Saturday, August 31, 2013

Somebody Sing - Day 8 of Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic

It was all about the men today at Silver Dollar City, starting and ending with male quartets. I saw four different groups today, three quartets and one male trio.

First up today, I saw the Marksmen Quartet. I wasn't familiar with them at all before today. They did sing some familiar songs though like "Rock of Ages" and "I Was There When It Happened." One song that really stood out was "Don't Take Your Life, Take Mine." The message was about someone being at the brink of suicide and asking them to choose Jesus.

After that, I went to see the Lesters. This was my first time seeing them as a male trio, and I was definitely impressed! They sang some favorites such as "Rocks Dropping" and "He Didn't Throw the Clay Away." 

Jonathan Lester seems to be taking more of a vocal role with this new male trio. It's good to hear more from him. 

They also sang their latest single entitled "Lord, Lead Me Home." They ended with "Hold On Tight," and did a couple of reprises of the chorus! 

Next was the Dixie Echoes. I had been hearing a lot about them with the addition of their new bass singer, Alec Utech, and his twin brother. I didn't realize until then that the brother also sang. Andrew took the lead on "Winging My Way Back Home." He normally sings tenor. Randy made a comment about how he didn't know how two twins who looked and talked exactly alike could sing completely different parts.

Randy seemed to really let the younger guys shine during the set I saw with piano player Ben Hart also getting his chance to sing lead on "In the Sweet By and By." Randy did close the show with him singing "How Great Thou Art."

I got the chance to see Brian Free and Assurance twice this afternoon. They sang completely different songs in each set which I loved!!

Highlights included them singing their latest single "Calvary's Cry." I also loved hearing "I Want to Be That Man" live. Absolutely love this song!!!

I had not heard Mike Rogers with the group before and enjoyed hearing him on "Revival." He sounds good in the mix of the group.

The last show ended with "Long as I Got King Jesus," and most of the audience was on its feet clapping along!

Legacy Five had the concert in Echo Hollow. Last year it was Matt Fouch's first night with the group, and one to remember! The guys persevered through the heat for another great one!!

It was a scorcher. Scott Howard said that  he was trying to explain to his wife how hot it was and she didn't believe him. At the beginning of the festival, KWFC radio station passes out fans with the schedule on them. Most people carry them all week. So he had everyone pull out their fan so he could video it and send it to his wife! 

They sang a lot more Cathedrals classics than I had heard them do before including "Bloodwashed Band," "Wedding Music," "Jesus Saves" and "Champion of Love."

Scott Fowler had Trey place a little classical mixed with "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." He said that they were talking with Trey about how it used to be mostly piano and the four voices and no tracks during concerts. Trey remarked that it was how God intended it! They sang then "Life Will Be Sweeter Someday" with just piano accompaniment, definitely a highlight!!

They also sang several favorites like "I've Been Changed," "I Found Grace" and "I'm Still Amazed."

They tried to close the concert with "Champion of Love," but the audience wanted one more!! They came back out and sang "Somebody Sing!" Everyone was standing and clapping along!!

Now it's on to Day 9!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back to Where It All Started - Day 7 Recap of Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic

A little more than 10 years ago, a teenage girl's life was changed in Echo Hollow at Silver Dollar City when she attended a gospel concert. This concert was part of Gary McSpadden's Southern Gospel Nights with the Martins headlining the concert. And last night for the first time since then that girl got to see the group that started it all for her!

The concert that night with the Martins is what really got me hooked on gospel music. I can still remember what it felt like that night not wanting it to end and wanting to find out all I could more about this group and Southern Gospel in general. I knew all about Silver Dollar City's in-house groups that sang Southern Gospel and loved them, but this was different. And tonight I was reminded why! But first things first....

The day started with Wilburn and Wilburn. I was looking forward to seeing this group for the first time, and they did not disappoint! They sang some familiar favorites along with some of their songs. 

I loved hearing "A Man Like Me" and "Jesus Will" live. However, one of the highlights was "John Saw a Mighty Number," Jonathan really got to cut loose and have fun with this one!

I would love to see this group again in a full concert setting! 

Then, we saw Soul'd Out Quartet. As I mentioned I grew up listening to Silver Dollar City's in-house gospel groups, like Cumberland Quartet. Ian Owens was a part of the group at one time and today was my first time seeing him since then, and it was back at the City. It was great seeing him on stage again. He sang a version of "The Old Rugged Cross" that was amazing!

They did a number of classic songs and hymns. Loved hearing these guys sing so many beloved songs. However, one of the standout songs was "He Is All I Need," that featured Dusty Barrett. Another highlight was "Since I've Been Saved," featuring Bryan Hutson and had a crooner type feel. 

Then, the Martins were down in Echo Hollow tonight! I had a poll a while back on who does a cappella best, and after this week I'm still not sure but I do know that Martins do it amazingly!!! They sang several a cappella numbers including the doxology, medley of hymns and "Softly and Tenderly." 

They also sang "The Promise," which is a personal favorite. And they ended the first half with "Love's Gonna Drive This Train" with the entire audience on its feet clapping!

Each group member took a moment to tell of God's faithfulness in their lives. They all had touching testimonies of how God had worked during trials in their lives. Joyce said they had all sang since childhood and knew what it was like to be in ministry and sing about being saved. However, now they were grown up and had experienced life and various trials, and they knew what it was like to be lost and for God to redeem them. Judy sang "Unredeeemed" which was another highlight!

They closed the show with "So High," which I can remember them singing that very first night. 

It was a fantastic day and night that reminded me of how my love for southern gospel got started! Thanks to the Martins for a great night now and then, and for really introducing that teenage girl to Southern Gospel music!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Too Much to Gain to Lose at Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic

Day 6 of the Southern Gospel Picnic is over. It was one for the books! I only caught two groups but gained memories to last a while!

Let me start by saying I am not a roller coaster person. I've ridden them before. Well, only a handful, and I was told Fire in the Hole doesn't really count (but I think it does! :)). I've been fine coming to Silver Dollar City every day and only going to gospel concerts. Well, when you have the encouragement of friends and two gospel singers, it makes it more appealing! I could gain fun memories, and what did I have to lose beside my breakfast?

The friends I'm staying with this week have known Mark Trammell for a long time. They normally meet up with him on the park and ride roller coasters with him. They've let me tag along with them this week, so they let me join them again when they met up with them this morning. So the morning started with riding Powder Keg beside Pat Barker praying I didn't throw up on him or make him deaf by screaming! Thankfully I didn't do either!

They then somehow talked me into riding the new roller coaster with them called Outlaw Run. Both Pat and Mark insisted that it wasn't that bad after the initial drop and didn't jerk you around as much as Powder Keg, so I caved to peer pressure. And let me tell you they are liars! :) No one told me about this crazy upside down corkscrew at the end!! And yet some how I still got on Wildfire with them after that!! 

I'm still not sure that I'm a roller coaster person but it was fun to get to ride with all of them! 

I even got to meet Lynn of Lynn's Chronicles and her sister Candice who were also meeting up with Mark and Pat! It was great meeting a fellowblogger and   gaining a new friend! Be sure to check out her blog for more recaps of Southern Gospel Picnic!

I caught the Bowling Family a couple of times that afternoon. I miss hearing Terah sing but this lineup of Mike Bowling, Kelly Bowling, Troy Peach and Hope Bowling is dynamite!!

They sang quite a few of their new songs which will be on their project called "Safe After the Storm" that's due out around NQC. I cannot wait to hear this album!! Mike closed the last show with "Somebody's Believing" and it was a highlight of the day!! Kelly sang "I Know Enough" (I hope that's the right title) which was also amazing,

The Bowling girls and not just Hope have also really come out. These girls can already do some amazing family harmony! They sang a song by Andrews Sisters "Accentuate the Positive."

Mike also did some classic Hinson songs. He sang "That I Could Still Go Free" during the last show, and the crowd was on its feet at the end!

Tonight was the first night to feature a traditional male quartet! And Mark Trammell Quartet was a great choice for the first one!

There were several standout moments of the night. The first had to be them singing "Wedding Music." It was absolutely amazing! Love hearing Pat on this song, and Dustin has really stepped out more since I last saw them and become more comfortable in his role. 
Mark asked those who had been involved in ministry to raise their hands. He wanted to sing their latest single, "Too Much to Gain to Lose," for them. Love hearing Mark sing this!

They ended the first half with "The King Is Coming," and the entire audience was on its feet before the end of the song! These four have such a great blend for only being together a short time. Incredible song and a highlight of the concert!

During the second half, they sang several requests which included "Master Builder" and "I Want to Know," which were two of my favorites! 

Mark recognized all the veterans in the audience. He talked about how he loved his job, but it was because of those standing that he gets to do it. They then sang "Statue of Liberty." Another highlight! I love the patriotic songs that also focus on the freedom we have in Christ, and this one does that perfectly! 

While it wasn't a typical day at the Southern Gospel Picnic, it was such a great one where we all gained new memories, nobody lost their hearing or breakfast on the rides! Just don't ask Pat how bad I screamed on Outlaw Run! :)

Also, be sure to check out Lynn's blog for more. I'm just hitting the highlights, and I'm sure she'll have more details of the day!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Revival at Silver Dollar City - Day 5 Recap

Although, I've spent the last five days at a theme park, I can honestly say I've heard the gospel presented at least once daily and been encouraged and ministered to each day. It's like an 11-day revival, and day 5 was definitely a day of revival!

The day for me started with the Bledsoes. I had never seen them before but was familiar with a couple of their songs from hearing them on the radio. They also sang a couple of familiar hymns like "Mansion Over the Hilltop."

They sang a song at the end that was inspired by a couple at their church, "You'd Be the First to Go." It was such a touching song with some great harmonies! However, the highlight for the was "The Blood of Jesus," which they closed with! Great song!!

From there, I went to see Tribute Quartet again. It was a completely full show; in fact, I was the last one into the Opera House! And I'm pretty sure I made record time making it across the park from Red Gold Hall to the Opera House!

They had almost a completely different set list from the day before. The only song repeated was "Good News From Jerusalem," which I did not mind! 

Standout songs for me were "God Wnats to Hear You Sing," "Homecoming Day" and "Sweeter as the Days Go By," loved how they made that song their own with their own style!

From there, I saw the Browns at the Riverfront Playhouse. The more I see this group, the more I am impressed! They sang "Beautiful Day," and Andrew Brown absolutely outdid himself! They sang another chorus of it!

The highlight of the show though had to be them playing "I Sing the Mighty Power of God" on their violins! Amazing!!

They closed the show with "Everywhere I Go," and Adam and Andrew added a few Signature Sound type moves at the end! :) Great song to close the show!

After that, I saw the Kingsmen Quartet. They started with "He's Everything I Need," which is one of my favorites! They also sang "One Way Trip" which was another highlight.

Ray Dean recognized all the veterans and had them stand. Then they sang their latest single, "Land of the Free." Great song! 

They closed the show with "Saints Will Rise," and most of the audience was on its feet clapping along!

Karen Peck and New River were down in Echo Hollow tonight! And it was absolutely incredible!!

At the start of each night, we sing the Star Spangled Banner but tonight they had Karen sing it and wow!! Beautiful!!

I love seeing this group and their swet spirits! They released their latest project Revival today. I got my copy and couldn't wait to listen to it coming back from the park! They sang a couple of songs from it tonight, and they were all highlights of the show! They sang the title track, "You Did It Anyway" (featured Jeff) and "I'd Rather Go Through Something With Him." 

Karen talked about joyful Noise before they sang "Mighty High," and she also told about her part in a new movie. They are flying to LA Wednesday morning for her to film! She said to watch for updates on the release on the film from them.

Toward the end of the concert, Karen sang "Amazing Grace" a cappella, and the amphitheater got so quiet, you could hear the humming of the fans on stage. Everyone was just enjoying the moment. Then, she started into "Four Days Late," and people immediately started clapping. I think this has to be one of the most loved songs in gospel music.

They closed with "We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown," and people all around the theater stood clapping along! 

Now on to Day 6, which means the festival is half over. :(

Monday, August 26, 2013

Shoutin' on Day Four of Southern Gospel Picnic - Silver Dollar City

You would think Mondays would be a slower day for the festival, but it proved to be a record-breaking day at Silver Dollar City and even ended with a little bit of shoutin'!

Today started with the Taylors for me. The first time I saw the Taylors was two years ago at Silver Dollar City. It was great to see Leslie back with her siblings! There's just something about great sibling family harmony, and they definitely have it! Loved hearing them sing the a cappella "I Call on Jesus!" The highlight of the show though had to be them ending with "I Believe in a Hill Called Mt. Calvary." Absolutely beautiful!!!!

I caught the Perrys twice today, and Libbi was able to be with them! Before the first show, General Manager of Silver Dollar City Brad Thomas and D.A. Calloway, entertainment director at the City, presented Libbi with a bouquet of flowers  to show their support for her and letting her know all of Silver Dollar City was continuing to pray for Tracy and appreciated her being there. Everyone was standing applauding, and I don't think there were many dry eyes in the house! 

During the first show, Libbi sang "Through the Night," which definitely was a highlight!! Bryan introduce Libbi and she got another standing ovation. We all loved Libbi being there!! She talked about having to learn to totally trust God 100% and learn to rely on Him day by day. Praise God Tracy was able to go back to rehab today! 

The second highlight of the show was definitely David singing "Calvary Answers for Me!"

In between Perrys shows I caught Tribute Quartet. The crowd really got into "Homesick Angel!" But the last two songs they did were my favorite! Riley absolutely tears up "Safe Thus Far!" And then they closed the show with "Good News from Jerusalem," which they turned around a couple of times! Such an incredible song!

The final Perrys show featured Libbi on both "Celebrate Me Home" and "Jesus Hold My Hand." I have video of the latter which had some pretty funny moments with David and Bryan being anti-bluegrass! 

Bryan shared his testimony also during the show. He talked about how he thought he was saved at a young age, but never really knew Christ until some time later. He said he knew it wasn't typical to take time to do this at a theme park show, but I think it really showed his heart and the heart of the group to take time and make sure that people had a chance to hear the gospel not just through songs.

They sang "When He Spoke," which I love, and was a highlight for me! Then ended with "I Wish I Could of Been There!"

The Hoppers were in Echo Hollow tonight and set a record for the number of people tonight with more than 5,900!!

Even though I've seen the Hoppers earlier this year twice this was my first chance to see Kim. The other two times TaRanda was filling in for her, and I'm still a little disappointed I've never seen her and Kim sing live together.

However, tonight was fantastic from the opening song to the last shoutin' time!

Kim had a couple of highlights with "He Didn't Just Carry the Cross" and "Grace Will Always Be Greater Than Sin."

I love hearing Connie sing "I've Come Too Far to Look Back," and of course Kim helped her restart the chorus! :)

One of my favorites though was "I'll Worship Only at the Feet of Jesus." So beautiful!!! They ended the show with "Shoutin' Time," and I lost count of the number of times they turned it around! The entire audience was on its feet clapping and singing along!!!

Incredible night, and now ready for day 5!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Enjoying a Little Bit of Sunshine at Silver Dollar City - Day ThreeRecap

We are into day three of the 2013 Southern Gospel Picnic and no rain in sight so far this year, but plenty of sunshine! And tonight the concert even ended with a little bit of sunshine! :)

We started the day with the worship service with Hosea Bilyeu and family. Great time of worship!

From there we went to see Three Bridges. This was my first time to see them in person. They sang a couple of their songs, but also a lot of familiar favorites. Loved hearing them sing "Shadrach," but also thought Shannon knocked "My Tribute" out of the park!!! They closed the show with "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." Beautiful way to close the show!

From there, we went to see the Nelons. I loved their set list from beginning to end!! Loved hearing their latest single, "More Than Wonderful," and also "Down to the River," personal favorite! 

They sang an a cappella version of "Hallelujah" that definitely will give you chills!!! Audience was on its feet! Then they closed with "I'm Going Home With Jesus," with the audience clapping along the entire song!

We went to see the Singing Cookes, another group I was seeing for the first time. I was surprised at how many of their songs I recognized! One song that I didn't know but really enjoyed was "I'll Be There." Also got to hear them sing "Ain't No Grave." They tried to close with that one, but Duane Garren came back on stage and had them sing a little bit more of it before ending the show!

Tonight Jeff and Sheri Easter closed down the park with their show in Echo Hollow. It's always good to see them!

There were several standout moments of the night! Morgan had an incredible standout performance on "Broken, also Sheri singing "Praise His Name." And I always enjoy hearing Jeff on "Goin' Away Party," and the audience really seemed to be into the party tonight! :)

However, one of the moments of the night for me wasn't them singing. During the concert, there were a couple of incidents where people got too hot and medics had to be called in. Jeff and Sheri stopped the concert mid-song. They led the congregation in a couple of verses of "Amazing Grace" before Sheri prayed for the lady. I thought it was such a classy move and really showed how they cared for the people they were singing to!

However, the final moment of the night might have been the best. They tried to close with "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me," but the audience wanted one more. They started playing "Little Bit of Sunshine!" One of my favorites from their latest project! And one by one group members got out their sunglasses! It was too fun!! One audience member came up to give Sheri hers because she didn't have any! 

It was a great day with even "a little bit of sunshine" at night!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Kicking Off Our Shoes on Day 2 - Silver Dollar City

Ok, so first off my phone hates me, and somehow my notes from all concerts today are gone! Yep, gone, so I'm going by memory which is not good, but bear with me.

We saw 2nd Generation first this morning. I saw them once several years ago as a trio. And I forgot they were from Arkansas! I wasn't familiar with a lot of their songs, but loved the song "Hanging on a Nail!" They also got the crowd going with "Feel the Joy". Definitely a fun song! 

In an industry where duos aren't that popular, these sisters definitely make it work! And since they are from Arkansas, I need to see when they will be in my area! 

We caught the last show of the Freemans today. They sang some familiar favorites like "He'd Still Been God." Chris can tear it up! Misty and Caylon sang a duet called "Water Grave" that was another highlight for me! Toward the end of the program, they sang "John the Revelator" and brought up Misty's daughter Addie to help them!

We went to see Reggie Saddler again. He did more guitar tricks in this show today. But I loved the song "Blessed Quietness" that they sang.

The Inspirations were next. They are a quartet I'm not as familiar with because I don't see them very much. It was great hearing a couple of new songs, but the definite highlights were the classic songs they did. Loved hearing them sing "Have a Little Talk With Jesus." Then Jon Epley sang "Beulah Land" a cappella, and it was amazing!!! 

The McKameys packed the people in Echo Hollow tonight. It was again good to hear some of their newer songs. I really have been enjoying hearing their latest single on the radio a lot, "When He Speaks," and loved hearing it live!

I love hearing Roger sing "Unspoken Request," but I couldn't help but chuckle a little but when Peg mentioned it had been one they had several requests for, not so unspoken, huh? :)

They seemed to feature the foursome of Sheryl, Connie, Roger and Eli more than I've seen in the past. They sound good together! 

One thing that Duane Garren, emcee, said that really impressed me is that they have a commitment to their local church and are there every Sunday. 

The two highlight moments though had to be "God on the Mountain" and "Do You Know How It Feels," which they closed the show with! When she started setting up "God on the Mountain," the audience had an immediate reaction before the first note was sung! Everyone loves it. And if you were counting how many times Peg kicked off her shoes, it was three! I love how people expect it now, but people still love it!!

Sorry for a not so detailed account, and I'm sure I've left out something important! Hopefully my phone won't lose my notes for day 3!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Day One of Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic 2013

First day of Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic is in the books! I didn't get out to the park as early as I hoped today but I did manage to see three and a half groups.... I'll explain the half later! :)

We went to see Reggie Saddler and his family. They started with familiar songs and had the audience join in and sing along. He sang a newer song called "Welcome Home" and dedicated it to the veterans. 

We went back and saw them at a later show as well. A highlight of the afternoon had to be his daughter Ingra singing the national anthem. Absolutely beautiful!!!

The second group we saw was the Pfeifers. Mary Jane sang a beautiful song called "I Know Who You're With," I think that's the name. However the highlight was hands down them playing and singing "It Is Well." John told the story of how it was written how the writer had lost his kids and business and was going through one of the hardest times of his life when he wrote it. They played the first part on the trumpet and sax and the  sang the last verse and the chorus. The audience was on its feet! Incredible moment!!!! I have video I will try to post later. 

The Booth Brothers are a group I don't get to see very often, but when I do I'm always reminded of why they always win big at the fan awards. It's such a treat to get to see them, and Echo Hollow was standing room only!

They pointed out a special guest in the audience, Ed O'Neal (where the half comes in). The Dixie Melody Boys were there earlier in the day but I missed seeing them! Michael talked about how Ed had been encouraging when they were first starting out. It was cool to see that Ed was still there supporting the Booth Brothers and enjoying sitting in the audience listening.

It's always fun to see the Booth Brothers sing the fast ones that always really get the crowd going. But tonight it was the slower songs that really stood out to me!

I love hearing them sing "Then I Met the Master," "I Believe in a Hill Called Mt. Calvary," and "Look for Me at Jesus' Feet," but there was another song that I wasn't familiar with that stood out to me tonight. I'm not sure why, but I'm sure glad they sang it! Jim said that as his dad has gone through health issues and hasn't been able to do all that he wanted, his dad told him that when he needed extra encouragement he listened to their CDs. Jim wrote the song "Every Cry Is Heard" for his dad. Love this song!!!! 

Another highlight was "I Played in a Bad." I love seeing them sing this live, and of course they sang the chorus again several times. The audience stool clapping along. They closed the show with "Still Feelin' Fine," and we were on our feet clapping the entire song! 

Great way to kick off the festival! Now on to day 2! 

Fun Clip Friday with the Booth Brothers

Today starts the Southern Gospel Picnic at Silver Dollar City! In honor of that, today's Fun Clip Friday features a clip from last year's festival of the Booth Brothers. They will be the ones kicking off the evening concerts tonight in Echo Hollow. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Preview of Southern Gospel Picnic at Silver Dollar City

It's the most wonderful time of the year! No, it's not Christmas, but this weeks starts another major event that I look forward to every year -- Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic.

This is the second year that I will be able to attend the entire festival. I seriously get so excited about this event every year. Not only is it the closest major Southern Gospel event to me, but it's also the event that exposed me to Southern Gospel. As a teenager, my family and I came to Silver Dollar City the weekend that Gary McSpadden was hosting Southern Gospel Nights in Echo Hollow, which is how the event started. That night of gospel music still stands out to me as one of the best concerts I've ever attended and it's what got me hooked on this music. This event has allowed me to see many of my favorite artists for the first time and again each year after that!

So starting Friday through Labor Day, I will be in Branson. Check back every day on the blog, because I'm going to try to do as I did last year and blog after each day!

Here's a breakdown of what artists will be there and when -

August 23: 

  • Aaron Wilburn
  • Reggie Saddler Family
  • Brian Arnold
  • Dixie Melody Boys
  • Pfeifers
  • Booth Brothers
August 24:
  • 2nd Generation
  • Reggie Saddler Family
  • Brian Arnold
  • Freemans
  • Inspirations
  • McKameys
August 25:
  • Three Bridges
  • Nelons
  • Brian Arnold
  • Singing Cookes
  • Jeff & Sheri Easter
August 26:
  • Harper Family
  • Mark Bishop
  • Tribute Quartet
  • Taylors
  • Perrys
  • Hoppers
August 27:
  • Harper Family
  • Browns
  • Tribute Quartet
  • Bledsoes
  • Kingsmen Quartet
  • Karen Peck & New River
August 28:
  • Tim Lovelace
  • Dixie Echoes
  • Proclaimers Quartet
  • Bowling Family
  • Mark Trammell Quartet
August 29:
  • Marksmen Quartet
  • Dixie Echoes
  • Wilburn & Wilburn
  • Soul'd Out Quartet
  • Martins
August 30:
  • Marksmen Quartet
  • Dixie Echoes
  • Lesters
  • Brian Free & Assurance
  • Legacy Five
August 31:
  • Bill Allen
  • Williamsons
  • Mountain Faith
  • Diplomats
  • Beelers
  • Brian Arnold
  • Ball Brothers
  • Guy Penrod
  • Triumphant Quartet
September 1:
  • Bill Allen
  • Williamsons
  • Downing Family
  • Diplomats
  • Beelers
  • Brian Arnold
  • Dennis Swanberg
  • Whisnants
  • Greater Vision
September 2:
  • Downing Family
  • Diplomats
  • Beelers
  • Brian Arnold
  • Old Paths
  • Isaacs

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

44th Annual Dove Award Nominees Announced

The 44th Annual Dove Award nominees were announced in a press conference this morning. Last year Jason Crabb walked away with two of the night's biggest awards. Here's a look at how Southern Gospel will be represented this year and my thoughts on the nominations and predictions.

Song of the Year

There are 21 songs nominated in this category... that's right 21. So instead of listing all of them, here are the Southern Gospel nominations.

  • "From My Rags to His Riches" - Devin McGlamery with Dailey and Vincent
  • "Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored" - Gaither Vocal Band
  • "Hold On" - Canton Junction
  • "I'm Learning" - Aaron and Amanda Crabb
  • "Sometimes I Wonder" - Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
  • "Take Him to the Place" - Aaron and Amanda Crabb
  • "What the Blood Is For" - Jason Crabb
  • "Why Can't We" - The Isaacs

A couple of surprises for me in this category, two nominations of Aaron and Amanda Crabb and Devin McGlamery's nomination, but both pleasant surprises! Also, there are a lot of Crabbs nominated in this category. Gerald Crabb is the writer of "Hold On" sung by Canton Junction with Aaron Crabb. So essentially Aaron Crabb is nominated three times in this category! I wonder if that has ever happened before, because that is pretty amazing! I'm a huge fan of "What the Blood Is For" personally, but if I had to make a guess I think this category will go to "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)" outside the Southern Gospel realm.

Producer of the Year

  • Ben Isaacs
  • Ed Cash
  • Jay DeMarcus
  • Matt Bronleewe
  • Wayne Haun
It's interesting to me that Wayne Haun, Ed Cash and Jay DeMarcus were all producers on Jason Crabb's latest project. Ben Isaacs has been doing incredible things lately as a producer, but I'm going to predict Wayne Haun on this one.

Southern Gospel Performance of the Year
  • "Glorious Freedom" - Gaither Vocal Band
  • "Sometimes I Wonder" - Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
  • "Stubborn (Psalm 151)" - Michael English
  • "What the Blood Is For" - Jason Crabb
  • "Why Can't We" - The Isaacs
There is seriously not a weak song in this group. This is the hardest category for me to predict, to even take a good guess. I'm going out on a limb, but I can see Michael English picking up this award.

Inspirational Song of the Year

  • "It Must Be You (Moses)" - Selah
  • "Satisfied" - Jason Crabb
  • "Take Him to the Place" - Aaron and Amanda Crabb
  • "The Other Side" - No Other Name
  • "When Love Whispers Your Name" - Beyond the Ashes
Great to see Beyond the Ashes nominated! They have one of my favorite albums this year I think this award will go to one of the Southern Gospel artists represented; however, I think it will probably be a Crabb. 

Southern Gospel Song of the Year
  • "Glorious Freedom" - Gaither Vocal Band
  • "Hold On" - Canton Junction
  • "Sometimes I Wonder" - Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
  • "Stubborn (Psalm 151)" - Michael English
  • "What the Blood Is For" - Jason Crabb
This category is almost the same as performance, only one song is different. I need someone to explain the difference in song and performance of the year to me. Tried to find it on the Dove Awards site, but couldn't find an explanation. Again, it's hard to pick from these songs. I went with Michael English on the first one, but I absolutely love "What the Blood Is For" so I might have to go with that song on this one.

Bluegrass Song of the Year
  • "Come to Jesus" - Gaither Vocal Band
  • "He Washed My Soul" - The Little Roy and Lizzy Show
  • "Living in the Kingdom of God" - Dailey and Vincent
  • "Peace That Covers All the Pain" - Dailey and Vincent
  • "Standing in the Need of Prayer" - Oak Ridge Boys
I really love the Gaither Vocal Band's "Come to Jesus," but I think this award will go home with Dailey and Vincent.

Country Song of the Year
  • "From My Rags to His Riches" - Devin McGlamery
  • "God's Up to Something" - Jason Crabb
  • "I Get To" - Oak Ridge Boys
  • "I'm Learning" - Aaron and Amanda Crabb
  • "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" - Guy Penrod
I'm surprised not to see a Jeff and Sheri Easter song in this one, especially since they are nominated for Country Album. I think the Oaks will get this one.

Inspirational Album of the Year
  • Classic - David Phelps
  • Hear My Prayer: 14 Devotional Hymns of Prayer - Christopher Phillips and Jaimee Paul
  • Hymns for the Christian Life - Keith and Kristyn Getty
  • Light for the Lost Boy - Andrew Peterson
  • Love Is Stronger - Jason Crabb
I have to go with Jason Crabb on this one hands down. 

Southern Gospel Album of the Year

  • Tribute to Songs of Bill and Gloria Gaither - Booth Brothers
  • Canton Junction - Canton Junction
  • Glorious Day - Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
  • Pure and Simple - Gaither Vocal Band
  • Some People Change - Michael English

This a a really tough category. I think it's interesting that there are only males in the category, no mixed group nomination. I think the Perrys had one of the strongest albums last year, so disappointed not to see them represented here. I predict either GVB or Signature Sound brings this one home.

Bluegrass Album of the Year

  • Deep Roots - Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Lord in the Morning - The Little Roy & Lizzy Show
  • Sing Me a Song About Jesus - Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
  • The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent - Dailey & Vincent
  • This Is My Crowd - Marksmen Quartet
Honestly, I don't know much about all these albums, but if I had to make a guess I would probably go with Dailey & Vincent.

Country Album of the Year

  • A Thousand Little Things - Point of Grace
  • Back Home Again - Oak Ridge Boys
  • Eyes Wide Open - Jeff & Sheri Easter
  • Hymns - Guy Penrod
  • Mercy - Aaron & Amanda Crabb

Love that Jeff & Sheri Easter are nominated in this category! With all the different songs Aaron & Amanda Crabb have nominated I wouldn't be surprised to see them get a win here. I'm also a big Point of Grace fan, and I could see them picking up the win as well.

Gerald Wolfe earned a nomination for Instrumental Album of the Year for 100 Piano Hymns. The Collingsworth Family was nominated for Christmas Album of the Year for Feels Like Christmas. Each of these was the only Southern Gospel artist in the category.

I was surprised not to see a nomination in a video category for Gaither's Pure and Simple. I was also disappointed to not see Southern Gospel represented in Artist of the Year.

Any thoughts from you on nominations? Surprises? Predictions?

Fun in Poyen with Jeff and Sheri Easter - Concert Recap

I was very pleasantly surprised to find out that Jeff and Sheri Easter would be in Poyen, Ark. last Friday. Poyen is a small town in Arkansas of less than 300. Jeff Easter joked that you had to be going there to get there, and it's the truth! But I sure am thankful that Jeff and Sheri Easter decided to be there last weekend!

This was my first time seeing them this year. They had been in Arkansas a couple of times before, but I seemed to always have something and couldn't make it. So even I will see them in Branson soon, it was good to see them in a small church setting last Friday night!

They started off the night with "Anything But Happy." Love this song and that they chose to start the night off with it! Jeff sang "I Won't Have to Worry Anymore" next. Jeff then introduced Morgan and she sang her latest single from her solo CD "Broken." Both of those songs are duets that Jeff and Morgan sing with others one so it was interesting hear them sing verses that you aren't used to hearing them sing when listening to the CDs. Morgan continues to impress me each time I see her. She's become such a great young singer!

Jeff talked about how they always tried to do a love song on their albums, and how he enjoyed talking to married couples in the audience. He told the story of how he asked a man in Branson last year what the secret was to being married for 60 plus years. The man responded back, "Don't die!" Let me just say as someone who was there, it was hilarious!

The Easters then sang "Sittin' on Top of the World," which is one of my favorites from their latest CD. It's such a cute love song! Jeff then introduced Madison and pulled him up to sing "Working on a Road" with them.

Sheri read an excerpt from her book from a journal entry she had written one year after her breast cancer surgery. She then sang "I Know How It Feels to Survive." Love to hear Sheri sing this one, and I love how they set it up with her reading from her book and her journey through cancer. You can tell she feels every word of the song as she sings.

They closed the first half with "I Get To," after each Jeff and Sheri shared about losing parents through sickness and death. This is one of my favorite songs to hear Jeff sing!

Jeff played "Amazing Grace" on harmonica as the offering was being taken up. Then they led the congregation in "I'll Fly Away."

Jeff brought out Maura and introduced her along with Shannon. Shannon then sang "Hold Me While I Cry." Shannon has such a great voice as well! I got to hear her last year fill in for Morgan one date, and was so impressed!

Then, Jeff and Sheri asked for requests, which is another thing I love about Jeff and Sheri concerts. They always try to make sure people hear what they want to hear, so most of the time the second half is all requests. They even pulled some people from the church who requested songs up to sing with them! Here's what they sang:
  • "Roses Will Bloom Again"
  • "Going Away Party"
  • "Praise His Name"
  • "I Wonder If He Ever Cries" - They had a couple of ladies from the church sing this one with Jeff joining on the chorus.
  • "Over and Over"
  • "Thread of Hope" - Personal thank you to whoever requested this one, because it's one of my all-time favorites!
  • "Life's Railway to Heaven"
  • "I Won't Have to Worry Anymore" - They sang this again, because Jeff wanted the pastor of the church to join them.
They had made a couple of jokes about Maura being a pleasant surprise to their family. Jeff joked that when they took her to school they were among all the 20-30-year-old parents and he was accused of being Maura's grandfather. Sheri opened up about how she was a planner, and while Maura wasn't planned, God knew exactly what they needed. She talked about how Maura helped her through breast cancer. When there were days that she didn't feel like getting up and getting out of bed, she had a 2-year-old who wanted and needed her mom. She knew that Morgan and Madison loved her and were helping her during her journey but they didn't need her like Maura did. God knew that Maura would be the one to help Sheri as she faced breast cancer. It was a very touching and powerful testimony!

They sang "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me," and then ended the night with "Little Bit of Sunshine."

It was such a great night with Jeff and Sheri Easter! I'm glad the small town of Poyen decided to bring them to Arkansas!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hitting Their Stride - Tribute Quartet Concert Recap

Tribute Quartet - Riley Harrison Clark, Gary Casto,
Josh Singletary and Anthony Davis
Tribute Quartet was in Hot Springs, Ark. on August 15. I've had the chance to see Tribute Quartet several times at Silver Dollar City over the years but never had the chance to see them in a full concert by themselves. It was great to see them in this setting!

This current lineup of Riley Harrison Clark, Gary Casto, Josh Singletary and Anthony Davis has been together for a while now, and they are really sounding great together. The group is really hitting its stride and has the current #1 song for August with "Good News From Jerusalem."

It was a great night with even a few surprises! Here's what they sang Thursday night:

  • "Stepping on the Clouds"
  • "It Always Gets the Darkest"
  • "Through Me, the Cross Lives On" - I had heard this song several times listening to Our Anthem, but hearing and seeing it live Thursday night really made it stand out even more to me! Love the way Josh communicates lyrics when he sings!
  • "When Jesus Comes in the Clouds"
  • "Homesick Angel" - This is such a fun song and a great song to see them sing live!
  • "I'll Fly Away" - This is one that Josh played on the piano solo.
  • "God Wants to Hear You Sing" - Anthony was featured on this one. He blend with the group well, so it was good to hear him solo.
  • "Safe Thus Far" - Riley continues to impress me as a tenor singer each time I hear him! And he really outdid himself on this one! The audience was on its feet clapping at the end!
  • "Farther Along" - They had the congregation join in with them on this one.
  • "Good News From Jerusalem" - I'm so glad this has been such a hit for them! Josh really does a stand out job on this one. They did an encore of the chorus and the audience was on its feet again.
  • "Outside the Gate" - They sang this song to close the first half. Gary kicked off the song a cappella. They came into the audience down the center aisle of the church singing, and WOW!!!!! Incredible moment and further proof that this lineup sounds absolutely amazing together!!!! 
  • "Every Day With Jesus" - Josh played this during intermission.
  • "God's Gonna Send a Revival" - One of my favorites from Our Anthem, great song to kick off the second half.
  • "Look for Me Around the Throne"
  • "I've Been Blessed" - Dennis Duggar, former bass singer for the group, is from Arkansas and was in the audience. Gary Casto asked him to come up and join the group on this song! Great to hear him on stage again!
  • "How Great Thou Art" - Anthony was featured on this one with just Josh accompanying him on the piano! He was great on this classic hymn!
  • "Look for Me"
  • "Through It All"
  • "Good News From Jerusalem" - Loved that they chose to encore the chorus of this song to close the night!
If you get the chance to see Tribute Quartet in your area, don't miss them! You won't be disappointed!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fun Clip Friday with Devin McGlamery

Happy Friday to all! I had a great night last night at Tribute Quartet's concert in Hot Springs, Ark.! Look for a recap next week. Tonight I'm going to see Jeff and Sheri Easter in Poyen, Ark. so it's a great weekend for gospel music!

Yesterday, Devin McGlamery tweeted a link to his new music video for "While I Still Can." I love this song, and think it was a great choice to do a video on it! And I love that his kids are part of it! Enjoy for today's Fun Clip Friday post!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

God Moments in an Ordinary Life - Debra Talley - Book Reivew

Many times in life we wait for the big moments in life. We wait for God to part the Red Sea or take our little fish and bread and feed the 5,000. We get so focused on looking for these life-altering acts of God that we forget to look for God in the everyday moments.

When I saw the Talleys in June, I picked up a copy of Debra Talley's book God Moments in an Ordinary Life. Debra takes you though these "God moments" in her life. They aren't moments where God moves mountains, but shows His presence and teaches a lesson in the ordinary.

Debra opens up and shares special moments of her life. Each short chapter contains a different story and a way that God used that moment to teach her something. Debra shares family stories of Lauren growing up and how her mother became the piano player for her church. She talks about chance encounters with others but through God weren't really by chance at all. If you've ever heard her share the Angel story at a concert, it's included in the book. I loved reading all the stories and appreciated Debra sharing her life stories with us.

Some of my favorite stories were of Miss Minnie. I had heard Debra mention her in a concert previously. Miss Minnie lives in a nursing home and physically she's not on the best shape, but her mind is still extraordinarily sharp for a 96-year-old woman. Miss Minnie can inspire all of us to be content to just be the person God made us to be.

Another story that I enjoyed was Corey, a student Debra met at the Steve Hurst School of Music. God showed Debra through him that God will use our weaknesses for His glory. Debra shares at the end of the chapter -- "The weaknesses in my life are the very things that God values. When I trust Him with what I cannot do, His strength is made perfect in my weakness."

While I enjoy the stories so much, it's the great nuggets of wisdom that Debra leaves readers with at the close of each chapter that set the book apart from a book of stories. She has some incredible quotes and life principles at the end of each story that will leave you looking for your own "God moments."

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Burman Porter Leaves the Dove Brothers Band

Burman Porter announced on his Facebook page that he has resigned from the Dove Brothers Band due to health reasons. He has been the bass singer for the group since 2011 and also was in that position from 1997 - 2004. Here's the statement he issued:

Today, with mixed emotions, I tendered my resignation to The Dove Brothers Band.

Many of you know that this past weekend during the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion I suffered chest pains that lead me to make a trip to the local emergency room on the night that I was to perform with the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion Quartet. After several rounds of blood tests, x-rays, and an EKG I was released with instructions to not be far from home and to see my family physician as quickly as possible.

I cannot thank my friends at the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion enough for their kindness and understanding as I missed the evening performance that I had been looking forward to for a year. During my visit to the hospital I received numerous calls, text messages, and Facebook messages offering prayers and encouragement. I am very thankful that I have true friends who think enough of me to reach out like that.

Following the evening performances The Dove Brothers left Greenville, SC for an extended tour that I did not feel comfortable taking considering the warning from the ER doctors, so I remained in Greenville, 3 blocks from the hospital for the remainder of the weekend. We returned home Sunday morning and Robin went with me to see my doctor today. We were told that the source of my chest pain is stress…and that I should do anything within my ability to reduce my stress level in order to stop the pains and avoid future complications.

Following my doctor visit, and after talking with Robin, we informed McCray that we feel it best that I not return to the road with the group. McCray says he has found my replacement, so I'm sure you can look for his announcement sometime soon…but I wanted you to hear it from me first.

I'm sure Burman and the Dove Brothers covet your prayers during this transition time.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Tracy Stuffle Back in ICU

Latest update at 2 p.m. on Aug. 19 -

Everything looks better. They have cultured the sputum again again to make sure bug is gone before trying to go back to rehab, because rehab can't take him until it is gone. White blood cell counts down to 10,000 (norm 5000 to 11,000).

Magnesium is a tiny bit up in kidneys. Kidney function still look the same as before. The respitory therapist came in and lowered his oxygen down to 28 and his oxygen stat is still 100%! Praise God!!!! Praying all of this keeps improving!!!

He seems a little down but, then again who wouldn't be! I think he feels like he's never gonna get past all of this. Wednesday will be 7 months since this journey began, 108 days of being in ICU and a total of 154 days in a hospital and 55 days in a rehab facility. I'm sure he would love to be home! Just pray for God to lift his spirits. I try everything but standing on my head! LOL

God, You are our great and wonderful Father, Provider and Healer!!! We praise You and glorify Your name for all that has been done in the past 7 months!!! This journey has been long and hard, but You have been faithful to keep Your hands on us! You know every need before we pray and ask, so we pray that every need be met both physically and mentally! Uplift and encourage Tracy beyond what he can ever imagine! Father, You are the best companion and daddy ever!!!! I love You!!!

Latest update at 11:00 a.m on Aug. 16 -

Dr Gounder just came in with good news! White blood cell counts down from 13,000 to 11,100 (norm is 5000 - 11,000)! Thank You God!!! The acinetobacter is NOT growing in any of the cultures!!! Praise God!!! Lung X-ray looks sooo much better and sounds sooo much!!!!Kidneys function has come up some with magnesium going down!!! Another Praise God!!!

Thanks for all the prayers!!! Please don't stop!!!!!! God, You are awesomely incredible!!! ALL praise, glory and honor belongs to You!!!! Thank You is never enough for You!!!!! I love You!!!!

Latest update at 12:10 p.m. on Aug. 15 -

Dr just came in. Blood count down from 15,000 to 13,000. Lungs look and sound a little better. Kidneys are a tiny bit worse today as far as crititen. Magnesium is SLOWLY coming down. Cultures are still not growing anything in lungs. Hoping to keep him on the antibiotics he's on now so as to not cause anymore kidney damage. Kidney Dr is gonna do one treatment of dialysis just to get magnesium down today.

Keep praying!!!! God is Jehovah Rapha and we are trusting Him and His will!

God, we praise You and thank You for bringing us this far!! You know the plan You have for our lives before we are ever formed in our Mother's womb. God, I trust You to do Your will. Tracy is in Your hands and You know the needs for his body! Give me grace and strength to stay strong!!! We are Your children and You will take care of us!! I love You Father with all of my heart!!

Latest update at 11:35 a.m. on Aug. 14 -
Dr just came in. Cultures are not growing anything so far. That's a good thing. Kidneys are about the same. Magnesium is still a little high in the kidneys, but they want to give them another day before deciding to do a treatment of dialysis. White blood cell count was 11,600 yesterday, today it's 15,000. Normal white blood cell count is 5000 to 11,000. That could be caused from all the medications. May take another day to settle down. He's had no fever, that's good! His heart rate is good. Blood pressure has been good. So, it's just gonna be a slow process. Kidneys is their main concern right now. Still trusting and believing! God's will, God's plan!

Latest update at 1:15 p.m. on Aug. 13 -

They did a Bronchoscopy. It's where they go down to clean the lungs and sweep them to get a culture to send off to see if there's a bug there that grows something that they are not treating, they can treat it. Dr Pethkar said it looked like a lot of flem and aspiration. His white blood cell count is down from over 20,000 to 11,600. Norm is 5000 to 11,000. Praising God for this good news!!!

Gonna give him a couple units of blood to replenish what they've drawn out and for the heart. Just started a new antibiotic that can damage the kidneys, so praying that it doesn't! Kidneys actually looked a little bit better today. Praise The Lord!! Vitals have been great for over 30 something hours!!! Praise The Lord for this also!!!!

He's been awake more today and looks more perky in his eyes! I think he thinks I'm crazy because I drew a smiley face on my face mask to let him know I am smiling!!!

Keep praying Saints!!!! The doctor said things were better but not out of the woods yet!! Well, I'm just gonna praise God for better news today and even more to come!!!!! The devil is a big fat liar!!!!! Thank You God for a better report today and looking for more to come!!!! I trust You with it all!!! You are Jehovah Rapha and Jehovah Jireh!!!!! I love You Father!!!! Goooo GOD Goooo!!!

New update as of 10:08 a.m. -

Dr just came in. I am having to gown up from head to toe. The acinetobacter is resistant to all the antibiotics. Other words, the antibiotics are NOT working. They are calling in infectious disease Dr to see what else can be done. Last resource is to call FDA to see if they have something that is not on the market that they might can try. It's also putting a little strain on his heart. He has had a small heart attack, not in the sense of a "heart attack" as we know. The infection has damaged some of the heart cells so they call it a heart attack. His kidneys are only working about 25% also because of infection. Dr says they have a lot of work in front of them! They are moving to a third line antibiotic that might work, but it damages the kidneys even more.

All I can do is pray for grace! I am still standing on God's Word! It's not my will but His will be done! None of this has caught God by surprise. He is the great Physician!!!!

After weeks of good news and progress, the Perrys posted last night that Tracy has been taken back to ICU. Here's the update from their Caring Bridge site last night:

Tracy is back in ICU. Pneumonia is worse. Kidneys not functioning the way they would like. I am just getting to the hospital from the road.
While this is not the news I wanted to hear, I'm still praying and believing for his full recovery! God has brought him so far, and I can't help but think that this is just a small bump in the road to his healing. Continue to keep Tracy, Libbi, Jared and their family in your prayers.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fun Clip Friday - Tracy Stuffle

Happy Friday to everyone! I'm not sure about all of you, but Friday could not come soon enough this week!

I can't think of any better clips to use this Friday than what Libbi posted yesterday on the Perrys' Facebook page. She posted two different videos of Tracy, one talking and one singing. All I can say is "God is good!" It's so incredible to see how far God has brought Tracy and that he's now able to talk and sing even with the trach! Praise Him and enjoy watching and hearing from Tracy!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tribute to God's Faithfulness - The Perrys

Last year, friends and I went to see the Perrys at Oak Bowery Baptist Church in the Saltillo community in Arkansas. I had never been to the church before but it didn't take long to figure out it was a special  place and a church that the Perrys held very dear. It was also an incredibly special service where each member of the Perrys gave their testimonies. Read more about it here.

I was already looking forward to a great night with the Perrys after such a special service last year and then finding out Libbi would be with the group made it even more to look forward to. I had no doubt it would be another great night, and it didn't disappoint!

Before the concert, the church had its choir come up and lead in several familiar songs. You can hear the foot tapping on the hard wood floors of the church, and you can tell people love gospel music whether it's the classic hymns, convention-type songs or songs by their favorite group.

After at least 20 minutes of congregational singing, the Perrys took the stage. Here's the lineup of the night:
  • "The Blood and Its Power" - I first heard Libbi sing this song last year at this concert before Through the Night was released, so I thought it was very fitting that they opened with this song.
  • "I Got a Hold of God This Morning"
  • "The Potter Knows the Clay" - I love that they chose to pull this older song into the set. It's one of my favorites that Libbi sings. There was a sweet moment where Libbi was standing out front and got a little emotional. David and Bryan both stepped up and put their hands on her back in support. I thought it was a really sweet moment. 
  • "Calvary Answers for Me" - David absolutely knocks this song out of the park! 
  • "Did I Mention"
  • "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" - It's always great to hear Bryan sing this a cappella. Without Tracy, he's started pausing and repeating phrases that he really wants to emphasize. 
  • "Through the Night" - Great to hear Libbi sing this one live! It truly has become their testimony song. 
  • Bryan spoke of how the theme of their concerts had become God's faithfulness, and they wanted everything they said and sang to point to that. He told the story of Tracy's stroke and all that they had been through.
  • Introductions were next. When Bryan introduced Libbi, he talked about she had really shown him what it meant to take wedding vows and really mean them and the immense faith she had shown in the eye of the storm. Libbi introduced Bryan and picked on him some since he is getting married soon. But she also mentioned what an incredible job he had done stepping up and  into the role of emcee and how proud she was of him.
  • "Living in Canaan Now"
  • "I Wouldn't Take Nothing for my Journey Now"
  • "If You Knew Him" - I love how David is making this song his own.
  • After a short break, Libbi had Tracy on FaceTime on her phone and had the audience wave and say hi to him. She handed the phone off to a lady from the church on the front row so he could watch part of the concert. 
  • "Blue Skies"
  • "This Old Sinner Testifies" - Bryan takes Tracy's part on this song, and he did a great job. 
  • During that song, the phone lost connection with Tracy. Bryan said that figured because he was singing his face off for him. The lady said that he was smiling and enjoying it but started frowning when Bryan was singing his part, haha!
  • "I'm So Glad I've Got a Better Place to Go" - Libbi pulled up Allie, a teenage girl from the church to sing this one. She has her sing every year, I think. She's got a great voice!
  • "When He Spoke" - Absolutely love this song!
  • "I Wish I Could Have Been There" - Bryan still took the lead on this song, and of course has a lot of fun with it!
It was so great to see Libbi back on stage with the guys. I was impressed at how well the three of them sounded together for no more that they have sung together. Libbi and Leah while singing the same part are very different singers. Bryan and David have done great learning and making those adjustments according to who they are singing with. It was such an incredible night and a true testament to God's faithfulness.

I've got a couple of videos from the concert I'll be posting soon!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Jason Crabb "Love Is Stronger" Music Video

Last Thursday, Jason Crabb had his music video shoot for "Love Is Stronger" around the Birmingham area. The music video shoot caught the attention of a number of local news outlets. The video involved 30-year-old Ashley DeRamus who founded an organization for and dedicated to the education, advancement and quality lifestyle of children and adults with Down syndrome. The video will also be used by her foundation to promote the awareness of Down syndrome. Many local kids with Down syndrome were also used in the video.

The full video, according to reports, will tell the story of a father leaving his daughter who has Down syndrome (played by DeRamus) to go off to war. The father is severely wounded, but fights to recover so he can return home to his daughter.

I think this is a great take on this song. Music videos can sometimes take a song in a different direction than you might think, but I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product here. It's awesome how Jason is involving the Down syndrome community with not only the video shoot, but also allowing them to use it for their organization.

Read more about the video shoot and watch interviews from the shoot at

Monday, August 5, 2013

Dixie Melody Boys Select Josh Garner as New Lead Singer

Earlier today the Dixie Melody Boys announced that they were hiring Josh Garner as the group's new lead singer.

In the release issued the group stated that they began their search over two months ago when Mike Rogers resigned and had them listening to over 400 demos and auditioning numerous men.

“This has been different than most of the times I have hired someone to fill a position. We heard so many great singers and we even thought we had found the right man a few times but it just wasn‘t the right fit.” said Ed O’Neal. “I have always loved Josh’s voice. I have even tried to hire him a few times in the past but the timing was never right. I am thrilled to have him join us.”

Josh was previously with the Florida Boys and was a founding member of Freedom. He has been nominated several times as favorite lead singer.

“Josh called me and offered to help us by filling in until we could find someone. It made looking for someone easy knowing he was on stage with us until we found the right person. His first night with us felt as if we had been singing together for years. Over the next few weeks both he and the group knew the right guy for the job was already there. Josh is a great addition to our team. I know the fans will be excited about seeing him with us.” stated Matt Felts.

The Dixie Melody Boys have already been in the studio with Josh and will release the new album soon. The project comes off the success of their fiftieth anniversary album, The Call Is Still The Same, and promises to be a hit. Josh will join the group mid August and will appear with them for the first time at NQC on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

Names You Might Not Know Yet - The Browders

The Browders were named the "Breakthrough Artist of the Year" at the Absolutely Gospel Music Awards in 2013. This  family group consists of Tommy Browder, his sons Matthew and David, Matthew's wife Sonya and Sonya's brother Burton.

I got the chance to see the Browders for the first time last year in Branson, and was immediately impressed with this great family group!

Sonya Browder was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me. Get to know the Browders a little better!

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

Sonya Browder: I'm originally from the state of Maine so, for obvious reasons, Southern Gospel was not as familiar to me growing up as it was to the rest of The Browders! When I was a little girl, Ernie Haase came to our church to do special music for revival services with an evangelist from his home area in Ohio. That summer he was the musical guest at our youth camp and he asked me to sing a song with him one night. Soon after, he joined the Cathedrals and called to tell us he had bought tickets for us to see them in Bangor, Maine, at a sold out concert. I left that night in awe of the music and what I now know was the awesome presence of God. I remember thinking, "If I could just do that someday..."

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

Sonya: The Browders have been on the road as a family since 1990. Matthew and David were just young boys at the time and they travelled mostly within their local area and surrounding states. It's been in the last few years that the ministry has really expanded.

I personally started singing and playing piano full-time when I was 15 for a group that travelled mostly around New England. I was with them for 10 years until Matthew and I married in 2005 and I joined The Browders.

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

Sonya: Without a doubt, the most important thing a person can take away from our concerts is that we serve a great God who is available to anyone who calls upon Him. We truly want to point people to Jesus. If they forget about us, that's no big deal; but if the Holy Spirit can minister to someone's life through us and change them for eternity, now that's something to remember.

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

Sonya: I can't say that I have a particular song that is a favorite of mine to sing; I love so many of them for different reasons. Without a doubt, though, Karen Peck's "My God Will Always Be Enough" has affected me more than any song I can think of in recent years. If you haven't heard it, you absolutely need to check it out. It's an incredible song by an incredibly anointed woman of God.

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

Sonya: As I mentioned earlier, The Cathedrals were my first influence and I was a huge fan from that time on.

The Browders are big Hinsons fans, as well as Teddy Huffam & the Gems and Happy Goodmans. More recently, we have appreciated the Crabb Family for their anointing, songwriting and originality. The people in our industry who have, in my opinion, been the most supportive of us and extended a hand of friendship to us, have been Jeff & Sheri Easter. Last summer, we were scheduled to sing at Silver Dollar City on a Monday for their Southern Gospel Picnic. Jeff & Sheri called and asked us to come in a day early and sing a song on their set the night before to a crowd of around 6000 people at Echo Hollow. They absolutely did not have to do that, but I believe that it is their willingness to include and support others that has caused them to be so blessed. They share Godly counsel when called upon and Jeff has even worked on our bus a time or two!

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

It would be hard to pick an absolute favorite, but there was a recent occurrence regarding our current single, "He is Alive", that we won't soon forget. Before we even recorded the song, we "tried it out" on an audience in Ohio. When the concert was over, a pastor and his wife came to our table. He said that his wife had been unable to hear out of her right ear for many years, and during that song, she leaned over and told him that all of a sudden she could hear in that ear! God miraculously touched her that night while she was just sitting in her chair! We had never seen anything quite like that!

Q: What new things are coming up for the Browders?

Sonya: For the last year, we have been working on a new recording, pouring our hearts and souls into everything from the song-writing to the production and creativity of this project. "Time Machine" is the follow-up to our "The Message" recording, which yielded our first #1 song for a total of three on that record, and an additional seven top ten songs, a fact which both amazes and humbles us that God would bless us in such a way. So when it came time for this record, we applied even more attention to detail than we did the last one, because we believe that whatever our hands find to do, we should with all our might and heartily as unto the Lord (Ecc. 9:10; Col. 3:23)! It will be available August 6 on iTunes, our web site and in Christian bookstores.

Also, we just signed a recording contract with Daywind, so we are very much looking forward to what lies ahead as we work together with them.

Be sure to check out more on the Browders at their website - And also check out their new project Time Machine that releases tomorrow!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Fun Clip Friday - The Akins

Happy Friday to you all! It's a good day for me, because I'm seeing the Perrys tonight.

For today's Fun Clip Friday, the Akins, an up and coming family group based in Georgia, put out the group's first music video recently. Check it out below!

KNEEL, by The Akins from Kimberly White on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Utech Brothers Join Dixie Echoes

The Dixie Echoes announced yesterday that Utech brothers of Scottsboro, Ala. have joined the group. Here's the release:
The Dixie Echoes are proud to announce the addition of Alex Utech, from Scottsboro, Al, as the bass singer for the quartet. In addition, Alex’ twin brother, Andrew, will also be a part of the group as a musician and driver. These young men are 20 years old, and are extremely talented. They have been singing sing the age of 8, and used to travel and sing with their grandfather, and were quite popular at the Grand Ol’ Gospel Reunion. Be sure to come and meet Alex and Andrew at a concert soon!
Love seeing groups hire new, young faces! Aaron Swain included a few clips of Alex singing with the Inspirations. Be sure to check them out!