Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Update on Tracy Stuffle

Libbi posted this incredible update last night on Tracy's condition. We have truly seen God's hand at work in their lives over the past nine months. And yesterday, there was another giant leap in Tracy's road to fully recovering.

OK, finally a few minutes to sit down and do an update before heading to bed! It was a long day and tiring for Tracy, but we are rejoicing in the Lord that the pulmonary doctor took Tracy's trach OUT today!!!! We were expecting him to tell us it had to stay in a while longer, but he didn't!!!! Tracy is so excited!! His voice will be weak for a couple of days until the hole heals up, but I think he's already sounding stronger!! Gooooooo GOD Goooooo!!!!! We praise You Sweet Jesus!!!!! Another miracle!!!!!!!

The other doctor's appointments went good. They have Tracy schedule to do another swallowing test Tuesday, Nov 5 at 1 pm. We are trusting God with an excellent report on this procedure also!!! So please believe with us for another miracle!!! Tracy did get a flu shot. His doctor highly recommended it. I will probably go to Walgreens and get one for myself in the next day or so.

You know, Tracy has been a little more open about his feelings and to prove it, today he told me, I CAN'T DRIVE!!! He HATES and I mean HATES with all capitol letters my driving!!!! We were in a hurry because our first two appointments ran over and we were late to the pulmonary doctor's appointment so I was having to drive a little faster than most times. And, then you have all these drivers who are out for a Sunday afternoon drive and nobody is in the world but them. He yelled at me and said, IF YOU DON'T STOP DRIVING BAD I AM NOT GONNA STRAIGHTEN UP, I AM GONNA LEAN OVER AS FAR AS I CAN IN MY CHAIR!! I am all the time telling him to straighten his head and his body, because sometimes when he's tired he slumps over some. If any one knows of a good driver, let me know!!! LOL

Well, I really need to go to bed. But, before I go I want to thank Tim Dillman and Olan Witt of Coach Quarters for taking care of the bus and keeping it rolling on the road! Olan and his staff are working on the back lounge of our bus to fix Tracy a bed that elevates the head and knees so he can start going with us! He will not be able to do a full 4 day weekend, but we are gonna ease into a couple of days. We don't won't to over do with him, but he told me he doesn't like being left at home while I'm gone on the road. Please pray God will bless both of these guys richly and more than they can contain for sticking by their friend and helping bear the burden of keeping a bus on the road!! We love you guys more than you can know!!!

Oh, one more thing!! :0) Tracy's solo CD is now available on our website It's called, The Best of Tracy! I love the album!!! I realized after listening to it that Tracy is very under-rated in his singing!! The CD is loaded with great songs from past recordings that Tracy sang. My favorite of all the songs is the old song, How Much More!!! Wow, he rocks this song!!!!! Go order your copy now!!! Christmas is around the corner and they would make great gifts for any Gospel music lover! There's also a "SPECIAL" going on too with his CD and our latest: The Perry's Greatest Hits.

Dear Lord, What an incredible day You gave us!!!! Another MIRACLE!!!! How can we ever thank You enough for the all You have done? It's amazing to stand back and watch You work!! Sometimes Your hand is hard to see, and then there's other times it's in plain view!! We praise You for ALL things You have done over the past 9 months!!! As Tracy said tonight when he was praying, You are an awesome God!!! Lord, just keep on doing Your thing!! We will try to stay out of Your way and trust YOUR plan and YOUR will!!! Hands go up in praise, honor and glory to You and all You've done and gonna do!!!! I love You!!!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Transformation Tuesday - Brian Free

Transformation Tuesday has become a social media trend (along with Throwback Thursday and all the other days of the week themes), but I thought it might be fun to look at some transformations Southern Gospel style.

For better or for worse, it seems that everything today is captured on video. Young kids today don't stand a chance of forgetting those awkward years thanks to cameras in smart phones. And thanks to the Internet, videos that were taken decades ago can resurface online. So I decided it might be fun to take a look at some of these transformations. Some might be still young artists who have practically grown up before our eyes on stage, while some will be seasoned artists.

For today, let's look at Brian Free. He started with Gold City in 1982. He sang with them until 1993 when he started Brian Free and Assurance.

I think this first clip is around 1983 featuring a 20ish-year-old Brian Free.

Now here's a look 30 years later at Brian Free. Quite a transformation into one of southern gospel's most loved tenors!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Mark Lowry and Michael English Leave the Gaither Vocal Band

Updated - Both Mark Lowry and Michael English are leaving the Gaither Vocal Band after trying to balance solo careers and Vocal Band duties they both feel it is in their best interests.

Mark Lowry confirmed this morning in a video on Facebook that he is in fact leaving the Gaither Vocal Band. He said that he wanted to slow down and do more solo dates.

Lowry was with the Vocal Band from 1988 - 2001 and then returned in 2009. He will be with the group the rest of the year. He will also do events like the cruise and Family Fest in the future. Lowry also said that the Martins will be touring with him in the spring.

Michael English has already concluded his last regular Gaither Vocal Band concert as lead singer, but he also will be at Gaither Fest and other future events. He was with the group from 1985 to 1994 and then rejoined when Lowry did in 2009.

Gaither's press release included a statement from Bill Gaither.
“I am grateful that we have had five bonus years with these incredibly talented artists. Thank you, thank you to Michael and Mark. For those of you who have followed the Vocal Band for the past 25 years, you know that I have worked with some of the most talented male vocalists in our field, and I promise you we are not going to let that standard down in this transition. I am sad to see Michael and Mark leaving, yet I am so excited about the new possibilities we are considering. So stay tuned for an exciting voyage in 2014! We will update you when we have made final decisions.”
On a personal note, I had the chance to see the Vocal Band for the first time this spring. This lineup was absolutely incredible together, especially live. Mark and Michael will definitely be missed!

Here's the full release from Gaither.

Song Lyrics Gone Wrong

Ok, please tell me I'm not the only one. You're driving along in the car listening to a song you've heard dozens of times before and singing along only to realize that you've been singing the wrong words all along. And sometimes, your words really don't even make sense. I think I can safely say, it happens to many of us. I mean, it also happened to Phoebe from Friends.

So I thought it would be funny to share just a few of these song lyric gone wrong moments that have happened for me -

"Bread Upon the Water"
Real lyric - "Growing comes from planting seed..."
What I heard - "Growing comes from cleansing... " Because of course you should cleanse the seed before planting, right?

"Sailing on Home"
Real lyric - "Tho the seas may roll..."
What I heard - "Tho the seas may roam..." Seas just roam away, right?

"Joy in my Heart"
Real lyric - "God took those worldly desires..."
What I heard - "God took those whirly desires..." Those whirly, spinning desires are the worst, right?

"I'm Living in Canaan Now"
Real lyric - "Living up with Jesus in Canaan right now..."
What I heard - "Living up with Jesus in Canaan bright land..." Canaan has to be bright because Jesus is there, right?

"We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown"
Real lyric - "When my feet strike Zion..."
What I heard - "When my feet start sighing..." Because everyone's feet are tired when they get to Zion, right?

So please tell me I'm not the only one! Feel free to share your song lyrics gone wrong moments in the comments!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fun Clip Friday - Preview of Under the Mistletoe Madison and Shannon Easter

I love Christmas. Let me say it again, I LOVE Christmas! It's my favorite season; yes, it deserves its own season. I would listen to Christmas music year round if I let myself. I try to wait until Nov. 1 though. One Christmas project that will be on my list to get this year will be Madison and Shannon's Under the Mistletoe. 

For todays' Fun Clip Friday, check out this preview of their EP that will be available on Nov. 5!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Everybody's Going Through Something - When Lyrics Speak

I work for a hospital, and as silly as this sounds some days it's easy to forget that. Other days it hits me square in the face. I work in an area that generally doesn't have much patient interaction. However, people in the buildings around me every day are hurting, fighting for their lives or even losing that battle. Yesterday was one of those days where it really hit me after hearing a young girl's story. Then, I was grocery shopping after work and had a woman who was stranded ask me if I could help her out with any money.

It's so easy to forget that everyone around us regardless of where we work or live is going through something. We can become so complacent or caught in our own little worlds that we forget to look at those around us. The song that kept coming to mind yesterday was "Everybody's Going Through Something" by Karen Peck and New River.

This song was written by Karen Peck Gooch, Kenna West and Don Poythress and is on New River's latest release Revival. The song starts out talking about a woman barely making ends meet, then a man who has been broken. The chorus of the song says that everyone is going through something and everyone faces storms, but I would sure rather go through something with Him.

How many times do I hear stories like what I heard yesterday and not think about whether or not they have God to help them through it? I'm so thankful that when the "storms come and waters rise" in my own life, that I have Him to lean on. The song talks about not having to walk along and when life seems uncertain, God will see us through.

It's so easy to get caught up with ourselves and concentrate on the trials or even what we consider trials in our own lives and forget that we have a hurting world of people around us. And those people might not know the God that we know. How much better would we treat people or interact with people if we thought of them in this way? And to remember that in all of their hurting, they might have the same hope we have in Christ? My prayer is that I think of people more in this light and not be as quick to judge. I know if "everybody's going through something, I'd rather go through something with Him."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Safe After the Storm - Bowling Family CD Review

On July 1, 2010, the Bowling Family changed forever. The bus accident they survived that afternoon would forever mark the group's ministry. That afternoon they not only gained first-hand experience of the power of prayer and God's healing, but they also gained a new perspective for their ministry. Every time they get on stage, they now have a chance to tell that they are "safe ... after the storm."

The album Safe After the Storm released on Oct. 1, and it's a testament to what they have gone through and how they are now celebrating how much they have overcome. The album is their first mainstream release since the accident. And I have to say, it was worth the wait!

It's also the first project with the current lineup of Mike and Kelly Bowling, Hope Bowling and Troy Peach. I love hearing these four together! And after hearing these 11 new songs, I'm sure you will to.

The album starts off with one of its most powerful songs "Somebody's Believing." The song penned by Kenna Turner West, Lee Black and John Darin Rowsey not only speaks to how there were people believing and praying after their bus accident but also with Mike's recent health scare with his voice. Mike takes the lead on this song, and knocks it out of the park.

"Drinking From the Well" has a different more progressive sound to it, but I really like it! It has a definite country feel. The song features Kelly, but I have to say my favorite song of Kelly's is "I Know Enough." I have a feeling it's one that is going to become a mainstay for Kelly to stage. I can also hear this one going to radio.

Hope gets the feature on "Everything's Gonna Turn Out Right." The song was written by Becky Isaacs Bowman and Sonya Isaacs Yeary. She does an incredible job on this song that suits her really well. She definitely shows that she belongs on stage with the group.

Troy takes the lead on "When All I Can Cry Is Holy."  It's one of the slower songs on the project. I love the message of this song, and Troy reminds you of how glad you are to hear him singing full time again.

Another slower song is "That's What I Miss the Most." The song really hits Mike's sweet spot with vocals, but Hope also shows off some incredible harmony skills on the chorus.

"Just What I Need" is another favorite of mine. Both Kelly and Hope take a verse of the song. It has a strong country feel with a great message that He really is all we need. "I'm Glad I'm Saved" is a great uptempo song. Kelly takes the lead on this one that is a great song live!

The group brings back "God Sent Angels" that Mike sang with the Perrys to close the album. He also co-wrote this song. I'll confess this song had escaped me, so I really wasn't that familiar with the first version, but this one is definitely worth a listen!

Album Rating - 4.75 stars - This is a don't miss album this year. It's definitely one of the top releases this year. The song choices for the project are amazing. There's not one song that I found myself skipping. The album truly is a celebration of being safe after the storm, and with this record I have a feeling there will be many more celebrations to come.

Song List -
1. "Somebody's Believing"
2. "Drinking From the Well"
3. "That's What I Miss the Most"
4. "Everything's Gonna Turn Out Right"
5. "Victory's Coming"
6. "I Know Enough"
7. "Come Along Let's Fly"
8. "Just What I Need"
9. "I'm Glad I'm Saved"
10. "When All I Can Cry Is Holy"
11. "God Sent Angels"

Monday, October 21, 2013

Southern Gospel Radio

Arkansas is lacking when it comes to Southern Gospel radio. There is an AM station that I can pick up sometimes, mostly in the morning driving to work I can count on it. Other times, not so much. And there's some Christian country mixed in where it's not really strictly Southern Gospel. However, I do enjoy listening to JoyFM through the station's app on my iPhone. Pretty much every morning, I'm listening to JoyFM while getting ready. And when I go to Branson or in the Ozarks, I enjoy that I can pick up KWFC.

With technology now, you don't necessarily have to listen to radio at all anymore, especially with the sometimes lack of local stations and the technology that gives you many more options. Some apps or websites now allow you to have some say in what songs or artists you listen to. So I'm curious to know, do you listen to Southern Gospel radio? If so, how?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Fun Clip Friday with Old Paths Quartet

Happy Friday to all! Hope everyone has had a good week!

For today's Fun Clip Friday, we're looking at Old Paths Quartet. This clip was taken at Silver Dollar City last year during the park's Southern Gospel Picnic. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Spoken 4 Quartet and the Representatives Quartet - Concert Recap

Friday night I had the chance to see the Representatives Quartet and Spoken 4 in Searcy, Ark. I saw the Representatives for the first time earlier this year when they opened for the Kingsmen in Beebe. They are an Arkansas-based group, and Arkansas is glad to have them.

The group consists of Brian Wilson, his sons Ryler and Chantry, Sam Riley, Ronnie Faith, Donnie Faith and Gregg Thurman. One thing that really stands out about this group is the live music aspect. Most of the time singing to tracks doesn't bother me. I don't even think about it, until I see a group who does it all live. The group has a number of instruments on stage.

The group has incredible young talent as well with Ryler and Chantry. Ryler's voice has a maturity far beyond his teenage years, and he is a great piano player. Chantry is already handling playing the drums and being the featured singer on a few songs at a young age.

They sang a number of familiar songs including "Beautiful Home" (personal favorite of mine by the Kingsmen) and "Hallelujah, I'm Ready." They also did "Power in the Blood" instrumentally that was great!

The one song they sang with a track  was "Here Comes the Lamb." Beautiful song and a highlight of their set, tracks and all! They closed the night with "We Will Sing a Happy Song."

Spoken 4 took the platform next. They started the night with "You'll Find Me There" from their latest project. Then Steven Hickinbotham was featured on "Hold a Clear Title to a Mansion."

One of the things I love about this group is hearing them share their hearts on stage. Each of them took time to share a story or testimony from his heart. Jon Charles Taggart talked about how he could identify with the story of the prodigal son because of how he had strayed from God as a teenager. He sang the song "Back to Me" that is based on that story. Beautiful song, and Jon Charles does a great job on it!

They sang several of my favorites including "Try a Little Kindness," "I Know My God Can Do It," "I  Know I'm Going Home" and "Hold Me." They also sang the classic "Beulah Land" with Steven accompanying them at the piano. They did the last chorus with just their voices, and it was beautiful! Steven also gave his testimony and sang "Who Am I" with just the piano.

They also sang "Rainbow of Love" that allowed Cecil Stringer to show off how low he could go, and believe me it's low! Brandon Britton also got to show his range with a high note at the end. Brandon was also featured on "I Find No Fault in Him," which is a favorite from their most recent project! He spoke before the song about how we need to stop tearing each other down as Christians and work to love one another more.

Jon Charles talked about how we have given up so much ground as Christians, we almost have nothing left to stand on. As Christians, we need to take a better stand for the truth and stand our ground. And then they ended the night with "We Believe." This is one of my all-time favorite songs they sing!

It was a great night of gospel music! If either group is close to your area, don't miss them!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

2013 Dove Award Winners

The 2013 Dove Awards were last night in Nashville. This is the first time they have been back in Nashville in several years, and the first time they have been in the fall. Typically it has been held in April. Last year, Jason Crabb took home several of the "big" awards of the night. So let's see who the night's winners were this year -

Southern Gospel Performance of the Year - "That's What the Blood Is For" by Jason Crabb
Producer of the Year - Ed Cash (producer on Jason Crabb's album)
Inspirational Song of the Year - "Satisfied" by Jason Crabb
Southern Gospel Song of the Year - "What the Blood Is For" by Jason Crabb
Bluegrass Song of the Year - "He Washed My Soul" by The Little Roy & Lizzy Show
Country Song of the Year - "From My Rags to His Riches" by Devin McGlamery
Inspirational Album of the Year - Love Is Stronger by Jason Crabb
Southern Gospel Album of the Year - Canton Junction by Canton Junction and Pure and Simple by the Gaither Vocal Band
Bluegrass Album of the Year - The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent by Dailey & Vincent
Country Album of Year - Eyes Wide Open by Jeff & Sheri Easter

Jason Crabb still came away a big winner with four Dove Awards. Great to see Devin McGlamery pick up an award on his first solo project! I was also pleased to see Jeff and Sheri walk away with Country Album. For a full list of the winners, go to the Dove Awards website.

The awards show is a little bit unusual, because even though it was held last night it will not be broadcast until Monday, Oct. 21 on UpTv (formerly the Gospel Music Channel). Check local listings for a time. I think a number of Southern Gospel artists had performances, some in a tribute to Bill Gaither according to social media.

What did you think of awards? Any big surprises for you?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Names You Might Not Know - Emmaus Road Quartet

Another showcase group that won its way to the main stage of National Quartet Convention was Emmaus Road Quartet. They are based in Dalton, Ga, and was established in 2003. The group consists of Greg Witt (tenor), Scott Marshall (lead), Adam Bradford (baritone) and Brandon Barry (bass). Get to know more about Emmaus Road.

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

Greg Witt - I was raised up in Southern Gospel music thanks to my wonderful parents. My dad was a pastor and played the guitar, and my mom was the singer of the family. All of the children played an instrument, sang or both. My older brother really adapted to the music side and began teaching me and my nephew to play. I adapted more to the singing side and took after my mother. My favorite memories of gospel music was when I got to go to the Memorial Auditorium to see Big Jim Hammil and the Kingsmen Quartet. I was amazed at how he was just the general of the stage and how he utilized every member of the quartet and band throughout the evening. I was always amazed, that no matter what other group was on the card, when they took the stage, you remembered the Kingsmen Quartet.

Q - How did you get started as the Emmaus Road Quartet? How long have you been singing?

Greg - I played for several different groups until I was 19 years old, that’s when I started my first group with my older sister and my best friend. But before that, I played bass guitar for a male quartet from Chattanooga, Temn. called the Happy Harmony Quartet and absolutely fell in love with quartet singing. I was really fascinated with the tenor singer, and secretly wanted to sing but they never knew I actually sang. After my first group disbanded, I took a year off and started up Emmaus Road Quartet. It’s been 10 years now and slowing down is not in our future. And hey, I finally got to start singing tenor! LOL!

Q - How did you come up with the name the Emmaus Road Quartet?

Greg - During the year I was off, I was really searching what God had in store for me. I met another guy a couple of counties away, and ironically, he had been in the same boat. He was in the process of starting a quartet, all he had was a lead and baritone singer. Well, all I had was a tenor and a bass singer. Me and him met, prayed a lot and really sought God's will for us. He actually suggested the name, and I loved it. I mean after all, he and I were both on a road, both kind of disappointed and both wondering why God wasn't putting this together for us. Well, after he and I met, we met with the Lord, and it’s like it all fell in place.

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

Greg - One of my favorite songs to sing is "I Got My Healing Today."  I wrote this song during a funeral of a friend of mine who fought a battle with brain cancer for two years. This song came to me in about three minutes, and I’ve never wrote a song that has touched so many people across the country. It was nothing that I done, it was all God. But I believe his promise that one of these days, we will all get our eternal healing.

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

Greg - Jim Hammil, George Younce and a good friend of mine Rick Price. I loved watching Jim and George and the way they could just keep the attention of the audience. Rick was the first person who really opened up and taught me all he knew about the business side of music ministry. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still learning, but he really taught me a lot about expanding our ministry to a full-time ministry from just a local weekend group.

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

Greg - It’s got to be without a doubt a service from this past August. We were at Pathway Baptist in Ooltewah, Tenn. with Pastor Mark Smith. God just showed up during that concert, and nine people got saved. There were even people getting saved out in the parking lot, it was amazing.

And on a different note, our first appearance this past September on the main stage during quartet night at the National Quartet Convention during the final year in Louisville was a memorable event as well. I think about every Southern Gospel group dreams of singing on that stage, and for us it became a reality that night.

Q - What new things are coming up for the Emmaus Road Quartet?

Greg - We’re working on a new project right now which is mostly older quartet style songs. It’s gonna be filled up with all kinds of good harmonies. We’re also doing a lot of studio work with other groups with Emmaus Road Records. And we want to do our first Western tour this next year as well. That’s all exciting, but in the future, we will be having our own brand of men's conferences. It’s still a ways off, but it’s in the works. I guess that’s what I’m the most excited about.

For more on Emmaus Road, check out their website at Thanks Emmaus Road for taking time to answer all my questions!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Beginning and Ending With the Cross - Bowling Family Concert Recap

Bowling Family - Troy Peach, Hope, Kelly and Mike Bowling
I had the chance to see the Bowling Family last Thursday night in Benton, Ark. The thing I love about seeing this family in person is that they don't come to have a concert, they come to have church. Yes, I had just seen them the week before when Kelly spoke at a women's conference, but they didn't have a full night, so I didn't want to pass up the chance to worship with this sweet group again!

So during concerts I make notes on my phone. For the second time since I've been blogging, the note just disappeared from my phone. NOWHERE to be found! So my apologies for the lack of details, I'm going strictly from memory here!

What I do remember was the focus of the cross. They started the night with "I'll Be Alright as Soon as I Touch Calvary" and ended with "I Still Glory in the Cross."

Most of what they sang came from their latest project Safe After the Storm (Look for a CD review coming soon!).  Kelly was featured on "I Know Enough," which is one of my favorites from that album. They also sang the bluegrass-flavored "Victory's Coming." Mike took the lead on "That's What I Miss the Most." "Come Along Let's Fly" featured Troy Peach, and Hope sang "Everything's Going to Turn Out Right." They are staging a lot from the new album, which is a testament to how strong of a project it is! It's great to hear them doing all these new songs. And I can't say enough about how big of a fan I am of this lineup. They made such a smart move to bring both Troy and Hope up to round out the group when Terah left. The four of them are sounding great together!!

Mike sang a couple of Hinson songs like "That I Could Still Go Free" and "He Can." Hope played her guitar on those. It's great to see them adding another live instrument in the mix!

The younger Bowling girls also got to show off their vocal skills on "Accentuate the Positive." I am so impressed with how well they sound together!

A Bowling Family concert would not be complete without "Your Cries Have Awoken the Master." Kelly talked about the wreck, and shared with the audience how God delivered them and how they were now more than ever determined to lift up the name of Jesus.

They closed the night with "I Still Glory in the Cross." Kelly talked about how we would be nothing with the cross. She sang the second part of the first verse that Terah had sung previously. Then they went into the hymn, "The Old Rugged Cross." John Jeffrey sang the verse, then had the congregation join in. I knew that John sang, but can't remember hearing him by himself much. He has a great voice, and it was good to hear him featured!

It was a great night of worship with the Bowling Family that was all about lifting up the name of Jesus, centered about what He did for us on the cross.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fun Clip Friday with Mark Trammell and Ricky

Mark Trammell Quartet posted this video on the group's YouTube channel a couple of weeks ago. The video was taken on the 2013 In Touch Cruise to Alaska. Happy Fun Clip Friday to you all! Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Browns - Love Loud CD Review

The Browns have all grown up, but they still possess a youthful sound that brings something different to Southern Gospel. They released their latest project Love Loud  in late August.

This is their first mainstream release with Shelly, Michaela, Adam and Andrew Brown. The Browns really do have a fresh sound that's not your typical Southern Gospel, but I think they have a great chance of attracting new, younger fans to gospel music.

Michaela really shows off her female vocalist skills on the opening song and title track "Love Loud." However, I think my favorite song that she is featured on is "Everything Changes." It's one that I found myself playing in my head long after I stopping listening to the project.

Another one of my favorites is "Rock and Redeemer." Adam is featured on this song, and it's their first single from the project. I really enjoyed hearing them sing this song live in Branson! It's fun uptempo song that also has a great message.

"Street of Gold" is like nothing I have ever heard on a Southern Gospel project, but I like it. It definitely has a pop/ rock feel to it. The song features Andrew. He's not a kid anymore and his voice definitely shows that!

One of the two slower ballad songs is "The One Who Still Works Miracles" which allows the matriarch of the Browns, Shelly, to really shine.

Another standout to me on this project is "River in the Rain." I knew I had heard the song before and thought it might be a CCM song or one that was done by a secular group. But then I figured out (with Google's help) that it is one I had heard before from Beyond the Ashes. Love the Browns version of song. Adam does a great job on it.

And of course, the Browns include an instrumental song "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name." Great arrangement that showcases the siblings' violin playing!

Album Rating - 4 stars - This project really shows where the Browns are. Musically their voices have really matured, but they still have the youthful appeal to recruit young gospel music fans. The project represents a lot of different styles and a more progressive sound. But don't let some of the styles on the project deter tried and true traditional gospel fans!

Song List -
1. "Love Loud"
2. "Rock and Redeemer"
3. "The One Who Still Works Miracles"
4. "The Captain's Got It Under Control"
5. "Street of Gold"
6. "Everything Changes"
7. "A Place in the Choir"
8. "The Water Is Calling"
9. "Fishers of Men"
10. "River in the Rain"
11. "This I Know"
12. "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name/ Crown Him With Many Crowns"

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

This Is Your Moment - When Lyrics Speak

This weekend I had the chance to attend a women's conference in Russellville, Ark. The speaker for the evening session was none other than Kelly Bowling. It was great to hear Kelly in that setting. I had heard her give her testimony several times, but not at a conference and not in the details she shared. I really appreciated her willingness to open up and share with all the women there.

Of course, a large part of her testimony was about the accident. She shared how God had been faithful through every moment during the accident, their recovery and even now in their ministry. It was during the roughest time of their lives, that God showed His power.

Another lady shared at the conference of her reoccurring battle with cancer. Each time God had seen her through and she continued to have faith and believe that God would continually show His power in her life.

As Christians, many times we are quick to recognize the omnipotence of God. We believe that God is able to do above and beyond all that we can think or imagine, but it's often during the hardest times in our lives that God really shows that power.

A song that the Bowling Family sings is "This Is Your Moment." The song talks about being bogged down with burdens and heartaches and believing that God will show up in that moment and show His power and mercy as only God can do. I couldn't help but think to how in both testimonies how God was most glorified through the hardest of situations. It's in our weakness that His power is perfected. It's during those most trying of circumstances that God is most glorified for how He is able to move in a situation if we just trust Him.

While we can see God in everyday life, those really aren't the moments that people testify and talk about over and over. When someone hears a story of a miraculous healing or a life being spared through a situation only God could orchestrate, that turns heads. It gets people's attention. The moments that can cause the most pain are also ones that can bring God the greatest glory. It can be His moment to step out and show what only God can do, to show His power and to draw people to Him.

The song is a great reminder that no matter what you are going through. Don't look at it as another valley or storm for you to get through, but as an opportunity for God to show His power. Look at it as a chance for you to come out on the other side only stronger, testifying how this was God's moment to shine.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Southern Gospel in the Church

I love my church for so many reasons. One of them is the music. No, it's not all Southern Gospel, we have a nice balance of contemporary music and hymns. We do have a Southern Gospel influence in the church, but that doesn't always come through. It was funny that a friend recently made a comment after a Hoppers concert that she didn't realize how many songs she would recognize because our church's choir had sung them. It's always interesting to me looking at choir music to see how many names I recognize who have ties to Southern Gospel.

Southern Gospel may not be included as songs you sing in worship, but it could be a special song from the choir that is by a gospel group. Or it could be an individual who sings solos in church who you can always count on to sing a gospel song. I'm just curious on this Monday morning how much of an influence Southern Gospel plays in your church from the regular worship service to special music to hosting concerts. Would love to hear from you!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fun Clip Friday - Singing New Fan Awards

In honor of the Singing News Fan Awards that were held earlier this week, today's Fun Clip Friday post features the awards. I found a video on YouTube of highlights of the awards on YouTube. Hope you enjoy! And happy Friday to you all!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Collingsworth Family - The Lord Is Good CD Review

The Collingsworth Family recently released two separate projects, Hymns From Home and The Lord Is Good. I think both will be eventually reviewed, but for now I'm going to look at the latter one that has more original songs.

This family continues to impress me. And it's clear from the Fan Awards, fans feel the same way. This family has continued to grow and mature. I cannot say enough about how incredible Olivia sounds on this project! There are points were I have trouble telling the difference between her and Courtney.

"I've Come Here to Tell You That the Lord Is Good" gets the album off to a great start. This is definitely one of my favorites from the project. I love Brooklyn's voice, and she does an incredible job on the verses. Also love hearing her on "My Debt Was Paid."

"Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness" is a definite favorite on this project for me. I love how it starts out with the scratchy, classic record player sound. Olivia does great taking the lead on the verses of this song. This is such a great uptempo song, and I'm sure one that will be great in a live concert setting. Another uptempo song that I liked was "Living in Love with the Lord."

I love Courtney's vocals on "If He Hung the Moon." To me it's reminiscent of "I Can Trust Jesus," which is probably my favorite Collingsworth song. I also like that they just used the female trio on this song. That's one thing that has always stood out about this family is the different combinations of subgroups they can use within the family. The sames goes for the combo of Phillip and Brooklyn on "There Is Healing in His Hands." Beautiful vocals, but I also love the orchestration on this song.

"How Great His Love for Me" is another standout song that features Phillip. This is an incredible power ballad that will definitely wow listeners!

Can't leave out Mom and Dad Collingsworth. I really liked their duet at the beginning of "I Could Never Outlove the Lord." It definitely is a great close to the project.

Album Rating - 4.25 stars - This album shows that the Collingsworth Family continues to be at the top of mixed groups in the industry for a reason. I don't think this is my favorite project of theirs, but it's definitely at the top of the list! The song selection of this project is top notch!

Song List -
1. "I've Come Here to Tell You That the Lord Is Good"
2. "It's Not Too Late to Pray"
3. "Show a Little Bit of Love and Kindness"
4. "If He Hung the Moon"
5. "We Will Serve the Lord"
6. "There Is Healing in His Hands"
7. "My Debt Was Paid"
8. "God Is Moving"
9. "Living in Love With the Lord"
10. "It Matters to the Master"
11. "How Great His Love for Me"
12. "I Could Never Outlove the Lord"

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Singing News Fan Awards 2013

The Singing News Fan Awards was held this afternoon in Dollywood. And for the first time in a few years, there were a couple of surprises.

I love that Libbi Perry Stuffle took home the Favorite Female Vocalist of the Year. She's an incredible deserving vocalist, but this year she's also proven what a strong woman of faith she is. I love that she was honored today with the year they have had.

I was also hoping that the Perrys would take home the award for favorite album. To me, it was the best of last year.

As far as Song of the Year goes, while I like "I Got a Hold of God This Morning," I was kinda pulling for either "All Is Well" or "I Want to Be That Man."

It was another big year for both Collingsworth Family and the Booth Brothers. Very deserving!

Any thoughts on this year's winners?

Here's a complete list -

Favorite Small Market DJ of the Year - John Whisnant (WCIS Morganton, NC)

Favorite Medium Market DJ of the Year - Lottie Squires (WCKB Dunn, NC)

Favorite Large Market DJ of the Year - Daniel Britt (WXRI Winston-Salem, NC)

Favorite New Trio - Red Roots

Favorite New Traditional Quartet - The Old Paths

Favorite New Mixed Group - The Taylors

Favorite New Soloist - Steve Ladd

Favorite Soloist Of The Year - Ivan Parker

Female Vocalist of the Year - Libbi Perry Stuffle

Favorite Male Vocalist of the Year - Ronnie Booth

Favorite Musician - Kim Collingsworth

Favorite Band - Gaither Vocal Band

Favorite Trio of the Year - The Booth Brothers

Favorite Young Artist of the Year - Olivia Collingsworth

Favorite Non-Performing Songwriter of the Year - Dianne Wilkinson

Favorite Mixed Group of the Year - Collingsworth Family

Favorite Traditional Quartet of the Year - Triumphant Quartet

Favorite Bass Singer of the Year - Eric Bennett

Favorite Lead Singer of the Year - Ronnie Booth

Favorite Baritone Singer of the Year - Jim Brady

Favorite Tenor Singer of the Year - Michael Booth

Favorite Alto Singer of the Year - Libbi Perry Stuffle

Favorite Soprano Singer of the Year - Kim Hopper

Songwriter of the Year - Rodney Griffin

Favorite Song of the Year - I Got A Hold Of God This Morning by the Perrys

Favorite Album of the Year is: Greatest Hits- LIVE (Booth Brothers)

The James D. Vaughan Impact Awards - Louise Mandrell

Favorite Artist of the Year - The Booth Brothers

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mike Holcomb Resigns From Inspirations

It's been a day for changes. And I think I can safely say this one was a huge surprise. Mike Holcomb of the Inspirations is resigning. Holcomb has been a staple in the group serving as bass singer for 42 years. Here's what the Inspirations released on Facebook earlier today:

Folks, we have an announcement to make. Today, October 1st, Mike Holcomb has announced that he is resigning from The Inspirations. Mike has been singing bass for 42 years with us, and is one of the greatest bass singers to ever step on the stage. However, not only is Mike an incredible singer, but he is an amazing preachers as well! He feels that it is time for him to begin a “new season” in his life, and will be hitting the road full time in preaching and singing evangelism. We know God will use he, and his sweet wife Bavaria, in a tremendous way, but we are devastated to lose him. We love Mike and Bavaria dearly.
If you would like to book Mike Holcomb at your church, conference, or camp meeting (and we HIGHLY recommend that you do) here is his contact info:
Mike and Bavaria Holcomb
”Heart’s Desire Ministries”
PO Box 1007
Bryson City, NC 28713
(828) 488-2025

God bless you all, and keep us all in your prayers.

Jerry Pelfrey Leaves Gold City, Organizes Family Group

Gold City released a statement this morning about the departure of lead singer Jerry Pelfrey from the group. He joined the group in late 2011. He is leaving the group to organize his family group with his wife and sister. His last day with the group will be Oct. 16.

However, Gold City has already announced that Chip Pullen will be its new lead singer. He was most recently with the Anchormen.

Here's the full release -

Gadsden, AL - In a joint statement, Gold City manager Danny Riley and lead singer Jerry Pelfrey announce Jerry will be leaving the award-winning quartet to reorganize his family group, The Pelfreys. Jerry's last day with the group will be Wednesday, October 16th at Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Danny says, "Anyone who has heard Jerry sing knows he has been a great addition to Gold City vocally and behind the scenes as well. We could make this a sad occasion over losing a valued team member, but in reality, no one knows more the importance of traveling with family than my father (Tim Riley) and I. We respect Jerry for taking this opportunity to be with his family at this time in their lives. Gold City asks that you join us in praying for the Pelfreys that God would bless their ministry and allow them to do His work for many years to come."

The Pelfreys will feature Jerry, his wife, Mikki, and Jerry's sister, Kim Pelfrey Van Hoozier. Jerry says, "I will be honest. I am scared to death, but ever since the song Lord of Life, I have had a burden to personally be more specific in asking people who Jesus is to them. Once I made the decision with my family to re-establish The Pelfreys, I have had a peace about it. We covet your prayers as we step out in faith to launch this new ministry."

Gold City's new lead vocalist is Chip Pullen, who has most recently sung with The Anchormen and is an Alabama native. He will assume his role with Gold City on Thursday, October 17. Danny says, "We know fans are going to fall in love with Chip. We are excited about our future as we continue to make great gospel music for the glory of God."

Jason Crabb's Love Is Stronger Music Video

Jason Crabb had the premiere of his music video yesterday with USA Today. The video stars Ashley DeRamus, who has Down syndrome. She started the Ashley DeRamus Foundation to raise awareness about people with Down syndrome and also launched a clothing line specifically designed for women with the Down syndrome. She has received 43 Special Olympics competitive medals.

I have to say of all the Southern Gospel music videos I have seen, this has to be my favorite. It effectively tells a story and communicates the message of the song beautifully! And the story might not be what you expect, but it definitely sends the message of "love is stronger." Check it out below!