymn sing with "Victory in Jesus" after that and "I Know Whom I Have Believed." Then, an audience member asked for "Sweet Sweet Spirit." And you could feel the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit in the church. It was such a beautiful moment.

Jody shared a little bit about what that hymn meant to him and how it reminded him of the church he grew up in. He talked about his dad who was a Baptist minister and the influence he had on his life. He said that they wanted the audience to be reminded that God loves you no matter what is going on in your life or what you are facing. Cana's Voice sang "Big Enough" and then the night closed with them joining Mark Lowry on "Mary, Did You Know."

There are still a couple of dates left with this tour. If it's in your area, don't miss it!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - March 26

Here are some news and tidbits from this week in Southern Gospel music -

  • The Top 10 Singing News Fan Awards nominations were announced this week. See the full list here
  • Eli Fortner has been hospitalized after having issues with his kidney. He had a kidney transplant with his father's donated kidney almost 10 years ago. He is now in need of a new kidney. Please keep him and the family in your prayers as they look for a new donor.
  • Keep the family of Hovie Walker in your prayers. He suffered a massive heart attack on Sunday and passed away on March 24. Walker sang bass with The Singing Americans, The Thrasher Brothers and others.
  • The Adoration Agency announced the signing of Gaither Homecoming artist Gene McDonald.
  • Prayers go out to Sue Dodge and her family with the passing of her mother this week. Ethelene Chenault passed away on March 20 and services were held on March 23.
  • Michael Combs is returning to full-time ministry in April after undergoing a successful kidney transplant earlier this year.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fun Clip Friday - Gold City Quartet with Tim Riley

Happy Friday to all! Here's a great video from a recent Gold City Reunion concert featuring the one and only Tim Riley.  Enjoy this clip (courtesy of Gold City's Facebook page) as today's Fun Clip Friday.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Resurrection - Joseph Habedank - CD Review

Joseph Habedank's latest solo CD released from Daywind Records last Friday. Resurrection is a collection of 10 songs all co-written by Joseph. Joseph's first solo release Welcome Home was one of the best projects of 2014, so it set the bar high for his second release.

The project starts out with a dramatic intro that sounds like it came straight out of a movie with the song "Here He Comes." The song goes through Jesus' life and then ultimately His coming again. This is actually his first single. 

"Jailbreak" takes a different style with a heavy guitar sound. It's a fun uptempo take on the story of Paul and Silas in jail when an earthquake occurs.

One of my favorite songs on the project is "Just When You Thought." This great ballad shows the tender side of Joesph's vocals. You can hear the vulnerability in his voice. Another great ballad is "I Love You (From an Old Rugged Cross)." It offers a unique perspective on Christ's death from his point of view.

"I Believe in the Resurrection" has that soulful, gospel feel. The background singers give it a bit of a choir feel. "Say the Name" is a great ballad that features the background singing of Joseph's wife Lindsay. It reminds you of how precious and powerful the name of Jesus is.

You can't help but tap your foot along to "Devil Can't Dance." It's a great uptempo song co-written by Jimmy Yeary. It's a fun song but also a reminder that ultimately the devil will be powerless against us as children of God.

The project ends with "Long Live the King" reemphasizing the theme of the album.

It's already been a strong year for solo releases, and Joseph's project just adds to that. Welcome Home set the bar high, but Joseph has raised the bar once again with Resurrection. I predict it's going to be one of the best of 2017. He shows that a solo album can still have a lot of diversity and really something for everyone. Every song really fits the theme of the album, but everyone offers a different musical journey to get there.

It's a must buy album for any gospel music fan!

Song to put on repeat: "Just When You Thought"

Songs to turn up: "Jailbreak," "Devil Can't Dance," "Dead Things"

Songs to give a second listen (those songs that don't necessarily stand out on a first listen-through but then become a "repeat" song): "I Love You (From an Old Rugged Cross)" and "Say the Name"

Song List -
1. "Here He Comes"
2. "Jailbreak"
3. "Just When You Thought"
4. "I Believe in the Resurrection"
5. "Middle Man"
6. "Devil Can't Dance"
7. "I Love You (From an Old Rugged Cross)"
8. "Dead Things"
9. "Say the Name"
10. "Long Live the King"

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - March 21

Since I was gone all weekend and the Singing News Fan awards nominees were announced yesterday, I decided to push back the news post a little bit. So here are a few news items from last week and first part of this week for you -

  • Michael Helwig and the Blackwood Brothers announced that Michael will come off the road full-time with the group. Due to his health, he doesn't feel like he can travel full-time, but still plans to make appearances with the group from time to time.
  • The Loretta Lynn Ranch will once again be the home of the 2017 Gospel Music Festival in September. Watch the website for more details.
  • Pray for Eli Fortner with the McKameys who has been admitted to the hospital because of kidney-related health issues. 
  • Steve Sam, owner of Praise Incorporated, announced Jeremy Partlow as the group's new tenor.
  • The Singing News Fan Awards Top 10 Nominees were announced yesterday on Singing News Radio. See the full list of nominees below (with a little bit of commentary) - 
New Artist
Cana’s Voice
Franks, Josh & Ashley
High Road
Master’s Promise
Sheldon Family
Sherry Anne
Logan Smith

Young Artist
Hope Bowling — Bowling Family
Autumn Nelon Clark — Nelons
Trevor Conkle — Hoppers
Morgan Easter — Jeff & Sheri Easter
Katie Erwin — Erwins
Kari Gooch — Karen Peck & New River
Kennedy Hayes — Mylon Hayes Family
Karlye Hopper — Hoppers
Logan Smith — Soloist
Josh Townsend — LeFevre Quartet
** Good to see so many second generation singers on here. Missing Austin Whisnant here.

Mark Bishop
Jim Brady
Gerald Crabb
Karen Peck Gooch
Rodney Griffin
Joseph Habedank
Ronny Hinson
Scott Inman
Kyla Rowland
Dianne Wilkinson
** Would like to have seen Kenna Turner West with a nomination here.

Radio Station
KJIC—Houston, TX
KTTK—Lebanon, MO
KWFC—Springfield, MO
WCON—Cornelia, GA
WEMM—Huntington, WV
WGUS—Augusta, GA
WHQA—Greenville, SC
WJBZ—Knoxville, TN
WXRI—Winston Salem, NC

Kim Collingsworth — Collingsworth Family
Bryan Elliott — Gold City
Mike Hopper — Hoppers
Trey Ivey — Legacy Five
Gordon Mote — Soloist
Josh Singletary — Tribute Qt
Jeff Stice — Soloist
Andy Stringfield — Kingdom Heirs
Kevin Williams — Gaither Vocal Band
Gerald Wolfe — Greater Vision

Peg McKamey Bean —McKameys
Sonya Browder — Browders
Kelly Nelon Clark — Nelons
Sheri Easter — Jeff & Sheri Easter
Connie Hopper — Hoppers
Susan Peck Jackson — Karen Peck & New River
Courtney Metz — Collingsworth Family
Libbi Stuffle — Perrys
Debra Talley — Talleys
Susan Whisnant — Whisnants
**Missing Becky Isaacs Bowman here in my opinion.

Brooklyn Blair — Collingsworth Family
Melissa Brady — Jim Brady Trio
Katie Erwin — Erwins
Connie Fortner —McKameys
Karen Peck Gooch —Karen Peck & New River
TaRanda Greene — Cana’s Voice
Kim Hopper — Hoppers
Lauren Talley — Talleys
Amber Nelon Thompson — Nelons
Sonya Isaacs Yeary — Isaacs
**Would like to have seen Kelly Bowling here.

Chris Allman — Greater Vision
Michael Booth — Booth Brothers
Riley Clark — Tribute Quartet
Josh Feemster — Legacy Five
Brian Free — Brian Free & Assurance
Ernie Haase — Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Jerry Martin — Kingdom Heirs
Jeremy Peace — LeFevre Quartet
David Phelps — Gaither Vocal Band
David Sutton — Triumphant Quartet

Ronnie Booth — Booth Brothers
Jim Brady — Jim Brady Trio
Gary Casto —Tribute Quartet
Scott Fowler — Legacy Five
Michael Helwig —Blackwood Brothers
Dean Hopper —Hoppers
Clayton Inman —Triumphant Quartet
Arthur Rice — Kingdom Heirs
Bill Shivers —Brian Free & Assurance
Gerald Wolfe — Greater Vision
**Would like to have seen Mike Bowling's and Nick Trammel's names here.

Rodney Griffin — Greater Vision
Loren Harris —Kingdom Heirs
Scott Howard —Legacy Five
Scott Inman —Triumphant Quartet
Paul Lancaster — Booth Brothers
Mike LeFevre — LeFevre Quartet
Daniel Riley —Gold City
Mike Rogers —Brian Free & Assurance
Josh Singletary —Tribute Quaret
Mark Trammell —Mark Trammell Quartet

Eric Bennett —Triumphant Quartet
Randy Byrd —Mark Trammell Quartet
Jeff Chapman —Kingdom Heirs
Tim Duncan —Canton Junction
Anthony Davis —Tribute Quartet
Matt Fouch — Legacy Five
Paul Harkey —Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Butch Owens — Blackwood Brothers
Ray Dean Reese — Kingsmen
Chris West — Gold City

Dixie Echoes Band
Hoppers Band
Inspirations Band
Isaacs Band
Jason Crabb Band
Jeff & Sheri Easter Band
Kingdom Heirs Band
McKameys Band
Primitive Quartet Band
Southern Raised Band 

Pat Barker
Mark Bishop
Jason Crabb
Michael English
Joseph Habedank
Steve Ladd
Gordon Mote
Ivan Parker
Squire Parsons
Guy Penrod

11th Hour
Booth Brothers
Brian Free & Assurance
Bowling Family
Greater Vision
Jim Brady Trio
**Can't believe Jeff and Sheri Easter didn't make this list!

Mixed Group 
Collingsworth Family
Karen Peck & New River
Mylon Hayes Family

Traditional Quartet 
Blackwood Brothers
Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Gold City
Kingdom Heirs
LeFevre Quartet
Legacy Five
Mark Trammell Quartet
Tribute Quartet
Triumphant Quartet 

Between Here & Heaven — Booth Brothers
Faith & Family — Hyssongs
Full Sail — Mark Trammell Quartet
Here For You — Tribute Quartet
In The Hands Of A Carpenter — Legacy Five
Life Is Good — Hoppers
Live From The Smokies — Wilburn & Wilburn
Live Like We’re Redeemed — Brian Free & Assurance
Nature's Symphony In 432 — Isaacs
Promises — Jim Brady Trio
**Refreshing from Second Half Quartet and This Changes Everything by Cana's Voice were in my top albums for the year, but since neither are full-time touring groups, I can't remember if they were eligible.

"Calling" —Karen Peck & New River
"He Does" — Greater Vision
"I Love You This Much" — Whisnants
"If We Ever Gotta Look" — Hoppers
"It’s What He’s Done" —Wilburn & Wilburn
"Living In The Promised Land" —Triumphant Quartet
"My Father’s House" —Nelons
"Never Forsaken" —Tribute Quartet
"Somebody’s Miracle" —Brian Free & Assurance
"Still" — Legacy Five
**I would have added "Jesus Never Fails" here by Cana's Voice and "Small Town Someone" by Jeff and Sheri Easter.

Favorite Artist 
Booth Brothers
Collingsworth Family
Greater Vision
Karen Peck & New River
Kingdom Heirs
Legacy Five
Mark Trammell Quartet
Tribute Quartet
Triumphant Quartet