Saturday, August 19, 2017

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - August 19

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

  • Legacy Five officially announced Josh Townsend as their new piano player this week. He's previously played for the LeFevre Quartet and The Old Paths.
  • Dean Hopper had surgery this week to put a stent in his brain after having three strokes recently. The surgery was successful, but please keep him and the family in your prayers as he recovers.
  • Trey Ivey has moved into a new role as staff pianst and arranger/ orchestrator for First Baptist Church in Indian Trail, North Carolina. He will continue to serve as producer and arranger for many gospel artists in addition to being in the band for The Music City Show.
  • Gerald Crabb recently celebrated his 25th #1 song as a songwriter with "I Choose Christ" by Karen Peck & New River. 

Anything I've missed?

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fun Clip Friday - Bass vs. Tenor Challenge

Matt Fouch recently posted the latest installment of the bass vs. tenor challenge. He and Chris Allman competed for a note holding contest with Michael Booth serving as the impartial judge. Watch what happens below!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Still - Greater Vision - CD Review

Two weeks ago, Greater Vision released its new project Still. Since Jon Epley joined the group several months ago, this is the first project with him as baritone, Rodney Griffin filling out the lead part and Chris Allman on tenor. Gerald Wolfe is definitely still present. Even with the main vocal lineup shifting, fans will soon discover the project is definitely still the same Greater Vision sound they love.

I had the chance to see the group live last week, and it was really good to hear several of these songs live.

I must say that the title track, "Still," is the highlight of the album. The song was one of seven that Rodney Griffin had a hand in writing. I'm already hearing this one on radio quite a bit. I think it's going to turn into a most requested for them. The strong lyrics backed by great orchestration make it a hit!

"Rolled Back Stone" is another favorite of mine. This is a great country-flavored song that featured Chris. It was written by Lee Black and Dee Wilkinson.

Chris also has several cuts on the project. Hands down my favorite of his is "God Doesn't Care." Gerald said they expected to receive some criticism over the title. Listen to the song, and it's definitely the perfect choice for the title. When we stop to really think about how much God has forgiven and His grace, it really should amaze us. Whatever your story and your past, God doesn't care. I love the line that says - "His grace has covered sin we'll never know." How many times do we fail Him and don't even realize it. He forgives us when we don't realize how much we've wronged Him.

Jon is featured on "His Grave Wrote the Song," which also has a bit of a country feel. The trio opens the song. You won't hear that much of a difference in the sound and blend you're used to hearing. Jon steps out on the second verse. His baritone voice is a great compliment for this song.

"Jesus Stood" is a great story-song, ballad from Rodney's pen. I also love his vocals on this song and how well he tells the story.

Chris is featured on "Forgiven by the Lord," which is a little bit different style than what we're used to hearing from him. "All the Above" is another catchup uptempo song that will have you clapping and toe tapping along. This is another one that you get to hear Jon on.

It was good to see them bring back an older Rodney Griffin song, "Common Garments," to this project. Always enjoyed this song and didn't feel like it got enough recognition.

"Nothing to See" has an old country feel with a lot of steel guitar. Chris has the verses on this one. It's another song that talks about the empty grave, which seems to be a theme of the project. We can be thankful that there's nothing to see there in that tomb. In the same way, our sins are now no more because He has forgiven us.

Gerald starts "The Gospel" with a recitation. This is a great closing song that really rounds out the project.

Greater Vision and gospel music fans can rest assured this is "still" Greater Vision. And this is the same quality and caliber you're used to hearing. Still is definitely a must-buy of 2017!

Song to put on repeat - "Still"
Song to give a second listen - "God Doesn't Care"
Songs to turn up - "Rolled Back Stone" and "Forgiven by the Lord"

Song List -
1. "There Is Hope"
2. "Still"
3. "Rolled Back Stone"
4. "I Believe It All"
5. "God Doesn't Care"
6. "His Grave Wrote the Song"
7. "Jesus Stood"
8. "Forgiven by the Lord"
9. "Common Garments"
10. "All the Above"
11. "Nothing to See"
12. "The Gospel"

Monday, August 14, 2017

Ministry of 2nd Generation - Concert Recap

It's amazing what can happen when a group allows the Holy Spirit to take over and lead the service. That's exactly what happened when I saw 2nd Generation a few weeks ago.

If you're not familiar with 2nd Generation, they are based in Arkansas and consist of sisters Brenda Denney and Elaine Robinson and Randy Barnes. They were actually at Randy Barnes' home church. It was a special night not only because of the worship, but it was a night for the church to pray over Randy before he left for a two-week mission trip in Mongolia.

Randy not only stepped out to follow God's leading by going on this mission trip, but when God led them to stop the service to pray over a friend who received troubling news right before the concert started that's exactly what they did. I love seeing groups when they live out exactly what they sing.

It was a great night of incredible songs and worship, and I'm thankful of how this group ministered that night.

Here are a few highlights from the night -

  • "It's a Good Life Living for the Lord" - Wonderful song to kick off the night featuring Brenda.
  • "One More River" - This is one of my favorite songs to hear them sing live.
  • "What a Day That Will Be" - Love hearing Brenda and Randy featured on this classic hymn!
  • "Sheltered in the Arms of God" - Elaine talked about not fully understanding this song when she started singing it as a teenager. Sometimes in this life we still don't understand the path we are one and what God is doing, but we can rest assured that God is right there with us. No matter what is going on, we are sheltered in His arms and He is in control. Elaine does a beautiful job on this song. 
  • My God Can Do Anything" 
  • "Somebody Go Get God" 
  • "Faces" - Since this was Randy's home church, they asked for requests and this was one of them. Love hearing Randy sing this song!
  • "Redemption Draweth Nigh" - Such a powerful, incredible song. The moment of the night for me!
  • "Feel the Joy" - This is always a fun one that gets a little audience participation!
  • "Rock of Ages" - This is not the hymn you might be used to, but a fun uptempo song from their most recent project The Church.
If you get a chance to see 2nd Generation in your area, don't miss them!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

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

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

  • Pray for Dean Hopper, who has three strokes in the last week. In December he had two strokes and doctors found that he only has one vertebral vein. This has now become 80-90% blocked causing the recent strokes. On Monday he will have surgery to have a stent placed in the vein. 
  • Freedom Quartet announced the addition of Nathan Parrish as the group's new piano player. He formerly played with the Florida Boys.
  • The Dove Award nominees were announced last week. See the full list of nominees here
  • TaRanda Greene made a surprise appearance at the Grand Ole Opry last weekend with Dailey and Vincent. She sang "Go Rest High on That Mountain" in memory of Glen Campbell.
  • Jason Crabb will be inducted in the Kentucky Gospel Music Hall of Fame as part of its 2018 class. The ceremony will take place in May 2018.
  • Pray for the family of Lisa Hamblen Jaserie, CEO of Hamblen Music Company and singer/songwriter, who passed away this past week at age 79.
  • Pray for Aaron Wilburn and family. His brother Jackie passed away on Thursday. 
Anything I've missed?