Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Take Time to Be Holy - Joseph Habedank- CD Review

Joseph Habedank released a collection of hymns on March 24. The project is full of his personal favorite hymns. It's entitled Take Time to Be Holy: Hymns for Quiet Reflection.

There have been a lot of great hymn projects released in the past few years, but I love the simplicity of this project. The arrangements allow these timeless songs to speak for themselves. It's simply Joseph's voice and the piano. The project is exactly as the subtitle suggests - hymns for quiet reflection. It speaks to you as you hear these familiar lyrics allowing you to really dwell and mediate on what it's saying.

Joseph's wife Lindsay joins him on "It Is Well." This is her first recording to be on. She is also an incredible singer. Her addition to this song definitely makes it a highlight.

The song that probably strays the most from the way I typically hear it is "My Jesus I Love Thee." Joseph adds a little more pep with a faster tempo and more than just piano accompaniment.

I know it's hard to go wrong when choosing songs for a hymns project, but I do love the song choice of the album. It's hard to do a song by song commentary on a hymns project. I tried to come up with a list of favorites and ended up changing it about five times. So suffice it to say, listen to them all... on repeat. You won't regret it.

For gospel fans and hymn lovers, this is a must add to your collection. They are songs you know by heart and love. Joseph sings them in a pure form that really showcases the feelings of the songs. So take the time to purchase "Take Time to Be Holy."

Song List -

  1. "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"
  2. "It Is Well" (with Lindsay Habedank)
  3. "There Is a Fountain"
  4. "Hallelujah! What a Savior!"
  5. "What a Day That Will Be"
  6. "Be Thou My Vision"
  7. "My Jesus, I Love Thee"
  8. "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"
  9. "Come, Thou Fount"
  10. "Take Time to Be Holy"

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Doug Anderson Leaves Ernie Haase and Signature Sound

Doug Anderson announced today that he is leaving Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. His last dates with the group will be June 19 and 20. He has been with the group at baritone for 13 years and was an original member.

Doug will be pursuing a full-time solo career. He also wants to spend more time with his family. Best wishes to Doug and Signature Sound as they enter these new phases of ministry.

The group posted a video announcement to YouTube. Watch it below -

Monday, April 27, 2015

Singing in the Sun - Karen and Rickey Gooch Testimony

Normally I highlight a clip on Friday, but when I found this clip last weekend, it didn't seem to fit the "Fun Clip Friday" post. In February, Karen Peck Gooch issued an open letter revealing that her husband Rickey Gooch had cancer.

It's been a trying time for them the past few months. She shared their testimony at Singing in the Sun last week and led the audience in a time of prayer. It's such a sweet and touching moment that I felt it needed its own post to start the week!

Karen Peck Gooch shares testimony about husband Ricky Gooch here at Singing In The Sun.
Posted by Global Promotions on Friday, April 24, 2015

Saturday, April 25, 2015

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

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

  • James Ollis, age 74, father of Eric Ollis, passed away on Monday, April 20 at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Eric Ollis has a ministry with his family and also has been with the Whisnants and the Dixie Melody Boys.
  • Freedom Quartet member John Rulapaugh announced that his father, Duane Rulapaugh, passed away on April 18.
  • The Harmony Honors that were recorded in Nashville this week will air on TBN on May 6. It will be in the "Praise the Lord" timeslot at 9 p.m. (10 p.m. EST). 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Fun Clip Friday - Harmony Honors

The Harmony Honors took place on Tuesday night at TBN in Nashville. Many artists got to be a part of this night honoring Dottie Rambo and Rusty Goodman's lives, legacy and music. The entire night will be televised later on, but for today's Fun Clip Friday post, here are a few clips that were shared over social media.

Micheal English with The Nelons sing "I Bowed On My Knees And Cried Holy" at the SGMG Harmony Honors...............
Posted by Southern Gospel Update on Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Perrys sing "Sheltered In The Arms Of God" at the SGMG Harmony Honors......
Posted by Southern Gospel Update on Friday, April 24, 2015

Proud of my friends! The Old Paths are awesome!!!
Posted by Rhonda Mitchell Frye on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blessing Hearts - Old Paths Concert Recap

"Bless their hearts." I'm sure you all know that phrase. The phrase you say when you want to say something bad about someone to make yourself feel better. Well, I definitely have nothing bad to say about the Old Paths concert I attended last week, but "bless your heart" was definitely a theme for the night!

The Old Paths - Josh Townsend (piano), Jeremy Peace, Tim Rackley,
Doug Roark and Daniel Ashmore
The group started with "Love Them to Jesus." The song is one of their recent #1 songs that features lead singer Tim Rackley. The song has a beautiful message of how we need to love on people to really show them Jesus.

Then the group sang what would be the first of several songs from their latest project Stay. Jeremy Peace was featured on "You Never Cease to Amaze Me." Love this song! Then, bass singer Daniel Ashmore sang "Oh What a Happy Morning," which the crowd really got into! It was easy to see how much this crowd was loving seeing and hearing Old Paths. I've been to several concerts this year, and to me this crowd was one of the best.

They sang "God's Great" another #1 before singing another new one which was “Out of the Grave.” This is definitely a standout on their album and I’m so glad to hear them sing this one live. If you think Jeremy is impressive on the ending on the album, you should hear him live! Wow!

Doug Roark started introducing the group. He would pick on various members of the group saying “bless his heart.” It definitely became the joke of the night. He talked about how Josh Townsend, piano player, had a stroke in the second grade and doctors told him he would never use his left hand. When he let loose on the keyboard, it didn’t take you long to figure out that doctors aren’t always right. It’s also easy to forget that he’s only 17 with his talent! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him! Daniel then pulled out his saxophone and played “Where Could I Go.” Then he and Josh did an instrumental duet of “Are You Washed in the Blood” with the congregation joining in singing a bit.

Daniel then was featured on “Closer to My God.” Love hearing him on this older song! After more introductions, Doug sang “Just Can’t Get Over.” Great hearing him sing this one live. I think it speaks so much to the strength of a project when groups stage so many songs from it soon after its release!

Doug said that he was so grateful for the blood of Jesus. He was raised in church and knew about Jesus, but he didn't know Jesus. If you haven't heard Doug's testimony, make sure you go to the next Old Paths concert in your area! Doug's mother raised all eight of her children in church. His father was an alcoholic but later saved. Doug found a hero to look up to in one of his older brothers who looked like Robert Plant with Led Zeppelin (at this point one of the ladies in the audience piped up "Bless his heart!") His brother turned him on to drugs. "Sin always has an impact in our lives no matter how small it may seem," he said. He talked about the path he went down and where sin had him after years of drugs. Thankfully years later he met an old preacher who knew how to love on sinners. He shared that the song "Love Them to Jesus" was written about him. The preacher formed a relationship with Doug and invited him to church where Doug was saved. He said it was all because an ordinary person allowed God to do something extraordinary in his life.

This set up the song "Ordinary People" perfectly. Another new one that Tim sings. Tim is definitely one of the most underrated lead singers in the industry. They closed the first half with “We Are Those Children” and “Oh What a Savior.”

During intermission after the offering, the pastor of the church was talking about what a great first half it had been. He joked about how he would really be able to get up and preach for a while right then. Someone from the congregation shouted out, “Bless his heart!” The church erupted in laughter.

The pastor also mentioned that the church’s next concert would be Tribute Quartet on June 5. Doug came back into the sanctuary and said a few words to the congregation about coming back to support Tribute and gospel music. He talked about what a great group they were and how the church does a great job of putting on concerts and encouraged everyone to be back and invite someone! I thought that was a classy move from Doug and really showed the heart of the group. It’s not about being in competition with other groups but promoting gospel music and sharing Jesus with people.

They kicked off the second half with “Ever Since That Wonderful Day” and then “I’m Signed, I’m Sealed, I’m Saved.” They sang a few more favorites during the second half including “I of the Storm,” “God’s Gonna Do the Same” and “Echoes From the Burning Bush.”

Doug spoke just before the invitation about how we’ve all gone through or are going through storms in our lives. He talked about some of the rough things that happened for the Old Paths within the last year from illnesses to stolen equipment. (He did talk about a lady who volunteered to buy stage clothes for the group after their trailer was stolen last year. That comment definitely got a few "Bless her heart" remarks!) He said that He’s not God because He speaks calm in the midst of our storms, but He’s God because He’s in control of them.

“Faith is not believing that God will do what we ask Him to do, but faith is believing that He’s God whether He does it or not,” Doug said. He always answers prayers whether He answers how we want or not. He gave an invitation with the guys singing “He’s All I Need.”

They thought they ended the night with “I Passed Over Into Canaanland.” However, the pastor requested that they sing one more, which was “John the Revelator.” The group sang it at the Harmony Honors on Tuesday and had been getting the song ready for that event, so they got to try it out on a live audience before singing it then.

The running joke that night was "Bless Their Heart," but that's exactly what the group did. From the first note that was sung, you could tell we were all in for a great night. It was a night of uplighting songs and testimonies that blessed the hearts of the congregation but more importantly lifted up the name of Jesus!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Concert Announcements - Poll

I want to hear from you this Monday morning. I think I've asked a similar question before, but I'm curious to know if this has changed.

There are so many ways now to get the word out about concerts. However, I know from going to concerts recently, drawing a large crowd is not as easy as it used to be. More and more things are competing for our attention, and then there are the distance and weather factors. A small crowd size is not really a reflection of the artist, but just in the method of getting the word out.

So I'm curious, how do you hear about concerts? What's the most effective way to ensure that more people hear about a concert in your area? Take the poll below (you can vote twice).

Saturday, April 18, 2015

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

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

  • Brian Alvey has been named the new baritone singer for the Kingdom Heirs. Read more here
  • The Absolutely Gospel Music Awards were held this week at River of Life in Smyrna, Tennessee. Song of the Year was "Finish Well" by Karen Peck and New River.  Unashamed from Brian Free and Assurance was awarded Album of the Year. The Bowling Family was named Fan Favorite Artist. See the full list of winners here
  • Squire Parsons announced this week that he will be scaling back on his touring dates. His son Samuel and his wife Leah will also be pursuing their own music ministry and no longer be traveling with Squire.
  • The second round of voting for the Singing News Fan Awards has opened. Subscribers can vote online here. 
  • Shaye Smith of the Chuck Wagon Gang has requested prayer for her father. He is in need of a liver transplant. Read more here
  • Singing in the Sun will be streamed live this year. View more than 20 artists and speakers for five nights live for $50. Go to for more info. 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fun Clip Friday - The Isaacs and Terry Bradshaw

The Isaacs had a special guest join them on stage recently during a concert in Texas. Terry Bradshaw, former NFL player and TV analyst, was at a concert. The Isaacs convinced him to join them on stage for the hymn, "What a Day That Will Be." Who knew that this Hall of Famer was such a gospel music fan and could sing? Watch the video below from the Isaacs' Facebook page for today's Fun Clip Friday!

What an honor to have our friend Terry Bradshaw in concert last night. Listen to this!!!!
Posted by The Isaacs on Sunday, April 12, 2015

Thursday, April 16, 2015

How Will You Plead - Amber Eppinette and Dianne Wilkinson - Songwriter Series

Amber Eppinette
Let’s take a look at another story behind a song today with young songwriter Amber Eppinette. She shared the story of writing “How Will You Plead” with Dianne Wilkinson. 11th Hour recorded the song, and it was released on the group’s Picture This project.

“I met up with Dianne Wilkinson at her home in Tennessee for cowrite, and we had many lines and hooks for different songs, but God had another plan for us that day,” Amber shared. Even though Amber had cowritten with Dianne before, this was her first time meeting her. “It was as if I had found my long lost Grandmama. There was definitely a kindred spirit there. We got to talking, sharing our beliefs on certain things and all of sudden the urge hit me to write about something that would catch the attention of the nonbeliever and the believer. And I believe with the guidance of God and the help of Ms. Dianne, we did just that.”

Amber loved being able to cowrite this song with Dianne Wilkinson. “Just by the name people know, she is in the Word and knows just how to word the song to bring out the whole gospel in three minutes.”

The lyric of the song came first. Amber said that she loves the line - “There is redemption for all who will trust Him. So what will you say when you’re judged on that day? How will you plead?”

Amber said that she felt more determined after hearing the song recorded. “I was determined to witness more, determined to encourage believers our job isn’t done and there are still souls to be won,” she said.

“This song bring many different feelings for me,” Amber shared. “One, it sparks a fire to continue the path God has paved for me. Two, it excites me to know that by Jesus’ precious blood, I can plead NOT GUILTY!”

Thanks to Amber for sharing a little bit of the story behind the song!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Brian Alvey Joins Kingdom Heirs - News

The Kingdom Heirs have announced Brian Alvey as the group's new baritone singer in a statement on their website. You can see some video clips of his audition here. Brian has previously been with Tribute Quartet, the Talleys, Southern Sound and Beyond the Ashes.

Kries French, owner/manger of the Kingdom Heirs states “A lot of prayer and consideration went into our decision and we are thrilled to welcome Brian and his family, into our family.” French continues, “During our time on the road this winter, we had the privilege to audition close to 60 men who traveled many miles for this chance and we thank each of you so much. We feel that God has led us to the man He wants for us."

“We are honored to have entered our 30th year of partnership with The Kingdom Heirs," states Sonlite records President Chris White. “We are excited to continue this relationship with a new recording the group is already working on for an October release.”

Brian will start immediately will the group at Dollywood. I think this is a great choice and get fit for the group!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Living in Harmony - Triumphant Quartet - CD Review

Triumphant - Living in Harmony
The Triumphant Quartet's album Living in Harmony releases today. This is the group's first project with StowTown Records. However, a new label does not mean a new sound. This has to be the most consistent group in the business. With no vocal change in the 13 years of the group, Triumphant shows with this latest project the same solid sound and incredible vocals that you have come to expect from this group!

The title song "Living in Harmony" starts the project and is probably one of my favorites. (Check out the story behind the song.) It's one of the more traditional sounding songs. It showcases the "harmony" and incredible blend of the group. It's definitely one that I found getting stuck in my head, which was not a bad thing! Scotty Inman takes the verses on this song that he and Jeff Bumgardner penned. "Jesus Must Have Been Here" also features Scotty. It's another more traditional sounding song.

David Sutton takes the lead on "Amazing God." I got to hear this one live before the album released. It's probably one of my favorite songs that David has done. The message of the song is timeless, and I can see it touching a lot of people. Definitely a highlight of the project!

Triumphant covers a couple of older songs like "Black and White" from the Singing Americans and "A Friend Called Grace." I think both of these were smart choices for cover songs with enough time passed from Singing Americans and gospel fans might not be familiar with the Philips, Craig and Dean song. "A Friend Called Grace" is a great country-style song. It's really shows how diverse Triumphant can be with song choice. It's another favorite of mine on this project.

Another song that they re-recorded was the classic hymn "When He Reached Down His Hand for Me." Let me say I love Clayton Inman on this song. This is an incredible arrangement and Clayton masters this song beautifully!

"Living in the Promised Land" is just a fun song. It reminds me a lot of "Almost Home." It's a toe-tapper that I can see becoming a popular song in a live setting.

"I Belong to Jesus" is a great, easy-listening ballad. It's a great reminder that the most important thing in our lives is that we belong to Jesus. Eric does an incredible job on this song; it really showcases his voice. David takes the lead as the song and orchestration builds toward the end and then Eric comes back and ends it.

The ballad "Has There Ever Been" closes the project. I really like the concept of this ballad written by Lee Black, Dianne Wilkinson and Tony Wood. Great song choice!

Triumphant fans will love this new project. Triumphant shows that they remain at the top of the industry with their consistency and artistry. All gospel music fans will enjoy! Definitely one that you must add to your music collection!

Song List -

1. "Living in Harmony"
2. "Jesus Must Have Been Here"
3. "Amazing God"
4. "Black and White"
5. "When He Reached Down His Hand for Me"
6. "Living in the Promised Land"
7. "Made for Gold"
8. "I Belong to Jesus"
9. "A Friend Called Grace"
10. "Has There Ever Been"

Saturday, April 11, 2015

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - April 11

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

  • Congratulations to Kasey Kemp (Allegiance) and Haley Young (Angela Lilly Trio) who got married on Tuesday!
  • Prayers requested for Randy Crawford's (Kingsmen Quartet) son Mitchell who was in an ATV accident. He has no internal injuries but has several broken bones. He had surgery on Friday into his femur bone. He will have an MRI today for his neck. Check the Kingsmen's Facebook page for updates. 
  • Pray for the Unthank family of Deon Unthank's mother passed away this week.
  • Stacy Pearcy has decided to leave Back Home to pursue other interests. Back Home will continue as a duet for now and are prayerfully considering adding a third member. 
  • Congratulations to TaRanda Greene and Landon Beene who got engaged this week!
Anything I've missed?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Fun Clip Friday - On Couch With Fouch - Arthur Rice - Kingdom Heirs

Happy Friday to you all! Today's Fun Clip Friday feature is another interview from Matthew Fouch's On the Couch with Fouch series. This month he interviewed Kingdom Heirs' Arthur Rice. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Freemans Concert Recap

My last gospel concert of March was the Freemans in Ward, Arkansas at Dayspring Baptist. This was another group that it was my first time to see outside of Silver Dollar City. It was also my first time to see them without their daughter Misty.

I think the Freemans are a group who know who they are and know what they do well and do exactly that. They have their own unique sound in gospel music. Chris Freeman probably has the most recognizable voice in gospel music. I really love that they know who they are as artists and have their own style and sound.

Here’s a lineup of what they sang -

The Freemans - Joe, Chris and Darrell Freeman 
  • "Three Rugged Crosses" - Probably my favorite song they sing! And a great choice to start the night!
  • "Hello in Heaven" - Always a fun song!
  • "I Can't Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand"
  • "Trespasser" - Featured Joe Freeman, good to hear him step up and sing one!
  • "Water Grave" - Caylon, Darrell and Chris' son, was featured on this one. 
  • "I'll Be Back" - With the concert being right before Easter, Chris talked about wondering what Mary must have felt. Even though she knew the plan for Jesus’ life, He was still her baby but He also became her Savior. We shouldn’t lose hope because He will be back. Great setup to a great song!
  • "Voice in the Desert" - Another great song from their most recent project! 
  • "Lead Me Home" - They talked a little bit about Darrell's mom to set up this song. She lived with them and they took care of her for many years. She struggled to remember who Chris was and would tell Darrell that he needed to marry that girl. He laughed and said he would tell his mom that once was enough. Love this song that features Darrell! Probably a highlight of the night for me!
  • "What a Day That Will Be" - Great classic hymn that they had the audience join in on.
  • "Still Been God" - Always a favorite to hear them sing!
  • "Sending Me Angels" - Another Caylon feature! I look forward to hearing more from him, because I think he could really step out from the drums and be a great vocalist for the group!
  • "Next Step"
  • "John the Revelator" - Chris said that Darrell had requested for her to record this song for about 10 years. She finally did and I'm glad she listened to him! Chris does an incredible job on this one!
  • "Living Truth" - They said that they were told not to record this song, but they have always been a group to sing what they feel. I'd never heard the song before that night. The song reiterated the power in prayer and in the Word of God and that's something they felt compelled to sing about.
  • "The Lighthouse" - Perfect song to end the night on!
It was a great night with a group that I don't get to see very often! It was good to hear their stories and more from their heart as they shared during the night. Don't get me wrong I love the music, but I love when groups take time to share more about what the songs mean to them and you really see their hearts and passion for the music.

For all my Arkansas friends - This church in Ward has several concerts per year. The next one is coming up next Thursday night at 7 p.m. with the Old Paths. If you're in the area, be sure to attend!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Turn It Up - Playlists of Life - God's Love

This past weekend I was privileged to be part of my church's Easter presentation. It was a beautiful picture of the life of Christ. For four nights I felt like I was in the story. I watched as the man playing Jesus gave us a glimpse of the sacrifice that was made. It was an incredible experience, and one that I pray I never get over. I cannot fathom the love that God has for us.

As I thought over and over about that this weekend there were several songs that I could not get out of my head. So here's another "Playlists of Life" post. What songs remind you of God's love? When you need to feel the power of His love what song do you turn up? When you need to be be reminded of His unconditional love what song do you go to?

Here are a few of mine. Would love to hear yours!
  • O The Thought That Jesus Loves Me - Beyond the Ashes
  • For God So Loved - Brian Free & Assurance
  • The Love of God for Me - Nelons
  • The Greatest Love Story - Triumphant Quartet
  • Looks Like Love to Me - Crossway
  • Love Is Stronger - Jason Crabb
  • If Not For the Love of Christ - Kingsmen
  • He Did It Anyway - Karen Peck and New River
  • Love Came Calling - Triumphant Quartet
  • The First Time I Saw Love - The Greenes
  • God So Loves Me - Greater Vision
  • Love Was in the Room - Booth Brothers
  • For the Sake of My Heart - Gold City
  • Blame It On Love - Hoppers
  • How Blessed - Bowling Family
  • Love Enough - Martins
  • God Said I Love You - Old Paths
  • Nothing Can Keep Us From God's Love - Nelons
  • Too Good to Not Be True - Perrys
  • Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored - Gaither Vocal Band
  • If That Isn't Love - The Isaacs
  • When I Think of Love - Mike and Kelly Bowling

Monday, April 6, 2015

"Living in Harmony" - Scotty Inman - Songwriter Series

Triumphant Quartet releases a new project Living in Harmony next week. However, this week Scotty Inman shares a little bit about how he co-wrote the title song off the new project.

The group was actually the inspiration for the song. "I was thinking about our group and how long we'd been singing together, and in general how long we've known each other. Traveling and singing takes chemistry, a lot of give and take and a team effort. God has shown his favor and allowed have a lengthy tenure as a group," he said. "Then I began to think about the body of Christ and how we let denominations get in between the main goal and that is reaching the lost. Imagine what we could do if we were all in one accord and all had the same end result in mind." His thought process behind the song had a couple of different dimensions to it.

The title to the song came first and then quickly after that the melody. He brought the hook to Jeff Bumgardner actually though text message and voice memo. "He took the lead on it and really wrote some golden lyrics that make the song," Scotty said. One of his favorite lines in the song was one that Jeff wrote -

"How can a world that's broken hear the news that Jesus saves if we're not in agreement when we step out on the stage."

Scotty said that he always wanted to write an uplifting anthem that reaches a diverse audience. "I think this song can be used to unify the body of Christ and break the barriers between us that keep us from reaching others," he said.

I was pleased to hear the song live when I saw the group a few weeks ago! The song will be on the Triumphant Quartet project of the same name that releases on April 14.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - April 4

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

  • Rickey Gooch began treatments for cancer on March 3. He is undergoing chemo and radiation. Please keep him, Karen and their family in your prayers. See the full update.
  • Congratulations to Heather Ruppe (Sisters) who married Blake Bennett last night.
  • The Isaacs will be featured on Sirius XM this weekend on the Bluegrass Junction. Tune in at 11 today and 4 p.m. Sunday to hear them.
  • Jon Epley (formerly of the Inspirations) is now singing bass with the Ball Brothers. Andy Tharp previously held the position.

Anything I've missed?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Good Friday - Fun Clip Friday

Happy Good Friday and Easter weekend! I love this time that we get to really stop and reflect on the incredible sacrifice that was made for us and the Almighty power of God with Jesus' resurrection.

It's only fitting that for today's Fun Clip Friday post that I pull two of my favorite Easter-related songs to share with you! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Triumphant Quartet - Concert Recap

Triumphant Quartet is a group that I had only heard at Silver Dollar City until recently. This group has been awarded Favorite Quartet for the Singing News Fan Awards for the past several years and every time I see them I’m reminded of why. I made the drive to the metropolis of Umpire, Ark a few weeks ago to see them for the first time outside of the “theme park” setting.

Triumphant Quartet - David Sutton, Clayton Inman, Scotty Inman, 
Eric Bennett  and G.W. Southard on piano
The group started the night with “We Will Remember” from their Awesome God project. Love this worship song and it was a great way to get the night started! Then, they sang the title song from their upcoming release Living in Harmony. Such a great song written by Scotty Inman.

Then, they sang a familiar favorite, “Saved By Grace” before Clayton was featured on “I Will Rise.” I loved getting to hear him live on this one. He’s such a great lead singer and I think it speaks so much to the diversity of the group that they not only recorded a project with some more contemporary praise and worship songs but they are staging many of them.

After the group members introductions, they sang “I Can’t Help But Smile” and then “Meschach.” The latter is such a fun song to see and hear live.

Eric talked about the birth of his second granddaughter last year. He was in awe of the miracle of this new life. He said that she really didn’t bring a lot to the table though when she came. He talked about how he would fight a bear for her even though she really couldn’t do anything for anyone. He compared it how we are with Christ. We don’t bring anything to the table or have anything to offer Him. Yet, He loves us unconditionally and He fought death, Hell and the grave for us. Then David sang “This Blood.” I love this song. Let me say it again, I LOVE this song. Tenor David Sutton sings this one and it is absolutely incredible! Definitely a highlight of the night for me! Then, they led the audience in “What Can Wash Away My Sin.”

Eric talked about how much he looked up to George Younce as a bass singer. G.W. Southard their new piano player then picked up the guitar. All the guys came to the front of the stage on stools and sang the George Younce classic “Who Can Do Anything?” Eric is one of the best when it comes to bass singers in the business!

After the still quiet moment, they livened things up with “Old White Flag.” It was fun seeing how many of the church members had handkerchiefs ready to wave! Then David played the harmonica and G.W. the keys on “I’ll Fly Away.” Triumphant ended the first half with “He Is.” Another highlight of the night!

They started the second half with “Long Black Train.” I love hearing Eric sing this song! He does such a great job on it! Then David was featured on another new one from their upcoming release, “Amazing God.” It was neat getting to hear some of the new songs live before the project is out!

Then, Scotty stepped up to sing “I Can Only Imagine.” Loved hearing him sing this song. I had a friend pass away in high school, and this song was played at her funeral. It’s always been special to me, and I think their version of this song is one of the best!

Eric then came down to the audience to speak and lead in a time of invitation. He asked the question of what we would do when we first see Christ. Will we thank Him, be speechless, completely be frozen in our steps? What will He say to us?

He talked about a young woman in their area who just passed away from cancer. She lost her battle, but he said that they all knew because she had a life so full of Christ that she was now present with the Lord.

He asked then about our relationships with Christ? When was the last time we just sat and read His Word for more than an hour just because we wanted to know Him more? Do we invest time in cultivating that relationship and really knowing Him and dwelling in His presence? The group then led a time of invitation with “I Surrender All.”

After that, they brought the pastor up to sing with them on “Because He Lives” before they closed the night with “Moving Up to Gloryland.”

It was a great night! I loved getting to see them more than once a year and in a different setting. If they are in your area, don't miss the chance to see them!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Stay - The Old Paths - CD Review

The Old Paths released their latest album Stay on St. Patrick's Day. I'm not sure if it was really the luck of the Irish that was on their side, but I think this album definitely will bring success to the group.

The Old Paths have had the same vocal lineup since 2011. The title of the album I think is fitting for where they are as a group. They are proving that they are one of the top quartets in the industry and are here to stay.

Upon first listen, "How Great the Debt" was the song that immediately stood out to me. This song is just incredible. This Dianne Wilkinson and Rebecca Peck song is definitely the highlight of the album for me. Lead singer Tim Rackley gets the feature on this one, and he is just incredible on this song. I love the inclusion of "Jesus Paid It All" toward the end. I predict this will be their next #1.

"Washed in the Blood" has a country flavor with a good fiddle intro. The song features bass singer Daniel Ashmore. It's got a fun feel to it and Daniel really shows what a great singer he is on this song. Jeremy Peace then hits the rafters on the end of the song. Definitely a favorite of mine on this project! "Oh What a Happy Morning" is another great feature for Daniel and one of the more traditional quartet songs on the project.

"Ordinary People" is the CD's first single. This song is right in the group's wheelhouse and sounds tailor-made for Old Paths. Rodney Birch is the writer of this song. "What Did They Call Him" is another great quartet song that really showcases the blend of the group.

"Stay," the title track, is a great reminder of how God is always with us. The song starts by talking about the relationship between Jesus and John but then serves as a reminder than we always have God with us and that we'll be with Him for all of eternity. Another great job by Tim on this song!

Jeremy does not cease to amaze on "You Never Cease to Amaze Me." He really shows off his high range on this song. The song is a great ballad with powerful lyrics also written by Rebecca Peck who has five cuts on the album. Then, Jeremy and the group as a whole really show their diversity with "Out of the Grave." This song definitely has a different feel than others on the album and help appeal to a wider audience. It's an incredible song about the resurrection and Jeremy nails it!

"Just Can't Get Over" allows baritone Doug Roark to step out and take the lead. It's a great song to showcase Doug's vocals and really suits him. For most songs, Doug, in true baritone fashion, blends in so it's good to hear his voice featured on this one.

I think Stay proves that The Old Paths are one of the top quartets in the industry and with this album I think they will stay at the top. I predict this will be one of the top quartet albums of the year!

Song List -
1. "Have You Ever"
2.  "You Never Cease to Amaze Me"
3. "What Did They Call Him"
4. "Just Can't Get Over"
5. "Washed in the Blood"
6. "How Great the Debt"
7. "Ordinary People"
8. "Stay"
9. "Oh What a Happy Morning"
10. "Out of the Grave"