Friday, March 28, 2014

Fun Clip Friday - Mark Lowry and the Martins

Mark Lowry and the Martins started the Music & Madness Tour this month. I definitely hope they plan to come close to Central Arkansas. Tour dates are available here, but some are still being added.

For today's Fun Clip Friday, check out a song with Mark and the Martins singing "Glow Worm."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Got a Hold of God This Morning - When Lyrics Speak

I'm not a morning person. I've never claimed that I actually enjoy getting up early. I do out of necessity. I would much rather stay up late and sleep in late. But at the same time I've never regretted when I've gotten out of bed early to get things done. And the quiet times of the morning can be a peaceful time, especially when you spend time in the morning to get alone with God.

One of my favorite songs from the Perrys' project Through the Night is "I Got a Hold of God This Morning." The song is simply about getting up and spending time with Him. We can get a hold of Him any time of day, but there is something special about making that your first priority.

I'll confess it's easy for me to hit the alarm snooze button an extra time and then scramble around to get ready on time. But the day always seems to go much better when I spend time with God is my first thing in the morning. I've issued the challenge to myself to talk with God in the morning, making sure He is priority in my day.

Whether we're feeling alone, dejected, melancholy or even extra blessed, time with God is a necessity for the time. I know it can be a challenge when sleep is hard to come by and other things are demanding your time. Satan can try to block your way and attack. The attack is much easier to succumb to when we are not spending time with Him. And the song is a reminder He's there, we can talk directly to Him. We can approach Him and walk away with a peace and completely different mindset after hearing from Him.

If we can start our day in prayer and in the Word, we are sure to be more prepared for the day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Transformation Tuesday - Jeremy Lile

Jeremy Lile got his start in gospel music in the mid-1990s regionally. In 2005, he become a founding member of the group Crystal River. Here's a clip of Jeremy from his time with Crystal River.

He left the group to join Brian Free and Assurance in 2007. He was awarded the Horizon Individual at the Singing News Fan Awards in 2008. Jeremy is consistently in the top 10 for the Singing News Fan Awards Favorite Bass. Still at a young age, Jeremy is making his mark in the industry and has transformed into the great bass singer he is today. Here's a video of him more recently with Brian Free and Assurance -

Monday, March 24, 2014

All Is Well - Whisnants Concert Review

The Whisnants - Jeff and Susan Whisnant and Aaron Hise
It's not often that I get to see the Whisnants, so it's a special treat when I do. Normally it's just once a year at Silver Dollar City; in fact, I think this was my first time to see them in a full concert by themselves setting at a church.

They sang in Ward, Ark. on Friday night. If I could have hand picked a list of Whisnants' songs I wanted to hear, they chose them all. The night was full of Whisnants classics and favorites. It was an incredible night of worship and lifting up the name of Jesus.

The night started off with "We Are So Blessed." Then, they picked up the pace with "Gloryland Way."  Jeff was featured "We'll Meet Again" from their latest project That's Why We're Here. Great song and singing  by Jeff! Loved hearing it live!

Jeff thanked everyone for coming and said that they were there to lift up the name of Jesus and draw men unto Him. He introduced the group.

Then, Susan sang "I'll Pray for You." I've always loved this song. She set the song up by saying that she called her mom during a difficult time and her mom told her not to pray. She didn't understand, and then her mom explained that if she was going to worry, she shouldn't pray. But if she was going to pray, she shouldn't worry.

Then, Aaron was featured on "Be Not Afraid." He did a great job, and I loved the power in his voice he built up to at the end of the second verse at "without a doubt another doctor's in the room."

Jeff, Austin and Ethan Whisnant
Austin and Ethan got a chance to get the microphone and each sing a song. They have both really grown as singers since I heard them last! Austin sang a song that was written especially for him, "I'll Make Heaven Home." Ethan sang a Christmas song, but no one minded in the least, "This is a Strange Way to Save the World." Then they sang with Jeff on "On the Road to Emmaus," definitely a highlight for me!

Then, Susan started singing a cappella "God Is So Good." The audience joined in and then she transitioned into "Oh How I Love Jesus."

Susan then talked about how we are all broken, but how thankful we all are that God specializes in fixing the broken. Then she sang "I'll Trust the Potter's Hand," another personal favorite.

Before intermission, they sang "He's Living Today" with most of the audience on their feet at the end. Jeff reiterated that that was something we could all count on that we serve a Risen Savior. The finished the first half then with "I'm Trusting the Blood" and "New Day Dawning," always a crowd favorite.

During the offering, the church pianist played "How Great Thou Art." The congregation started singing along. After the ushers finished the offering, he stopped. Susan asked him to keep playing, he did, and the audience finished singing. It was a sweet moment!

The Whisnants started the second half with "He Can Move That Stone." Susan said that the music minister at the church requested that she sing "A Greater Yes." And I'm sure glad he did! I know I say this a lot, but that is seriously one of my all-time favorite gospel songs! Loved hearing Susan sing it live!

They then sang the "Ready Medley." Susan jokingly said that she needed some air after that song, and a lady in the audience offered her her oxygen tank!

Susan's grandfather passed away on Tuesday of last week. They had the funeral on Friday. Susan said that her dad told her to go ahead and do what God called her to do, and the Lord would take care of the rest. I'm so glad that she decided to go ahead and come Friday night. It shows how strong the calling is and how passionate she is about what she does. Thanks Susan and all the Whisnants for the sacrifice you made in coming!

She went on to talk about losing Jeff's dad in a car accident right before Christmas. When he was diagnosed with cancer and given only a short time to live, it was her reaction to want to fix it. But God fixed it another way instead. She said it was during that time that they were given the sweetest peace beyond all understanding and able to say "all is well." Then she sang the song. I love this song, and it was one of the most powerful moments of the night. You could tell she felt every word of what she was singing about. Beautiful job by Susan and beautiful moment!!

Jeff led in a time of invitation, and they closed the concert with "I Believe He's Coming Back."

It was such a special night of worship! Don't miss seeing the Whisnants if they are in your area, and in the meantime, I'm hoping they make more frequent trips to Arkansas!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fun Clip Friday - Polar Plunge

This week a number of Southern Gospel artists have been plunging into cold water for a good cause. The Bridge, a ministry in Nashville, Tenn. started by Candy Christmas, helps feed and clothe the homeless in Nashville. Learn more about the Bridge.

Candy issued a 24 hour Cold Water Challenge to have friends jump in a pool of cold water and donate money for the ministry. Several artists including Jeff, Sheri and Morgan Easter, Jason Crabb and Tanya Goodman Sykes. Kudos to these artists for participating and for sharing their videos.

Here are two videos below from Facebook of Sheri Easter and Jason Crabb participating!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Drive - Doug Anderson - CD Review

Doug Anderson has the first solo album release of the year with his Drive. This is Doug's second solo release. He won a Dove Award for his first release.

I really love the whole concept of the album from the art to the campaign they did to drive to the store to purchase the project. The project starts with its title cut, "Drive." It's a great song to start things off. The country-flavored song is one that I could see even going to some country stations. We just need to "hold on tight and let God drive."

"Yes, I Will" is a great soulful tune, and definitely one of the highlights for me. He really lets his voice soar toward the end of the song!

"Love With Open Arms" is a great uptempo song. I love the line that says it's a "love that felt as if I'd never fallen from His grace." Songs about how amazing the love of God is never get old! "God Works" is another uptempo song that has a somewhat Contemporary Christian feel to it.

"Love Covered My Sin" is another highlight of the project for me. The message of the song is incredible and exactly what you would expect in Southern Gospel.

Doug's country flavor shines through on the project. One of my favorites cuts on the album is "The Seeker." As a Dolly Parton fan myself, I really liked his version of the song, and it's great to pull one of her songs with some gospel flavor to cut.

I like the song "Sundays Are Made for These." Signature Sound fans will recognize the song from the group's Dream On project.

"How Bout You" is a little bit darker song than the rest of the project. It brings an interesting element to the project that I liked. It shows a different side of Doug's voice.

It's always great for artists in groups to put out their own projects. I love hearing their own styles and voices that can sometimes get lost or overlooked in a group. After hearing this project, it's easy to see why Doug has won so many accolades. It's one to add to your collection!

Song List -
1. "Drive"
2. "Yes I Will"
3. "Love With Open Arms"
4. "Moment by Moment Grace"
5. "I Need You More"
6. "God Works"
7. "Love Covered My Sin"
8. "The Seeker"
9. "I'll Be There With You"
10. "Sundays Are Made for These"
11. "How 'Bout You"

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Transformation Tuesday - Scott Fowler

Scott Fowler came onto the gospel music scene when he was in his early 20s. He started really at the top with the Cathedrals in 1990. Here's a look at him in his early days with the Cathedrals at age 24.

Scott remained with the Cathedrals until the group's retirement in 1999. During his time with the Cathedrals, he was awarded Horizon Individual, Favorite Young Artist three years in a row and Favorite Baritone six times. After the Cathedrals, Scott started Legacy Five with fellow Cathedrals alum Roger Bennett where he has remained. He was awarded Favorite Lead Singer in 2007 making him one of only two people to win both Favorite Lead and Baritone.

Here's a more recent look at Scott with Legacy Five featured on "Ask Me Why."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Somebody's Believing - When Lyrics Speak

There are certain prayers I pray each time with expectancy. When I'm traveling and pray for safety I don't envision having major issues or trouble. I expect God to answer. I flew to Florida for vacation last weekend. Each time the wheels of the plane lifted I said a prayer asking God to get me to my destination safely. And He did. And I expected Him to. I prayed believing that He would answer. But how many times do I pray without expectancy without really believing that He will answer?

It made me think about the song "Somebody's Believing" by the Bowling Family. This song was written with Mike in mind. When he was diagnosed with vocal polyps last year and thought that singing might not be an option, someone prayed and believed and He was healed.

The first verse talks about the hard times we have all had to endure. Each one of us can relate to valleys that God has brought us through. And I'm sure in every case there has been someone praying for us, whether we knew it or not. The second verse thanks those who had been faithful in prayer, approaching the throne of God on our behalf. Those who didn't just pray but believed and expected the miracle.

How many times when I pray do I dare to take God at His Word? When I fly in man-made aircraft flown by a mere human, I willing to accept that God will get me some safely from one place to another. But why do I find it difficult to trust that an Almighty God can reach down and give someone the touch they need? We serve a God who with Him nothing is impossible.

The challenge is truly believing. Take God at His Word. Expect the miracle. In Christ, all things are possible. Dare to take God at His Word. Trust in the power of The Lord. 

Thank God there have been people in my life with stronger faith who have prayed and believed in miracles for me. By faith, they saw what could be. I'm thankful for those faithful who prayed for me. I pray now that I can know be one of those for someone else. I pray that my faith will strengthen, and I will pray expecting and believing that God will move. 

The challenge for me lately has been not to settle for a simple prayer life. I need to pray the "big prayers" daring to take God at His Word. May I be the somebody who is praying and believing in that miracle. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Transformation Tuesday - Morgan Easter

Morgan Easter has an incredible musical heritage. She started making appearances on stage at a young age. And she even had her first released her first album at age 5. Here's a look at Morgan joining in with her mom and Madison on "A Lullaby." She joins in around the two minute mark.


At age 14, she joined her parents on stage full-time after the departure of Charlotte Ritchie. Since that time, Morgan has matured and grown in her vocal ability and stage presence to become one of the stand out young artists in the industry. She was awarded the Horizon Individual Award at the Singing News Fan Awards in 2010. She released her third solo album in November 2011, Not Without Love, that showed her incredible growth as a vocalist. I'm sure the future only holds bigger and brighter things for Morgan! Here's a look at her from a recent concert singing her latest single "Either Way."

Monday, March 10, 2014

Norman Holland Passes Away

From several posts on social media from various artists, it is being reported that Norman Holland has passed away. He passed away on March 10 from heart failure. Norman has been an instrumental figure in Southern Gospel for many years. He served as an executive at Daywind Records. He was awarded with a Lifetime Acheivement award at NQC in 2012 from the SGMA. 

Please keep his family and friends in your prayers. He will be greatly missed!!

Arrangements will be announced at a later date.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fun Clip Friday - Movin' Up to Gloryland

We're going back a little bit for today's Fun Clip Friday. I figure that you can't go wrong with the Cathedrals. Here's a classic clip from a Gaither Homecoming video of them singing and having a little fun with "Movin' Up to Gloryland." Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Singing News Fan Awards Return to NQC

The Singing News Fan Awards will return to the National Quartet Convention in 2014. They will be held on Friday, Sept. 26 at 12:30 p.m.

Nominations for the first round of the Singing News Fan Awards are now open. Singing News subscribers can vote online or send in the ballot in their March issue.

With the move of NQC to Pigeon Forge, I think this move of the awards definitely makes sense. And I'm assuming this is the elimination of the NQC Music Awards.

The full release is below -

Nashville, TN - Singing News Magazine and the Board of Directors of the National Quartet Convention (NQC) have reached a multi-year agreement for the NQC to present The Singing News Fan Awards on the Main Stage of the NQC, beginning in 2014.

Singing News Operations Manager Rick Francis states, "Danny Jones and I have been working on the details of this partnership with NQC for several weeks. It just makes sense for the Singing News Fan Awards to take place during the week of NQC, during a time when the entire Southern Gospel music community —fans, artists, and industry—is together in one place. We are very pleased about this agreement."

The dates for this year's NQC will be September 21 - 27, 2014 at The LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The Singing News Fan Awards will be presented by the NQC on Friday, September 26, 2014, at 12:30 p.m.

NQC Executive Vice President Clarke Beasley states, "The Singing News Fan Awards and the NQC were inseparable institutions for decades, and we are delighted that the Fan Awards will once again call the NQC home."

Singing News Editor-In-Chief Danny Jones adds, "The Singing News Fan Awards and The National Quartet Convention have a long history together. Some of Southern Gospel music's fondest memories have been created on the Fan Awards stage at NQC, whether in Nashville or Louisville. I feel certain that even more great memories are in the making as the NQC starts a new chapter in Pigeon Forge."

The Singing News Fan Awards are voted on by subscribers of Singing News Magazine, a monthly publication recognized as the "Printed Voice of Southern Gospel Music." The nominating ballot appears in the March issue, the semi-final ballot (Top 10) appears in the May issue, and the final ballot (Top 5) appears in the July issue. Voting ballots are managed, counted, and verified by a third party accounting firm, Rayburn, Bates & Fitzgerald, located in Brentwood, Tennessee.

The National Quartet Convention is Gospel Music's largest annual event drawing nearly 40,000 people from 40 states and a half dozen foreign countries to its annual event that showcases the premier talent in the world of Southern Gospel Music.

To learn more, go to or

Sometimes He Whispers - When Lyrics Speak

Ever feel like you're just in an "in-between" time? You've got a lot of questions and uncertainties that need answering, but you're just waiting to hear from God. You have no idea how God will choose to move, but you have to trust that He will.

It's always interesting to see how God chooses to move in a situation. I've had some doors shut closed in my face very abruptly. I can see now how it was all for the best. And then there have been times when I have had to trust His gentle nudging for me to go in the right direction. Whatever His method, He has proven time and again that He is in control and will lead us if we just listen.

One song that I've heard a lot lately has been "Sometimes God Whispers" by Adam Crabb. We don't know how God will move in our situations, but He always knows what we need. I love that line! He always comes in the form of what we need. He can be water to the thirsty or a consuming fire. While at times He shouts, sometimes He just whispers.

The second verse talks about choosing to trust and believe while waiting. That can often be the hardest part of the process, but thankfully we serve the Almighty God who set the world into motion. The verse says that He is the same one who speaks peace to us.

Even though in those "in-between" times, we don't know how God will speak or how He will move. We can always trust that He will. We just have to be willing to listen for those gentle whispers and open to hear Him.