Thursday, April 17, 2014

Great Day CD Review - Legacy Five

Legacy Five released Great Day on March 25. This was the project funded by the group's Kickstarter campaign last year. They let their fans help them make the project as well as be a part of it through the Kickstarter choir.

Great Day is produced by Lari Goss and definitely has that sound and feel to it. The orchestration behind many of the songs is simply amazing. The project begins and ends with medleys with "Great Day and "Great Medley" with one thrown in the middle "What a Happy Day."

"Christ Is Still the King" has to be the best cut on the project. Gus Gaches does an incredible job on this song, and the Kickstarter choir add so much to the song at the end. The song keeps building and building to its grand finish. The lyrics are really strong. It was written by Rebecca Peck and Dianne Wilkinson.

The project picks up the pace with "That's a Hallelujah." The song definitely has the "Legacy Five" sound to it. It's another one that features Gus. Love the horns on this song! "He Is to Me" also fits in the vein of the type of song you would expect to hear on a Legacy Five project. It's not to be confused with the Greater Vision song of the same title.

And when you've got a good horse, ride him. Another strong stand out on this album is "Only the Living" that also features Gus. I love the look of "only the living regret the leaving." The song speaks of the death of a loved one and how it's only the ones left behind who cry, there's only joy on the other side. Beautiful lyrics and execution of a powerful song!

Another favorite is "He Heals," which has an incredible back story. Gus and Scott Fowler take the verses of the song. It incorporates a little bit of "Hold to God's Unchanging Hand" in toward the end.

"So Many Things" is a Scott Howard feature. Great song with a simple message of appreciating all the little things that God has given us. The song lyrics remind me a little bit of "I Get To" by Jeff and Sheri Easter.

"Who Is This Man" was previously recorded by Soul'd Out Quartet when Matt Fouch was with them. In fact, Matt is a writer of the song. I feel like it's not a typical sounding Legacy Five song like "That's a Hallelujah," but I like them branching out stylistically with this one.

Overall, it's another strong project from Legacy Five. The new songs are definitely stronger than the medley songs, but definitely worth adding to your collection!

Song List -
  1. "Great Day"
  2. "Christ Is Still the King"
  3. "That's a Hallelujah"
  4. "So Many Things"
  5. "What a Happy Day"
  6. "Only the Living"
  7. "Who Is This Man"
  8. "He Heals"
  9. "He Is To Me"
  10. "Great Medley"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Absolutely Gospel Awards 2014

Last night was the Absolutely Gospel Music Awards. To be honest, I always look forward to this awards a little more than others. I love that it's not predictable. I got to watch most of it thanks to live streaming. I didn't have the right link for about the first 45 minutes, so I missed the beginning.

There were several standout performances last night, but one of them had to be the Isaacs, who came out as big winners last night. They sang "Walk Together Children" a cappella with Gene McDonald joining them!

I also enjoyed hearing from songwriters singing their own songs. There's something really incredible when you see songwriters sing their own words, even when it's the artist who typically sings it like Sheri Easter singing "Hear My Heart" or Rodney Griffin singing "It Pays to Pray." So it was great hearing Kenna West, Sue Smith and Jason Cox on "Calvary's Cry" since those you don't normally hear sing their song.

The tribute to the Easter Brothers was a great way to end the night! All in their 80s now, the Easter Brothers are still on the road. The Nelons, Isaacs, Dailey and Vincent, Daryl Freeman and Jeff and Sheri Easter all sang a medley of Easter hits. Then they brought the brothers up to present them with a special plaque and have them sing "Holding Up the Ladder" and "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings."

Like I mentioned, I love this awards because it is different. I love that Amber Nelon Thompson won for Female Vocalist and really am shocked to know that this was her first time to win an award. She is one of the most talented females in the industry. I missed her speech live, but thanks to social media I watched it later. It was so touching!

Another standout moment for me was Kathy Crabb Hannah winning the Susan Unthank Memorial Award. She pulled up all her kids and grandkids she had there. She talked about just praying that they would be able to eat in the beginning and how she has been able to watch and support all her kids in their ministries. (If you haven't check out her blog, it's definitely worth your time to read!)

Also, loved Karen Peck and New River's speech after they won for favorite album. She dedicated the award to Norman Holland. Jeff talked about how they had recorded the project soon after his pastor died and how much the songs meant to him because of that. Karen then reminded us all that our better days are ahead, not only Heaven but here on earth. She quoted Ecc. 7:10 that it's not wise to think our better days are behind us.

Karen Peck Gooch and Kelly Nelon Clark were fantastic hosts!!! There were a few moments where they had to "go live." They recovered well with the few technical issues!

Here's a list of winners -

  • Male Vocalist - Mike Bowling
  • Female Vocalist - Amber Nelon Thompson
  • Country Song of the Year - "Voice in the Desert" by the Freemans
  • Country Album of the Year - Safe... After the Storm by the Bowling Family
  • Progressive Song of the Year - "Revival" by Karen Peck and New River
  • Progressive Album of the Year - Classics Collection by Sisters
  • Traditional Song of the Year - "Good News from Jerusalem" by Tribute Quartet
  • Traditional Album of the Year - The Greatest Story by Triumphant Quartet
  • Susan Unthank Memorial Award - Kathy Crabb Hannah
  • Pacesetter Award - Write About Jesus (Sue Smith)
  • Engineer of the Year - Kevin Ward
  • Producer (Professional) of the Year - Michael Sykes
  • Songwriter (Professional) of the Year - Dianne Wilkinson
  • Producer (Artist) of the Year - Ben Isaacs
  • Songwriter (Artist) of the Year - Becky Issacs Bowman and Sonya Isaacs Yeary
  • Musician of the Year - Becky Issacs Bowman
  • Special Event Project of the Year - Like Father, Like Son by James and Jeff Easter
  • Live Performer of the Year - Isaacs
  • Female Group of the Year - Sisters
  • Mixed Group of the Year - Isaacs
  • Breakthrough Artist - Sneed Family
  • Male Group of the Year - Booth Brothers
  • Fan Favorite Artist of the Year - Jeff and Sheri Easter
  • Song of the Year - "Revival" by Karen Peck and New River
  • Album of the Year - Revival by Karen Peck and New River

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Feeling at Home with the Booth Brothers - Concert Recap

It's not often that I get to see the Booth Brothers. Normally it's only once a year at Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic. So I was excited to know that they would not only be in concert in Central Arkansas but at my home church! We have a lot of southern gospel connections within the church, but it's not often we have a group in concert. When we do though, we get one of the best!

We were the last stop for the Booth Brothers on a 10 day tour. Michael joked that they had been looking forward to coming to our church the most.

Booth Brothers - Ronnie Booth, Jim Brady and
Michael Booth
They started the night with "Let It Be Known" and then sang "In Christ Alone." It was such a powerful performance, a favorite of mine! The group then sang two songs from their tribute album to Bill and Gloria Gaither, "Because He Lives" and "Let the Healing Begin." Their harmonies on the latter were just incredible!

Next, they sang "I'm Free," which featured Jim Brady. Loved to hear him sing this! Beautiful song!

They then sang their Southern Gospel Samba, "All Over the World." Michael joked with Gerald Williams (former Melody Boys bass singer) who was in the audience that they probably never sang that type of song.

Ronnie came up and told the story of their dad, how he started out in gospel music but then became an alcoholic. He came off the road and had become a successful businessman, but it was all taken away. He went to a place for alcoholics that a church ran. It was there that his dad was saved. After his dad got home, the Booth Brothers were started. Ronnie played the guitar and they sang "The Secret Place." Michael did incredible on this song!

They sang "I See Grace" next, which is another favorite! But Jim came up before the song and talked about the inspiration for the song. He said his sister had sent him a video of cardboard testimonies at her church. He said that through grace, God makes all things new. He puts us all back together and redeems us.

They picked up the pace next with "Trading a Cross for a Crown." They sang a new song written by Jim next around one microphone. It was called "Only Passing Through on my Way Home." They used the one mic again and sang the Mills Brothers style song "Since Jesus Came."

"Dear Jesus Abide With Me" was next. This is one that was on their quartet album they did with Gene McDonald, but they rearranged it some so that they could sing it as a trio.

They closed the night with Ronnie singing "Then I Met the Master." Definitely the highlight of the night!!! Incredible song and vocally they knocked it out of the park! The audience was on its feet by the end of the song!

It was really interesting to see them in concert in a church setting as opposed Silver Dollar City's outdoor amphitheater. And it was really a special treat to see them at my home church! Coming off a 10-day run, they absolutely gave it their all. Despite of what they said, their voices did not indicate their long road stretch either! It was absolutely a great night!!

And if you've been counting or keeping track, yes, this was the fourth weekend in a row I've been to a concert. Unfortunately I think that streak is going to end this weekend.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fun Clip Friday - Nelons "Keep on the Firing Line"

Monday the Harmony Honors aired on TBN. If you missed it, it was a great salute to the Red Back Church hymnal with two hours packed full of many of your favorite artists singing beloved hymns.

If you missed it, you can watch the program in its entirety online here. There have also been a couple of videos posted on YouTube. 

One of them is of the Nelons doing an a cappella arrangement of "Keep on the Firing Line." This family knows how to do a cappella that's for sure! Happy Fun Clip Friday to you all! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Letting Your Walk Talk - Mark Trammell Quartet Concert Recap

It's always great to have Mark Trammell return to his home state of Arkansas. I had not had the chance to see the group in a while. I was looking forward to seeing them and also hearing song from their new project Your Walk Talks. They did not disappoint! It was a great night of gospel music with one of the best quartets around.

Mark Trammell Quartet - Dustin Black, Nick Trammell, Mark Trammell
and Pat Barker
It really speaks to how strong an album is when a group stages almost the entire album during a concert. They sang nine new songs! I had been hoping to hear a few, so I was very pleasantly surprised to hear almost all of them.

They started the night with "I'll Go Over Jordan Someday." They went into the familiar favorite, "How Long Has It Been." Love hearing them on this hymn! Then, they sang "Ransomed and Redeemed."

Nick was featured on a song that he wrote "Don't Stop Running." Nick did an incredible job; it's a fun one to hear live! Then, Mark sang "God's Been Faithful." This was one that stood out in the night, as a powerful performance by Mark, but also the lyrics definitely hit home that night!

Next, they picked up the pace with "Echoes from the Burning Bush" and then went into "Wedding Music," always a crowd favorite.

After the group introductions, they sang another new song that was also written by Nick and Rodney Griffin "To Know He Knows Me." Mark said that they hadn't really done the next one on stage, and he hoped they remembered all the words. It was "When the King Come to Claim His Throne." They did remember all the words, and it was great! So glad they included it in their set!

They ended the first half with "Man of Sorrows." Mark talked about how powerful that name of Jesus was, thinking of all He went through to bear the burden of our sins. Beautiful song! Dustin really came on strong with the "O What a Savior" part. Wonderful way to end the first half!

During the break, the track to "The Sweetest Song I Know" was playing. When they got back to the stage, Mark commented that he could see people were enjoying that song, and they should sing it even though it hadn't been planned! The audience definitely loved it! Then, they sang another familiar song, "Meet Me Over on the Other Side."

They sang the title track of their latest project next, "Your Walk Talks." This was probably my favorite one to hear and see live. It's just a fun song, and I loved Pat's bass lines in there!

Mark said they had gotten several requests before the concert for the next song, a song that was originally called the "Gospel Boogie." It was "Wonderful Time Up There," which featured Pat. Love this song, and you can tell Pat has so much fun singing it. This started a string of Pat features with "Thanks to Calvary" being next. It was another stand out of the night. It's great to hear him on slower songs like this. It truly speaks to the vocalist he is. Then they sang "I'll Take it to the Grave."

They ended the night with "The King Is Coming," which was amazing as always. Very powerful end to the night!

It was a great night of quartet singing, which is exactly what you expect with the Mark Trammell Quartet. They truly are one of the best in the industry today. And considering yesterday's news of Pat's departure, I'm so glad I got to see the group Saturday night. It was a night to remember!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Pat Barker to Leave Mark Trammell Quartet

The Singing News posted a statement this afternoon from the Mark Trammell Quartet that bass singer Pat Barker will be leaving. Pat made the Mark Trammell Trio a quartet when he joined the group in January 2010. Pat was previously with the Dixie Echoes and the Diplomats before joining Mark Trammell.

Here's the full statement from Mark -

There are some things in life that you just cant imagine ever having to do. What I’m about to say is one of them. After much prayer, fasting, and seeking the mind of God, our beloved bass singer Pat Barker has tendered his resignation. He is much in need of being at home with his precious family. While it grieves our hearts, we must honor his decision and begin the process of moving on with God.

We are once again reminded that the only thing that doesn’t change is Jesus. A new chapter in the life of MTQ. And, a new chapter in the life of the finest, most Christlike man to ever travel on a quartet bus. Pat has stated that he will be with us until early May and then will be going home. I would ask that you not only pray for us as we begin the process of looking forward, but also pray for Pat, Kesha, and their three sweet children. Pray that God will give them direction, peace, and spiritual strength. Auditions will begin as soon as possible. If interested, please email a brief resume, recent photo, and two songs to We will schedule auditions after reviewing this information.

Thank you in advance for your prayer and support during these days ahead. God is STILL in control. 

Mark Trammell

Mark Trammell Quartet

Personally, this is not a headline I wanted to see. He will definitely be missed. Pat brought not only great vocals but also a great energy and presence to the group! But it's always understandable when singers feel the need to be at home with their families. Please be in prayer for the Mark Trammell Quartet and Pat as they seek these next steps.