Saturday, February 6, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - February 6

Here are some news items from this week in gospel music -

  • Congratulations to Amanda and Caleb Cowan of the Sneed Family. They welcomed a new baby boy, Baker McKee Cowan, on February 4. He weighed 6 lbs., 1 oz. Mother and baby are doing fine.
  • Congratulations also to Jordan and Lauren Wilburn (Wilburn and Wilburn). They also welcomed a baby boy this week on Feb. 5. Brayden Allen Wilburn weighed 7 lbs., 3 oz. Mother and baby are doing well.
  • The Ball Brothers announced Matt Davis as the group's new bass singer this week.
  • Boyce Flener, 52, of the Crossmen Quartet passed away on February 2 of pancreatic cancer. His services will be tomorrow in Morgantown, Kentucky. Please keep his family in your prayers.
  • The Bradys from Dothan, Alabama announced their retirement this week. The group has been ministering for more than 25 years. The Bradys offer their heartfelt thanks to the promoters, pastors, music ministers, radio stations,and friends across the country that believed in their ministry and supported or helped them.  
  • Daywind Music Publishing announced the addition of Lee Black to their family of songwriters. 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - On the Couch With Fouch - Gary Casto

Happy Friday to all! Today's Fun Clip Friday post is courtesy of Matthew Fouch. A new month means a new "On the Couch With Fouch" episode. This month it features Gary Casto of Tribute Quartet. Be sure to watch it below!

And be sure to subscribe to Matt Fouch's YouTube channel for new videos and interviews!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Beautiful Ashes - John Bowman - CD Review

John Bowman released Beautiful Ashes in December 2015. This is my first time to hear a full solo project of his. I've seen him on stage with the Isaacs a few times (he's Becky's husband). He's well-known in his own right in gospel and bluegrass circles and after hearing his newest solo release I can see why.

John definitely has a pure country/ bluegrass style that's evident throughout the project. So many of these songs sound just like something you might have heard on country radio several years ago.

The project starts with "Let the Hard Times Roll." His son Levi joins him on this song. The song has a classic country sound. It’s one of the many songs you’ll find yourself tapping your foot to. "When My Travelin' Days Are Over" is definitely one of those as well!

"Ashes" is a great picture of letting go of regrets. It took me several listens to really grasp all the song had to offer. Definitely one that you’ll want to hit repeat on! The song was written by Gaither artist Woody Wright.

“Caiaphas’ Blues” is a great instrumental tune. Bowman actually played a number of instruments himself on the project speaking to his ability as a musician as well as vocalist.

“Sweet River” is a smooth, easy listening song. This song has a strong piano track to contrast most of the songs. Love the simple prayer of the song. Definitely one of my favorites.

Another song with a strong gospel message is “Reach of His Hand.” It’s a great slower song that speaks of how we are always close to Jesus no matter how we may have strayed.

“They’re Holding Up the Ladder” is the song by the Easter brothers. I don’t notice too many differences from that version, but the song really fits John’s voice nicely and is probably the most “bluegrass” sounding song. “Baby Girl” is a close second to in the bluegrass race. It’s a sweet song that speaks to the father/ daughter relationship.

If you’re a fan of bluegrass and classic country, you’ll love this album!

Song List -
1. "Let the Hard Times Roll"
2. "Ashes"
3. "Cold Day in Hell"
4. "Baby Girl"
5. "Caiaphas' Blues"
6. "Sweet River"
7. "He's Your Friend"
8. "Lies the Devil Told Me"
9. "They're Holding Up the Ladder"
10. "Reach of His Hand"
11. "When My Travelin' Days Are Over"

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Ball Brothers Welcome Matt Davis

Yesterday via Facebook, the Ball Brothers announced that Matt Davis will be the group's new bass singer. Here's the full post -

The Ball Brothers welcome 21-year-old Matt Davis as new bass vocalist. Originally from Fairfield, Maine, Matt makes his home in Cleveland, TN, where he graduated from Lee University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music with a Vocal Emphasis. Matt traveled with the "Voices of Lee" for two and a half years. 

Daniel Ball states, "We are thrilled to have Matt join the Ball Brothers. He loves the Lord and has a passion to reach people through music. People will love Matt's wide vocal range and versatility." 

The Ball Brothers have already begun work on a new project with Song Garden Records that will be released this Summer. Help us welcome Matt to the Ball Brothers!

Matt replaces Jon Epley who was recently announced as the new bass singer for the LeFevre Quartet.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Night of Worship - Isaacs Concert Recap

The Isaacs were in Russellville, Arkansas a few weeks ago. It hadn't been that long since I had seen them. They were at the Gaither Christmas Homecoming in mid-December, but it wasn't a full concert by themselves. It was also shortly after Sonya and Jimmy had their new baby. So it was good to see all of the family back together for a full concert!

I arrived at the church about 20 minutes before the concert, and already they had a packed house. Thankfully, there were still a few seats left in the balcony where I quickly made my way. 

The Isaacs
The Isaacs started the night with "Walk On." This is a great concert opener that really gets the crowd going. They then sang "That Is Why I Sing" and then "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive," which is always a fun song. 

Sonya talked about the love of God and how hard it is to comprehend. She talked a little bit about the new love in her life, baby Gatlyn Solomon. She said he came a little early just so she wouldn't still be on maternity leave for this concert. The love she has for her children help her understand the love that God has for us just a little better. They then sang "If That Isn't Love." I think their version of this song might be my favorite. Love hearing them sing that song! Sonya then led the congregation in "Oh How I Love Jesus."

Becky then gave her testimony with Crohn's Disease. The doctors told her that there was no cure for what she was going through. She decided to sign up for an experimental program in Nashville, but as of this month she's five years medication free. She was featured on "Waiting in the Water," which has become her testimony song. This is one of my favorites that she has written. It was definitely a highlight of the evening! They picked up the tempo next with "Get on Board." After the introductions, they sang "Why Can't We." I love the message of this song!

Lily then read an excerpt from her book about her mother being saved from the gas chamber line in the concentration camp. She said that her friend may not have known what her actions did that day when she insisted that Lily's mother stay in line with her, but God knew. Becky then sang "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow." And then the family sang "The Lord's Prayer" a cappella. There is nothing better than hearing the Isaacs sing a cappella! They are absolutely incredible!

To start the second half, the Isaacs sang "Four Men Walking Around" and "The Three Bells." Sonya had someone request "I'm Gonna Love You Through It" during intermission, so they sang that one next. Love hearing them sing this song!

They pulled out another Dottie Rambo classic next with "Mama's Teaching Angels How to Sing." Then, they sang "Stand Still." This was definitely the highlight of the night. You could feel the Spirit moving on this song. Becky moved to the other side of the stage because she felt like she needed to sing to someone specifically on that side of the congregation. I love the message of this song. It was just an incredible moment. 

Sonya shared her testimony of the miscarriage she suffered in 2014. She lost her baby girl after carrying it for six months. She said that in that moment she had the decision to really be mad at God, because He can do anything and He could have healed her baby. She instead decided to trust God, knowing how much He loved her. She said when she found out they were expecting, she was so scared. She had a few complications but thankfully she delivered a healthy baby boy on December 8. Through all of this, they began writing songs and drawing closer to God. She said all of these new songs on their project really take you from pain to praise. She said after the loss, she loves the Lord more. She said because He's brought me through more, she has more to be thankful for. They sang one of their newer songs next "I'll Love You More." Beautiful song! 

They ended the night with "It Is Well." Beautiful way to end the service. It's always great to see this family! Be sure to check their schedule and see when they will be near you!