Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top #1 Moment of 2014 - Chosen Few Reunion

On the last day of the year, it's time to crown the top moment of 2014. This moment was almost 10 years in the making for me. Chosen Few was the house gospel group at Silver Dollar City when I was growing up. They were probably the first exposure I had ever had to Southern Gospel music. It had been almost a decade since I had seen the original quartet back together. This year at Silver Dollar City, they had a reunion during Southern Gospel Picnic. And that reunion is what I'm crowning the top moment of the year!

Even those the four guys - Brian Arnold, Casey Ellison, Ashley Ellison and Scott Fraker - don't sing together anymore, it was just like old times when they took the stage. They sang plenty of familiar favorites that the crowd loved. The response from the audience when they first took the stage was incredible!

Here are a few clips from the afternoon and my favorite moment of the year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top Albums of 2014

Today we break from the top moments of the year to crown what I consider to be the top albums of the year.

It was a strong year for quartet albums with five of the top 10 being quartet projects. It was also an incredible year for soloists with two of those in the top three. My list is just according to the albums I reviewed, there were some great releases I didn't get to this year.

10. Measure of Grace - Taylors

9. Awesome God - Triumphant Quartet 

8. A Cappella - The Martins 

7. Great Day - Legacy Five

6. Unashamed - Brian Free and Assurance

5. Picture This - 11th Hour

4. Battle Cry - Kingsmen

3. Stronger - TaRanda Greene

2. Welcome Home - Joseph Habedank

1. Your Walk Talks - Mark Trammell Quartet

I went back and forth on #1 and #2 for a while, switching them and even thought about calling it a tie. Because, honestly, they are a little bit like comparing apples to oranges. However, in the end, I had to go with Mark Trammell Quartet's Your Walk Talks. It's definitely the best release of the group to date. You've got incredible songs like "Your Walk Talks," "God's Been Faithful" and "When the King Comes to Claim His Throne."

This is what I said when I reviewed the project back in February, and it definitely holds true -
"After listening to Mark Trammell Quartet's latest release, there's only one word that comes to mind - Wow! The Mark Trammell Quartet has not only set the bar high for other releases this year, but they could not have started their new label with a stronger project."

What do you think? What makes your top 10 list?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Top Moment #2 of 2014 - The Perrys at NQC

Only one moment left after today. Several memorable moments came from NQC, but perhaps none as touching as Tracy Stuffle's return to the main stage. The moment was so special and the song spoke to their journey of the last year and a half. I'm sure there was not a dry eye in the building as Libbi started singing "I Can Trust Him." They all sing through the tears overwhelmed with emotions and support from the people there, fans and fellow singers alike.

Here's the clip below -

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Top Moment #3 - Joseph Habedank Wins Favorite New Soloist

The countdown continues today with the #3 moment of the year. This one also occurred at NQC, but during the fan awards.

When Joseph Habedank launched his career as a soloist this year, he also came forward with a powerful testimony of God's grace and redemption. After struggling with addiction to prescription drugs, he returned to gospel music releasing a solo album with Daywind Records this summer. At the Singing News Fan Awards he was named Favorite New Soloist. His acceptance speech showed his appreciation to the industry for welcoming him back, the Perrys who he got his start with and his wife and family who stuck by his side. It was such a touching moment that it definitely made this year's list!

Here's the clip below from this year's fan awards!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 27

Here are some news and tidbits from this week in gospel music -

  • Prayers requested for Tracy Stuffle who is back in the hospital. He had a small seizure and has a UTI. Please pray for him and the family.
  • Congratulations to Kasey Kemp of Allegiance Trio who got engaged over the holidays!
Any other news items that I've missed?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Prayers Requested for Tracy Stuffle

Please pray for Tracy Stuffle. This was posted on the group's Facebook page this morning -

Tracy was brought to ER by ambulance about 4:30am this morning. Think he had small seizure. He has a strong UTI and aspiration on right side of lungs. His vitals are all stable and good. CT scan was good. 

Put him on strong IV antibiotic. Admitting him now for a couple of days. Please pray for him!!

Please pray for Tracy, Libbi, their family and the Perrys!

Top Moment #4 - Karen Peck and New River in Batesville

The top #4 moment of the year came earlier this year when I saw Karen Peck and New River in Batesville. The concert is an annual event for them and fundraiser for WARP 180. This ministry and recovery program is for women who battle addictions. his program is designed to teach women how to live a life that is Christ-honoring, productive, and free from the chains of addiction.

Karen Peck and New River had an amazing concert, but it was the end that really made this evening special. Karen led an invitation, and talked about how as long as we are living on this earth we were going to be going through something. However, we might have problems, but with Jesus we can have a peace that passes all understanding.

After the invitation, she asked for people in the audience to give a line of testimony. Several offered touching tributes of what God has done in their lives including some of the women who had been in WARP 180. It was an incredible reminder of the faithfulness of God! They ended the night with "Finish Well," which was just amazing!

These women had been through such hard times. When it would have been easy to question and stray from God, they praised Him for all He had done in their lives. Their testimonies were incredibly inspiring. And the group took time to talk to some of them and pray with them after the concert. It's so refreshing to see a group who truly ministers and goes above and beyond off stage as well as on.

The sweet spirit of the night definitely made this a top moment of the year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas everyone!! Hope you all enjoy a day with family and friends! But may we all remember the true reason for this holiday season.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:8-19

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Songs of 2014

It's that time of year when we have several countdowns of the year going. Today's post is all about the top songs of the year. My song countdown is a little different from others. I take all the #1 songs on the chart from this year and make my list of top 5. As I started making my list this year, I realized that there were a few songs I wanted to include that surprisingly did not make it to #1 ("Say Amen" and "Your Walk Talks"). So maybe next year, I'll do it a bit differently.

Several groups had two #1 songs this year including Karen Peck and New River, Greater Vision, Kingdom Heirs and the Browders. In addition to being #1, many of these songs were also award winners at the Singing News Fan Awards, Absolutely Gospel Awards and even the Dove Awards.

So for 2014, here's my top 5 -

5. "I Know Enough" (Bowling Family) written by Marcia Henry and Belinda Smith - This song by the Bowling Family features Kelly Bowling. I love this song all about trust. We may not understand why God works the way He does, but we know enough to know that He has taken care of us before and will again.

4. "Long Live the King" (Old Paths) written by Chris Binion and Dianne Wilkinson - This is a great power ballad by the quartet. He lives forever; He conquered death, and together with Him we will live forever praising His name. This song has some of the most powerful lyrics and with the powerful delivery, song arrangement and orchestration, it's a winning combination!

3. "For All He's Done" (Greater Vision) written by Chris Allman - I realize that I didn't pick the more awarded or maybe more popular Greater Vision song. "For All He's Done" makes my list though. It's an incredible reminder that no matter what, we can praise Him for all He's done in our lives. It's a great reminder to not take for granted all that He has done. Because of that, we should continually praise Him and strive to live for Him.

2. "Up Above" (Talleys) written by Rebecca Peck - Sometimes you just don't understand how God is working. You can't see what He sees. We often don't know why things work out they way they do, but up above it will all make sense. This song is so applicable to all of us at times in our lives. We have to trust that up above we'll understand and know that He's leading us every step of the way. The message is simple, but so powerful and one that needs to be reinforced so many times.

1. "Finish Well" (Karen Peck and New River) written by Karen Peck Gooch, Kenna Turner West and Michael Farris - Again, I'm going against the grain and not picking the more awarded song by this group for the year. So many times I tend to be reminiscent and dwell on the past, but a verse that Karen often uses to set up the song is Ecc. 7:10, which says it's not wise to say we have seen our better days. What a more fitting song than this to encourage the church to keep running the race? Don't think that the best lies behind. Our best days are ahead if we keep working and living for God, doing our part to advance His Kingdom for the glory of His name.  No matter where we are in life, may we all finish well.

What do you think were the tops songs this year?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Top Moment #5 of 2015 - Booth Brothers, Paul Lancaster, Collingsworth Family - National Quartet Convention

The countdown continues today with the #5 moment of 2014. This moment came courtesy of National Quartet Convention. On Thursday night, the Booth Brothers took the stage for one of their last times with Jim Brady.

The Booth Brothers and the Jim Brady Trio have had one of the smoothest transitions of group member changes. Michael, Ronnie and Jim have shown that they are true class acts in announcing that Jim is leaving and the formation of Jim's new group with his wife Melissa. On Thursday night of NQC, they called up the new Booth Brother Paul Lancaster to join them on stage. Then, Michael also invited the Collingsworth Family up to join them. The song was "Jesus Saves" which both groups recorded. It was an incredible moment to welcome Paul into the group, to NQC and show the camaraderie they all have for each other.

Paul was featured on the song with the Collingsworth Family backing up the Booth Brothers! Such an incredible moment and worthy of making the top 10 list!!

The countdown continues later this week!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 20

Here are some news items from this week in gospel music -

  • Gold City's bus was destroyed in a fire on Thursday night. The fire also damaged a motor home and the warehouse where product was stored. Thankfully, no one was on the bus at the time. Please pray for the group as they make alternate transportation plans and try to replace what was lost. Learn more on the group's Facebook page. Also, the group has started a GoFundMe to help raise money for some of what was lost. Go to to donate. 
  • Brianna Rackley (daughter of Tim of The Old Paths) had a successful kidney transplant on Thursday. Keep her, her mother (her donor) and the family in your prayers as they recover.
  • Crossroads Entertainment & Marketing has launched a new website,, to serve as an informational hub about its multi-award-winning Southern Gospel artists.
  • The Lesters have set a world record. They have recently been verified as the oldest continually running music group of any genre. They are working with Guinness Book of World Records.
  • The Old Path's Jeremy Peace recently experienced some health complications due medication changes. He had seizures on his way to meet the bus last weekend. Thankfully his wife was driving at the time. He spent several days in the hospital, but is released and feeling well now!
Anything I've missed?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Is the Season for Believing - Concert with Karen Peck and NewRiver - Concert Recap

Last weekend was full of gospel music. After Friday's Jubilee concert, I went to Stuttgart on Saturday night to see Karen Peck and New River.

I always love seeing Karen Peck and New River, but Saturday night was such a special service. One thing you can always count on with this group is that they are not afraid to change things up to follow God’s leading and let the service go where it needs to. Saturday night was no exception.

Here’s a list of what they sang –
Karen Peck and New River
  • “Joy Has Come to the World” – Great to hear them start with a Christmas song from their Georgia Mountain Christmas CD. 
  • “I Wanna Know How It Feels” – It’s great to hear them staging this song again. Karen sings the first verse, and Jeff is featured on the second. 
  • “On the Banks of the Promised Land” 
  • “I’ll Fly Away” 
  • “Sustaining Grace” 
  • “Revival” 
  • “We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown” 
  • “You Did It Anyway” – Jeff talked about his pastor before he sang this song. He passed away last March. He always read the book Cosmic Christmas around this time of year. Jeff said that they had been at his home church recently, and his pastor’s wife gave him the copy of that book that he always read from. He talked about how special it was for him to have that. 
  • “Finish Well” – Karen told a story of a track team that had been working all year long for the biggest race of the year. One of the runners blew out his knee just before the race. The coach recruited the water boy to run in his place. He protested to the coach, but the coach told him to just finish the race. The water boy was the last one to come in, far behind the other runners. As he got to the finish line, he fell over into the coach’s arms saying he knew he couldn’t do it. The coach said that he didn’t ask the boy to win, he just asked him to finish. She said sometimes the race of life is hard, but if we do the best we can do in life and keep moving forward may we all finish well.
That song closed the first half. During the concert, there was a small girl who would walk into the aisle and just watch the group as they sang. She never said anything or made a disruption, but watched them. It was precious. Karen pointed her out to the audience midway through the concert saying how she was just a little angel there watching them sing.

The group had two guests with them on stage during the first half. One is becoming more of a regular member than a guest – Kari Gooch, Karen’s daughter. The other was a member of the group and that was piano player Craig Nobles. He’s from Arkansas and played for the group for six years. He joined them playing for them that night.

The started the second half with Christmas music and did a medley right in front of the stage of “Silent Night,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Away in a Manger.” The front row of the church was full of little kids, so Karen went over while singing and held the microphone up to the kids and let them join in. Well, a few more kids came from the back of the church to the front row because they wanted to sing too! It was so cute! Karen stayed with the microphone up there with them and sang “Jingle Bells” and then started “Amazing Grace.” She then sang with them “Praise God” to the same tune. She tried to start the last verse of “Amazing Grace” but quickly discovered the kids didn’t know that one, so she went back to the first! Haha! It was such a sweet moment, and I know those kids loved every minute of it!!

New River kicked things off again with Jeff singing “Mary Had a Baby.” Love that I got to hear this one live!

They ended the service with “Everybody’s Going Through Something” and then “Four Days Late” before the invitation. It was a true altar call invitation to close the service. Incredible service!!

And it was a service that no one wanted to end! The pastor asked the group to come back up for another song. Well, one song turned into three more!!! They sang “Christmas is the Season for Believing,” “Light in the Window” and “Joy in my Heart.”

We all left encouraged and uplifted. Christmas is the season for believing, and sometimes it takes the innocence of a child to brighten your heart and remind what this season is all about.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Top Moment #6 of 2014 - Something Beautiful Women's Conference

This summer, I had the chance to attend the Something Beautiful women’s conference in Nashville
hosted by Melissa Brady. It was an incredible weekend that definitely makes the list of top moments of 2014!

It’s so hard to pick just one moment from the entire weekend to single out! There were four sessions of music, laughter, powerful testimonies and Godly teaching and inspiration. Special guests and speakers included Alison Durham Speer, the Talleys, Tim Parton, Vicki Booth (and Michael), Anne Beiler and a few more!

It was such an encouraging weekend, hearing what struggles people had overcome and how God had helped them through it all. If you get the chance to go next year, don’t miss it! We met ladies from all over the U.S. there and even a few men too!

You can read the full recaps of the weekend here and here.

I have to say one of the takeaways from the weekend was how precious Jim and Melissa Brady were when they do ministry together. It was so sweet to see this couple lead the conference together, sing together and love on people while they were there. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the Jim Brady Trio!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Jubilee Christmas Concert Recap - Booth Brothers - Legacy Five - Greater Vision

I love all things Christmas, so when the three top gospel groups come close to my area on a Christmas tour, it's a winning combination. Of course, I'm talking about the Jubilee Christmas tour with the Booth Brothers, Greater Vision and Legacy Five. I had wanted to see these three together for a few years now, but never could make it when they were close. That changed on Friday night when the tour came to Monroe, Louisiana.

Jubilee Gang - Legacy Five, Booth Brothers and Greater Vision
I was really impressed by the set and lighting that they had on stage. Christmas trees and poinsettias decorated were all along the stage. Throughout the concert, there was a main screen behind the guys with photos and videos that matched the songs or stories that helped add to atmosphere and some comedic moments.

To start the concert, all three concerts took the stage for "Christmas Jubilee." Then, they sang "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" and "O Come All Ye Faithful." On the latter, the groups stepped out and each took a bit to sing so you got to hear the groups individually for the first time. 

Then, they started highlighting more individuals and groups. Chris Allman was the first solo with "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

Legacy Five sang "I Still Like to Go to Grandma's House for Christmas." Then, Gerald talked about listening to Christmas music at his grandparents' house, and they had all the old crooner albums. He said that the Jubilee tour had its own resident crooner with Ronnie Booth. He pulled Michael and Jim up to back him up. Then, Rodney Griffin partially through the song came out "playing" a sax. He went around the stage with it and then to the back where it showed his silhouette on the screen behind Ronnie. It was hilarious seeing all he did behind them!

Matt Fouch, the only bass singer on the tour, also sang the beloved Christmas song "White Christmas." I had an idea of what was coming on this song, but it was still one of the funniest parts of the night. Scott Howard interrupted Gerald talking about how they needed snow for this song. Being from Monroe himself, he knew that snow was a rarity down there. He wanted to help them out with some snow during the song. Scott invented a redneck snowblower machine which blew toilet paper. At about midway into the song, Scott came out and made it "snow" on Matt and then he also turned it on piano player Trey Ivey. Check out this video from a previous concert to see what I mean!

Another funny highlight of the first half was the guys' Southern Gospel spin on the "12 Days of Christmas" complete with boots, CD specials, Red Back hymnals and five bad toupees!!

Trey Ivey played a medley of Christmas favorites that included “Frosty,” “Rudolph” and “Let It Snow.” To end the first half he started playing “Oh Holy Night.” Legacy Five joined him midway through and then the group all joined in. It was an incredible moment and way to end the first half!! Legacy Five kicked off the second half with “Christmas With a Capital C.” Gerald sang “There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays” followed by Chris featured on “I’ll be Home for Christmas.”

The second half included a couple more comedic surprises. The Booth Brothers sang a Western style song – “Don’t Snow Me In,” which was only a few words different from “Don’t Fence Me In.” Of course Michael to get in the cowboy spirit got the guys cowboy hats. His was red, and the screen showed a picture of Michael in his red hat next to Jesse the cowgirl from Toy Story with the same hat! Haha!

Gerald set up the next funny moment by saying that there were three cousins who wanted to sing for Jim Brady because they wanted to be in his trio even though the group has been named. They were in Monroe hunting and stopped by. Let’s just say they looked a lot like three singers who had been on the stage earlier, and it might not be who you would think! They sang “I’m Going Hunting for Christmas,” and it was hilarious!!

The groups sang two songs, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Carol of the Bells,” from their a cappella Christmas CD they released last year. Musically those were the highlights for me. Absolutely amazing to just the 11 voices!!

Trey Ivey was featured on “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” and of course to the guys’ dismay he merged it with a classical piece. ☺

Jim Brady was featured on the Gerald Wolfe- penned “And It Came to Pass.” Great song that I hadn’t heard before! The Booth Brothers also sang “At the Right Time” and then Ronnie read the Christmas story from Luke 2. Scott Fowler then came out and sang “Welcome Holy Child,” another great moment!!

It had been a full night of Christmas music, and that was the plan. However, as Gerald was getting ready to wind things down and close a lady toward the front of the audience made a request. She was 90+ and wanted to hear Michael Booth sing “Look for Me at Jesus’ Feet.” So they obliged.

The groups closed the night with another song from their a cappella CD simply entitled “The Benediction.”

It was simply an incredible night with a lot of laughs, tons of Christmas spirit and great music!! If this tour is close to your area next tear, don’t miss it. Even if you have to drive a few hours like I did, it’s well worth it!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Moment #7 of 2014 - Music and Madness - Mark Lowry and the Martins

One of my favorite concerts from this year was when Mark Lowry and the Martins joined forces for the Music and Madness Tour. The whole concert deserves top moment honors. It was an incredible night of laughter, tears and great music. You can read the full recap of the night here.

I’ll be honest some of my favorite moments of the night was hearing them tell stories – stories of traveling and singing with other artists like Bill Gaither and the Happy Goodman Family.

One of the most memorable moments of the night is when they told the story of how the Martins were discovered. The Martins were at a Gaither taping and Bill asked them to come up and sing before the artists broke for lunch. They sang “He Leadeth Me” a cappella. They played that very first performance on the screens and then the Martins finished the song live. Incredible moment!! Here’s a clip of that (excuse the bad camera work by yours truly, but it will give you a glimpse of the concert).

Saturday, December 13, 2014

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

Here are some news and tidbit items from this week in gospel music -
  • The Harper Agency has added the Collingsworth Family to its roster.
  • Declaration Trio announced that its new name will be Allegiance.
  • Prayers requested for Ed Hill who is suffering from complications after surgery. 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, December 12, 2014

#8 Top Moment of 2014 - Mylon Hayes Family - NQC

The countdown continues with #8 which also was comes via webcast. This year at National Quartet Convention, some groups had one song to sing on Main Stage, one chance to make an impression. One group that stood out above the rest with just one song was the Mylon Hayes Family. The family took the stage and sang "Little Is Much" and made it a highlight of the evening. The group later in the week took home the award for Favorite New Group. With one song that has been sung by numerous groups before, this family's performance stood out above the rest!

Here's a clip of the group singing the song they sang that night. There was not a clip online from NQC, but you can see how well this group sings the song and how it made the list of top moments of the year!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kyle Boreing - Brand New Day EP - CD Review

Kyle Boreing is not really a new name in gospel music. He's one of the contributors to Musicscribe. He's also a church music director, which I didn't realize how talented he was until listening to Brand New Day. He released this EP last month that is definitely worth checking out!

"I Need You All the Time" is an upbeat start to the project. Great message to the song. We all need to be reminded of how much we need God all the time.

"When We Pray" is one that you might recognize and probably the most "Southern Gospel" song of the project. Love that Kyle chose to tackle this song. This is probably my favorite of the EP.

Kyle shows off a little country flair with "Sanctified." "All of Me" takes a turn to praise and worship. It definitely sounds like something you hear in a lot of church worship services. "Show Your Power" reminds me a early Contemporary Christian.

"The Maker of the Road" is another highlight of the EP. This song is stylistically very different than anything else, but shows how Kyle can make his voice work for different styles. It almost has an 80s sound to it. The message of this song really makes it a stand out for me. The Maker of the Road knows exactly where we are going, and we can hang on to that truth. The song also includes part of Michael W. Smith's "Step By Step."

This EP is definitely different than your typical Southern Gospel release, but it's great that Kyle was able to include a variety of styles on an EP. It's definitely worth checking out! Look forward to hearing more from him in the future!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Top Moment #9 - Amber Nelon Thompson Received Female Vocalist of the Year

The #9 top moment of 2014 came via webcast. Amber Nelon Thompson is no doubt one of the bright young stars of gospel music. She has been singing full time with her family since she was 13. She has held the soprano spot very comfortably since that time.

This year at the Absolutely Gospel Music Awards, Amber received her first singing award. She was awarded Female Vocalist of the Year. It was a touching acceptance speech paying tribute to her family, the other nominees and her late grandfather Rex Nelon. The award was definitely deserved and Amber was, in my opinion, overdue to be recognized for her talents. So for the #9 moment of the year, here's Amber's speech from the Nelons' Facebook page!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Declaration Trio Announces New Name - Allegiance

The trio formerly known as Declaration announced a new name today.

Here's the full release - 

Allegiance - Jake Sammons, T.J. Evans and
Kasey Kemp
NASHVILLE, TN - Today, the group known as Declaration - Kasey Kemp, Jake Sammons, and TJ Evans - announce their new name. Effective immediately, the talented trio will officially be known as Allegiance.

Kasey Kemp and Jake Sammons began this group over three years ago. At the time, searches by their attorney found that no businesses in the state of Tennessee or nationally were using the name. Recently, they were alerted that a secular group had trademarked the name, and they would have to cease using it. Thus, a search for a new name began.

Announcing their situation via video and asking for friends help via social media, over 500 name suggestions were sent in from all over the United States and even the United Kingdom. After much prayer and legal counsel, the group has changed the name.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with support from our friends during this time,” Kasey Kemp stated. “We’re so thankful for the support from all of our friends across the country and know that God has great things in store for Allegiance. He has blessed us, and we know he will continue.”

With a brand new album in the works, the name change, and an ever-growing calendar on the books, the group is looking forward to an exciting 2015!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Top Moment of 2014 - #10 with Booth Brothers and Triumphant Quartet

It's time to start the annual countdown of top moments from 2014. These are moments that I have seen live either via webcast or in person from concerts and events. Some are fun, and some are serious. Some have special meaning for me more than anyone else, but all are worth highlighting as we wrap up 2014.

The #10 spot is a two-in-one and definitely a fun moment, not a serious one! When I was at Silver Dollar City for Southern Gospel Picnic, Duane Garren teased to something one night that was going to happen that had never been done at a gospel concert before!

That night Triumphant Quartet was there. They had been challenged to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and decided to take the challenge in front of a packed house at Silver Dollar City that night. This is just a a very short clip of it!

After the challenge, they issued it to the Booth Brothers to be taken also at Silver Dollar City the night they sang in Echo Hollow! And of course, the Booth Brothers accepted the challenge!

Thanks guys for a fun moment for the festival and for the year! And this year's #10 moment for 2014!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 5

Here are some news and recent tidbits from this week in gospel music -

  • Will Lane has returned to the Anchormen as the group's bass singer. Read more.
  • Steve French announced his retirement from gospel music. Read more.
  • Jason Crabb is doing some select Christmas tour dates with country singer Trace Adkins. 
  • Congratulations to Trey Ivey and his bride to be! He got engaged around Thanksgiving Day.
  • Tim Rackley's (Old Paths) daughter will be having a kidney transplant on December 18. Please pray for the family.
  • Congratulations to the Gaither Vocal Band and the Martin's on receiving Grammy nominations yesterday.
  • Abraham Productions announced a new event in Ohio for 2015. Find out more at
Anything I've missed?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Fun Clip Friday - O Holy Night with Legacy Five

With the holidays approaching, I thought a Christmas clip would be appropriate for today! Here's a clip recently of Legacy Five singing "O Holy Night," one of my favorite Christmas songs! Enjoy for today's Fun Clip Friday!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Will Lane Returns to the Anchormen

Bass singer Will Lane has returned to the Anchormen. He was with the group from 2003 to 2006. His first date with the group will be on December. 27 in Lithia Springs, Georgia.

Terry Carter, baritone, said, "We couldn't be happier about what's happening with this quartet right now. As with so many of the events that take place on this journey of life, we see the hand of God in every aspect of the recent additions to this group. He is an on-time God and this is a special time for the Anchormen. Even when we experience change, we still hold to the unchanging hand of Him who knows the plans He has for us; plans to prosper us in Him and to see lives touched through music and ministry. I'm not sure when we've ever had a better group of guys with strong talent and tremendous hearts for ministry. We are all just plain delighted about this season for the Anchormen."

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Prayers for Tim Rackley's Daughter

This summer, Tim Rackley's (Old Paths) daughter Brianna went into kidney failure. She was diagnosed  with a rare kidney condition Nephronophthisis. It's a genetic condition that causes rapid onset renal failure. She started dialysis immediately with the hope of having a kidney transplant soon.

The Old Paths announced this week that Brianna would be having the transplant on Dec. 18. Her mom was a match to donate a kidney. Please keep Brianna and the family in your prayers.

The kidney transplant and medical treatment after is extremely costly. If you would like to help with expenses, you can go to to donate online.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Steve French Retires From Gospel Music

Steve French, founding member of the Kingdom Heirs, issued this statement today -

"After being in full time Southern Gospel music for 30 years, I feel it's time for me to close this chapter of my life, and begin the next chapter to see what God has in store. Gospel music has taken me places I would have otherwise not been able to go, and meet the wonderful people I've met over the years. It's been an incredible journey and the Lord has really blessed me. I'd always dreamed of retiring at 55, and guess what.. I turned 55 in September!

If it's one thing I've learned through all of this, it's that God will give you the desires of your heart - maybe not in the way you pictured it, but He will give them to you in the way that He sees fit.

Thank you all for your support, and please continue to support the guys now more than ever. The Father is doing a great work in them, and I have a feeling it's about to get even better!

As for me, I plan to travel, and maybe look into building a new home somewhere out west. You never know what the next 55 will hold! Ah, the joys of retirement!"

Here's more on the future of the Kingdom Heirs from the group's Facebook page -

For the six active members of The Kingdom Heirs, it’s business as usual. Piano player Andy Stringfield has been pulling double-duty for the quartet, filling in the baritone vocals from his piano. Regarding the new vocal lineup, bassist and now sole-manager Kreis French has confidence in the group’s current voices. “Andy will continue to sing baritone for the foreseeable future and we all know he’s capable of continuing to do it at a high level.”

The Kingdom Heirs are in the early stages of their Christmas season at Dollywood – a schedule they intended to complete. “We are in conversations with the team at Dollywood and everyone wants to continue this relationship – for this season and the next,” said Kreis.

By now, those conversations must sound more like old friends than negotiations – the quartet and theme park are scheduled to celebrate their 30th year together in 2015.

Following year’s end at Dollywood, the group will gear up for their annual Winter Tour beginning late January. “As a group, we’ll do what The Kingdom Heirs have always done – and that’s hit the road when Dollywood is closed,” commented Kreis. “The only difference now – is I’m booking all the dates and doing most of the driving.”

With change comes an inevitable season of uncertainty, but The Kingdom Heirs are doing their best to see the road lying just ahead of them.

To see when you can visit with The Kingdom Heirs, be sure to get latest schedule from the quartet or from Dollywood. 2015 Winter Tour dates will be announced and posted to the website as they become available. For booking information, contact Kreis French.

On the Couch with Fouch and Santa Claus

No it's not Friday, but an interview with Santa Claus is just too good to wait until Fun Clip Friday! Matt Fouch of Legacy Five does a great interview series each month, and this month is with none other than the big guy himself. It's definitely a must watch to get you in the Christmas spirit! :)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Fun Clip Friday - Who Can Do Anything? - Cathedrals Family Reunion

Happy Friday to you all! I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and are still enjoying time with family and friends today.

Today's Fun Clip Friday highlights a moment from the Cathedrals Family Reunion from Ft. Worth, Texas just a few weeks ago. Pat Barker joins the Cathedral alumni for "Who Can Do Anything?" Enjoy!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers! When I started this adventure more than two years ago, I never thought about the way it would enrich my life and all the great friends I would make through it. So today when I'm counting my blessings I am thankful for all of you!

On this day, let's all take time to pause and thank God for the many blessings He has given us.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas Playlist Take 2

A couple of years ago, I did a post on favorite Christmas songs to compile a Christmas playlist. I've edited my list a little bit and am sharing it again. All of these aren't your traditional Christmas songs, but ones that I enjoy from various artists. Some of these have been released on a album while others are just ones that I have seen them sing live.

Here's my list -

1. "O Holy Night" - TaRanda Greene (hands down, my favorite version of this song)
2. "Glory to God in the Highest" - Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
3. "Mary Did You Know" - Mark Lowry (With so many versions, I still love hearing the writer sing his own song.)
4. "The Greatest Gift of All" - Jeff and Sheri Easter
5. "Christmas Shoes" - Brian Free and Assurance
6.  "Don't Save It All for Christmas Day" - Jason Crabb
7. "Mary Had a Baby" - Karen Peck and New River
8. "Mary's Little Boy Child/ Jesus, What a Wonderful Child" - Collingsworth Family
9. "Carol of the Bells" - Sisters
10. "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem" - Mark Trammell Quartet
11. "What Child Is This?" - The Isaacs
12. "Grace Has a Face (Hope Has Hands)" - Greater Vision
13. "We Believe" - Spoken 4 Quartet
14. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" -  Ball Brothers (not your typical version)
15. "Joy, Joy" - David Phelps
16. "Light a Candle" - The Nelons
17. "Carol of Bells" - Gold City
18. "Strange Way to Save a World" - Ethan Whisnant
19. "Come and Worship Medley" - Talley Trio
20. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Madison and Shannon

Bonus - "12 Days of Christmas (Southern Gospel style)" - Jubilee

What would you add? What are your must listen to Southern Gospel Christmas songs?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - November 22

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

  • Congratulations to Brooklyn and William Blair (Collingsworth Family) on the birth of their first child Emma Olivia. She was born on Monday.
  • Les Butler has announced changes that he will begin focusing more on his personal ministry and preaching. He is also reviving Butler Music Group and Family Music Group. Read more.
  • The Music City Show started its third season this week with a Crabby Family Reunion show.
  • Beginning December 31, McCray Dove will be stepping out as a solo artist. He will be traveling as McCray Dove and the Dove Brothers Band.

Anything I'm missing?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fun Clip Friday - Joseph Habedank

Today's Fun Clip Friday isn't the normal lighthearted kind of clip, but it's one that I definitely think is worth highlighting. Joseph Habedank was interviewed by Fox News earlier this week on how he overcame his addiction to prescription drugs. Joseph has been interviewed by several nationwide news outlets about his struggle, but I think that's the biggest platform yet. It's incredible how he's turned his life around and openly sharing about his addiction and using it to help others and glorify God. So that's why I think it's worthy of today's Fun Clip Friday! Enjoy!

Watch it here!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Adopted - Butler, Hughes & Hayes - CD Review

Butler, Hughes & Hayes is a quartet based on North Carolina. The group consists of Michael Hayes, Lamar Butler, Darren Hughes and Matt Parker. BHH has been primarily a regional artist, but looking to  branch out and increase their reach in Southern Gospel. I have to say with this album, their latest album Adopted definitely will help them take their place in industry.

The project was produced by Wesley Pritchard. One of the most impressive things about Adopted is that most of the songs were written by members of the group. Darren wrote four songs, and Michael wrote three of the songs.

The project starts with "The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed)" which is one of the standout songs. The group really shows off their harmonies with this one.

"He Came as a Child" is another highlight. This song is great for the Christmas season, but definitely is not labeled as "Christmas." The first verse focuses on the birth and the second verse on Christ's death. The song really seems to be more in their wheelhouse style wise.

The title track of the project is a sweet, heartfelt song. It was written by Darren about the adoption of his daughter. He and his wife adopted Sophia from Nanjing, China in 2011. The first verse talks about an orphan on the other side of the world and the second verse talks about how we are adopted children of God.

"Marriage Supper" is one of the uptempo songs. It's definitely one I found myself putting on repeat! Great fun song that I can see being great in a live concert setting! The country style "Jesus Is Better" is another mid tempo song that is a highlight and would be great live. It's repetitive chorus is one that I can see people singing along with live.

There are a couple of familiar songs like "He Washed My Eyes With Tears" and "Jesus Is Lord" that was an Andre Crouch song. The group definitely puts their own spin on the latter. They get some help from a background choir to really give it a stylistic contrast from most of the other songs.

One thing I also really liked was that in the CD jacket, all the songs have scripture references beside them. I think it shows that the group was very conscious about song choice when they do this!

If BHH was new to you like the group was to me, they are definitely worth giving a listen! I think this project shows that only good things are ahead!

Song List -
1. "The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed)
2. "Jesus Is Lord"
3. "He Came as a Child"
4. "The Dearest Friend I Ever Had"
5. "Adopted"
6. "Marriage Supper"
7. "Jesus Will Outshine Them All"
8. "Carry the Glorious Gospel"
9. "Jesus Is Better"
10. "I Love You"
11. "He Washed My Eyes With Tears"
12. "Around the Cross"

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time - Christmas Album Releases 2014

The ads have already started, the halls are being decked and soon the bell ringers will be out in full force. Yes, Christmas is just around the corner, and I love it! Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I've already started listening to Christmas music, so I thought today we could look at Christmas music you could add to your collection this year!

Here are some new Christmas releases this year for Southern Gospel (Please let me know if I'm forgetting anyone) -

  • Mark Trammell Quartet and the Whisnants - Home for Christmas (already released)
  • The Isaacs - An Isaacs Family Christmas Special DVD (released)
  • Tribute Quartet - The Thought of Christmas
  • Steve Ladd - A Christmas Hymn
  • Wayne Haun - Sentimental Season

Monday, November 17, 2014

Prayers Requested for Tracy Stuffle

Libbi Perry Stuffle posted the following early this morning on Facebook -

It's been a while since I have asked for prayer for Tracy. Today (Monday), he goes for a CT scan and then to Dr. Ulm his neurosurgeon for a check up. Tracy's been having some spells of repeated question asking for a few weeks. We first thought it was caused by the antidepressant meds he was taking because it all started about two weeks of being on the meds. But, we have taken him off the meds and no change. He's also had a UTI for a bit and he's been on antibiotics for that. So, with all this, Dr. Ulm is gonna check the shunt in Tracy's head to see if it may need adjusting to a lower level. Or to see if it may be stopped up or something else. Tracy is very nervous and has been crying because he doesn't won't to have to go through any more problems as in the past. I am asking that you please pray for God to give him peace and calmness! Also, I am expecting a simple fix to this in the name of Jesus!!! Tracy's CT scan appointment is at 11:45am ct and his appointment with Dr. Ulm is at 12:45pm. I will update you all as soon as we have some answers. Thanks for taking time out to pray for my sweet man!!!

Tracy suffered from a massive stroke in January 2013. He spent months in ICU. He had five cerebral brain hemorrhages and most people don't survive one, but God had His hand on Tracy. He has been back on the road singing with the Perrys since earlier this year. Please keep him in your prayers today.

Update -


CT of shunt and brain looked great!! No blockage, no malfunction, no infection!!! Dr. Ulm said, places that were damaged from bleeds and stroke were healed! The repeating question asking he said could be a good sign that the brain is reconnecting and still healing. He said, Tracy looked great!!! He is sending Tracy to a psychiatrist to have him put Tracy on a anti-depressant that will help him, but yet calm his mind down without knocking him out! He said, people who were inside thinkers before stroke, sometimes come back being outside thinkers and this could be what's happening. Everything is waking up.

He also said the UTI issue is probably coming from the catheter not being changed but once a month (Home Health's policies!) He said a catheter should be changed every 24 to 72 hours! He thinks that's why Tracy hasn't been able to get rid of the on going UTI. So, he's sending Tracy to see a Urologist next Monday to see what they think is our next step in clearing this up and getting Tracy back on track.

Tracy was sooooo relieved!!!! He was also so excited to get to see Dr. Ulm again and show him how he has progressed since last year!

Thank you to everyone who prayed for Tracy and for me also!!! I will never ever be able to ever thank y'all enough for the love, prayers and support you all have given to us!!!!! We are abundantly blessed with THE greatest friends and family ever!!!!!! We love you all!!!!

Dear God,
Once again, You proved Yourself to us!!!!! You don't have to, but You do!!! ALL praise, honor and glory is placed on You!!!! None of this would be possible without YOU!!!! I love YOU!!!!!!! Thanks is NEVER enough!!!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - November 15

Here are news and tidbits from this week in Southern Gospel music -

  • Canton Junction announced the departure of Aaron Crabb yesterday. He was a founding member of the group. Aaron and his wife Amanda relocated to Nashville earlier this year to pastor and found Restoring Hope Church. 
  • Brian Free and Assurance's "Say Amen" was voted the #1 song by the Singing News magazine for 2014. 
  • The Old Paths will have the #1 song to start the new year. "Love Them to Jesus" will be #1 in the January issue of the Singing News.
  • Michael Combs was admitted to the hospital on Thursday afternoon. He was suffering from severe abdominal pains. Doctors discovered that part of his intestinal tract was twisted and not receiving blood supply. They were able to correct it and continue to monitor him but are pleased with his recovery so far.
  • Kelly Nelon Clark is taping the TV show "Resurrection" next week. The drama airs on ABC on Sunday nights. Kelly has appeared as an extra in other shows and has filmed small parts in movies. I will try to let you know when this will air!
  • Karlye and Lexy Hopper (Dean and Kim Hopper's daughters) were involved in a car accident earlier this week. It was a minor accident but neither girl had broken bones, only bruises and a bit shaken up from the accident. 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fun Clip Friday - Chris Allman and friends

Chris Allman of Greater Vision has been posting short video clips with various artists on YouTube recently! I'm not sure what app he's using on his phone, but it definitely makes for an entertaining interview. He's talked to Mark Trammell, Matt Fouch, Trey Ivey and many more. He's posted several of them but I'm just selecting a couple for today's Fun Clip Friday post. Enjoy!

If you want to see all of them, go to Chris' YouTube channel!

Singing "Hound Dog" with Ronnie Booth

Singing Bass with Paul Harkey

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Seeking the Old Paths - Concert Review

Last weekend ended my streak of no concerts thankfully! The entire month of October I wasn't able to
attend a single concert which is extremely unusual. But Old Paths were only about 20 minutes from me last Saturday night so I got the chance to see them for the second time in full concert this year!

They started the night off with "Ever Since That Wonderful Day" and then sang "I'm Saved," which featured Doug. That's probably one of my favorites that they sing! Then, bass singer Daniel sang "God's Gonna Do the Same" from their latest release These Truths. He has such an incredible talent to only be in his early 20s.

The Old Paths - Josh Townsend, Jeremy Peace, Tim Rackley,
Doug Roark and Daniel Ashmore
They sang one of their number 1 songs next, "God's Great." Tim sings this song. I know they sing the same songs night after night, but I couldn't help but think of all Tim and his family has been through in the past few months. It takes incredible faith to step out on stage night after night and sing about the greatness of God when you and your family are facing difficult circumstances. It's a great song, but when you think about the message and the emotions that go behind it, it makes it stand out even more!!

Jeremy then sang the classic "Oh What a Savior." I know a lot of tenors sing this song, but he's probably one of my favorites to hear! He had the crowd on its feet! Piano player Josh Townsend who just turned 17 was then featured on "I Saw the Light." His ability to play reflects anything but that of a 17 year old! What a great addition to the quartet!

Doug talked about where the name "Old Paths" came from. He joked that not but one of the group was old, pointing out that he was in fact the oldest member of the group. The name actually came from Jeremiah 6:16 that says to stand in the ways and ask for the "old paths."

He introduced the group and then sang "Closer to my God" and "Love Them to Jesus." The latter is another favorite of mine! Great message and reminder to all Christians! Doug then gave his testimony of how he turned his life around from being a drug dealer to a gospel singer and preacher. He was thankful for the man who "loved him to Jesus" and who cared enough about him to invite him to church where his life was forever changed. If you haven't heard his full testimony before, attend an Old Paths concert as soon as you can! It's a powerful testimony of how God can turn your life around!

They ended the first half with "Long Live the King." Love this song!! Great choice to end the half on!

They sang just a few more in the second half including "Battle Stand" (another number 1 for the group), "I Know a Man Who Can" and "He's All I Need" for the invitation. Just before the invitation, Doug said there's a big difference in knowing Him and knowing about Him. He knew about Him for a long time before he actually knew Him. Along with that, there's a big difference in knowing and believing. Believing takes action. If you really believe in Jesus, you'll do something about it!

They ended the night with "I've Passed Over" which had the audience on its feet clapping along! It was a great night with the Old Paths!!

At the end of the concert, they gave an update on Tim's daughter Brianna. She is 16 and went into kidney failure at the end of July due to a kidney disease Nephronophthisis. Doug asked people to pray for her and her healing. Tim is actually hoping to be a donor for his daughter. Keep Brianna and the family in your prayers. If you are interested in helping with their medical expenses, go to Their medical expenses over Brianna's lifetime are going to be overwhelming, so even if you can't help, pray that God will provide for this family!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

TaRanda Greene - Stronger - CD Review

TaRanda Greene is one of the most powerful vocalists in Christian music today. She is also incredibly versatile. While fans may have fallen in love with her singing Southern Gospel, her latest solo project proves, she can sing any style and sing it well! Her project
Stronger really showcases all TaRanda can do from a typical country ballad to an upbeat Christian R&B soulful song.

Stronger speaks to where TaRanda is in her life and ministry now. Her life and ministry has completely changed in the past little over four years with the death of her husband Tony and her stepping out as a soloist. Most of the songs on this project are not new, but really fit her and the theme of the project. She has proven that she is stronger and her voice is better than ever!

The title track is one of my favorites on the project. It has a great message that no matter what we face, we are stronger than we think we are. God never promises an easy life, but in Him we can overcome impossible situations.

"This Is Where Amazing Happens" has to be a highlight for me. This style for me is where TaRanda is most comfortable and really in her wheelhouse. She's backed up by a choir. Again, the song keeps up the message from the previous song "Stronger" that when you think you're at the end of your rope, with God this is where "amazing" can happen.

"Deepest Praise" keeps with that same message. It starts out with the simple arrangement and just piano accompaniment. It builds a little toward the end but really doesn't build so much that her voice isn't at the forefront. It showcases her voice and the vulnerability of the lyrics. To me, this seems to be really her testimony of where she's been.

"Shackles" is a song made popular by Mary, Mary. I love TaRanda's take on this song. It's a fun song that you will want to turn up! "A Little More Jesus" is another fun one that

Switching gears, I also love that she pulled out a Willie Nelson song "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain." I believe I read or heard somewhere that this song was in tribute to Tony. It's a sweet song with an incredible heart behind it.

"If I Could" is another excellent choice. It's easy to see that this one is for her girls. It's an incredibly tender ballad with such heart behind it.

"All That I Need" is another song where she's backed up a choir. I think this is one that really shows the power of her voice. It's another highlight for me!

I definitely contend that 2014 has been a year for soloists. Add TaRanda's album to the must buy list of the year! With the versatility of the song selection, everyone can appreciate just what an incredible instrument her voice is and there will be something for everyone! The project released yesterday, so pick up a copy today!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - November 8

Here are news and tidbit items from this week in Southern Gospel -

  • The Bowling Family has added two new band members. Blake Bowling (Mike's nephew) and Logan Rodgers (who is from Arkansas) both 21 will be joining the group. Read more here
  • The new Booth Brothers and the new Jim Brady Trio will both debut at Legacy Five's New Year's Celebration in Nashville.
  • Daywind Publishing has welcomed Gerald Crabb to its talented roster of writers. Gerald had been with Daywind previously for 10 years.
  • The Diamond Awards were this week. I couldn't find a full list of winners, but Karen Peck and New River won for album and song of the year with Revival. Also, 11th Hour picked up its first award for Sunrise Artist of the Year. Once I have a full list of winners, I will post a link!
Anything that I have missed?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fun Clip Friday - The Allen Family

The Allen Family was recently featured on TLC on Home Sweet Bus. The special originally aired last week, but it will reair Monday night in case you missed it! 

Here's a look at the program for today's Fun Clip Friday!!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

When Lyrics Speak - The Promise by the Martins

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts. I referenced this a few weeks ago, but life has just been a bit busier lately, some big changes, but good changes!

If you've been a reader for a while, you know that the Martins had a tremendous influence on me. If it hadn't been for a concert with the Martins more than 10 years ago, this blog wouldn't exist, and I wouldn't know the genre of Southern Gospel or at least wouldn't know as much about it! One of my favorite songs of theirs is "The Promise." As I was driving the other day, this song came on. It seemed to be such a reminder of just how amazing God has been during this season.

For about a year, I've been, let's just say, less than satisfied with my job. It's not that it was a horrible experience coming to work each day. And I still enjoyed what I did, but there were circumstances that caused me to be in the market for something different. A couple of opportunities have come along during that time, but I stayed in my job for one reason or another. But that's about to change next week.

Life can often be one big waiting game. I've found that often it's not the end result where God teaches you, but it's been in that period of waiting and the uncertainty. It's trusting in His promise and that all is made perfect in His timing. During those waiting times, one thing is certain -

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." - 2 Peter 3:9

He doesn't promise us an easy road. We'll face fear and loneliness, but God promises to always be with us. Whether it's a job situation, family or an internal struggle, we can rely on His promise. He'll never leave us or forsake us if we are His children. His love can be an anchor for us when we need something to grasp. When things don't make sense, remember that His "ways confound the wise." He sees every tear and hears every cry.

The promises in His Word are true, and we can rest in that fact. I also love the line from the song that talks about not making this world our home. When the "big" things of life come, we can let that consume us. I'm thankful that the "big" stuff of this life, don't compare to what awaits us. This is all temporary. This world is not our home, we are destined for something so much better.

This song is an incredible reminder that when life is uncertain and when you're facing betrayal or circumstances that don't make sense, He is there. His grace is always sufficient. Rest in His promise today no matter what you are facing.

Monday, November 3, 2014

You Don't Cry Out Loud - Lily Isaacs Autobiography

Lily Isaacs released her autobiography earlier this year. Her story has always been an interesting one. They announce on stage almost every night that Lily is a Jewish girl from the Bronx New York who became the matriarch to a bluegrass, gospel singing family that now lives in Tennessee.

Her parents were Holocaust survivors, and they story alone is fascinating. "Would anyone have believed this kind of future was possible if they had been my mother standing in a line of Jews walking toward a gas chamber just before her friend puller her aside? Would anyone have thought a future was possible if they would have been there to watch my father bleeding on the ground in the concentration camp, the guard poised to strike again?" Lily asks these questions toward the end of her book.

The book covers her parents surviving the Holocaust and Lily's childhood and coming to America. She talks about her parents' relationship and her relationship with them, how she struggled to fit in and find her place as an immigrant Jewish girl.

Lily chronicles her love of music and how she started singing with friend Maria and actually had a deal on Columbia Records as Lily and Maria. It was when she was singing with her that she met Joe Isaacs. Lily shares about their dating and relationship and how they fell in love.

It wasn't until after they were married that Lily found her faith. Joe's brother, Delmer, died suddenly and at his funeral, Lily found Jesus, and her life was forever changed.

Lily also shares about her health struggles with scoliosis and then breast cancer. She opens up about her fears and the challenges she faced.

This book was a great read. Lily really opened up her life and shared with readers the chapters of her life, the best of times and the most difficult times. I appreciated how honest she was in her writing and the details she was willing to share. I strongly encourage you to check this book out. It's available on the Isaacs website or major online retailers.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - November 1

Happy First Day of November! I can't believe the year is almost over! Here are news and tidbits from this week in gospel music -

  • Troy Peach has returned to the Perrys as baritone. He started traveling with the group again this weekend.
  • Declaration needs your help deciding on a new name. Email name suggestions to Anyone who suggests a name will be entered to win tickets to NQC 2015. Entires must be received by Monday, Nov. 3.
  • Justin Johnson has joined the Isaacs as the group's new drummer.
  • The Allens have a new show on TLC "Home Sweet Bus." The show premiered this week on Tuesday night. The show chronicles the life of the family as they travel and sing. Be sure to tune in next Tuesday night!
  • Scott Howard's (Legacy Five) father passed away on Friday night. Please be in prayer for the family.

Anything I've missed?

Friday, October 31, 2014

Fun Clip Friday - The Whisnants and Mark Trammell Quartet

In this week's Fun Clip Friday post, you get a two-for-one! Monday will be the Home for Christmas Launch Party with the Whisnants and Mark Trammell Quartet! I know today is Halloween, but today's post is about Christmas! :) To join the launch party on Monday, be sure to check out the Facebook event! The groups will be posting in it throughout the day! I think this a great idea and kuddos to both groups for the use of social media and how they are doing this event!

Enjoy these clips from Mark Trammell Quartet and the Whisnants for today's Fun Clip Friday! And be sure to join in Monday to get in the Christmas spirit a little early!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Battle Cry - Kingsmen - CD Review

Battle Cry is the latest release from the Kingsmen. This project is the second one with its current line up of Chris Jenkins (tenor), Bob Sellers (lead), Randy Crawford (baritone) and Ray Dean Reese (bass).

This is one of the best projects that the Kingsmen have released in recent years in my opinion. I got to hear a lot of these songs live before I had a chance to listen to the project. They staged several of them when I saw them in Branson. You know it's going to be a great album when groups are staging not just one or two before the album's official release. The song choice is just incredible on this project!!

"Oh Yes I Am" is one that immediately jumped out at me. This is right in the Kingsmen's wheelhouse. This is the group's first single from the album.  Chris really shines on this song!! Love the bass lines that Ray Dean has! Definitely the highlight of Battle Cry.

"Battle Cry" which is the first and title track is also one of the standout songs of the album. It's a great uptempo song that sets the tone for just how strong this project is! "Beautiful City" and "Come and Dine" are two more uptempo songs that have the classic Kingsmen sound.

Chris also is showcased on "I've Never Seen the Righteous Forsaken." It's interesting to me that this is the second song this year to use this same idea and verse (Joseph Habedank's "Never No Never"). Chris shows what a power tenor he is!

Bob sings "Faith," which is probably my favorite slower song on the project. It sounds a little more progressive than some of the other songs, maybe a bit like something Brian Free and Assurance could have recorded. Bob does a great job on this one!

"It Should Have Rained" is a great, tender ballad. Randy sings the verses, and for me, it's my favorite of his features.  Randy also gets the feature on "Here I Stand Amazed" which he wrote. That ballad closes the project.

This project is one that you should definitely purchase!

Song List -
1. "Battle Cry"
2. "I've Never Seen the Righteous Forsaken"
3. "He Took Away My Burden"
4. "Oh Yes I Am"
5. "Cross of Grace"
6. "Beautiful City"
7. "I Know"
8. "It Should Have Rained"
9. "Faith"
10. "Come and Dine"
11. "Here I Stand Amazed"

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Declaration Needs Your Help

Declaration posted a special announcement on its Facebook page yesterday afternoon. They are asking for help renaming the group! Apparently the name Declaration is trademarked by a rock band, and they are having rename the group. The name will change, but all three guys will remain the same! So start thinking of names and help them out!!

Here's the full video announcement -

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Troy Peach Returns to Perrys

Troy Peach is returning to the Perrys. With the vacant baritone position, Troy will return to the group and the position he held from 2009-2010.

Here's the full statement from the Perrys' Facebook page -

"Like a son coming home," is how Libbi Perry Stuffle makes the announcement describing the return of Troy Peach to the Perrys, a position he last held four years ago. Troy replaces the departing Bryan Walker, whose resignation was announced two weeks ago. Troy comes to the group having most recently toured with the Bowling Family.

Troy says, "I'm thrilled to be back with the Perrys! Libbi and Tracy are literally like family. We live five minutes from each other. Jared is like a little brother. Andrew is among the best talents in our industry. And who sings better songs than the Perrys? After four years, it feels good to be back with Tracy and Libbi. It is my goal to, of course, be that vocal part they need, but also to assist Libbi in all aspects of the group's ministry. I do believe in timing and seasons for everything, and I believe that this is the right time to step back on the Perrys bus and do what I can to support Libbi and Tracy and help the group continue to grow and prosper."

The transition to the Perrys will take place in the next two weeks. The Perrys thank everyone for their continued prayers and support during this time.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - October 25

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

  • The Bowling Family will have the #1 song for the month of December in the Singing News with "I Know Enough."
  • The Isaacs will perform on the sixth annual "Opry Goes Pink" on Tuesday, October 28. Lily Isaacs is a breast cancer survivor.
  • Prayers requested for Jake Sammons' (Declaration) father who was rushed to the hospital earlier this week. For the latest, check out Declaration's Facebook page.
  • Pat Barker's father passed away this weekend. Please keep this family in your prayers.

Anything I've missed?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fun Clip Friday - Old Paths

Sorry for the lack of posting this week. It's been a crazy week with a lot of unexpected change, the good kind of change.

So in keeping with the change theme, todays' Fun Clip Friday features the Old Paths with a little bit of unexpected changes of their own! Watch and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sisters - Atmosphere CD Review

When Sisters announced earlier this year that they were taking a new direction with their ministry, no one was quite sure what that would look like or sound like. Sisters have been wowing audiences with their incredible harmonies and a cappella arrangements for years. Their latest project definitely shows that new direction with their music, but it's still the same three vocalists that we have all known and loved for years.

I remember a while back seeing a suggestion on Twitter for Sisters to go back and do some old Point of Grace songs. (If you are not familiar with Point of Grace, stop now and go look them up!) I thought what an incredible idea that was! This project doesn't go that route with any of their song choices, but it shows that it wasn't a far stretch to think of them going a more contemporary Christian route.

Atmosphere is very contemporary and outside the "Southern Gospel box," but that doesn't mean that traditional fans won't love it. The project to me is a little reminiscent of what Triumphant Quartet did this year with Awesome God. However, while they project had a mix of old and new hymns and worship songs, this album is full of recent praise and worship and contemporary songs.

Most of these songs I was familiar with, hearing from other artists or sang in church. I think Sisters did a good job of making the songs work for them, not deviating too much from original versions but really highlighting their strengths.

This is one project where it's really hard for me to pick out individual songs, they really are all on the same level. "You Alone" is probably my favorite of this recording. It's a very simple arrangement to start and then has a chance to really build, but the simplicity really allows Kim's voice to be showcased. "Whom Shall I Fear" is probably a close second.

This is not the typical Southern Gospel recording, but it's still the same three sisters with incredible harmonies giving praise and adoration to God! And that's something not to be missed!

Song List -

1. "Only You"
2. "This Is Amazing Grace"
3. "Nothing Is Impossible"
4. "You Alone"
5. "Hello My Name Is"
6. "Whom Shall I Fear"
7. "Made Me Glad"
8. "Strong to Save (At the Cross)"
9. "When I Speak Your Name"
10. "Worthy Is the Lamb"
11. "Crown Him/ Majesty"
12. "O Lamb of God"

Saturday, October 18, 2014

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits- October 18

Here are news items from this week in gospel music -

  • The Southmen Quartet was involved in a tragic bus accident. Baritone Roy Bray was killed in the accident.
  • Bryan Walker has resigned from the Perrys. His late date with the group is unknown at this point. He has surrendered to preach and hopes to start a family. Read more.
  • Norman Wilson of the Primitive Quartet had a heart attack earlier this week and suddenly passed away. Arrangements for his service have now been announced.
  • Bob Johnson passed away on Monday after health complications after a recent stroke. He and his wife were featured on several Gaither Homecoming videos. Read his obituary.
  • Prayers requested for Sonya and Jimmy Yeary (the Isaacs) who lost their baby girl Ayva this week. The baby was due early next year.
  • The Collingsworth Family's live concert DVD We Will Serve The Lord has taken the top spot on the current Christian Music Video chart and has now reached #6 on the Billboard chart.

Anything I've missed? Preferably, someone find some more good news to pass along this week! :)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Fun Clip Friday - TaRanda Greene - Stronger

Happy Friday! TaRanda Greene was added to the StowTown record label roster earlier this year. Her debut release of Stronger is set for November 10. Here's a behind the scenes preview of the album and the making of it! I cannot wait to here this project! Hope you enjoy today's Fun Clip Friday -

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Norman Wilson Passes Away

Norman Wilson, tenor singer for the Primitive Quartet passed away today. Here's the statement the Primitive Quartet issued on Facebook -

It is with our deepest sorrow that we have to inform you of the death of our beloved tenor singer, Norman Wilson. He went to be with Jesus today, October 15, at apporximately 2:30 pm. Norman was doing one of the things that he loved the most when God called him home - bear hunting with his buddies. It appears that he had a heart attack. Those with him say that he died peacefully and with a smile on his face. 

The funeral service for Mr. Wilson will be Monday at 2:00 p.m. in the sanctuary of Trinity Baptist Church with Pastor Chad Edwards, the Revs. Coy Adams and Steve Fox, and the Rev. Dr. Ralph Sexton officiating. Interment will follow at Bethesda Baptist Church Cemetery.

His family will receive friends from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Sunday in the sanctuary of Trinity Baptist Church, and also from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. prior to the service on Monday.

Please keep the family and the group in your prayers.

Bryan Walker Stepping Down From the Perrys

According to the Perrys' Facebook page, Bryan Walker has resigned from the group. Bryan has been with the group at baritone since 2010. Here's the full release from the Perrys - 

StowTown Recording artists The Perrys have announced Bryan Walker will be leaving the group. Libbi Stuffle says, “Bryan has given his resignation, and we will be introducing a new vocalist to the Perrys line-up in the near future. We will announce the process to fill the vacancy as soon as plans are finalized.” There is no official final performance date for Bryan at this time. 
Bryan, who joined the Perrys in 2010, says it has been a hard decision, but feels God has a new season in store for him. “I have the utmost respect for Tracy and Libbi Stuffle, and I’ve had a great time traveling with the Perrys. Especially this past year and a half, God has allowed me to learn things about myself, Him, and the ministry in general. It has been my hope that God has used me for a span of time to uphold the Perrys and help move them forward in their ministry. I love the Perrys and will do everything I can to support them as they continue their ministry.” 
When Bryan shared his decision to come off the road with the Perrys, it was focused on he and wife Bethany’s desire to spend more time together and eventually start a family. However, Bryan says the day after he gave his notice, he was at a revival at his home church and re-surrendered the call to preach, a call he first surrendered to at age 18. “There is no doubt the timing is confirmation that God has a new season in store, and I’m excited for that. I would ask that you pray for my wife and me as we wait to see what this is actually going to look like in the future, and of course also please pray for the Perrys as they seek the person God would have for their group.” 
Libbi says, “If I’ve learned anything in my life, especially in the past 21 months, it’s that God is faithful. We know He has a great plan for both Bryan and for the Perrys, too. We wish him and Bethany all the best and will be watching with everyone else to see what great things God does for and through them. As for The Perrys, we will continue to do our best to share the life-changing gospel of Christ through our music.”

Please be in prayer for the group and Bryan as they make this transition.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dove Awards 2014 Telecast

I got a chance to watch the telecast of the Dove Awards on TBN last night. It was great to see Southern Gospel have good representation on the television broadcast. Here are a few notes from last night's telecast -

First, I'm most familiar with the Southern Gospel artists of course, but do listen to a lot of other Christian music. It's great hearing all these different styles of music come together for one night just to celebrate music that lifts up the name of Jesus.

Gordon Mote kicked off a complete Southern Gospel performance segment with several snippets of songs and different artists. He sang a bit of "Ain't It Just Like the Lord." Brian Free and Assurance took the stage to sing "Say Amen." Karen Peck and New River then sang "Revival." Ernie Haase and Signature Sound ended it with "Oh What a Savior."

Following the performance, the award for Southern Gospel Song of the Year was presented to Karen Peck and New River for "Revival." Karen talked about praying for revival through this song. Kenna Tuner West, one of the writers, also accepted the award with the group.

Jason Crabb presented an award for inspirational film with two Robertsons of Duck Dynasty fame. The person who introduced them asked people to welcome two ducks and a crab. :) Russ Taff also presented the award for pop/ contemporary album with Jaci Velasquez. Bill Gaither and Pat Boone presented the praise and worship album award together but not before they sang a little bit of "Everybody's Gonna Have a Wonderful Time Up There." It was a pretty fun moment where they got the audience involved clapping along. The award went to Kari Jobe and she gave a nice acknowledgement to growing up on Southern Gospel!

I'm a Natalie Grant fan, and this isn't exactly Southern Gospel related, but she did an incredible job of starting her performance with an a cappella version of "I Need Thee Every Hour." Wow! I'm not sure if that's typical or not, but I was blown away.

Anyone else watch the awards show? Thoughts?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Prayers Requested for Southmen Quartet

The Southmen Quartet was in a tragic bus accident this weekend. Please pray for the family of Roy Bray, who was tragically killed, the other group members and all their families during this difficult time. Here's the statement from Facebook -

As The Southmen Quartet was traveling to Nashville for our last concert for the weekend, tragedy hit us. Traveling down I65 south in Lebanon, IN, our bus left the road and traveled approximately 200 feet before hitting a tree head on totaling our bus. Our piano player/baritone singer Roy Bray was driving the bus and took the brunt of the impact and was tragically killed. Owner Jim Hefner has been admitted to the hospital for further evaluation. Johny Washburn and myself walked away with few or no scratches. 
We ask each one of you to pray for the Southmen and families thru this difficult time and especially for Roy, our brother, partner, friend, father, and husband and his sweet family! Thank you to each one who have already called, emailed, or sent a text we really appreciate you and love you!! 
Donnie MarrSouthmen Quartet
I will update as soon as more information becomes available.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - Oct. 11

Here are some news items from this week in gospel music -

  • The 45th Annual Dove Awards were held on Tuesday night. The full awards show will air on TBN Sunday night. Here's a list of Southern Gospel winners.
  • Former Mark Trammell Quartet bass singer Pat Barker will be the new morning radio DJ of 105.7 WJGM radio station in Jacksonville starting Nov. 10. Pat said that being a gospel music DJ has always been a dream of his. You can listen online at
  • Jim and Melissa Brady are also adding radio hosts to their resumes. The Bradys will begin hosting the afternoon drive time on the Solid Gospel network later this month or early next month. They will host the 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. time slot. It is streamed online as well at
  • Charles Johnson of Charles Johnson and the Revivers passed away on Monday of a massive heart attack.
  • Gaither Music Group has announced a partnership with the Goodman Revival. Goodman Revival consists of Tanya Goodman Sykes, Michael Sykes and Johnny Minick. The group's debut recording will release January 2015 and will also have a live companion performance video hosted by Bill Gaither.
  • Mark Trammell Quartet and the Whisnants announced yesterday the release of a Christmas recording together. Home for Christmas will release Nov. 3 and will be available for purchase from both groups and their websites. Presales have already started. The CD features 12 songs recorded by both groups. The groups will host an online launch party on Nov. 3 that anyone is invited to attend. Go to and also check out the Facebook event
  • The Cathedrals Family Reunion has announced its plans for a 2016 cruise and want your help deciding where to go. Vote in the online poll.
Anything I've missed?