Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Greater Yes - The Whisnants - When Lyrics Speak

Ever go through times when you feel like God must be tired of hearing your prayers because you are tired of praying the same thing over and over? Please tell me I'm not the only one.

Just being honest with all of you, sometimes I do question why God hasn't heard me. I know he hears, but I feel that He just isn't listening. Now, I know that He does, but it is just disheartening when you don't see prayers being answered. He promises to always hear and always answer, but the hard part is waiting on His timing. But sometimes He has a reason for us to wait, "a greater yes."

I absolutely love this song by the Whisnants. From the first few notes, it truly speaks to where I am so many times in life. Praying and waiting for God to move. I'm thankful for the promise this song says that we will never pray a prayer that He does not answer. He won't ignore our earnest requests, but we must have faith to wait and believe that He has a "greater yes."

I love the line in the second verse that says "the teacher is often silent when you are in the hardest test." When we go through hard times, it's easy to concentrate on the silence we get. We don't think about all that He might be orchestrating behind the scenes to work things out for our good. God's timetable is certainly not our timetable. And even if His answer is "no," I can still count myself as blessed!

God may answer our prayers just as we pray, but at other times He has a better plan. I think back to times in my life where I have prayed for something so earnestly, a job or relationship. Now that time has passed it's so easy to see that would not have been the best for me. I'm thankful God knew that then, and He still knows that today. When I look at those things that I've been praying for, I have to remind myself He knows best and what I desire might not be God's best for me. He might have a "greater yes."

"We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose." - Romans 8:28

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Here Comes Sunday - Wilburn & Wilburn - CD Review

Duos are a rarity in Southern Gospel. However, father and son Jonathan and Jordan Wilburn make it work, and make it work well as Wilburn & Wilburn. Another rarity is having the strong success that they had with their debut project Family Ties. Now they are following it up with their sophomore release Here Comes Sunday which I expect to have as much if not more success as their first project.

The album has 12 songs, and there truly is something for everyone. I love the variety of this project. Ben Isaacs produced the album. And if my ears aren't deceiving me, it sounds like a couple of Isaacs helped with background vocals as well.

"Here Comes Sunday" is the title cut of the project. Upon just seeing the title I thought the song would have something to do with going to church on Sundays, but the Sunday in the song is referring to the resurrection. It's a great song  with a more progressive country feel. The bridge then brings the life application that during your darkest times, joy will come in the morning. Definitely a highlight of the project!

When you see a song with a title like "Funeral Plans," you know it's going to be interesting. Jonathan Wilburn does a great job on this song! It's a song that is definitely his bread and butter.

I love the song "Joseph." It's a great take on the faith of Joseph and how he chose to stay by Mary and raise Jesus. He chose to protect her and choose to trust God. The song asks Joseph questions about how he chose the road of faith rather than the easy path.

The first single from this project is "A Man Like Me," which features Jordan. I've already heard it a lot on radio already, so I wouldn't be surprised for this to be a big hit for them. The song is a tender ballad from Jimmy Yeary and Dianne Wilkinson. Incredible song that talks about how God can use anything through His power, even "a man like me."

"Help Me" is a great country-flavored song. The title is a little deceiving in that the person is actually asking for help from God to help others who are in greater need.

"If These Old Walls Could Talk" is another country song that's a real toe-tapper talking about an old country church that has seen countless lives changed. Another uptempo great song is "Heaven's Jubilee." Love that they chose to put their own style into this song and cut it!

Album rating - 4.25 stars - Fans of Southern Gospel are guaranteed to find something they like on this project. It has a great variety, and of course I like that there are more than the typical 10 songs. Wilburn & Wilburn are definitely showing that duos have a place in gospel music!

Song List -
1. "Here Comes Sunday"
2. "Funeral Plans"
3. "Joseph"
4. "Nobody Like Jesus"
5. "I'm Bound for That City"
6. "Every Scar"
7. "Help Me"
8. "If These Old Walls Could Talk"
9. "A Man Like Me"
10. "Heaven's Jubilee"
11. "Everything's New"
12. "Across the Miles"

Monday, July 29, 2013

How Many Concerts Do You Attend?

I'm not sure about where you live, but in Arkansas it's either feast or famine when it comes to gospel concerts. Either we have several groups all come at one time or there's nothing for a month (i.e. July). Now this Friday two of my favorite groups will both be in Arkansas, but fortunately (or unfortunately) one of them is two hours away, so the group that will be closer wins.

I know for a lot of you, like me, how many concerts you attend really just depends on how many artists are nearby. But I'm curious, in a typical year, how many gospel concerts do you attend? I know multiple-day events you can see several concerts in one day even, but just count the event as one.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fun Clip Friday - Jeff and Sheri Easter

Jeff and Sheri Easter teased a new DVD that will be released soon on their Facebook page yesterday. The DVD gives fans an inside look at them recording their most recent project, Eyes Wide Open. Personally, I'm pretty excited about getting a copy of this! Judging by the teaser, I'm pretty impressed by the quality of video this will be. I'm excited that they allowed fans this inside look through this DVD. Not only does it seem that you will hear some stories about why songs were chosen but also you'll get to see part of the recording process and hear from members of the family during the process.

So enjoy this week's Fun Clip Friday courtesy of Jeff and Sheri Easter!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

These Truths - Old Paths - CD Review

The Old Paths released These Truths this month that they teased in an interview recently with me. This is the group's second project with Crossroads Music. Their previous project Right Now had two #1 songs, so this album had to follow the success of that one, but I think won't have to worry about this one not measuring up to the success of Right Now. With These Truths, Old Paths shows that they are one of the best upcoming quartets and will continue to rise to the top.

The project kicks off with "We Are Those Children." This is one of my favorites. It's an uptempo, solid quartet song that was previously recorded by Heaven Bound.

"Love Them to Jesus" is another one of my favorites that features Tim Rackley, lead singer. It seems that sometimes an album either has standout ballads or uptempo songs, but this project has a great mixture of both!

Tenor Jeremy Peace is featured on "Isn't That Why He Came." It's a tender ballad with an incredible message. He's also featured on "God Said I Love You," which is another incredible ballad that speaks of the message of the cross. Jeremy shows off just how high he can go toward the end of the song.

"Enough and Then Some" and "God's Gonna Do the Same" are both fun songs that really show off bass singer Daniel Ashmore. His strong bass will impress you, and then when you take into consideration that he's still in his early twenties that will wow you even more.

"If It Were Not for Grace" shows off baritone singer Doug Roark. It's another ballad with a strong message. He's also featured on the track that the title of the project comes from, "We Hold These Truths."

"Long Live the King" is an incredible song to close the project on. I love the arrangement and the orchestration at the beginning, it really sets the tone for the song. It's such a powerful song, vocally and lyrically. I can see this being a huge song for the Old Paths!

Album rating - 4.25 stars - These Truths is definitely on the must-buy list of 2013 projects. I cannot say enough about the incredible song selection with a mix of great, tender ballads and strong, uptempo quartet numbers. Quartet fans and gospel fans alike will love this project!

Song List:
1. "We Are Those Children"
2. "Isn't That Why He Came"
3. "Enough and Then Some"
4. "We Hold These Truths"
5. "Love Them to Jesus"
6. "If It Were Not for Grace"
7. "I'm Just Passing Through"
8. "God Said I Love You"
9. "God's Gonna Do the Same"
10. "Long Live the King"

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

When Lyrics Speak - Satisfied - Jason Crabb

One of my favorite projects that's been released this year is Jason Crabb's Love Is Stronger. The album is full of incredible songs, but one particularly has been on my mind lately.

The album closes with a song called "Satisfied." I think it's safe to say that most of the time when we see a title like "Satisfied" we think about how God satisfies our needs and He is enough for us. We need to be satisfied with where God has us and what He has for us. This song has a different take on "satisfied."

The song starts out talking about the blessings of God and all that He has done and provided. It asks "how could I ask for more." The song fully recognizes satisfaction in God with the way He has cared for us.

But then it asks the question, God, are you satisfied with me? I know so many more times I'm more concerned with my satisfaction in God rather than His satisfaction with me. "Hear my plea may it be that You are satisfied with me."

I find myself guilty of focusing on my wants and reminding myself that He is enough and to just be satisfied in Him. What am I doing to make sure He is satisfied with way I am living my life? It's far easier when I stop to think about all He has done for me for me to be satisfied in Him than to think that He would be satisfied with what I have done. Today's (and I'm sure tomorrow and the next week's as well) challenge for myself is to live my life in a way that God might be more satisfied with me.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Royal Descendant

Yep, I'll admit it. I was one of those people yesterday. One of the people who anxiously awaited news of the royal baby. I had the live feed with updates on my computer at work yesterday waiting to hear if the next royal heir would be a boy or girl.

Twitter went crazy yesterday with the news and the criticism of people who were like me awaiting the news, and that's fine. But a couple of tweets caught my attention that made references to us all being "royal descendants."

I started thinking about the gospel songs have to do with that thought. Enjoy a couple of these songs and remembering that we are all royal descendants as children of God! And let me know what others come to your mind!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Southern Gospel Events

In about a month is an event I look forward to every year! Since its inception, I haven't missed a year of it. I'm talking about the Southern Gospel Picnic at Silver Dollar City. While I haven't missed a year, last year was the first year I got to attend the entire festival. Previous years I was only able to attend a couple of days or nights, sometimes longer, but last year I didn't miss a day! I'm hoping this year will be a repeat of last year and attend the whole festival, that's my plan, anyway!

It's the one time of year I get to see many favorite artists all within a span of 12 days jam-packed full of gospel music. It's the event that sparked my love of gospel music and helped me hear so many of my favorite artists for the first time.

I recognize that the National Quartet Convention is the "granddaddy" of Southern Gospel music events, so I'm leaving them out to be fair to to the other events. I feel like it would be a runaway if they were included. But I'm sure we all have our other favorite major events during the year. Events that last for more the span of a long weekend. So if you only had to pick one of the other major annual Southern Gospel events to attend, what would it be? What's your favorite?

Would love to read comments below about your favorites and would be interested to hear from artists about what events they look forward to each year! And if I've left one out, let me know!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

He's Alive - Barry Rowland and Deliverance - CD Review

Barry Rowland and Deliverance's latest release, He's Alive, came out on June 18. If the name Rowland
sounds familiar, Barry is the son of Kyla Rowland, well-known southern gospel songwriter. She wrote eight of the 10 songs on the project.

I had the chance to see this group in person for the first time in Branson last year and was impressed! And this album continued to impress me. The group consists of Barry Rowland, Tammy Rowland (his wife) and Shawn Rupert.

"He's Alive," the title cut, gets the album off to a great start. This is a fun tempo song that's been recorded before by several different artists, but this version is definitely worth a listen!

Tammy Rowland absolutely shines on several ballads that she's featured on including "Simply Because I Believe." "No Place That Far" and "God's Been Good to Me." "No Place That Far" is my favorite of these. I love the comforting message of the song that there's nowhere we can go that God cannot reach us.

Another highlight for me was "Death Had to Let Him Go." Shawn is featured on this song and shows off an impressive range. The song tells the story of Jesus coming to the funeral of the son of Nain and raising the boy from the dead.

"Sweet Things Out of Dark Places" is a great ballad featuring Tammy and Shawn. They have a great blend on this country-flavored song. I also love a chorus of "'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" that's included toward the end of the song.

"Fear for Faith" is a fun uptempo song that definitely has a Kyla Rowland feel to it to me. "We'll Go Down Standing Up" is another great toe-tapper song.

Barry Rowland can be heard on a couple of lines in the chorus on "He's Still God," but he really let Tammy and Shawn step out on this project and take the features.

Album Rating - 3.75 stars - Solid project vocally and great song choices with a good mix of ballads and uptempo songs.

Song List
1. "He's Alive"
2. "Simply Because I Believe"
3. "Death Had to Let Him Go"
4. "Fear for Faith"
5. "No Place That Far"
6. "We'll Go Down Standing Up"
7. "God Has Been Good to Me"
8. "He's Still God"
9. "Sweet Things Out of Dark Places"
10. "What a Wonderful Time to Be a Christian"

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

No Problems - Crabb Family - When Lyrics Speak

Last week, I was driving home from work after a "rough" day. It wasn't that anything horrible happened, just an off day. I started feeling rather dejected and started wondering why things weren't better. I had my iPod playing through my car speakers, and the song "No Problems" by the Crabb Family came on. It's funny how God works like that.

I had been going through all that had happened that day, and while it wasn't the best of circumstances, it had gotten me into this funk. But really? What problems did I have? Just because things weren't going exactly as I wanted didn't mean that I should be complaining or worried.

When you consider all that's going on in the world, I was sweating the small stuff. I love the line that says you are "acting like it's pouring when it's only raining." How often do I let little things bother me so much and blow them out of proportion? I'm guilty of complaining about these little things when I should be grateful for the many big things that God has given me.

It's hard when you are in the middle of a situation to take a step back and realize how small it is in the grand scheme of things. When this song came on, it really challenged me to think about the "problems" that I was facing really weren't problems at all. What I should be concentrating on was thinking about the blessings of God.

When the song came on, it was a reminder "to see of how good life's been for me." I pray today is full of "no problems" for you as well!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mylon Hayes Family - Names You Might Not Know

The Mylon Hayes family is from Hudson, N.C. The Family consists of Mylon and Wendy and their children Conner, Bailey and Kennedy. Get to know more about this family!

Question: Did you grow up with a strong southern gospel influence? When did you first become interested in southern gospel?

Mylon Hayes (Hayes Family): Yes. I grew up singing southern gospel music with my family, The Hayes Family. I was influenced early on by the Speer Family, the Rex Nelon Singers, the Inspirations as well as others. I really don't remember a point in my life where southern gospel music was not a part of it. Although Wendy did not sing in a group or with family growing up, she loved and listened to some of the same groups as I and went to a lot of concerts with her aunt and uncle as a child.

Q: How did you get started singing and traveling as a family?

Mylon: The kids have been singing since they were able to talk. They almost always traveled with us on the Hayes Family bus and would sing some just about every time we would sing. But Wendy and I started feeling the Lord leading us to sing some with our kids around 2009. We just didn't know exactly when or how that might happen. After much prayer, God's prompting and various circumstances, we felt the time was right at the end of 2011 to make our first CD as the Mylon Hayes Family. The Lord has given us many opportunities since then to sing and we are so thankful for each!

Q: What's the one thing that you want people who walk away from your concerts to know about the Mylon Hayes Family?

Mylon: That we love them and most of all that Jesus loves them!!

Q: Do you have a favorite song that you sing? And what song from another group has ministered to you?

Mylon: "He Is God" - Love the message and style of that song. It talks about a familiar Bible story and gives us the opportunity to remind people that our God never changes...He's the same yesterday, today and forever. I think that's a great reminder for us because our world is changing so rapidly it seems. Jesus is our Rock!!! We can rest easy in the midst of all the changes because of Him!

"Faces" by Greater Vision has been a great encouragement to us to keep serving the Lord even though we may not see a lot of results in this life.

Q: What artists have been your biggest influence (musically and/or personally)?

Mylon: In addition to the ones I mentioned earlier, The Cathedrals have to be at the top of that list. They were the biggest influence on me in my teenage years. In my opinion, they were the best all male quartet ever!

Q: What has been your favorite memory so far in your ministry? Do you have a certain concert that stands out?

Mylon: You know...we're just getting started singing with our family so really nothing just stands out... but just the opportunity to do this together is a thrill every time. That God would allow us to do this is the fulfillment of a deep desire in our hearts and we couldn't be more grateful. In the "concert that stands out" category...for the kids it would probably be the chance to sing on stage at the NQC at such an early age. We've also had some great services in churches. For Wendy and me, it's just been awesome to see the Lord already using the kids to bring encouragement and influence to others.

Q: What new things are coming up for the Mylon Hayes Family?

Mylon: Our second CD is due out in mid August 2013, and we're excited about that. We are also scheduled to be in some new areas in the near future and that's always great to meet new people. We have a desire to do a tour to the west coast. We're hoping that will work out very soon as well. Of course, we plan to be at NQC again this year and we look forward to that.

For more on the Mylon Hayes family, check out their website. Thanks so much to the Hayes family for taking time to answer my questions!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fun Clip Friday with Tim Lovelace and Connie Hopper

Happy Friday to everyone! Hope you all have a great weekend planned!

Today's Fun Clip Friday is a clip from It Happened on the Way to the Concert DVD that the Singing News did a couple of years ago. If you don't have it, I highly recommend purchasing it! It contains many great stories of life on the road from your favorite artists! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Surrender - Adam Crabb - CD Review

Even though Adam Crabb has been a solo artist for several years now, he released his first solo CD in June. After the Crabb Family went into their separate ministries, Adam was in Crabb Revival for a time, but now has a formed a strong presence as a solo artist. While singing solo, the roots of the CD and of his music are very reminiscent of the Crabb family style.

In addition to having his family come in as background vocalists, Adam also gets some help from Charlotte Ritchie and Gene McDonald. And I'm guessing he gets some help from his kids on "Hey Now." Cute beginning to this song with the kids voices!

One song that really spoke to me right off was "Sometimes God Allows." So many times we pray asking God to take away a burden or situation. And we know that He has the power to do so, but sometimes He chooses to allow things to happen in His wisdom! Love this song, one of my favorites!!

Another powerful song lyrically on the album is "Jehovah Jireh." Both verses tell stories of individuals who have fallen on hard times, but they are choosing to trust in Jehovah Jireh, our provider. It's a great ballad, and a song that Adam really shines on vocally. The arrangement is simple so that his voice and they way he communicates the lyrics really comes through strongly.

"Surrender," the title track of the project, has a different message than I expected. It not only talks about how we should surrender to Christ because of what He did for us, but the second verse also brings up that He surrendered everything for us.

Crabb Family fans will recognize "I've Got a Right to Pray" that was a popular one for the family, and Adam includes it on this project.

I like Adam's version of the hymn "Higher Ground." He puts a new spin on it, and has some guest bass vocals from Gene McDonald.

Album rating - 4 stars - Fans of Adam Crabb and the Crabb Family will love this project! The song selection is also great, so many powerful songs! The songs are mostly slower tempo, but with the message each song brings this didn't bother me a bit!

Song List:

1. "That Whosoever Was Me"
2. "Covered"
3. "I've Got a Right to Pray"
4. "Sometimes God Allows"
5. "Hey Now"
6. "Surrender"
7. "Why I Am Who I Am"
8. "Higher Ground"
9. "The God I Know Now"
10. "Sometimes He Whispers"
11. "Jehovah Jireh"

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I Just Came to Talk To You Lord - When Lyrics Speak

Have you ever had times in life where every where you turn it's the same lesson, topic or verse that's being discussed? It's those moments where it's clear that God's trying to teach you something because this same theme keeps being brought up around you.

That's been the case with me many times before, and it's happened again recently. I know that God is trying to make sure I get it through my thick skull because every where I turn people are talking about dwelling in the presence of God. When you stop to think that as a believer, God is always there, it makes you really think about your actions and your thoughts each day. We are continuously in the presence of God, but when is the last time I really stopped to enjoy that presence?

When's the last time I really dwelt in His presence and talked to Him? In those rare, quiet moments of life, do I stop to talk to think that He's with me and take advantage of the time to talk to Him? If He's always with me, shouldn't I make an effort to acknowledge Him more throughout my day?

When thinking about His presence and taking time to talk and spend time with Him, the song "I Just Came to Talk to You, Lord" was one that came to mind. When I do take time to stop and talk to God, my prayers can turn into long wish lists and asking for requests? How often do I just stop and take time to talk to Him, to thank Him for what He's done in my life?

The song is about just coming into the presence of the Lord to talk to Him, not because anything was needed or bringing a burden to Him. What if I came to Him more often with no specific reason, no selfish motive or favors to ask? What if I just came to talk to Him to enjoy His presence and thank Him? What if my time spent with God were more about Him and less about me and the things that I want?

We all want to dwell more in His presence, but how often do we take time to talk to Him, seeking just the pleasure of His company and not asking Him to grant our requests. My challenge and what I feel like God has been teaching me is just to dwell in His presence, enjoying spending time talking to Him for no particular reason other than love and desire for a better relationship with Him.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Spoken 4 Quartet - Names You Might Not Know Yet

Spoken 4 Quartet is a group based in Branson, Mo. that started in 2006. The group consists of Brandon Britton (tenor), Steven Hickinbotham (baritone), Cecil Stringer (bass) and Jon Charles Taggart (lead).

I've had the chance to see them multiple times when singing at Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic and most recently when they made their way to Hot Springs, Ark. They are a great group of guys that have a heart for their ministry and seeing people drawn to Christ. Get to know Spoken 4!

Question: When did you become interested in singing Southern Gospel music? What are some of your earliest memories of Southern Gospel?

Jon Charles Taggart - Spoken 4: When I was growing up in my hometown of West Point, Miss., my family attended First Baptist Church, and I always loved hearing the FBC men's quartet sing. I love their harmonies and seeing them work together. While I was attending college at Mississippi College in Clinton, I started following the Gaither Vocal Band because I loved hearing Guy Penrod singing with them. He had the perfect blend of style to me, because I grew up listening to country music as well, and he embodied the best style blend of Gospel, country and humbleness to me. So when I got asked to join a quartet with some friends of mine that I met at church while attending college, I jumped at the opportunity!

Some of my earliest memories of Southern Gospel include watching the Cathedrals, the Stamps and of course the Gaither Vocal Band.

Q: How did you get started as the Spoken 4?

Jon Charles: I met Cecil Stringer while working at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo. We both sang with their "in-house" Gospel group for four years when we got news that they no longer wanted to have a full time in-house group, We along with our friend who sang baritone at the City, asked a tenor singer from the Presley's show here in town if he wanted to join forces during the down season here in Branson and do some concerts. He said sure, and we had no idea how God would move and bless this group, but that's how we started out.

Q: How did you come up with the name the Spoken 4?

Jon Charles: After several bad name ideas from us all, I was traveling with my wife home to Mississippi when she had a thought. She asked me what I thought we all had in common, I started naming a wide variety of things from faith to sports, and she said well you are all "spoken for" by Christ so you could try SPOKEN 4. I thought at that moment, That's it! So I called Cecil and Jeremy (baritone singer) to see how they felt about the name possibility, and they liked it. And that's how God helped us figure out our name.

Q: Do you have a favorite song that you sing? And what song from another group has ministered to you?

Jon Charles: I have a bunch of songs that I love and connect with very strongly, but since you want me to pick just one, I think it would have to be "We Believe." The words are so ministering to my soul every time we sing it, that I get fired up and excited to proclaim it like its the first time that we have ever done it.

I love the song "The Promise" by the Martins and "Why Me Lord," the Guy Penrod/Gaither version.

Q: What artists have been your biggest influence musically and/or personally?

Jon Charles: Lots of answers here! I love a wide variety of music, but the artists in our field( besides the guys I sing with)that I have had the privilege to meet and work with,and whom I genuinely respect and have been influenced by:

  • Jeff Stice 
  • Danny Brown  studio engineer) 
  • Tim Riley 
  • Danny Funderburk 
  • Mike Bowling and Family 
  • JD Miller 
  • Jerry Trammel 
  • Brian Arnold 
  • Roger Fortner 
  • Bill Gaither 
  • Mike Pillow 
  • Jeff Steele 
  • Guy Penrod 
  • Larry Gatlin 
**haven't met the last two

Q: What has been your favorite memory so far in your ministry? Do you have a particular concert that stands out?

Jon Charles: Seeing God move by saving people's souls, and rededication's or people just being moved to serve Him more.....has been the best parts of our ministry! Just knowing that because we chose to make our talents and time available for God to use in a mighty way for His glory to reach His children is so humbling and rewarding! One that sticks out in my mind is when we sang in a town called Houlka, Miss., and a very respected coach from the community who had just been diagnosed with a very serious cancer came forward and gave his heart to Jesus after he heard our witness and music. He took the time afterwards to share that said he saw God in us, and knew that Jesus was speaking directly to him through us. All I can say is Wow, what a real and mighty God, full of grace, we serve!!!

Q: What new things are coming up for the Spoken 4?

Jon Charles: We have just completed a new and what we believe to be very anointed project with Jeff Stice who arranged, played and produced it all. He was a complete hard working professional who brings the best out of people! And he is such a genuine, God Loving, good man. Can't express how awesome it was to work with him, Danny Brown, and all the musicians that played their hearts out! And we are so excited to share these songs with everyone very soon!!! We expect this next year to be incredible for us all, and we can't wait to see how God is going to work! It's all about Jesus, and without Him there would be no hope for any of us, but when you believe in Him, serve Him, and seek His will, Nothing that the devil throws at you can bring you down!

For more on Spoken 4, visit their website -

Friday, July 5, 2013

Gerald Wolfe and Josh Singletary - Fun Clip Friday

Happy Friday to everyone! I hope you all had a good holiday yesterday!

Today's Fun Clip Friday comes courtesy of fellow blogger, Lynn. She captured this moment at Singing in the Sun a couple of months ago. Watch what happens as Gerald Wolfe and Josh Singletary try to do a piano duet together!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Somebody Died for Me - When Lyrics Speak

Happy Fourth of July! It's a day when we remember the freedom we have in this country and the people who sacrificed so much so that we can have that freedom. I pray that today we not only pause to  thank God for the freedom we enjoy as Americans but also the freedom we enjoy as Christians.

One of the songs that comes to mind today is "Somebody Died for Me." It's a humbling thought to know that fellow Americans risk their lives so that we are able to live in this lifetime freely. It's an even more humbling thought to know that an Almighty God sent His perfect Son to die so that we could live eternally with Him and have freedom for all time.

I love the chorus of the song. When we couldn't save ourselves, Jesus died for us, before we could even ask for help. And more importantly, every day is a gift because somebody died for me. May we treat every day as a gift and an opportunity and never take for granted the freedoms that we enjoy as Americans. May we use those freedoms to proclaim the One who died for all people of all countries and nationalities.

Today as we celebrate with family, friends and fireworks, it's my prayer that we will all stop and think about the fact that "somebody died for me."

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Talleys in Wynne - Concert Recap

The Talleys - Roger Talley, Lauren Talley Alvey
and Debra Talley
Last weekend was a great time for gospel music in Arkansas. There were plenty of concerts going on last week that there was no way I could make them all, but I enjoyed the two I did attend! After seeing the Perrys on Friday, I got the chance to see the Talleys on Saturday night in Wynne, Ark.

It hadn't been too long since I saw them last, but since they don't come to Arkansas that often, I didn't want to miss the chance to see them. 

It was a great night, they sang a lot of familiar favorites as well as songs from their most recent project. It was a really good mix. I heard them sing some songs that I'd never heard live before. 

Here's a breakdown of what they sang:
  • "We Want to Thank You" - I really liked that they started the concert off with this song.
  • "The Promise" - Always a favorite!
  • "God Is Great, Good and Merciful"
  • "Every Scar" - Upon listening to Love Won, this wasn't a song that stood out to me, but I love seeing them stage this song. Roger does such a great job with it!
  • "Amazing Grace" - Always love hearing Debra on this one. She told the story of Angel to set up the song. 
  • "Church Will Overcome" - This was my absolute favorite song on their latest CD. Brian, Lauren's husband, was featured on it. Lauren took the lead on this song during the concert. I love that they are staging this song now!
  • "Broken World"
  • "My Hope Is in the Lord"
  • "He's Alive" - Lauren amazes me the emotion and conviction she puts into this song every time.
  • "He Is So Good to Me"
  • "Surely"
  • "Up Above" - I hadn't seen them stage this song before. Roger took the verses that Brian had sung. Before the song, Roger talked about the day his father died. He was in the recording studio that day and Lauren and Debra were both at the Gaither Homecoming Women's taping. And yes, it was the same day that Debra fell and had a concussion. Even though his father had not been in the best health, he said you're never quite prepared for the day it comes. They have been going through his things and have realized that he didn't throw anything away. No matter how much we save down here, we can't take anything with us. We have to get our priorities straight while we are here. We might not understand everything, but up above we will.
  • "Thinking About Home" - Love to hear Debra sing this song, always does an incredible job! Before the song she talked more about Roger's dad and mentioned that he had reached the point where going home means more than staying in this world.
  • "Broken Ones" - Lauren tied this song in with their work with Compassion. She mentioned that through the organization 150,000 kids had come to know Jesus last year. She was telling about the young child's card she was holding and that she couldn't go to school right now because she needed to work to help her family. Lauren said that by the grace of God that girl could be any one of us. This led perfectly into the next song as well. 
  • "Orphans of God"
  • "Testify" - Great song to end the night on!
Always love seeing the Talleys, and Saturday night was no exception!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Living Up to the Legacy - The Perrys - Concert Recap

The Perrys - David Ragan, Leah Page and Bryan Walker
I have been looking forward to seeing the Perrys for a while now. This family and group has been through so much this year, and they are doing an incredible job carrying on with the ministry they have been called to.

With Tracy in the rehab facility and Libbi by his side and the departure of longtime lead singer Joseph Habedank, Bryan Walker is the lone familiar face in this lineup of the Perrys. David Ragan has joined the group as the lead singer, and Leah Page is filling in for Libbi. Even though it's not the Perrys you are used to seeing, the group is carrying on and living up to the group's legacy.

Leah got the night started by singing "The Blood and its Power," which is from the Perrys' latest project, Through the Night. Leah impressed me when I watched videos of her online, but seeing her live is even more impressive.

They then sang "I Got a Hold of Got This Morning," where we got to hear David step up and sing by himself. He is sounding great with the group. "This Old Sinner Testifies" was next where Bryan was featured. The crowd really got into this one and loved it!

They sang "Calvary Answers for Me" next which featured David. I don't remember seeing the Perrys stage this song before when I've seen them live. David absolutely nailed it! A highlight of the concert! Bryan said in the words of Tracy that cranked his tractor! :)

Many in the audience that night had not seen the Perrys before. Bryan explained Tracy and Libbi's situation. He said that his brain had gone through five hemorrhages, and doctors say that normally people don't survive one. It's evident that God is not through with Tracy! He said that he was anxiously waiting for them to get back because he was missing Tracy and Libbi who have been like a mom and dad to him. He talked about how God is definitely working in Tracy through the recent strides he has made.

He went on to say that God's faithfulness begins before we even realize it. God sent the Perrys the song "Through the Night" last year for their new album, before they knew the storms and the valleys they would go through. The song talks about praising God through those trying times, through the night. Bryan said that even when we can't see the hand of God moving, we can trust His heart. Leah then sang "Through the Night."

Bryan went into his a cappella rendition of "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" next. I've always enjoyed hearing him sing this hymn and with him emceeing he was able to stop and repeat phrases he wanted to emphasize in the song. He then led the audience in singing "God Is So Good."

Bryan introduced Leah and David. He was in the middle of introducing David, and someone's cell phone rang. He kept going, but a minute later the phone rang again. So he chuckled and said, "Well if you're not saved, Jesus is calling you."

After introductions, they sang two Happy Goodman songs "Living in Canaan Now" and "I Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now." Leah sang "The Holy Hills of Heaven" from Libbi's solo CD.

They ended the first half with "If You Knew Him." Based on YouTube videos Bryan has been singing this song, so that's what I was expecting Friday night as well. From the videos with Bryan singing this song, I was looking forward to hearing it live, because he sounded great! But David took the song Friday night. I'm not sure how many times he has sung this song live, but he did an incredible job! The audience was on its feet.

They started back after intermission with "Blue Skies." Bryan read from Philippians 2 starting with verse 5. He said that he felt led to share the verses and talked about how we so often fail to communicate with the greatest communicator of all. Many times we just need to stop and humble ourselves before God and thank Him. Leah then sang "Did I Mention."

Bryan led in the invitation and then sang "Whosoever Will." They ended the night with "I Wish I Could Have Been There." It was good to hear Bryan take the lead on both of these songs, especially loved hearing him sing "Whosoever Will."

A couple of things about the night really stood out to me. First of all, Leah is an incredible singer! She just turned 20 years old, but her voice is far more mature. It would be easy when filling in for a veteran singer like Libbi to try to sound like her and imitate her as she is singing Libbi's songs, but Leah took the songs and made them her own adding her own vocal inflections in places. To me, that's a strong indication of how great of a singer she is! Bryan commented when he introduced her that he expects to see her full time in gospel music after Libbi returns to the stage, and I certainly hope that is the case. I expect a bright future for her after what I saw on Friday night.

It was interesting to me to see whether Bryan or David was going to sing the lead on songs. For now, they seem to be sharing songs that Joseph was featured on. I'm sure David is still learning songs and parts, but he did such a great job being with them less than a month.

Also, David fits in so well already. On stage, they encouraged each other when one was featured. Their voices blend together well. To me, it was evident that they have a friendship already off the stage as well as on.

Bryan is doing a fantastic job leading the group on the stage and emceeing. He did a good job of pacing the night and introducing songs. He led the invitation at the end, and it was evident that that is why he was there that night, to point others to Christ. He's been recognized since he joined the Perrys as a great singer and he's only grown since then, but he also showed that he's stepped up to the plate to lead the group.

This is not the Perrys you are accustomed to seeing, but I think that's all the more reason to go see them. You will see three solid vocalists who in a short amount of time are already blending well together on stage and stepping up to carry on the legacy of the Perrys that has been around for 40 years. This lineup is doing the name of the Perrys proud. Don't miss your chance to see them when they are close by!