Thursday, May 31, 2012

Butch Owens Joins Blackwood Brothers Quartet

Butch Owens has joined the Blackwood Brothers Quartet as bass singer. Butch is not short in professional singing experience having been with the Florida Boys, Anchormen, Stamps Quartet and Watchmen Quartet. In addition, he is also a retired law enforcement officer.

He will immediately go into the recording studio to add his bass vocals to the group's new project, which is currently untitled.

"I am excited to be a part of The Blackwood Brothers Quartet," Butch said. "It is a dream come true for me. The Blackwood Brothers Quartet is the most well-known name in gospel music with a great history of pioneering and influence in this industry. I am so proud to be able to help continue that great tradition. I look forward to meeting many new friends as we travel around the country and around the world."

Butch's son, Ian Owens, is currently the bass singer for Ernie Haase and Signature Sound.

When Lyrics Speak - My Faintest Cry

"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." - Romans 8:26

Sometimes life can throw us situations that shake our world. You find yourself in circumstances that seem unreal, and find yourself thinking that this isn't supposed to be happening.

Recently, I watched friends say goodbye to their infant son who died unexpectedly. You can't help but question and wonder why God decided that this precious little baby would live only a few months. I sat in the service with tears streaming down my face, hurting for a couple who would never be able to see their son take his first steps or say his first words much less graduate high school or get married.

The same day of the service exactly four years before I lost a close friend at a young age. And again, it was easy to question and wonder why God chose to take her when she had her entire life ahead of her.

In both circumstances, you don't know what to say or how to pray, but thankfully we serve a God who can help us when we we can't find the right words to say.

Four years ago after I learned of my friend's death, the song "My Faintest Cry" by TK and McRae was one that helped me through it. And I was reminded of the song again sitting at the funeral for this tiny baby several days ago.

This song was one of the strongest songs on the group's only project "When He Said Live." For those who may not be familiar, TK and McRae was composed of Annie McRae, Troy and Katy Peach and Amanda Till (Smith). This song was written by Annie McRae. Even though the group is no longer together, the song and its lyrics still have an impact and still bring reassurance and comfort.

"Silent tears, day and night
Truth too real for me to fight
Pain too strong for me to think
Afraid to move, afraid to feel
And speechless I fell down on my knees,
And by grace you heard everything I couldn't speak

When I couldn't shout out loud
And words were hard to find
You heard my faintest cry
You heard my faintest cry
When the grief was just too deep
And my prayers were all inside
You heard my faintest cry."

Thankfully when the right words are hiding from us, the Holy Spirit can intercede on our behalf. When circumstances shock us, and we don't know how to pray, we have the promise that He is there and knows what our faintest cries are.

Sometimes we can be swallowed by the grief and hurt so that we don't know what to pray, and we're not sure what to say. Sometimes all we can muster out is a simple, faint cry to God.

I love the bridge of the song that says before we ever called out or said a word to God that He heard us and answered our prayers. Even in the most difficult of circumstances, whether we can manage a faint cry or nothing at all, we have the promise that He hears us knows just all we are feeling.

Listen to the song below:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bluegrass at Silver Dollar City

This weekend I was in Branson and went to Silver Dollar City for the Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival.

The park had various bluegrass groups performing throughout most of May. I enjoy bluegrass music, but am not very familiar with many groups unless they have strong gospel ties. One of the groups we saw definitely did: Little Roy Lewis and Lizzy Long.

Of course, I knew of the Lewis Family, but had never seen them in person. Little Roy's reputation as a character and entertainer definitely precedes him. I enjoyed getting to see him and all of his comedy in person, but it was really the musical ability of the group that impressed me. Both Roy and Lizzy picked up and played numerous instruments throughout the show, just about with every new song came an instrument change. Lizzy has a great voice, and the pair of them along with their band made for a great afternoon show at Silver Dollar City.

Here's just a small clip from one of their shows that features Lizzy singing "Wildflowers." Since the song featured Lizzy, Little Roy said he wanted to do this "Bill Gaither" style. You can see that he's mimicking his hands like Bill Gaither at the beginning.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun Clip Friday - Socialcam

This week had too many funny clips to choose just one. If you haven't been watching Socialcam, you have been missing out!

Here are things that I've learned from Socialcam videos:

Mark Lowry and Kelly Nelon Clark were proclaimed the King and Queen of Socialcam by Daniel Britt earlier this week. They are definitely the most avid posters, and I love their back and forth conversations with each other. I do have to say that Madison Easter's videos are probably the funniest. Many more videos were posted this week that will keep you entertained for a while! If you can't find good entertainment on TV, go to Socialcam!

Enjoy several fun clips this Friday! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

When Lyrics Speak - Is Jesus My Focus?

"Whom have I in Heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire but You." - Psalm 73:25

God speaks to us in different ways. For me many times it seems that the same concept or thought is presented over and over, through people, sermons, songs or Bible readings. The same idea just seems to keep coming up, so that I know He's trying to get my attention and teach me something. Lately it's been making Jesus the focus of my life.

I love the Collingsworth Family song, "I Want Jesus More Than Anything." The lyrics of this song are powerful and convicting. So many times I know that He should be my focus, my number one priority, but does my life show that? Is He alone my desire? I know that he alone can satisfy, so why do I seek other things so much?

"I want Jesus in my life
More than anything this world can offer me
For I know that He alone can satisfy
Just to know His leading in my life
Is worth everything that I might sacrifice
Oh I want Jesus more than anything

So take the fame that I might want
And all the things that seem so dear
I’d rather have Him than any praise
That men may give to me
I want Him to have control
And be the breath of life in me
I’d rather have Jesus
I’d rather Him more than anything"

I'm a planner. I like to be in control and know what's going to happen when. But in making Jesus my focus and desiring Him and His plan above all else, I relinquish that. I completely give every aspect of my life over to Him and follow where He leads. It's a little scary, but at the same time, there's no one better to give control of your life than the Author of life Himself.

I'm reading Lauren Talley's book Songs in the Night right now. One quote that I read recently I loved: "He is the source of life within us and we cannot know a happy and fulfilling life if we do not constantly, actively seek to remain in Him."

Am I constantly and actively seeking to remain in Him? Is Christ alone the focus and priority of my life? Do I desire Him more than anything? These are questions that I've really spent time asking myself lately. Of course, I would love to answer a resounding, "Yes, He alone is my desire. I want Jesus more than anything." But do my actions and my day-to-day life show that? If I really want Jesus more than anything, why am I not spending more time with Him?

This is one of those songs that really makes me stop and think about my own life and my relationship with Christ. I want Jesus more than anything, more than anything this world can offer me. I know that He alone can satisfy. This song convicted me that if He alone is my desire that some of my daily routine needs to change so that time with Him becomes a priority. I would rather have Him above all else. Everything else needs to be pushed aside so that He may be at the forefront of my life.

I leave you with one more song on this topic. I couldn't ignore the classic hymn, "I'd Rather Have Jesus" while writing this, so here it is.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ministry Full of Encouragement - Jeff and Sheri Easter Concert Review

Shannon Easter, Sheri Easter, Jeff Easter and Kyle Calloway (on drums)
Jeff and Sheri Easter were in concert on Sunday night at the Little Rock Church of God. I always enjoy seeing them in a concert setting by themselves, and that night was no exception.

The night started with their standard opening number, "Life is Great and Gettin' Better." Then, Sheri sang "Praise His Name." This is one song that I never get tired of hearing. Sheri's rich alto voice always shines on this song. It's such a great song that reminds us to praise Him no matter what circumstances we might be facing.

They sang "Come See Me" next. I hadn't seen them stage this song in a while, but really enjoyed hearing it again.

Jeff made introductions next. Shannon, Madison's wife, sang the third part that weekend. Morgan was at her Senior Breakfast that Sunday morning. While Morgan was missed, I really enjoyed getting to hear Shannon sing. She has such a great voice and was featured on the Karen Peck and New River song, "Hold Me While I Cry." She did a beautiful job on it, and it really fit her voice well.

Madison joined his parents next on "Workin' on a Road." Even though he has never taken a large role vocally in the concerts, he has a great voice and definitely has the vocal talent of his family. They brought Maura on stage next. After entertaining the crowd with a few jokes, she sang a little bit of "Livin' in the Rain" and then played the drums, which I think might have been her favorite thing! :)

Shannon, Madison and Maura left the stage, and Sheri began sharing about her battle with breast cancer. In July she will celebrate four years cancer free. She read an excerpt from her book that was a journal entry from the time she got the cancer diagnosis. It set up beautifully the song "Hear My Heart." This has become one of my favorite Jeff and Sheri songs. It's a song that Sheri wrote when she was going through breast cancer, but the song can relate to people in a variety of different circumstances. Sometimes we don't know what to say and words fail, but God can hear our hearts and know exactly how we feel.

Madison Easter steps up to the mic to sing "Workin'
on a Road" with his parents.
After the song, Jeff and Sheri both shared about their mothers. Jeff lost his mom last August. They talked about what a character she was while she was alive and some of the funny things that she would say. Sheri's mom was diagnosed with Parkinson's and Lewy body dementia eight years ago. They sang "I Get To," a song all about cherishing the little things in life. You don't have to do things, you get to.

Sheri then shared about their work with Compassion International. All of their family members sponsor children and have for years. They shared a video on the sponsorship program, and then sang "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me." Jeff's voice always especially shines on this song for me. Shannon sang the second verse that Morgan normally does and did a great job as well. They had the congregation join with them and sing the chorus at the end. It was a great moment and a great reminder that no matter what or how much we have that it is all a gift from God and His blessings on us.

Jeff decided to pull up some help from the audience on the next few songs. They called their friend Chopper Ward to the stage to sing "Mercy Walked In" with Jeff and Sheri singing harmony. You can check out this clip of him singing the song with them a few years ago. He has a great voice, and really enjoyed him singing this song.

Brian and Angela Monehan sing with Jeff.
Then, they called up Brian Monehan, who is the pastor of the church, and his wife, Angela to join them. They have both sang with gospel groups, Kevin Spencer and Friends and the Perry Sisters. Brian sang "The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn" with Angela and Jeff singing harmony. Brian did a great job on the song, and even got a little extra help from his daughter who also joined them on stage!

After a brief break for the offering, Jeff asked for requests. I always love this about Jeff and Sheri concerts; they want to be sure the audience hears their favorite songs. They don't have to go by a certain set list every night. They sang "I Know I Love You" and "Is There Anything I Can Do?" by requests.

Next, they brought Angela Monehan back to the stage to sing harmony on a new song they are working on for their upcoming project called "I Won't Have to Worry Anymore." Jeff explained that it's the song his dad was singing to his mom as she was passing. It's a great song, and I can't wait to hear it on their new album! They, then, had Angela sing "Thread of Hope" with Jeff and Sheri singing harmony backing her up, and she did an outstanding job on it!

Sheri sang "Two Sparrows in a Hurricane" by request. Then to close, she sang "I Just Came to Talk to You, Lord." I have never heard her sing this song live just on one of the Gaither videos, but I love it! It is a beautiful song and was a great way to end such a great concert!

I've only seen Jeff and Sheri a handful of times in concert by themselves, and each time I am amazed at how much they care about the people they are singing to. The audience can become an active part of the concert whether you get pulled on stage to sing or you request your favorite song. They want to make sure that everyone is enjoying the concert. They are sure to put a smile on your face not only through the jokes and funny stories, but in their ministry of encouragement through their songs. It was such a great night of random moments, funny stories and laughs, but most importantly we all left encouraged having heard Christ uplifted all evening.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Talleys - Love Won CD Review

I was very anxious to hear the Talleys new project Love Won with the addition of Brian Alvey. This album did not disappoint! This CD has 13 songs which is more than most. The song selection overall is very strong, here's a breakdown:

"We Want to Thank You" - The song is a worshipful number written by Brian Alvey. The blend of their voices on this song is really great and really sets the tone for the entire album.

"Love Won" - The song starts off with a very classical feel, with a piano and strings intro. The song has a great buildup to the chorus. Lauren is the featured vocalist on this song, and she does a great job with it. 

"Make Way for the Master" - This is another song penned by Brian. He explains a bit about the inspiration for the song in this clip. I remember Brian from his days with Tribute Quartet, and I think he's improved vocally since then. This is one of my favorites of the project! Great song and great message! 

"Broken World" - I love this song lyrically. It does seem to be a continuation from the "Broken Ones." The song is a great reminder that we don't have to endure the brokenness of this world for long! It's another great vocal performance from Lauren.

"Every Scar" - The song features Roger and really fits his voice nicely. I like the concept of the song that talks about not only our scars but also the scars of Christ.

"Talk to the Lord About It" - Debra's alto voice shines through on this song. It's a great uptempo number that really stands out on this project with mostly slower tempo songs. The song has a little bit of "Just a Little Talk with Jesus" at the end that I really like.

"Up Above" - This is another great number that really features Brian and Lauren's voices. Both deliver stunning vocals on this song.

"Surely" - I think I tend to gravitate toward the uptempo numbers, and this one is no exception. I really love the Talleys' version of this song. I got to hear them sing this at their concert in Little Rock. I think it could be another uptempo hit for them!

"Great Love He Gave" - This song features Debra and Lauren. It's got a great Easter message. Debra's recitation in the middle of the song gives it a nice touch. I also like the chorus of the "Christ Arose" added toward the end of the song.

"The Church Will Overcome" - After seeing some of the clips of the Talleys in the studio working on this project, this song was one I was looking forward to the most. It's a great uptempo number that really allows Brian to show off the soulful side of his voice.

"How Deep the Father's Love For Us" -  I love this song, and really enjoy their version of it. It has some really nice harmony parts. I think vocally it's one of the strongest songs that really shows off all parts.

"That's Why I Love Him So" - This is a song that Brian previously sang with the Tribute Quartet. I do prefer this version to Tribute's version. Brian co-wrote this song as well.

"Love Conquers All" - This is a beautiful song that features Lauren. It is a great song lyrically that reminds us of the power of God's love for us. It's a great song to close the project titled "Love Won."

Brian's addition to the group adds so much not only vocally but also in his songwriting with him having written or co-written several songs on the project. There is a lack of uptempo numbers, but the overall song selection makes up for it. In my opinion, this is one of the strongest projects for the Talleys to date.

My personal favorites - "The Church Will Overcome," "Make Way for the Master," "Broken World," "How Deep the Father's Love For Us" and "Surely"

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fun Clip Friday - Greater Vision

I ran across the clip not too long ago on YouTube. It's several years old, but it's too good not to share! Gerald Wolfe, in my opinion, is one of the best emcees and funniest guys in the business. Hope you get a laugh from this as much as I did! Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Spoken 4 Quartet Welcomes Steven Hickinbotham

Spoken 4 Quartet announces Steven Hickinbotham as the new baritone. Original baritone Jeremy Wilkerson left the group to pursue other avenues and to spend more time with his family at the end of 2011. J.D. Miller had been filling in as baritone and pianist during the time of transition.

Steven was previously with the Melody Boys Quartet. After leaving them, he continued to sing locally and moved back to his hometown of Thayer, Mo. Later, he helped co found the group Faith's Journey where he sang lead for several years.

Steven is excited about joining Spoken 4 Quartet. "Singing along side these guys I know this is where God wants me to be. I'm honored to be able to share the message of Christ to the world. There's something special here and I'm just glad that I'm a part of it," he said.

Spoken 4 Quartet is based in Branson, Mo. They are a group that I have been following since they formed in 2007. Owners Jon Charles Taggart and Cecil Stringer sang together in the Cumberland Quartet, which was formerly Silver Dollar City's in-house gospel group. It was during that time that I was introduced to them. They are very well known throughout the Ozarks areas. And when they come back to perform at Silver Dollar City, they always draw a large crowd! If you haven't heard Spoken 4, I encourage you to check them out!

For more information on Spoken 4 Quartet, visit their website.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When Lyrics Speak - Songs about Heaven

Two weeks ago, two people I knew passed away on the same day. Neither one was a close friend of mine, but both had been welcomed into the arms of Jesus that day under very different circumstances. And both deaths definitely made an impact on me.

One was a young woman with a full life ahead of her. She had cancer and suffered for almost a year with the disease before God took her home. She left behind a husband and young child, a child who unfortunately will probably never remember his mother. She was a close friend and family member to several friends of mine, who had been posting her husband's blog of their struggles. I because more familiar with her story and mourned for their loss as I read more about their journey.

The other was a man who lived a full life. He left behind children and numerous grandchildren, even a great-grandchild. He was one who many other men respected and admired. His life had been full of memories with family and friends.

Very different lives and circumstances, but one thing was the same. They both crossed into Heaven on the same day.

This year there have been two songs about Heaven that have really stuck with me. And both crossed my mind when dealing with these two deaths: "Celebrate Me Home" by the Perrys and "On the Banks of the Promised Land" by Karen Peck & New River.

"When the time comes and I am standing at the river
That separates the two worlds that I love,
Torn between my precious friends and my family
and the place of peace that's waiting up above,
Hold my hand and stay there by my side.
And when I finally step into the tide,

Celebrate me home!
Celebrate me there.
Celebrate me in that land of wonder where nothing can compare.
Celebrate me in that place
Celebrate me saved by grace
Don't just sit and weep because I'm gone
Celebrate me home."

I love these lyrics. You've probably often heard, as I have, that for children of God a funeral service should be a celebration. This song is all about celebrating someone who has now gone onto Heaven. As much as we love this world and our family and friends, we know that Heaven is going to be better than we can imagine. We are torn between the two worlds. I love how the lyrics encourage those left behind not to sit and weep but to celebrate.

"Every grief and pain that has bound me here
Jesus knows and he understands
They'll be washed away as I cross that stream
To the banks of the promised land.

"Hallelujah what a morning
When I reach for that nail-scarred hand,
And I'm lead from grace to glory
On the banks of the promised land."

The second verse is so reassuring. In both of these cases, sickness occurred before their deaths. Jesus knew all about that and wanted them to be free from the hurting, pain and suffering they were experiencing on earth.

I also love the line in the chorus where we'll be lead from grace to glory. In this world, we live through God's grace, but in Heaven we'll be in the presence of His glory. I can only imagine them reaching for Christ's nail-scarred hand as they reached the promised land.

Heaven is going to be a beautiful place, and both of these songs remind us that as children of God we're going to be much better off there than we are here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Melody Boys Quartet Spring Concert Recap

Mike Franklin (tenor), Chris Walton (lead), Jason
Tapley (baritone) and Gerald Williams (bass)
Friday night I went to the Melody Boys Annual Spring Concert at Geyer Springs First Baptist Church in Little Rock. The church is Gerald Williams' home church, and it's always a fun concert. The audience is full of not only fans, but also family members and former group members. The group's current lineup is Mike Franklin (tenor), Chris Walton (lead), Jason Tapley (baritone) and Gerald Williams (bass).

Former lead singer Jonathan Sawrie was the emcee for the night. He did a great job as always, providing comedic relief throughout the night. The night started with a video put together by Gerald's daughter and grandson on the history of the group.

The first song of the night was "Put Your Hand in the Hand," which featured Gerald. The next song was "Keep Walking," another song from the group's most recent project American Christian. The song featured Chris, who really showed off his strong lead vocals. 

Jason has been with the group only two months. He was featured on "Is Anybody Talkin' 'Bout Jesus Anymore?" They sang the classic "Working on a Building" next.

Mike introduced Gerald next. He has been with Gerald in the Melody Boys for 20 years. Gerald has been the bass singer for the group for 63 years, since he was 17 years old. He was featured on "Love So Divine." At 80 years old, he's still one of the best in the business! His voice is just as strong as it's been for decades! 

The group had Jonathan come up to play the piano and said they were going to do two of the most common quartet songs. The Melody Boys sang "I'm Winging My Way" and "Just a Little Talk With Jesus." The group has been known for its tight harmonies, and these two classic songs really showed that off.

Right before the half, the group sang "American Christian" which had the entire crowd on its feet!

After intermission, the group brought up former members to sing. The first one up was Gary Bullock who was featured on "Hide Thou Me." This is one of my favorite hymns, and his tenor voice on this song was outstanding.

The next lineup was Mike Franklin (tenor), Terry Robertson (lead), Caleb Matheny (baritone) and Gerald (bass). Terry was featured on "Same Old Story."

They called Chris up to sing lead and sang "You Sho Do Need Him Now," and Mike nailed the tenor part on this song! Caleb was featured on the next song "The Lamb He Died to Save."

Before the last lineup of former members took the stage, they announced there were a few birthdays in the audience. The current group came up to sing "Happy Birthday." It was the best rendition of "Happy Birthday" I've ever heard, I didn't realize I could be so impressed by hearing "Happy Birthday!"

Jonathan Sawrie brought up Doug Kramer to sing baritone with Mike and Gerald rounding out the quartet. Jonathan mentioned that these four had been through a lot together, bought the first bus, sold the first bus, and had their first bus wreck. He joked that in the video earlier he remembered every time they showed them working on the bus or having to tow the bus. He remembers riding in the wrecker and even in the back of the bus while it was being towed!

Mike Franklin (tenor), Jonathan Sawrie (lead),
Doug Kramer (baritone) and Gerald Williams (bass) 
Those four sang a number of songs, including: "Milky White Way," "Peace in the Valley," "Pray," "Shadrach" and "This Old House.""Shadrach" was definitely a highlight! Jonathan asked if the lady who requested it last year was there again this year. No one said anything. Last year he said they weren't prepared to sing this song, but he promised her they would sing it the next year. He said that since they practiced it they were just going to do it anyway!

Gerald then was featured on "How Great Thou Art." I thought this was a great song choice since Gerald quoted the song in the opening video as being one of his favorite lyrics. I expected it to close the show, but they sang one more.

With Jonathan taking a seat behind the piano and with just the piano accompaniment, they sang "I'll Meet You in the Morning."

It was such a great night, and maybe my last time to see the Melody Boys Quartet. I hope the other current group members find a place in Southern Gospel and continue singing. After several years of coming to their annual Spring Concert, this event will definitely be missed next year!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fun Clip Friday - Melody Boys Quartet

Tonight is the annual Spring Concert for the Melody Boys Quartet in Little Rock. I've gone to the concert for the last several years and look forward to this year especially since they are retiring at the end of the year. Past group members always come back for the event, each of them taking their place where they once stood in the quartet. It should be a great night!!

In honor of them, this week's Fun Clip Friday is one of the Melody Boys Quartet that is probably most people's favorite lineup of this group. Enjoy, and look for a full concert recap next week!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Shout Out to Two New Bloggers

Being fairly new myself to the blogging world, I wanted to take a post and recognize two new bloggers who are both artists.

Chris Allman - Like I Wish I'd Lived
Chris is the tenor singer for Greater Vision. He was their original tenor when the group started. He was the pastor of a church, and then returned to the group in April 2010.

Amanda Crabb - Take Me to the Place
Amanda is the wife of Aaron Crabb. She and Aaron are worship leaders at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio.

Both of these offer great encouraging words through their blogs! I encourage you to check them out!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chris Jenkins New Tenor for Kingsmen

The Kingmen announced their new tenor today to replace Harold Reed who left the group last December. Here's the press release:

The Kingsmen are pleased to announce the addition of Chris Jenkins as their new tenor vocalist.

Chris, 25, has been singing in various ministries and groups since his teenage years. Most recently he was the tenor vocalist for The Vintage Quartet, joining that group in 2010. Prior to joining The Kingsmen, Chris worked as a loan officer and banking manager for the last six years. 

"I am so thankful that God has allowed me to do what I have always loved to do," says Chris. "I could not be more excited about joining a group with such a legacy and rich history as The Kingsmen. I have been a fan of The Kingsmen since I was very young. I look forward to seeing what the future holds with this great quartet, especially this line-up of individuals as they are top-notch vocalists. It is a real honor to follow in the footsteps of some of my heroes who have passed through the ranks of The Kingsmen."

Chris will begin touring with the group immediately. In fact he has been filling in for them in recent weeks. Chris, his wife Kimberly, and two children make their home right outside of Greensboro, in the piedmont area of North Carolina.

Chris is looking forward to meeting many friends and fans of The Kingsmen as he begins this new chapter in his life. 

I am not familiar with Chris, but from what others have been saying I look forward to seeing him with the group. Hat tip to Southern Gospel Yankee for the YouTube clip of Chris with the Vintage Quartet. The Kingsmen are scheduled to be in Arkansas this summer, so I hope to be able to see this new lineup then!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Isaacs - Online Concert Review

I got the opportunity to watch an Isaacs concert this weekend thanks to a church streaming its services online. The Isaacs were in Haughton, La. at Central Assembly of God over the weekend.

I've had the opportunity to see the Isaacs several times over the years, and they always have a great concert. This night was no exception. Here was the song list for the night:

  • "Bluegrass Gospel Medley" (included songs such as "Love Lifted Me", "I'll Fly Away", "Power in the Blood," "In the Sweet By and By")
  • "Four Men Walkin' Around"
  • "That Is Why I Sing"
  • "No Shortage"
  • "The Three Bells"
  • "Why Can't We"
  • "Get on Board"
  • "You Never Know" 
  • "Little Bit of Heaven"
  • "Hallelujah"
  • "I'm Gonna Love You Through It"
  • "Waiting in the Water"
  • "I Will Praise Him"
  • "Mama's Teaching Angels How to Sing"

Standout points for me:

I loved how many songs they sang from Why Can't We. I'll confess I I had downloaded several of the songs from the project on iTunes, but didn't the entire album. That is about to change. After hearing more of the songs from that project they performed the other night, the album will be complete in my iTunes library shortly.

I never get tired of hearing the Isaacs sing "I Will Praise Him." Their rendition of the song leaves me with goosebumps every time. Such an amazing version of the song!!

"I'm Gonna Love You Through It" is such a beautiful song that tells the story of Lily's battle with breast cancer. I'm hoping that since it's become a great song for Martina McBride that Sonya and Jimmy will receive some accolades in the country music world as well.

Becky gave a beautiful testimony about God's healing power in her life before she sang "Waiting in the Water." I didn't realize all that she had been through. It's such a great song on healing.

Jimmy Yeary has become quite the banjo player. I saw the group last time in early September when he had not been with them for very long. He seems a lot more comfortable in his role now. With his addition to the group, they have gained not only a great musician, but also vocalist and songwriter. He sang a song that he had written, "You Never Know." It was a great move for all!

I was a little disappointed not to hear some of my Isaacs' favorites, but I was glad to hear some of their new songs. If they are in your area, be sure to go see them, and I hope to be able to see them in person soon! It was a great concert, and really appreciate the church for broadcasting it online!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Fun Clip Friday - The Talleys

The Talleys will release their new CD Love Won on May 15. Crossroads has been giving fans previews of songs with clips on YouTube of the Talleys in the studio. From the clips, I can't wait to hear this album. The clip for this Friday is one of them working a song called "The Church Will Overcome." I think this will be one of my favorites on the album. If you want to pre-order the album, you can go to the Talleys' website. Enjoy! Have a great Friday and weekend!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I'll Pray for You - When Lyrics Speak

Friday night I was at a friend's place. Several friends had gotten together just to hang out and watch a movie. After the movie, we were all tired and ready to go home, but we kept talking. We talked about several different random things that girls talk about late at night. While there were plenty of silly moments, the conversation took a more serious turn as we talked about different struggles and helping keep each other accountable in our walk with Christ and praying for each other. 

I've had the same best friend since the first grade. We've seen each other through so many different phases of life, the good and the bad. And we've stuck with each other through it all. We were talking not long ago, and mostly by that I mean I was venting and complaining about a situation that she's heard before. When I was done, she sympathized with where I was and then said that she has been praying for me about this. She's my best friend, and of course we pray for each other, but there was something about hearing that she was bringing my name before the throne that gave me a peace and reassurance.

I love the song "I'll Pray for You" by the Whisnants. And God has definitely been giving me small reminders and showing me lately that I have great friends who I know are praying for me. 

"I'll pray for you, you pray for me,
And together we'll touch heaven from our knees,
Anything can happen in His name when we agree,
I'll pray for you, you pray for me"

It's such a great feeling to know that you are being prayed for, no matter how trivial your problem might be in light of eternity, that you have friends who are talking to God on your behalf. I love how the chorus says that ANYTHING can happen in His name.

"What a privilege and an honor to know that God is there,
and to have His full attention, any time and any where,
sometimes when we're talking, conversation turns to you,
as your name and needs are mentioned, God lifts my spirit too"

I realized this week and through this song what a privilege it is to have friends who pray for me and I can pray for them. When we pray for others and bring their needs before God, He can lift our spirits too. So thankful for friends who I can trust to pray for me and who trust me to pray for them.