Thursday, December 31, 2015

#1 Top Moment of 2015 - Crabb Family Reunion Concert

Some concerts will be forever ingrained in your memory. Some you just walk away knowing that it was one of the most uplifting nights of worship you've ever experienced. Sometimes they might be at just the right time in your life. Sometimes it might have had more to do with the music and what was said from stage. Or it could be a perfect storm of everything.

Early on this year, I knew other concerts had a lot to live up to to top this one. I have to say of all concerts I've been to this one is easily in my top five favorites ever - the Crabb Family Reunion Concert.

Since I never got to see the family when they were all touring together, I had been looking forward to this opportunity for a while! And it did not disappoint!!! It was full of Crabb Family hits, some new songs and an amazing tribute to Andrae Crouch. You can read the full recap here. It was one of those nights where you just didn't want it to end.

I loved the spirit of worship that was in the church that night. If you get the chance to attend one of their reunion concerts in 2016, I strongly recommend it!

Here's a clip from one of the concerts last year for you to enjoy -

Top 12 CDs of 2015

I have struggled with this post. It's been really hard for me to pick out the top CDs of the year. I've gone back and forth and reordered several times. I've ended up with a top 12, because I've been so indecisive.

And a small disclaimer - this list is only from projects I have reviewed this year. Unfortunately, there are a few releases that I won't have reviews on until next month.

So with all that being said, it was the year for great mixed group releases. They dominate this list, taking the top several spots.

12 - Walk of Faith - The Whisnants
Favorite songs - "Worry Ends Where Faith Begins" and "Go Out Singing"

11 - Happy People - Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
Favorite songs - "Happy People" and "Jesus Changes Everything"

10 - Ready to Sail - The Erwins
Favorite songs - "Greater" and "I Choose to Be a Christian"

9 - A New Chapter - Jim Brady Trio
Favorite songs - "Steppin' Out in Faith" and "Greatest of All Miracles"

8 - Stay - The Old Paths
Favorite songs - "How Great the Debt" and "Ordinary People"

7 - As We Speak - Greater Vision
Favorite songs - "As We Speak" and "Put Out the Fire"

6 - Just Sing - Amber Nelon Thompson
Favorite songs - "God Is Always Good" and "Another Time, Another Place"

5 - Living in Harmony - Triumphant Quartet
Favorite songs - "Living in Harmony," "Amazing God" and "Jesus Must Have Been Here"

4 - After All This Time - The Talleys
Favorite songs - "People in the Line," "Jesus' Blood Is Enough" and "After All This Time"

3 - Small Town - Jeff and Sheri Easter
Favorite songs - "Jesus Loves You," "Small Town Someone" and "Someone's Listening"

2 - Moments Like These - Bowling Family
Favorite songs - "I Was There," "Even When You're Asking Why" and "One Glorious Moment of Faith"

1 - Pray Now - Karen Peck and New River
Favorite songs - "Pray Now," "Hallelujah for the Cross" and "I Choose Christ"

So what do you think? What are your top albums for 2015?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

#2 Top Moment of 2015 - Cathedral Family Reunion

I'm winding down the countdown with #2 today. This list would not be complete without the Cathedrals Family Reunion event I got to attend in October.

It's hard to pinpoint a "moment" from the weekend.  You can read the full recap here. My favorite session was definitely Saturday morning. The five guys - Gerald Wolfe, Mark Trammell, Ernie Haase, Danny Funderburk and Scott Fowler - told stories from their days with the Cathedrals. They gathered around the piano with Pat Barker on bass and sang many favorites and even a few requests, including "The Laughing Song," which was definitely a moment! :) I'm sure every Saturday morning session is different!

However, the moment of the weekend had to be the guys from all the groups there singing "We Shall See Jesus." Absolutely incredible!

If you get a chance to attend one of these Cathedral Family Reunion events, don't miss it!

Here's a clip from the weekend -

Here's one clip from Cathedrals Family Reunion! Enjoy!Greater Vision The Mark Trammell Quartet Legacy Five Ernie Haase and Signature Sound Danny Funderburk Ministries
Posted by Lauren's Southern Gospel Blog on Saturday, October 10, 2015

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top Moment #3 of 2015 - The Old Paths Final Concert

In May, the Old Paths announced that the group would be coming off the road at the end of the year. Their last concert was December 6 in Ramer, Tennessee. And I'm glad to say I got to be there for the last one. I hate to say it was a "top moment" since they are leaving the road, but it was one of the most memorable concerts of the year and one of the most significant since it was their last one.

It was great to see these guys go out while they were still at the top of their game. They decided that their ministry needed to focus to their families which is completely understandable. The guys gave it all they had. Seriously, I've never heard them sound better.

The crowd in Ramer had friends from many different states who traveled to see the quartet for the last time. They all wanted to come honor the guys for their last night singing together.

The concert was full of your favorite Old Paths songs from their very first song they recorded to their latest single and everything in between. The night paid tribute to the group's career and the mark they have made on gospel music. It was a great concert and one that reminded you of why this quartet is so great! Definitely hoping that they make a few appearances every now and then!

Here are several videos of the last concert on the group's Facebook page -

Here's a video of the last song last night, "Long Live the King!"
Posted by The Old Paths on Monday, December 7, 2015

Here's another video from Sunday night of our first #1 song - "Battlestand."
Posted by The Old Paths on Thursday, December 10, 2015

Here's another video of our last concert featuring Daniel Ashmore and Chuck Pettyjohn on "If That Isn't Love."
Posted by The Old Paths on Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

Top Moment #4 of 2015 - Sonya Isaacs Yeary's testimony

In February I attended an Isaacs concert at the University of Central Arkansas. While I love their music, this concert made this list not because of what was sung, but what was said.

The concert came just a few months after Sonya and Jimmy Yeary lost their baby. Sonya gave a powerful testimony that night about the loss they experienced and how God gave them strength through it.

Sonya was 5 1/2 months pregnant. Their little girl already had a name, but she began having some issues. When she went to the doctor, there was no heartbeat. Sonya had to deliver the baby because of danger to her health but instead of having a new baby full of life to take home, her baby had already gone home to Heaven.

Thankfully, Sonya and Jimmy delivered a healthy baby boy just a few weeks ago, but here are a few nuggets of what she shared that night -

"It was one of those moments where I understood finally the peace that passes all understanding. That's what we had. And we knew that peace because we trust God and because we don't have any question about how He loves us....

"I can't help but think about how much I love the Lord tonight. And the reason why tonight I love Him more now than I did a year ago is that He's brought me through more. He was faithful to me when I needed Him the most.

"When tragedy comes and trials of life come as they will, we have two choices. We can run to God and say, 'Hold me Father.' Or the other choice is to run away from God, be angry at Him, and somehow act like it was His fault. If you want the peace that will get you through the trials of life, run to God."

It was such a powerful testimony of honesty and vulnerability. It was a reminder of how the trials of life can bring you closer to God and that should be their purpose. If you'll let Him, God will use those times in your life to make your walk with Him closer than it's ever been before.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Top Moment #5 of 2015 - Memphis Quartet Show

This summer, I got the chance to attend a few big events. One of them was the Memphis Quartet Show which definitely made the list of my top moments of the year. Even though I only got to be there for one day of the event, it was well worth the trip to Memphis!

I was there for the afternoon matinee to see the 2nd Half Quartet. They had the entire set with just piano and bass singing many classic songs and paying tribute to the Cathedrals.

 Read the full recap of the afternoon here.
That night was full of music by many top groups including 
  • Tribute Quartet
  • Dixie Echoes
  • The Old Paths
  • Archie Watkins and Smoky Mountain Reunion
  • Primitive Quartet
  • Mark Trammell Quartet
Read all about that night here.

It's hard to pick just one standout moment from the day, so here are a few -

  • "Remind Me of Calvary" - I love hearing Mark Trammell sing this song!
  • "I Want to Know" - In the classiest way, Randy Byrd introduced Pat Barker to join the Mark Tramell Quartet for this song on stage. He let Pat sing one of his signature songs, and it was great hearing Pat on this song again!
  • "I Will Rise" - Tribute Quartet featuring Riley Harrison Clark
  • "I Bowed on my Knees and Cried Holy" - The Old Paths featuring Tim Rackley

Thursday, December 24, 2015

When Lyrics Speak - If You Could See What I See

As many of you may know I lost my grandfather this year. I knew this Christmas would be different, that it would be hard. I love Christmas, but part of me was dreading it. I wish so badly I could go back to last Christmas and appreciate the time I had with him more. I wish I hadn't been so wrapped up in what was going on in my world and just enjoyed the time spent with him.

Some of the Santas on display
We always spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning breakfast with my dad's parents. And every year we knew at least one thing to expect under the tree. My grandfather was an amazing woodcarver. And being the first grandchild and only girl, I was spoiled just a little. For my first Christmas, he carved a Santa Claus. I'm sure he had no idea what he started when he did that. Each year after, he carved a different type of Santa. Many people locally knew of his carvings and started requesting the Santas each year for Christmas. We have all different types from St. Nicholas to the Old World Russian Santa to a Storybook Santa. He would carve them, and my grandmother painted them. As I got older, I got to help pick out which one he was going to carve that year and even write a story that went with the Santa that year. Last year, he was so weak and had just gotten out of the hospital, but he still managed to make my brother and me a Santa each.

Tonight when we open presents, there'll be one special gift missing -- one special person missing. As much as we miss him, I know he's much better off. I know that he's going to have the best Christmas he's ever had. If we could see what he's seeing now, we wouldn't wish him back for anything.

I can't think of a better song to sum up the first Christmas without a loved one than "If You Could See What I See." While the presents of this earth seem so special -- and they are -- it's nothing compared to the glory of Heaven.

As much as I love Christmas, I know that it's tough for a lot of us this year, whether you've lost a grandparent, parent, sibling or spouse. I'm thankful for the hope we have in Christ that one day we'll be reunited and share in what He sees now.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Top Moment #6 of 2015 - Gold City Reunion

Most people have their favorite lineup of classic groups. Sometimes it's not even that they had a chance to see the lineup in person only through video. I've always been a fan of the Jay Parrack, Jonathan Wilburn, Mark Trammell and Tim Riley version of Gold City. I never got a chance to see this lineup in person until September at the Southern Gospel Picnic at Silver Dollar City!

It was a great night hearing some classic Gold City songs. I loved watching the interactions between the guys like there had been no time lost. It was great finally seeing them sing together making it one of the top moments of the year!

Here are a few clips from that night!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#7 Top Moment of 2015 - Gospel Music Hymn Sing

So many of these top moments so far are from recent events. This one is no exception!

In late November, I got the chance to attend Gerald Wolfe's Gospel Music Hymn Sing in Memphis, Tennessee. I grew up on the hymns, singing them every week in church. We don't sing them as often in my home church now. So it's a treat for me to sing those familiar hymns, and when you get to hear your favorite gospel music singers sing them, it's even better!

I shared a full recap of the evening a few weeks ago. You can read it here.

For this post, I'll share with you two of my favorite songs/ highlights of the evening. Enjoy!

Here's a Facebook exclusive Fun Clip Friday from the Gospel Music Hymn Sing in Memphis!
Posted by Lauren's Southern Gospel Blog on Friday, December 4, 2015

"Great Is Thy Faithfulness" from the Gospel Music Hymn Sing
Posted by Lauren's Southern Gospel Blog on Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Top Moment #8 of 2015 - Gaither Homecoming Christmas

As I mentioned I love all things Christmas, so here's my second Christmas-related top moment of 2015. Last weekend, I had the chance to see the Gaither Homecoming Christmas tour in Little Rock. The night was just incredible.

This night on the tour featured Kevin Williams, Charlotte Ritchie (who also filled in with the Isaacs since Sonya just had a baby), Gene McDonald, the Nelons, Angie Primm, the Isaacs and the Vocal Band. I always enjoy seeing these large tour events with several groups. And the quality of the production that the Homecoming Tour puts on is just top notch. Bill Gaither knows how to read the audience well and move the night along seamlessly.

This was my first chance to see this lineup of the Gaither Vocal Band with Wes Hampton, David Phelps, Adam Crabb, Todd Suttles and Bill Gaither. I like how they sound together and their interactions on stage. They seem to really have a great time together! It was good to hear them individually featured along with the group. We really got to hear from each of the guys and what great vocalists they are!

Highlights from the night included -

  • I loved getting to hear more from Charlotte Ritchie. She sounded amazing with Isaacs, pulling double duty that night!
  • This was also my first chance to see Angie Primm live, wow, what a voice and what energy she has on stage!!
  • Kevin Williams is just funny and super talented. He did a great job warming up the crowd and his interactions with Bill are hilarious!
  • David Phelps - I think that's really all I have to say. I forget how great of a singer he is! 
  • The Nelons never fail to impress me with their vocals. It's great to see Autumn have more of a presence on stage with them.
  • The younger generations are all having a greater role. Levi Bowman joined his family on stage during the second half and was featured, singing with his mother and Autumn.
  • I liked how the second half was more of a sing-along. The groups and various members were showcased but the audience got to join in some!
Here's a clip that the Nelons had on their Facebook page from one of their stops on the tour -

From the Gaither Christmas Tour tonight, we not only celebrate the birth of Jesus, we celebrate His life and Ressurection! Please share and enjoy
Posted by The Nelons on Thursday, December 10, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 19

Here are some news items from this week in Southern Gospel -
  • Pray for Jason Clark and his family. His grandmother passed away last week. 
  • Congratulations to Ronnie and Kim Booth on their new grandson Jaxon Duncan born last week.
  • Congratulations to Jeff Hawes (formerly of Karen Peck and New River) who was married last week to Shainah Peek.
  • Congratulations to Dustin Black (formerly of the Mark Trammell Quartet) who got married last week to Rachael Dickinson.
  • Prayers requested for Burman Porter's daughter Jessica. She was in a serious car wreck and was airlifted to UT hospital.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fun Clip Friday - Christmas Jubilee

Happy Friday to everyone! Matthew Fouch does some of the best interviews with Southern Gospel artists. For today's Fun Clip Friday, here's a Jubilee Christmas interview he did while the guys were on tour. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

#9 Top Moment of the Year - Whisnants and Mark Trammell QuartetChristmas Concert

I love all things Christmas. So this is the first of two Christmas-related moments to make the list.

Last year, the Mark Trammell Quartet and the Whisnants joined forces for a Christmas tour. One of their stops was in Vilonia, Arkansas. Unfortunately, I had to be in Memphis for work and missed it! This year, however, I got to be there for their "Home for Christmas" tour, and it was definitely one of the best concerts I attended this year! For the #9 moment of the year, here's a little bit about the Home for Christmas concert.

They sang many Christmas favorites and several songs from their joint Christmas album last year like "Unspeakable Joy," "Without Christ There's No Christmas" and "Jesus Brought Joy to the World." Each group had a set in the first half with a few songs together. And then the second half was them together.

Of course, when these two groups get together you never know what exactly will happen. The fruitcakes were flowing freely that night. Apparently the Whisnants along with the pastor of the church, Wade Lentz, let it slip that the Mark Trammell Quartet loves fruitcake. So the quartet had dozens of fruitcakes delivered to their table that night including 36 on stage. Haha! Needless to say I don't think the guys will be wanting fruitcakes anytime soon, not that they really wanted any to begin with! :)

Here are some of my favorite parts of the night -

  • "If You Could See What I See" - I LOVE this song. Christmas is going to be bittersweet this year without my grandfather, but this song is such a beautiful picture of what it's like for our loved ones in Heaven. Love hearing Susan sing this song!
  • "Oh Holy Night" - Mark does an incredible job on this song!
  • "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem" 
  • "I Call Him Lord" 
  • "Worry Ends Where Faith Begins" - This was my first time to hear Susan sing this song live, my favorite from their new project!
  • "The King Is Coming" - Amazing way to end the night!

It was a great night honoring the birth of our Savior with great singing, some laughs and lots of fruitcake!

Monday, December 14, 2015

#10 Top Moment of 2015 - Perrys' Reunion at National Quartet Convention

It's time to start the annual countdown of top moments of the year. I had a feeling some recent concerts I attended would make the list (I was right.), so I'm a little later starting it this year.

I've gotten the chance to attend some great events and concerts this year. Normally the list has a mix of moments I've caught online via webcast or in person. This year, the top 10 moment is the only one that came via webcast. And it's from the National Quartet Convention.

It's always fun to see what can happen at the National Quartet Convention when so many artists appear on stage in one night. So many different people are there, so various musicians will join artists on stage or singers from different groups can join together on stage. In some cases, it can be former members. This was the case on Thursday night of this year. When the Perrys started singing "I Wish I Could Have Been There," Troy Peach asked the audience to make welcome Loren Harris who started singing. Then he announced Joseph Habedank who finished the first verse. Before the end of the segment, former members Debra Perry Reed, Bryan Walker, Mike Bowling, Nick Trammell and Bryan Elliot were all on stage with them! It was such a fun and unexpected moment!

Here's a video from the Perrys' entire set that night. The reunion segment starts at about 4:53.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 12

It's been slow news lately, but I'm back at trying to do this each Saturday. Here are some news items from this week in gospel music -

  • Congratulations to Sonya and Jimmy Yeary and big brother Ayden on the new addition to their family. Gatlyn Solomon Yeary was born on December 8 weighing 8 lbs. and 10 oz.
  • Labreeska Hemphill, matriarch of the Hemphill family, passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 9. She was 75 years old. Her service in Nashville will be at Christ Church at 2 p.m. on Saturday. It will be livestreamed for those wanting to watch online, you can go to
  • Congratulations to Karen Peck and New River and Jason Crabb who received Grammy nominations this week!
Anything I've missed?

Friday, December 11, 2015

Fun Clip Friday - The Old Paths

Last Sunday night was the final concert for The Old Paths Quartet. The group has decided to come off the road and stop touring full-time. The group members have a desire to be at home more for their families, which you definitely have to admire.

I got the chance to be there for their final concert, and let me say I've never heard the guys sound better! They gave it all they had for the last concert. Here are a few videos they shared on their Facebook page for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Here's a video of the last song last night, "Long Live the King!"
Posted by The Old Paths on Monday, December 7, 2015

Here's another video from Sunday night of our first #1 song - "Battlestand."
Posted by The Old Paths on Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Talleys - After All This Time - CD Review

The Talleys' latest recording After All This Time releases tomorrow. I have to say this is the best
Talleys' album to date. It's without a doubt a must buy this year. I'm sure it will be in my list of top albums this year.

The project starts with the title track. This song has a fun country feel that simply talks about the faithfulness of God. Love this song to get the project started!

"The People in the Line" was a song I heard live via webcast during NQC. Lauren talked about how convicting the lyrics are, and the more I listened to the song, the more I found out she's exactly right. We never know what people are us are going through from the people in the line to the people on the road to people on the stage. We forget how other people maybe hurting. We can be quick to judge when they aren't doing as we think they should. This song featuring Lauren is sure to do well for the group!

"Jesus' Blood Is Enough" is a song you need to hit repeat on over and over again. The soothing song is a beautiful reminder that He is enough to make us new, to cover our sins, to bring us hope or to help us through whatever we may be going through. Lauren does such an incredible job on this song. This is my favorite Lauren feature of the project. Although "There Is Coming a Day" is a close second. The song is a great picture of the promise of Heaven.

Debra has such a tender performance on "I Need You More." The arrangement is simple to really allow her beautiful alto voice to soar through. It's to the tune of Elvis Presley's "Love Me Tender." Debra's favorite performance of mine though is "This Thing Called Grace." It's such an amazing song written by Dianne Wilkinson and Rebecca Peck. Debra turns in an incredible performance on this track.

I wasn't familiar with "Naaman" before this project. But it quickly became one I found myself hitting repeat on and then I discovered the song was actually a remake. The Talleys also recorded the song in the 1980s when Kirk was with the group. I like when groups can pull up an old song, give it a new feel and newer fans (like myself) a chance to hear it for the first time! This version is a must listen!

"My Hope Is in the Lord" is not the same song the group recorded just a few albums prior. I wonder how many groups have recorded a song by the same name! This upbeat very Southern-style song is a great song that really features all three members.

Roger is featured on "Somebody's Story." This song has a similar message to "The People in the Line." The song has such a different feel though and the message definitely bears repeating!

Lauren shows off her soulful side with "Who But God." This is another song that was a hit in the 1980s written by Ronnie Hinson and Mike Payne.

This time of year I really like to just listen to Christmas. But it's been hard not to keep listening to this CD once I got it! Every cut on the project is worth listening to. This project shows the Talleys' strengths and how consistent they are at producing great projects. I really think this is my favorite CD of theirs. From orchestration to song choice to vocals, it's hands down a 5-star recording!

If you're looking for a great Christmas present for the gospel music fan in your life, pick this CD up, but be sure to also get one for yourself!

Song List -
1. "After All This Time"
2. "There Is Coming a Day"
3. "There's Never Been a Mountain"
4. "This Thing Called Grace"
5. "Naaman"
6. "Jesus' Blood Is Enough"
7. "My Hope Is in the Lord"
8. "But I Need You More"
9. "The People in the Line"
10. "Somebody's Story"
11. "Who But God"
12. "I Love to Tell the Story/ Blessed Assurance"

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gospel Music Hymn Sing Recap

It's been a busy past few weeks, and I've missed being able to update as regularly. I have a few concert recaps still pending, but some will have to be saved for my top 10 moments of the year. I can't believe it's already that time!
Wendy Hayes, Melissa Brady and TaRanda Greene

On November 21, I got the chance to go to Memphis, Tennessee for Gerald Wolfe's Gospel Music Hymn Sing. I had been looking forward to this for quite some time! My church sings a great mix of hymns and praise songs each Sunday. However, after growing up on strictly hymns I definitely miss not singing more of them. It was a great night to get to see some of my favorite artists and sing along with them!Even though the night was about hymn singing and the audience being as much a part of the concert as the artists, I got to hear a lot of artists/ groups for the first time! It was my first chance to see the Mylon Hayes Family live. I was glad to see this family part of this tour event, and they are such a wonderful family and great singers. It was also a chance to hear the new trio of TaRanda Greene, Doug Anderson and Jody McBrayer live. They did not disappoint either!! Even though I had heard Jim and Melissa Brady together before, this was also my first time to hear the Jim Brady Trio.
Gerald Wolfe, Randy Byrd, Pat Barker and Conner Hayes

Here were the highlights of the night!

Mark Trammell - Blake Buffin, Nick Trammell,
Mark Trammell and Randy Byrd
  • "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" - This is my favorite hymn, so no big surprise that it made my list. Wendy Hayes, Jim Brady and Blake Buffin were featured on the verses. 
  • "Just a Little Talk with Jesus" - This one featured all the bass singers - Randy Byrd, Pat Barker and Conner Hayes, who definitely held his own with the two more experienced singers!
  • "Holy, Holy, Holy" - This was a sweet moment of worship as the congregation sang.
  • "Love of God" - Loved this song! Gerald had each of the writers in the group take a verse - Jim Brady, Rodney Griffin and Chris Allman (video featured below)
  • "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" - The 2nd Half Quartet sang this song in the style of the Cathedrals
  • "Rock of Ages" - The Mylon Hayes Family sang this one and did the shape notes!
  • "Near the Cross" - This song was toward the end featuring Melissa Brady and Gerald Wolfe.
If you get a chance to go to one of the Hymn Sings I highly recommend it! I know they'll be doing more touring in the spring. It's a chance to not only hear some of the top voices in the industry, but you get to sing along with them! Hymns are becoming less the norm in worship services, so it was special to have an entire night dedicated to celebrating that heritage and worshipping our Savior!

Here's a Facebook exclusive Fun Clip Friday from the Gospel Music Hymn Sing in Memphis!
Posted by Lauren's Southern Gospel Blog on Friday, December 4, 2015

Friday, December 4, 2015

Fun Clip Friday - Jubilee Christmas

I got the chance to go to one the Jubilee Christmas concerts last year. It was definitely a highlight of Christmas season for me! Booth Brothers, Greater Vision and Legacy Five come together for these Jubilee concerts. And with these three groups, you never really know what to expect. Well, what happened in Atlanta at their taping a few weeks ago was definitely unexpected. Check out this clip for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Chris Jenkins Leaves the Kingsmen, Joins Anchormen

The Kingsmen announced today that tenor sing Chris Jenkins will be leaving the group. He's been the tenor singer for almost four years. He will be with the group until Dec. 14.

However, fans of gospel music can see Chris in the future with the Anchormen. Starting in 2016, he will join the group with Derrick Boyd leaving the group. The group is closer to Chris's home and will allow him more time with family.

Ray Dean Reese stated, “We have thoroughly enjoyed the time that Chris has been a member of the Kingsmen and we will miss him. We do, however, completely understand that Chris has made a decision to have more time with his son. He goes with our blessings and prayers that God will continue to lead and guide his life."

“Performing with the Kingsmen since March of 2012 has been an exciting opportunity," Chris said. "I’ve always loved Ray Dean and the Kingsmen since childhood. I count it an honor to have been a part of the Kingsmen. As a member of the group, I’ve met so many fine people and made lots of friends all across America. At this time I feel the need to make a change in order to be with my 6-year-old son, Ryan, as often as possible.”

Anchormen owner Tim Bullins said, “We are extremely pleased to welcome Chris on board with the Anchormen. We have been acquaintances for several years and are looking forward to a tremendous future. Although we are we are saddened with the departure of Derrick, we completely understand and support his decision. He and his wife Phyllis will always hold a special place in our hearts.”

Legacy Five Concert Recap

Two weeks ago, I got the chance to see Legacy Five when they made a rare appearance in Arkansas. The group was at Bethany Missionary Baptist Church in White Hall, Arkansas. It was also a chance to see and hear new tenor singer Josh Feemster with the quartet.

Josh had been with the group only two weeks at that point. I think this was a great addition to the group. He's doing a fantastic job with Legacy Five so far! He was featured on "I Stand Redeemed." This song ended the first part of the service, and it was one of the highlights of the night! Check out the clip below!
Legacy Five - Trey Ivey, Josh Feemster, Scott Fowler, Scott Howard
and Matt Fouch

It was good to hear them sing a few Cathedrals songs like "Bloodwashed Band." Scott also pulled out the redback hymnal for the group to sing a few hymns. They sang "It's a Grand and Glorious Feeling" and "Life Will Be Sweeter Someday." I love Matt Fouch's step out lines on "It's a Grand and Glorious Feeling."

Legacy Five also sang a few from their most recent project Great Day including the title track. They also sang "That's a Hallelujah" which is one of my favorites!

Trey was featured not only during the hymn portion of the evening, but also on "Goodbye World Goodbye." When Scott introduced Trey, he talked about how he would come home after church on Sundays as a child and sit down at the piano and play the songs they had sung that day. His parents definitely recognized what a gift he had at an early age, and I have to say he's one of the best in the business today!

They of course sang several Legacy Five standards. Matt was featured on "I've Been Changed" during the first part of the night. They also sang "I Found Grace" during the second half, always a favorite to hear them sing. They ended the night with "Holy Is Thy Name." I love this song! Great moment to end the concert on!

Legacy Five is a group I don't get to see that often, so it's always a treat when I get to see them some place other than Silver Dollar City at the Gospel Picnic. It was good to see this new lineup of the group. Scott Fowler and Scott Howard are definitely the anchors of the group and have made outstanding choices in who rounds the group out. I got the chance to see Matthew Fouch on his first night with the group several years ago and was impressed by how well he blended with them already. I have to say the same for Josh. Be sure to check out Legacy Five when they come to your area!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - November 28

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday! Here are some news items from the past week in Southern Gospel -

  • 11th Hour has its first #1 song with "Jesus Is in the House." The song will be #1 in the January issue of the Singing News.
  • Michael Howard has stepped down from Soul'd Out Quartet. He was with the group as piano player for seven and half years.
  • Steven Hickinbotham has rejoined Spoken 4 Quartet as the group's baritone singer. Brian Arnold had been filling in that role. With a busy solo ministry, Brian and the group decided that it was best for the two separate ministries to work together still but with Brian not being a full-time member of Spoken 4. 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Fun Clip Friday - Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends. Many gospel artists took the time to share their Thanksgiving thoughts and wishes on Facebook this week. Check out a few videos from some of your favorite gospel singers -

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!FromThe Whisnants & T. Bear :)
Posted by The Whisnants on Wednesday, November 25, 2015

***GLOBAL PROMOTIONS WEEK OF THANKSGIVING*** Ivan Parker shares what he is most thankful for.
Posted by Global Promotions on Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!
Posted by The Nelons on Thursday, November 26, 2015

Watch this special Thanksgiving video from lead singer Tim Rackley!
Posted by The Old Paths on Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Feeling Very Thankful

I was hesitant to share this on here, but when God really shows His power in your life and when He can be glorified through your circumstances, then it needs to be shared. So here goes....

Last Tuesday night, I was driving back home after teaching a night class in Arkadelphia, Ark. It had been rainy and stormy all day long, and I was nervous about the weather. In fact, I postponed class by 30 minutes to allow myself extra time to get there. I didn't have issues getting there thankfully.

But on the way back, I was about two minutes from home when I saw a car coming toward me being chased by a police officer. It drifted over into the turning lane and then into my lane. I slowed down and laid on the horn thinking he would weave back over. He didn't. He hit me head on; I don't think that he ever slowed down. I found out later at the scene that he was DWI.

The scariest moment of my life was just before impact. There was a split second where I knew he was about to hit me. I honestly thought this could be it. I never lost consciousness, didn't even hit my head. My car went in reverse across lanes of traffic and ended up in the grass in front of a local restaurant between two poles. I didn't hit anything else. As soon as my car stopped, I got out. Praise God! I got out. I walked away on my own two feet.

My car the next morning
When many people start stories of getting hit head on by a drunk driver, the story often doesn't end well. I thank God that my story is different. There's no doubt that God had His hand on my life that day. The police officer who was quickly on the scene said slowing down in those brief seconds is what saved me.

It's so easy for me to think if I hadn't postponed class, if I had thought to see what was in the other lane, if I hadn't stopped to get gas on the way back, all these different scenarios, things could have been different; it could have all been avoided. But that's not the case. While what happened wasn't what I would have chosen, God already knew what would happened, and He intervened that day. He protected me from what could have been a very serious situation.

Although I'm bruised and very sore, I'm feeling extra thankful this year. Nothing is broken or cracked just a little black and blue, and hopefully that will be temporary. When I think back of how different things could have been, I'm overwhelmed with how God worked that night.

Be encouraged today that God has His hand on your life too. No matter what You're going through He's there with you. I pray that sharing my story can be an encouragement and bring glory to God for the great things He has done!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Walk of Faith - The Whisnants - CD Review

The Whisnants released Walk of Faith this summer. The group is one of the most consistent groups in gospel music, not only with its personnel but also with its sound. Walk of Faith brings you the same sound and exceptional songs that you have come to expect from the Whisnants over the years.

Walk of Faith has 12 original songs. The album was produced and arranged by Legacy Five's Trey Ivey. Cliff Duren orchestrated the album. For several songs, the group is backed by a choir and orchestra.

"Worry Ends Where Faith Begins" is definitely my favorite from this project! Susan does such an incredible job on this song. I can see it being one that she adds to her repertoire of signature songs. The song suites her so well. The message of this song is just so relevant. I've heard Susan tell the story of her mom giving her the advice not to pray if you worry and if you pray, you shouldn't worry. So many times we pray but pick up what we were supposed to leave in God's hands. God's in control no matter what, we just have to trust Him.

Another song that really stood out to me was "Go Out Singing." I love this uptempo song that features Aaron, it was definitely a song I kept hitting repeat on! "Joy is the House" is another great uptempo song that features each group member. Great choice as the opening song on the project!

I love the play on words with "A Grave Mistake," I think it's a great hook. Logan Peck (son of Rebecca Peck) wrote the song which features Jeff. This is a standout song for him! I also really like Jeff's feature on "I'm Holding on to Grace." It's a slower song that reminds us of the beauty of the grace of God.

Aaron is featured on "Do You Know the Savior?," which is a slower ballad. I love the lyrics of this song that remind us that we have a personal Savior and God. The arrangement of the song really allows for Aaron's voice to shine.

Susan Whisnant is known for being able to communicate through ballads and those tender slow songs. "Worry Ends Where Faith Begins" is my favorite from this CD, but she also does an incredible job on "I Love You This Much" and "Saved Is All You Have To Be."

Sometimes it's the simple messages that can be the most poignant. I think this is the case with "My God Is So Good To Me." This is a great true Southern Gospel sounding song that features Jeff. The song is a great reminder to us as Christians of just how good God is to us!

The title track was another one I found myself hitting repeat on! It's a fun, fast tempo song that I can see really being great live! I love how "Walk of Faith" really is the overarching message of this project. All the songs really fit this theme so well.

Walk of Faith is a must buy for gospel music fans. You'll find the styles and voices you've come to love from the Whisnants. All the songs really do an incredible job of ministering to believers as we travel on this "walk of faith."

Song List -
1. "Joy in the House"
2. "Worry Ends Where Faith Begins"
3. "I'm Holding onto Grace"
4. "Go Out Singing"
5. "I Love You This Much"
6. "My God Is So Good to Me"
7. "Do You Know the Savior?"
8. "A Grave Mistake"
9. "There Is a Fountain"
10. "Walk of Faith"
11. "Saved Is All You Have to Be"
12. "Healing Stream"

Friday, November 20, 2015

Spirit of Christmas - TaRanda Greene - CD Review

I'm deviating from the normal Fun Clip Friday post slightly this week because I have a lot of CD
reviews to catch up on!

Last week, TaRanda Greene released her first Christmas project and her second solo CD from StowTown Records. TaRanda without question is one of the best female voices in the industry. And I'll go on record saying that her version of "O Holy Night" is my favorite! So when I found out that she would be releasing a solo Christmas CD I couldn't wait to hear it!

First of all, I love the song selection for this project. So many Christmas songs are overdone, and by mid-December you can only take so many versions of "The Christmas Song" and "White Christmas." This project has eight songs that aren't covered like other Christmas songs.

I mentioned that her version of "O Holy Night" is my favorite (The songs is actually on her Sanctuary project.). She does a medley with that song, "Still, Still, Still/ O Holy Night." This song is the opening track and what an incredible way to start it!

"Give Love on Christmas Day" is a great midtempo song that has a choir backing up TaRanda. There's also a choir on "Jesus What a Wonderful Child," a definite highlight of the project! She shows her soulful side with this song. "That Spirit of Christmas" also has a choir. It was a song I'd never heard before. I really liked the use of the choir backing her up on these few songs.

"Cool Yule" has a fun, big band/ swing sound to it. TaRanda shows that she can cover a variety of different styles with this song. The song has a little bit of "Up on the Housetop" incorporated in it, which I think was a nice touch!

One of my favorite Christmas songs is "Who Would Imagine a King," and of course I think Whitney Houston is the person probably associated with this song the most, which leaves big shoes to fill for anyone else singing the song. But TaRanda is up for that challenge with a great version of this song! I love the orchestration during the intro of the song. Then it tones down when she starts the voices to really let her voice shine.

"I Wonder as I Wander" is a beautiful song! I'd only heard it a handful of times before this project, but I love TaRanda's version on this CD. It suits her voice so well! This song is a must listen and then listen again because you will be blown away!

The project ends with "Auld Lang Syne," which seems to fit well as a closer. The only complaint I have about this CD is I would have liked more songs on it! But even with eight songs, it's well worth your time to go purchase this to add to your Christmas CD collection.

And in the spirit of Fun Clip Friday, here's a clip of "Still, Still, Still/ O Holy Night" -

Song List -
1. "Still, Still, Still/ O Holy Night"
2. "Give Love on Christmas Day"
3. "Cool Yule (with Up on the Housetop)"
4. "Who Would Imagine a King"
5. "Jesus What a Wonderful Child"
6. "I Wonder as I Wander"
7. "The Spirit of Christmas"
8. "Auld Lang Syne"

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Farewell to Arkansas - The Old Paths Concert Recap

The Old Paths made their final appearance in Arkansas on Nov. 6. It was a little bittersweet knowing that it's less than a month before the group stops touring full time. However, the guys are giving it their all on this last tour making the most of the dates they have remaining.

The Old Paths - Chuck Pettyjohn, Tim Rackley, Doug Roark
and Daniel Ashmore
There was a sweet spirit in the church that night. Even though it's sad to see them leave the full-time ministry of The Old Paths, you can tell they are following God's leading with their lives. Keep praying for them as they finish up this year and go through this time of transition.

The guys really packed in a great set of songs for the night. It was a good mix of their #1s, new songs and familiar favorites.

Here's a list of what they sang -
  • "Love Them to Jesus" - Great song to start the concert with!
  • "Just Can't Get Over" 
  • "Closer to My God"
  • "God's Great" - This is always a favorite and always gets a good response from the audience!
  • "Woke Up This Morning" - Another one of my favorites that they sing. A great uptempo number that has the audience clapping along!
  • "When He Was on the Cross" - Chuck does a great job on this song that's a feature for him. 
  • "Ever Since That Wonderful Day"
  • "If That Isn't Love" - This was definitely a highlight of the night for me! Daniel took the first verse and Chuck the second. Beautiful song and beautiful job!
  • "Ordinary People" - Doug gave his testimony before this song. It's so incredible to hear his story of how he came to accept Christ and how God completely changed his life. I love how it sets up this song perfectly! This is becoming my favorite Old Paths song!
  • "God's Gonna Do the Same" - Daniel proves what an incredible bass voice he has on this song!
  • "Midnight Cry" - This might be a song associated with Gold City, but I love hearing Tim sing this song! He nails it every time!
  • "Where Could I Go" - Daniel played this song on his sax during the offering. So great hearing him play!
  • "When the Saints Go Marching In" - Another sax solo from Daniel.
  • "Battlestand" - This was the group's first #1 song, always a great one to hear live!
  • "Until Then" - Love hearing Doug sing this hymn!
  • "I'm Going Where He Lives" - They said this is the first song they sang as a group.
  • "Jesus Is Coming Soon"
  • "I Bowed On My Knees" - Always a highlight, love hearing Tim sing this song. Perfect worshipful ending to the night!

It was an incredible night, such a sweet spirit with appreciation for these guys and their ministry. While it's sad to see them leave the road full-time, they are going out while still on the top!

If they are going to be anywhere close to you in the next few weeks, don't miss your chance to see them!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pray Now - Commentary

I've been obsessed with Paris since I was a little girl. I've loved all things Eiffel Tower for as long as I can remember. In 2013, my dream of going to Paris became a reality. I loved the city, the French cafes, the historic sites, the landmarks, museums, everything -- well except maybe the metro, but that's a whole other story.

The news out of Paris Friday night was tragic and heartbreaking. It's a time when we're shaken. It's a time when people turn to God, some to find comfort and others to question. But you have to pray that something good will come from this, you have to hold on to the hope that someone will seek God in the face of tragedy.

I can't think of a more appropriate song than this to share today. Let's all take time to "pray now" - for Paris, for families affected, for our own nation and most of all that somehow God will be lifted up through this by us seeking Him like never before.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - Nov. 14

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

  • The 2016 Brumley Sing will be located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The location is being moved from Lebanon, Missouri where it's been held for many years. It will be at the Mabee Center August 3-6, 2016.
  • Keep praying for Joey and Rory Feek, the husband and wife duo who have appeared on several Gaither Homecoming videos. Joey is now being made comfortable at home. Keep up with them on Rory's blog.
  • Before Gus Gaches came off the road with Legacy Five, Matt Fouch did an "On the Couch With Fouch" update with him. Check it out below!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Fun Clip Friday - Mark Lowry

Happy Friday! I'm not sure about you but I'm very glad it's Friday, even if it is Friday the 13th. It's been one of those weeks that has felt like two weeks in one. I've been out of town most of the week for work and then came back yesterday to a lot of things built up while I was gone, so the blog has definitely been neglected this week.

So for today's Fun Clip Friday, I'm sharing an old Mark Lowry clip because after lots of flying this week, the clip is funnier than ever! Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Start of Christmas Music

This week I've been traveling for work, so blogging has not happened like I would like. Sorry! Hopefully the end of the week will be better!

So normally I'll start listening to Christmas music at the first of November. However, with above normal temperatures it just hasn't felt right to pull out Christmas music. I decided to go ahead and pull it out though last week. I couldn't resist anymore. And I'm sure within a week, I'll have a tree up at my house.

Some of my favorite Christmas projects to listen to are from Southern Gospel artists. This year I'm pretty sure TaRanda Greene is the only artist releasing a new Christmas CD. (I have a review coming soon on this one! And I can already tell you, it's fabulous!!) Please somebody correct me if I'm wrong!

So have you started listening to Christmas music yet? How early do you start? Take the poll below!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - Nov. 7

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

  • Paul Roark, 75, passed away on Wednesday. Paul sang gospel music for 42 years with the Maranatha Singers and then the Roarks. The family later formed record company Chapel Valley in Sharps Chapel, Tenn. Prayers for his family!
  • Jerrel Don Brashear, age 74, of Russellville, Arkansas passed away on Thursday. Jerrel was a member of The Brashears, who with his wife, children and other members traveled for more than 26 years. Prayers for his family as well.
  • The Browders have released a new video dedicated to service men and women, "Waiting for You to Get Home." Watch it here.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Fun Clip Friday - On the Couch with Fouch - Jeff Easter

Happy Friday to everyone! The "On the Couch With Fouch" series has become a must watch for the Southern Gospel community. Matthew Fouch, bass singer for Legacy Five, hosts this show with new interviews once a month. He's interviewed many great Southern Gospel artists like Scott Fowler, Gerald Wolfe, Phil Collingsworth and Ernie Haase. This month, he continues with Jeff Easter. This might be one of the funniest interviews he's done! Watch it below for today's Fun Clip Friday, and be sure to check out his YouTube channel for previous interviews!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Williamsons - Tell Somebody - CD Review

I love learning about new and upcoming artists and getting the chance to hear different groups live for the first time. For the past several years, the Southern Gospel Picnic at Silver Dollar City has allowed me the chance to see new groups or just to hear artists live for the first time that I hadn't listened to before. It's how I've discovered a lot of great groups - The Taylors, The Old Paths, 2nd Generation, the Dunaways and the Hoskins Family, to mention a few. This year one of my top new discoveries was the Williamsons.

I picked up their project Tell Somebody which I realize was released in 2014, but it's worth mentioning! If you haven't heard of this group before, check them out! The group consists of Donnie and Lisa Williamson, Karl Rice and Darin Hebert.

You might recognize several songs from this project including "Shout," the #1 song for December according to Singing News. It's a great song that has had a lot of radio airplay. It's a song that really features the entire group. It's a song that seemed to get a lot of response in concert in Branson because so many people were familiar with the song. It's a great mid-tempo song!

"Monday" is a beautiful ballad featuring Lisa that is from the perspective of a child. The song talks about how important it is for Christian parents to be the example to their kids throughout the week not just on Sunday. Lisa does an incredible job on this song! She proves that she can turn in an emotional ballad performance and a soulful performance with "I've Got to Tell Somebody." To me, it sounds like something the Talleys might have recorded.

The first single from this project was "It Was the Word." This is a great uptempo song that is great in a live setting. The song is very traditional Southern Gospel sounding. It's one of several songs that Lisa wrote on the song.

"He Lived to Tell It" has more of a modern country sound. The song features bass singer Darin Hebert. It's another highlight from this project for me!

Karl is featured on the ballad "All Our Hope," which is another song not to miss. He turns in a powerful performance on this song. I love the message of this song. It's so easy to forget that our hope is in Christ, what an incredible promise that is!

I know I'm a little late on discovering this project and this group, but if you haven't already checked it out, don't miss out on it like I did for a while!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Moments Like These - The Bowling Family - CD Review

This might be the week of CD reviews on the blog. I have several pending that need to be published, but let's start this week with the newest release by the Bowling Family.

Moments Like These is not only the group's first release with Daywind Records, but it's also the first one with daughter Hope taking a more prominent role with her parents.

With such strong releases like Shine and Safe... After the Storm, the bar is set high for what this group can do. But I think it's safe to say that Moments Like These is just as strong of a project.

The album starts with "Praise God He Is Alive" featuring Mike. The song is a great uptempo number.

One of my favorite songs on this project is "I Was There." The song talks about how God is there in every aspect of our lives and has been there throughout history. He's there for us and will always be there. This song definitely sounds country, and I can almost hear it as a song for country radio. The song is a perfect fit for Mike.

Kelly sings "Even When You're Asking Why." This song is definitely a highlight of the project. The song has an incredible message that will reach so many people because we've all asked the question why. Kelly communicates the lyrics beautifully. I can see this being one of her signature songs. Don't miss this song! She's also featured on the more upbeat "Mourning to Dancing," which I've already seen them stage live in concert!

Hope is featured on two songs on the project. "One Glorious Moment of Faith" is the first single from the CD, and it's climbed the charts. She absolutely knocks this one out of the park. I think this song is going to make a lot of people step back and realize what a great singer she is. I also love her version of "God Is Always Good." This is the same song Amber Nelon Thompson released earlier this year, but they have very different sounds and vocal styles. The message and lyrics of this song are so incredible; it's a must listen!

"I Believe He's Alive" has a little bit different style than the other songs on the album. The song features Mike on the verses and the trio has a choir singing with them on the chorus. Another song that's a little different style is "God Likes Working in the Midnight Hour." This song definitely has a country vibe. Mike shows that he can sing several different style songs all within one album. He's also featured on a recut of the Nelon's song "I've Got My Foot on the Rock." This is fun one to see live!

"Our First Hallelujah There" is a beautiful ballad featuring Kelly. This song really struck a chord with me after losing my grandfather just a few months ago. It's a beautiful song about the incredible worship we'll experience in Heaven. It's a great end to the project!

Moments Like These is definitely a project you need to check out. Mike, Kelly and Hope Bowling release one of the strongest projects of the year with this CD. It's right up there with their previous releases. Consider it a must buy this year!

Song List -

1. "Praise God He Is Alive"
2. "One Glorious Moment of Faith"
3. "I Was There"
4. "Mourning to Dancing"
5. "I Believe He's Alive"
6. "Even When You're Asking Why"
7. "I've Got My Foot on the Rock"
8. "God Is Always Good"
9. "God Likes Working in the Midnight Hour"
10. "Our First Hallelujah There"

Saturday, October 31, 2015

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - Oct. 31

Here are some news and tidbit items from this week in Southern Gospel music -
  • Congratulations to Austin Whisnant and Jordan Carter who got married last weekend in Alabama. Austin will continue to be a part of the ministry of The Whisnants with his family.
  • Aaron and Amanda Crabb welcomed their fourth child this week. Eda Beth Crabb was born on Oct. 29 and was 8 lbs. and 2 oz. Congratulations to Aaron and Amanda!
  • Josh Ball got to come home this week after more than 50 days in the hospital. He will have in-home health care. He will have to have more surgery later. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.
  • Prayers are also requested for Michael Combs who is waiting a kidney transplant. Right now he is on the list for a donor. Pray that a donor will be available soon. For more info, check on the article on the
  • Congratulations to Tracy Stuffle who celebrated 30 years with the Perrys this week! They had a special presentation during one of the Perrys' shows at Dollywood.
  • Allegiance's newest single "I Will Stand" will be turned into a movie/ documentary. Allegiance sang at the Capitol Building in Nashville, Tennessee for a States' Rights and Religious Freedom Rally. Pastor Benjamin Graham approached the group after the rally about turning the song "I Will Stand" into a movie/documentary. Filming begins Monday in the Nashville area and then travels to Washington, DC., Illinois, South Carolina, North Carolina and more. Allegiance will be filming a music video of "I Will Stand" as part of the film that will feature active duty military, veterans and first responders. Franklin Graham has also confirmed an appearance in the film as well as ministers, congressmen, senators and other political figures from across the country. 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fun Clip Friday - Gospel Music Hymn Sing

Happy Friday to all! Last weekend was the first leg of the Gospel Music Hymn Sing tour. From posts on social media, this is concert you don't wan to miss if at all possible! I plan on being at the one in Memphis in November.

Apparently you never know who will be at this tour. Mark Lowry was in the audience at one of these concerts. Check out this video he posted on Facebook for today's Fun Clip Friday!

More hymn sing
Posted by Mark Lowry on Sunday, October 25, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Sing - The Perrys - CD Review

The Perrys released Sing earlier this month. This is the first album with new material featuring the
lineup of Andrew Goldman, Troy Peach, Libbi Stuffle, Tracy Stuffle and Jared Stuffle. This is the group's second project with StowTown Records.

The group has overcome a lot in the last few years, but with this project they prove that they are still at the top of their game in this industry.

The title track "Sing" is one of my favorites. The uptempo song features Andrew on the verses. I really like the style of this song, and it's easy to get stuck in your head. But more than that the message is so relevant for this industry. Sometimes we don't always feel it, but let words and the music rise up because He is faithful, and He is able.

"Keep On" is another must listen. This is probably my favorite from this project. Libbi takes the lead on this song. The chorus of the song is full of short inspirational phrases to really encourage Christians. This is the first single off the project, and I definitely agree with that decision! "I Claim the Blood" also features Libbi and is the ballad just like she does so well. It's a must listen on this project. The message of the blood never gets old and the importance never diminishes. Libbi also shines on "Cry No More," a beautiful song about the promise of Heaven. No matter what we go through hear on earth, it's only temporary. Heaven is the place where we'll cry no more, have no fear and have no pain.

The males of the group really get to step out on "I've Never Been There." This is another highlight for me. You can hear the combination of Jared, Andrew and Troy really well. It definitely has that traditional Southern Gospel feel.

"Did I Just Hear the Thunder" starts the project. I love this country flavored song. The song really showcases how well this lineup sounds together. It definitely is a Perrys' type of song. "Fear for Faith" is another song that's exactly in the Perrys' wheelhouse. Troy Peach gets the feature on this song. Troy is also featured on "Both Sides of the River." This is another great song about Heaven. This song really fits Troy's voice so well. He communicates each lyric so well, you can tell he feels what he is singing.

Andrew is really stepping out as such an incredible lead singer. I love his feature "I've Seen the Power of the Lord." However, my favorite of his on this project is "The Unexpected Storm." Andrew does an incredible job on this song. The message of this song I can see resonating with so many people.

"Time Has Made a Change" features Tracy Stuffle with special guests Karen Peck Gooch and Kelly Nelon Clark. The song is a Nelons classic. Tracy performed the song live with Karen and Kelly at National Quartet Convention this year. It's really amazing to hear him singing like he is with all he's been through. It's a true testament to the power of God.

This latest project by the Perrys is a must-have this year. This mixed group shows that what they have been through in recent years has only made them stronger. They always have a knack for having incredible songs, and this project is full of them! Make sure you purchase Sing!

Song List -
1. "Did I Just Hear the Thunder"
2. "Keep On"
3. "Fear for Faith"
4. "The Unexpected Storm"
5. "Cry No More"
6. "I've Never Been There"
7. "Both Sides of the River"
8. "I Claim the Blood"
9. "Sing"
10. "Time Has Made a Change"
11. "I Have Seen the Power"

Monday, October 26, 2015

Roger Bennett Memorial Concert - Talleys & Mark Trammell Quartet - Concert Recap

Arkansas has several claims to fame in the Southern Gospel community. One of the most notable figures in gospel music from our state is Roger Bennett. He was from Strawberry, Arkansas. He passed away in 2007 after a long battle with leukemia. For several years they have had a memorial concert to honor Roger's memory and legacy. This year it was held at First Baptist Church in Cave City, Arkansas with the Talleys and the Mark Trammell Quartet on Oct. 17. It was a great night honoring Roger with two great groups!

The Talleys took the stage first that night. They started their set with "I Love the Tell the Story." Great to hear them sing this classic hymn! Then, Lauren was featured on "The Promise," one of my favorite Talley songs! They sang a few more from the The Test of Time project including "Isn't the Love of Jesus Something Wonderful," "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" and "When He Calls I'll Fly Away." Their version of "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" is definitely one of my favorites!

The Talleys - Debra, Lauren and Roger
Lauren set up the next song by telling a story about her grandparents. When her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, her grandfather dropped everything to take care of her. For 10 years, he cared for her faithfully. Lauren was featured on "Hidden Heroes." This is such a great song, and it won the Dove Award for Southern Gospel Song of the Year earlier that week!

Roger was featured on "God Leads Us Along" on the keyboard before they closed their set with "He's Alive" and "The Broken Ones." "He's Alive" is always such a powerful song! I also love the tenderness of the broken ones. I love how Lauren comes into the audience ends it a cappella with no mic just her voice and lets the lyrics of the song speak for itself. What a comforting thought of how God cares for His broken children and a challenge that we need to love and minister to the broken ones around us more.

The Mark Trammell Quartet took the stage next. For many people, there were two new faces on stage. Tenor Blake Buffin has been with the group just a few months now, but that night Keith Inman was filling in on bass. Randy Byrd's daughter was getting married that Saturday, so he was not with the group that concert. Keith is no stranger to gospel music and has sung with several groups and is brother to Clayton Inman of Triumphant.

The Mark Trammell Quartet - Blake Buffin, Nick Trammell,
Mark Trammell and Keith Inman
They started the night with "Leave Your Sorrows" before singing "To Know He Knows Me" from Your Walk Talks. They sang several from that project including the title track, "Don't Stop Running" and "God's Been Faithful." The last one is a personal favorite. I love hearing them sing this one live.

The quartet pulled out some older songs as well like the Cathedrals' classic "Wedding Music." Blake was featured on "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus." He does a great job on this hymn! Keith was featured on "Wonderful Time Up There." This is always a fun one to see live!

They ended the set with "The King is Coming." This song is always a highlight. I love the group's version of this song. Mark does such an incredible job on this song!

To start the second half, Debbie Bennett along with her children Chelsea and Jordan came up and said a few words. The family was extremely grateful to the groups for being there and for this concert to take place to honor Roger's life. Several other Bennett family members were in attendance.

The Talleys came back on stage and sang a few more including "Searchin" and "Mountain Mover." Debra was featured on "Thinkin' About Home." I love hearing her sing this one! They ended their set with Lauren on "His Life for Mine," again this is always a powerful song and a highlight!

The Mark Trammell Quartet sang "Meet Me Over on the Other Side" and "Guide Me O Jehovah." They closed with "Almost Over." Mark said if he had to pick one song to sing this would be it. Such an  incredible song!

The two groups took the stage together and sang "I'll Fly Away." The pastor came up to close the concert. Once he got on stage he made the comment that he needed someone to take his picture with all these famous people. The last time he had his picture made with a famous person he was 14 and it was a former president from Arkansas, and he didn't know better! Mark told him that there were some things better left unsaid. The pastor encouraged the groups to sing just one more, so they just asked him to join them, and he did! They ended the night with "Standing on the Solid Rock."

It was a great night with two incredible groups. It's not often that you get a full concert with two of the top groups in the industry. It was also a sweet night honoring the life and legacy of Roger Bennett. It was easy to see how he impacted the lives of the singers who took the stage that night, Southern Gospel music and the lives of all the family and friends who were there to honor him.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - Oct. 24

Here are a few news and updates from this week in Southern Gospel -

  • The on-demand webcast of the National Quartet Convention is now all online. You can still purchase it and rewatch the concerts online until the end of the year.
  • Keep Joey and Rory Feek and family in your prayers. The couple has made several appearances on Gaither videos and are a Gaither Music Group artist. Joey has been battling cancer for a while, and they got the news this week that treatments are not working. They have decided to end treatment. Read Rory's blog for their full journey.
  • Joshua Ball (formerly with and brother of Ball Brothers) had surgery this week and has had a few setbacks. He's been battling pancreatitis for several weeks. He has an infection around the drain tube. Please continue to keep him and his family in your prayers. Also, if you would like to help with expenses, check out this GoFundMe
Anything I'm missing?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Roger Bennett - Cathedrals - Fun Clip Friday

Last weekend I went to the Roger Bennett Memorial Sing in Cave City, Arkansas. The night featured the Mark Trammell Quartet and the Talleys, but the purpose was to honor the memory of Roger Bennett. It was a great night, full recap coming next week!

But for today's Fun Clip Friday, I decided to pull a clip of Roger from the Cathedral days. This features him singing the song, "Homeland." Enjoy!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Every Hallelujah - Canton Junction - CD Review

Canton Junction - Every HallelujahCanton Junction released Every Hallelujah this summer. This is the first project released since Casey Rivers and Ryan Seaton joined the group. Together with Tim Duncan and Matt Hagee they form Canton Junction. The quartet is different than a lot of other Southern Gospel groups since it has a limited touring schedule. They are based in Texas and got started singing together in John Hagee's church, Cornerstone Church in San Antonio.

Every Hallelujah has 13 songs on it. The majority of them are new songs. The songs are very diverse, so listeners will definitely find something they enjoy! Stylistically there is something for everyone.

I think the church background is definitely evident throughout the project. They have a number of songs that I can see fitting well in a worship service with a large choir accompanying them. "Every Hallelujah" is definitely one of those. This title cut is one of the songs that really stood out to me on first listen. The guys actually do have a choir join them on the second verse. It has a great build and a worship feel to it. "I Am" is another one of these. It's an incredible song that really talks about each of the attributes of God. "Weep No More" was another song that stood out to me on first listen. The orchestration is great, and Casey does an outstanding job on the vocal feature! I can also see this being a feature with a choir.

The project also features some classic Southern Gospel songs like "When He Was on the Cross," "When I Lift Up My Head" and "The King and I." Tim Duncan featured on "When He Was on the Cross" is a must listen!

For this group to not tour as much and the lineup being fairly new, they have a great blend and some great harmonies that are showcased on Every Hallelujah. "God's Got a Better Plan" starts the project and really features the quartet's great harmonies. It was another song that really grabbed me at first listen because of the great lyrics and message.

"A Place Called Grace" is a touching ballad featuring Ryan Seaton. It's a beautiful song with a powerful message and great orchestration.

Another standout to me was "For Moments Like These." I love the message of this song! The moments when we question and don't understand -- faith was made for moments like these. Casey and Matt shine on the verses. Definitely a highlight track for me!

"I Need a Little More Jesus" is not a new song and was recently recorded by TaRanda Greene, but they definitely have different takes on the song. Either way, it's a fun, lively song! Another song that is a fun listen is "Tumbling Down." Casey does a great job on this song.

Overall, Every Hallelujah by Canton Junction is definitely worth checking out! I'm always a fan of projects with more than the typical number of songs. And it doesn't feel like they just picked a bunch of filler songs to make it longer. Because it's a diverse project with different types of songs, you're guaranteed to find something you like!

Song List -

1. "God's Got a Better Plan"
2. "Tumbling Down"
3. "It Wasn't Raining"
4. "When He Was on the Cross"
5. "When I Lift Up My Head"
6. "Every Hallelujah"
7. "I Am"
8. "A Place Called Grace"
9. "For Moments Like These"
10. "I Need a Little More Jesus"
11. "Living for Heaven"
12. "Weep No More"
13. "The King and I"