Thursday, December 18, 2014

Top Moment #6 of 2014 - Something Beautiful Women's Conference

This summer, I had the chance to attend the Something Beautiful women’s conference in Nashville
hosted by Melissa Brady. It was an incredible weekend that definitely makes the list of top moments of 2014!

It’s so hard to pick just one moment from the entire weekend to single out! There were four sessions of music, laughter, powerful testimonies and Godly teaching and inspiration. Special guests and speakers included Alison Durham Speer, the Talleys, Tim Parton, Vicki Booth (and Michael), Anne Beiler and a few more!

It was such an encouraging weekend, hearing what struggles people had overcome and how God had helped them through it all. If you get the chance to go next year, don’t miss it! We met ladies from all over the U.S. there and even a few men too!

You can read the full recaps of the weekend here and here.

I have to say one of the takeaways from the weekend was how precious Jim and Melissa Brady were when they do ministry together. It was so sweet to see this couple lead the conference together, sing together and love on people while they were there. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the Jim Brady Trio!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Jubilee Christmas Concert Recap - Booth Brothers - Legacy Five - Greater Vision

I love all things Christmas, so when the three top gospel groups come close to my area on a Christmas tour, it's a winning combination. Of course, I'm talking about the Jubilee Christmas tour with the Booth Brothers, Greater Vision and Legacy Five. I had wanted to see these three together for a few years now, but never could make it when they were close. That changed on Friday night when the tour came to Monroe, Louisiana.

Jubilee Gang - Legacy Five, Booth Brothers and Greater Vision
I was really impressed by the set and lighting that they had on stage. Christmas trees and poinsettias decorated were all along the stage. Throughout the concert, there was a main screen behind the guys with photos and videos that matched the songs or stories that helped add to atmosphere and some comedic moments.

To start the concert, all three concerts took the stage for "Christmas Jubilee." Then, they sang "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" and "O Come All Ye Faithful." On the latter, the groups stepped out and each took a bit to sing so you got to hear the groups individually for the first time. 

Then, they started highlighting more individuals and groups. Chris Allman was the first solo with "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

Legacy Five sang "I Still Like to Go to Grandma's House for Christmas." Then, Gerald talked about listening to Christmas music at his grandparents' house, and they had all the old crooner albums. He said that the Jubilee tour had its own resident crooner with Ronnie Booth. He pulled Michael and Jim up to back him up. Then, Rodney Griffin partially through the song came out "playing" a sax. He went around the stage with it and then to the back where it showed his silhouette on the screen behind Ronnie. It was hilarious seeing all he did behind them!

Matt Fouch, the only bass singer on the tour, also sang the beloved Christmas song "White Christmas." I had an idea of what was coming on this song, but it was still one of the funniest parts of the night. Scott Howard interrupted Gerald talking about how they needed snow for this song. Being from Monroe himself, he knew that snow was a rarity down there. He wanted to help them out with some snow during the song. Scott invented a redneck snowblower machine which blew toilet paper. At about midway into the song, Scott came out and made it "snow" on Matt and then he also turned it on piano player Trey Ivey. Check out this video from a previous concert to see what I mean!

Another funny highlight of the first half was the guys' Southern Gospel spin on the "12 Days of Christmas" complete with boots, CD specials, Red Back hymnals and five bad toupees!!

Trey Ivey played a medley of Christmas favorites that included “Frosty,” “Rudolph” and “Let It Snow.” To end the first half he started playing “Oh Holy Night.” Legacy Five joined him midway through and then the group all joined in. It was an incredible moment and way to end the first half!! Legacy Five kicked off the second half with “Christmas With a Capital C.” Gerald sang “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” followed by Chris featured on “I’ll be Home for Christmas.”

The second half included a couple more comedic surprises. The Booth Brothers sang a Western style song – “Don’t Snow Me In,” which was only a few words different from “Don’t Fence Me In.” Of course Michael to get in the cowboy spirit got the guys cowboy hats. His was red, and the screen showed a picture of Michael in his red hat next to Jesse the cowgirl from Toy Story with the same hat! Haha!

Gerald set up the next funny moment by saying that there were three cousins who wanted to sing for Jim Brady because they wanted to be in his trio even though the group has been named. They were in Monroe hunting and stopped by. Let’s just say they looked a lot like three singers who had been on the stage earlier, and it might not be who you would think! They sang “I’m Going Hunting for Christmas,” and it was hilarious!!

The groups sang two songs, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Carol of the Bells,” from their a cappella Christmas CD they released last year. Musically those were the highlights for me. Absolutely amazing to just the 11 voices!!

Trey Ivey was featured on “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” and of course to the guys’ dismay he merged it with a classical piece. ☺

Jim Brady was featured on the Gerald Wolfe- penned “And It Came to Pass.” Great song that I hadn’t heard before! The Booth Brothers also sang “At the Right Time” and then Ronnie read the Christmas story from Luke 2. Scott Fowler then came out and sang “Welcome Holy Child,” another great moment!!

It had been a full night of Christmas music, and that was the plan. However, as Gerald was getting ready to wind things down and close a lady toward the front of the audience made a request. She was 90+ and wanted to hear Michael Booth sing “Look for Me at Jesus’ Feet.” So they obliged.

The groups closed the night with another song from their a cappella CD simply entitled “The Benediction.”

It was simply an incredible night with a lot of laughs, tons of Christmas spirit and great music!! If this tour is close to your area next tear, don’t miss it. Even if you have to drive a few hours like I did, it’s well worth it!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Moment #7 of 2014 - Music and Madness - Mark Lowry and the Martins

One of my favorite concerts from this year was when Mark Lowry and the Martins joined forces for the Music and Madness Tour. The whole concert deserves top moment honors. It was an incredible night of laughter, tears and great music. You can read the full recap of the night here.

I’ll be honest some of my favorite moments of the night was hearing them tell stories – stories of traveling and singing with other artists like Bill Gaither and the Happy Goodman Family.

One of the most memorable moments of the night is when they told the story of how the Martins were discovered. The Martins were at a Gaither taping and Bill asked them to come up and sing before the artists broke for lunch. They sang “He Leadeth Me” a cappella. They played that very first performance on the screens and then the Martins finished the song live. Incredible moment!! Here’s a clip of that (excuse the bad camera work by yours truly, but it will give you a glimpse of the concert).

Saturday, December 13, 2014

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 13

Here are some news and tidbit items from this week in gospel music -
  • The Harper Agency has added the Collingsworth Family to its roster.
  • Declaration Trio announced that its new name will be Allegiance.
  • Prayers requested for Ed Hill who is suffering from complications after surgery. 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, December 12, 2014

#8 Top Moment of 2014 - Mylon Hayes Family - NQC

The countdown continues with #8 which also was comes via webcast. This year at National Quartet Convention, some groups had one song to sing on Main Stage, one chance to make an impression. One group that stood out above the rest with just one song was the Mylon Hayes Family. The family took the stage and sang "Little Is Much" and made it a highlight of the evening. The group later in the week took home the award for Favorite New Group. With one song that has been sung by numerous groups before, this family's performance stood out above the rest!

Here's a clip of the group singing the song they sang that night. There was not a clip online from NQC, but you can see how well this group sings the song and how it made the list of top moments of the year!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kyle Boreing - Brand New Day EP - CD Review

Kyle Boreing is not really a new name in gospel music. He's one of the contributors to Musicscribe. He's also a church music director, which I didn't realize how talented he was until listening to Brand New Day. He released this EP last month that is definitely worth checking out!

"I Need You All the Time" is an upbeat start to the project. Great message to the song. We all need to be reminded of how much we need God all the time.

"When We Pray" is one that you might recognize and probably the most "Southern Gospel" song of the project. Love that Kyle chose to tackle this song. This is probably my favorite of the EP.

Kyle shows off a little country flair with "Sanctified." "All of Me" takes a turn to praise and worship. It definitely sounds like something you hear in a lot of church worship services. "Show Your Power" reminds me a early Contemporary Christian.

"The Maker of the Road" is another highlight of the EP. This song is stylistically very different than anything else, but shows how Kyle can make his voice work for different styles. It almost has an 80s sound to it. The message of this song really makes it a stand out for me. The Maker of the Road knows exactly where we are going, and we can hang on to that truth. The song also includes part of Michael W. Smith's "Step By Step."

This EP is definitely different than your typical Southern Gospel release, but it's great that Kyle was able to include a variety of styles on an EP. It's definitely worth checking out! Look forward to hearing more from him in the future!!