Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Beyond Amazed - Brian Free & Assurance - CD Review

Brian Free & Assurance released its latest CD Beyond Amazed the last week of September. The quartet turned trio has become known and loved for its unique, progressive sound.

Brian Free is known for picking top-notch songs and this project is no exception. This collection of songs is one of the strongest to be released this year. The album credits contain a who's who of songwriters.

The project kicks off with "Anything Is Possible." It has the same sound we've come to love from this group. It's not the same song that was recorded on the group's Never Walk Alone project.

Brian takes the lead on "He Can Take It," which is the current single. It's a great reminder of the power of God. All our fears, doubts, questions, troubles - He can take it. Not only that but He can take whatever we have, take it and heal it. It's a powerful reminder how God can use whatever we might be going through for His glory.

Mike Rogers steps up to mic on the title track as well as "The Voice of Jesus." The latter is definitely more on the progressive end. It's a great uptempo number that reminds us to simply listen to the voice of Jesus. No matter what the world is saying or how tough the situation we are facing is, we can listen to Him.

"Leave With Nothing Left" is one of the slower songs on the album. It's an inspiration to really make the most of the time we have here on earth. Bill turns in a powerful performance on this song.

The lyrics of "Sometimes You Need a Song" will grab your attention. It's one you'll find yourself repeating to allow the truths of the song to sink in. Sometimes music can speak to us in ways that a sermon or other things can't.

"At the Cross" is another one of those songs that just has the Brian Free and Assurance sound. Brian takes the lead on this one that might not be what listeners expect from the title. Brian also has the ballad, "The End of Grace." It's the type of song that Brian just shines on.

"Unheard" is the closer of the album. It's one that you should not miss. When we can't even find the words, there's not a prayer unheard. Also, I never realized how similar Mike and Bill sound until this song.

It's impossible to find a song that is not going to speak to you on this project. Beyond Amazed is one of the projects you definitely need to add to your collection.

Songs to Turn Up - "Anything Is Possible" and "At the Cross"
Song to Put on Repeat - "He Can Take It"
Song to Give a Second Listen - "Sometimes You Need a Song" and "Unheard"

Song List -
1. "Anything Is Possible"
2. "He Can Take It"
3. "Beyond Amazed"
4. "Leave With Nothing Left"
5. "The Voice of Jesus"
6. "Everything He Forgot"
7. "At the Cross"
8. "Sometimes You Need a Song"
9. "The End of Grace"
10. "Unheard"

Saturday, October 14, 2017

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - October 14

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

  • Joseph Habedank will be performing at the Dove Award with Reba McEntire. The awards will be held on Tuesday in Nashville and air on TBN on Sunday night, Oct. 22. 
  • Paul's Journey welcomes Keith Gillam as its lead singer. Keith has been singing for more than 25 years. He previously sang with the Toney Brothers Quartet and the Harmony Quartet.
  • New Day Records has added the LeFevre Quartet to its roster of artists. The quartet's newest project is slated for a Spring 2018 release.
  • Johnny Minick and the Stewart Brothers have reached an agreement with Spring Hill Music Group, a subsidiary label of Gaither Music Group. Their release is scheduled for January 2018.
  • The LifeFM Network has been selected to receive the Southern Gospel Radio Impact Award from the Gospel Music Association at the Dove Awards on Tuesday.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fun Clip Friday - Gospel Singing Jubilee

At NQC, I got to attend the afternoon showcase that was a tribute to the Gospel Singing Jubilee. It was great to see a lot of the old footage they showed that day. As someone who didn't get to watch the show, I enjoyed seeing and hearing how much it meant to so many artists as fans growing up or how it helped them as artists.

So for today's Fun Clip Friday, we're pulling from the archives to this clip from YouTube of The Gospel Singing Jubilee. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

What's Not to Love - Mark Lowry - CD Review

Mark Lowry released his most solo CD in August. This is Mark's second solo release with Daywind Records. The project features five songs that Mark co-wrote. The majority of the songs are from the pens of Reba Rambo-McGuire and Dony McGuire.

I think sometimes we think about comedian Mark Lowry but forget about what an incredible voice he has. This CD reminds us 

"Why Don't We Sit and Talk" opens the album. This song has a great soulful feel. It's a fun song and really speeds up and takes you for a ride at the end.

The Gaither Vocal Band joins Mark on "What's Not to Love." The song is second on the album and then reprises as the last song.

"Love Is the Golden Rule" is a great song. Interestingly enough Michael English recorded the same song on his solo project (it's also the title cut). The song paints such an accurate picture of where we are in the world today. It's a song that everyone needs to be reminded of. "No Room for Hate" is the next song and really follows that same idea. Both were co-written by Chip Davis, who had four cuts on the project.

"What if He Meant What He Said" is one of those songs we all need to just sit and ponder on. It's the type of song that really challenges all of us as Christians. We all know the words of Jesus, but do we really consider that He meant what He said?

"Mama Prayed" is a sweet tribute to Mark's mother. I'm sure most of us have mothers or women in our lives that this song will make us think of.

"Feels Like I'm Already There" is stylistically different from most of the other songs. It has a beautiful and heartfelt message. It's another one from the McGuires along with Jimmy Yeary. When we feel at our end, it's His power we can rely on.

I was familiar with the Dunaways' version of "Didn't I Walk on the Water." I've always been a fan of this song and I love Mark's version of this song.

"Only Jesus" reminds me of the "Untitled Hymn" style wise. This is one of my favorite songs on the project. It's a reminder that He is enough, only Jesus can truly satisfy and be what we need. 

Song to Turn Up - "What's Not to Love"
Songs to Give a Second Listen - "What if He Meant What He Said" and "Only Jesus"
Song That Will Take You to Church - "Didn't I Walk on the Water"

Song List -
1. "Why Don't We Sit and Talk"
2. "What's Not to Love"
3. "I Know When I'm Hearing From Home"
4. "Love Is the Golden Rule"
5. "No Room for Hate"
6. "What if He Meant What He Said"
7. "So You Will Know How to Pray"
8. "Mama Prayed"
9. "Feels Like I'm Already There"
10. "Didn't I Walk on the Water"
11. "Only Jesus"
12. "What's Not to Love?" (Reprise)

Saturday, October 7, 2017

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - October 7

Since I was out at NQC last week, I'm catching up on news this week. Here all news items and tidbits in Southern Gospel music -

  • The Singing News Fan Awards were held last week at NQC. There were a few changes in the typical awards with favorite soloist going to Joseph Habedank and favorite tenor going to Chris Allman. Here's a full list of winners. 
  • Les Beasley was honored last Friday at NQC for his work with the Gospel Singing Jubilee
  • Southern Gospel promoter Norm Basden, of Altoona, Alabama, passed away this week. Visitation for will be held Monday with the funeral services on Tuesday.
  • Triumphant Quartet celebrated its 15th anniversary last week with a special appearance by Louise Mandrell who helped the group in its beginning stages.
  • The latest "On the Couch With Fouch" episode features Matt Fouch interviewing Tribute Quartet bass singer Anthony Davis. Watch it here.
Anything I've missed?