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"

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Night of Worship - Bowling Family Concert Recap

Many times before stepping foot in a door of a concert you know what to expect by the group that is there. To me, the Bowling Family is one of those groups. You know you're going to have church. You know it's going to have those "worship" moments, so you're not just watching a concert. And that's exactly what happened last Thursday night in Cabot.

The Bowling Family (now consisting of Mike, Kelly and Hope Bowling) was at The Bridge Church in Cabot. The group just released a new CD a few weeks ago, and it was great hearing so many of the new songs live. I think that's one of the marks of a great project is how many songs a group stages from it. And while there were plenty of familiar favorites, they definitely showcased their new project well!

Here's what they sang -
Bowling Family - John Jeffrey (piano), Hope, Kelly and Mike Bowling
  • "Praise God He Is Alive" - They started with this new one that features Mike.
  • "I Know Enough" - Love this song that Kelly sings! It's the most recent #1 song.
  • "I'll Be Alright As Soon As I Touch Calvary"
  • "On the Battlefield" - This is one that really got the crowd going, standing up clapping!
  • "One Glorious Moment" - I've seen Hope sing this song live a couple of times now. She is one young talent to really keep your eye on! She nails this song each time, and she's just 15 years old! This song really showcases her voice well. 
  • "Stand By the River" - The three Bowling sisters came up to sing this Dottie Rambo classic. Katelanne takes the verses with Gracie and Hope joining her on the chorus. They really sound incredible together!
  • "I Was There" - This is definitely one of my favorites from their new project! Mike does an incredible job on this song.
  • "Don't You Wanna Go" - Love the throwback to the Crabb Family days!
  • "Your Cries Have Awoken the Master" - I never get tired of this song! I'm glad they are still staging it! It was definitely a highlight of the concert! They went back and sang part of the song again!
  • "I've Got My Foot on the Rock" - Another great one from their new CD!
  • "Mourning to Dancing" - Kelly is featured on this song that's another new one! It's a great feature for her!
  • "That's What I Miss the Most"
  • "If That Isn't Love" - This was another song the three girls sang. Their harmonies are just incredible and at such a young age! 
The Bowling Sisters - Hope, Gracie and Katelanne
The Bowling Family then did a set of just worship songs. I love that that's how they chose to end the night. It wasn't about them; it was about Him. They chose to close the service with just a time of all of us singing together and glorifying the Father.

Mike said at the very beginning of the concert that it wasn't about them. It wasn't going to be about them putting on a show, but lifting up the name of Jesus. I love that about this family. And I love the way the night ended. They could have had a big toe-tapping number that had the crowd on its feet, clapping along. They have plenty of songs to choose from for that. But that's not what they did. They chose to have worship with the congregation and an altar call that was all focused on Him.

Check out more photos from the concert on Facebook!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

In Case You Missed It - New and Tidbits - Oct. 17

Here's a list of news items from this week in gospel music -
  • Faye Speer of the Speer Family passed away on Tuesday in Nashville, Tennessee. She was 86 years old. Her memorial service was held on Thursday. She is survived by her three children. Please keep the family in your prayers. 
  • Condolences go out to Jim Brady and his family in the loss of his sister, Debbie. She lost her battle with cancer this week. Please pray for the Brady's! 
  • Troy Peach and Taylor Guffey will be the new hosts of This Week in Gospel Music, a weekly syndicated radio program. Mickey Bell had been hosting the show. Find out more here
  • The Dove Awards were held on Nashville on Tuesday. The awards will be televised on TBN Sunday night. Here's a list of all the Southern Gospel winners.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fun Clip Friday - Butler, Hughes & Hayes

Butler, Hughes & Hayes is one of the latest groups in gospel music to release a concept video. This one is a little different than others that have been released. The video is for their song "Adopted," featured on the group's project of the same title. The song is about the adoption of Darren Hughes' daughter, Sophia, from Nanjing, China in 2011 and about the adoption of every Christian into the family of God.

The video is very personal featuring actual pictures and clips of the family. It's a beautiful picture of what adoption is. They incorporate the two different ideas of adoption really well. Probably one of the best and most personal concept vides I've seen. Be sure to check it out for today's Fun Clip Friday!!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cathedrals Family Reunion - Branson, MO - 2015

The Cathedrals Family Reunion event was exactly as advertised - a family reunion. I had the chance to attend one of the events in Branson, Missouri. The event includes Cathedrals alumni Mark Trammell, Gerald Wolfe, Scott Fowler, Danny Funderburk and Ernie Haase and their groups. The event also includes Pat Barker (formerly of Mark Trammell Quartet) on bass for most of the classic Cathedrals sets.

It was clear that this really was a family affair. These guys share a special bond, all having been a part of the Cathedrals. They picked on each other like family. They had no real set list, but listened to requests from the audience and from other members as to what to sing next. I'm sure each Cathedrals Family Reunion is a little different!

Since I didn't discover Southern Gospel and the Cathedrals until my teen years, I never got the chance to see them live in person. But I feel like this was the next best thing! It was clear that these men had the utmost respect for George Younce and Glen Payne. They recognized the impact on their lives and their careers. The weekend was really a tribute to them and their legacy in gospel music.

I'll be honest this is one of those events that I didn't bother taking detailed notes during for the blog. I just wanted to enjoy it. So you're just getting the high points of the weekend, but there are definitely plenty of those!

Friday night's session started with the five guys and all their groups on stage. They sang a couple and then each group had its own set. Since Dustin Doyle and his wife just had a new baby, Wayne Haun filled in at baritone Friday night for Ernie Haase and Signature Sound.

For the classic Cathedrals' part of the night, Scott, Ernie, Danny, Gerald, Mark and Pat gathered around the piano. No tracks, just Gerald on piano and Mark playing the bass guitar. I loved that they had a semi-plan, but really felt the crowd and weren't afraid to just call out songs. It was fun seeing all five guys interact and sing together. They sound incredible together!! It's good to see Pat Barker still a part of these events. People commented all weekend long how much he sounded like George!

Here are highlights I remember -
  • "Boundless Love"
  • "Champion of Love" - This was the grand finale with all the guys Friday night. Scott and Gerald split the verses. 
  • "Step Into the Water" - They almost sang this one twice! They started another song ("Boundless Love," I think) and Scott Fowler started singing the lyrics for "Step Into the Water." It definitely became the joke all weekend! Anytime they weren't sure what to sing next, Scott or one of the other guys would say, "Step Into the Water."
  • "Bloodwashed Band"
  • "Wedding Music"
I'm really not sure how to describe Saturday morning other than fun. Landon Beene of IMC Concerts said before it started that this was his favorite session of these events, and I can see why! I'm sure you never know exactly what will happen! 

They sang around the piano for about 30 minutes (the five guys and Pat on bass) and then told Cathedrals days stories. They let the audience request a few. So Pat had to sing "The Laughing Song." Someone also requested "Crimson River," which I was not familiar with. They all made it clear this was not one they had rehearsed, but still made it through a verse and chorus of the song! It was amazing to me how they remembered everything as they did especially with Gerald and Mark playing instruments. Once Gerald knew the key, he just took off. You forget what a great piano player he is sometimes, but I so impressed!

As I mentioned I wasn't well acquainted with the Cathedrals, but it was funny hearing several stories from the guys. I didn't know that Ernie Haase and Scott Fowler went to college together. And apparently Mark Trammell liked putting new members through an initiation process. Mark also told several stories of living on the same street as George and Roger Bennett. Ernie also told what it was like to go to George asking permission to marry his daughter. It was a great time with lots of laughs! They even let some audience members ask questions toward the end. 

It became a joke that weekend that Gerald Wolfe could tell exactly what day something happened. He knew date and day of the week for specific concerts and recordings. It really was amazing! The other guys were also taken a back by how good his memory was. Scott Fowler asked him what day he bought his first house, and he was stumped! Haha! So randomly the rest of the time, they would ask "When did you buy your first house?"

After the morning session, they had some memorabilia set up for us to look at and the last bus that the Cathedrals toured in that you could walk through.

Saturday night was similar to Friday night in that each group had its own set and then they had a "Cathedrals set." Danny Funderburk sang in the middle several songs solo between the four quartets. This was my first time hearing him live, but he's still got a great, strong tenor voice! 

Wayne Haun had to fly back to Nashville to prepare for the Dove Awards Saturday night, so Ernie had Scott Fowler fill in at baritone! It was fun watching Scott try to keep up with Signature Sound's choreography on "Glory to God in the Highest." He said after it was over that he got to fulfill two dreams that night, singing with Signature Sound and being on "Dancing With the Stars."

Here are highlights from Saturday - 
  • "This Old House" - For the most part, Pat pulled bass duty. They started the last half of the concert with this song with Paul Harkey, Matthew Fouch and Pat each taking a verse and trading off. 
  • "Yesterday" - This was just the five guys paying tribute to George. 
  • "Can He Could He Would He"
  • "Standing on Holy Ground"
  • "Sin Will Take You Farther" - Love hearing Mark on this song!
  • "Heavenly Parade" - Gerald said that he wanted to sing the bass part of this song. Pat tried to teach him how to "sell" the bass part. Hilarious!
  • "I Thirst"
  • "Search Me O God" - They started this with a clip of George and Glen. Then, the entire group of men from all the groups started singing. Incredible moment!
  • "Climbing Higher and Higher"
  • "We Shall See Jesus" - Probably the moment of the weekend!
This was such a great weekend of gospel music from the first note on Friday night to the very end on Saturday. I definitely recommend going if you get a chance. There are only a handful of these events left this year. I'm sure each event is a little different with the way things moved. The guys do a great job of reading the crowd and are willing to take requests from the audience! You won't regret attending one if you get a chance!

One last note - Roll Tide! I'm a huge Arkansas Razorback fan, but as promised, I said I'd give the Crimson Tide a shout out for beating the Hogs on Saturday, so there it is! 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

2015 Dove Award Winners

The Dove Awards were held last night in Nashville. The awards won't actually air on television until Sunday night on TBN. Several Southern Gospel artists including the Gaither Vocal Band, Karen Peck, the Nelons, Russ Taff, Mark Lowry, the Martins, the Talleys and the Erwins were there and performed. Joseph Habedank performed and was even a host for the pre-show.

Check out the Nelons' Facebook page for several pictures from the event. And here's a video from Facebook of the Southern Gospel segment.

Southern Gospel segment at the Dove Awards
Posted by Eric Dunson on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Here's a look at the Southern Gospel winners! Congratulations to all!

Southern Gospel Artist Of The Year - Gaither Vocal Band

Southern Gospel Song of the Year - "Hidden Heroes" - The Talleys; (writers) Dixie Lynn Phillips, Sharon Phillips

Bluegrass Song of the Year - "God is There" - Lizzy Long & Rhonda Vincent; (writers) Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey

Country Song of the Year - "Sweet Jesus (ft. Merle Haggard)"- The Oak Ridge Boys; (writers) Merle Haggard, Kenny Vernon

Worship Song of the Year - "Because He Lives (Amen)"- Matt Maher; (writers) Chris Tomlin, Daniel Carson, Ed Cash, Gloria Gaither, Jason Ingram, Matt Maher, Bill Gaither; (publishers) Alletrop Music/Hanna Street Music/I Am A Pilgrim Songs/Open Hands Music/S.D.G. Publishing/Sixsteps Music/Sixsteps Songs, Worship Together Music/,, Essential Music Publishing

Southern Gospel Album of the Year - Pray Now - Karen Peck & New River (producer) Wayne Haun

Children's Music Album of the Year - Kids- The Hoppers; (producer) Mike Hopper

Musical of the Year - We're Glad You Came (A Musical Celebration of the Savior's Birth); (Creators) Jeff Burngardner, Joel Lindsey

For a full list of all winners, go to

Sunday, October 11, 2015

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

I'm a little late with this week's post, because I just got back from Branson and the Cathedrals Family Reunion. Such a great event that I'll definitely blog about later on! For now, here are some news items from this week in gospel music -

  • Legacy Five announced Josh Feemster as its new tenor this week.
  • Dixie Echoes also announced its new tenor who will be Stephen Adair.
  • Congratulations to Jim Brady who will be inducted into the Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame in November!
  • Ruth Ellen Carter Yates passed away on October 5. She was a long-time member of the Chuck Wagon Gang. Please keep her family in your prayers.
  • If you missed the Singing News Fan Awards, you can now watch the full show and pre-show online. Go to the Singing News website
  • Daywind Records welcomed the Hoppers to its label this week.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fun Clip Friday - Cathedrals Family Reunion

This morning I am on my way to Branson for the Cathedrals Family Reunion. This is an event I've been looking forward to for a long time. The small taste I've seen from YouTube clips and the NQC finale last week made me even more anxious!

The Cathedrals Family Reunion events consist of Greater Vision, Mark Trammell Quartet, Legacy Five, Ernie Haase and Signature Sound and Danny Funderburk. For today's Fun Clip Friday, it only makes sense to share a clip from the first Cathedrals Family Reunion they did! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Dixie Echoes Announce New Tenor

Apparently it's the day for groups to announce a new tenor singer! Dixie Echoes sent a message to newsletter subscribers to say that the group's new tenor is Stephen Adair.

Here's the full release -

"We are proud to announce the hiring of Stephen Adair as our new tenor singer. He is from Huntington, IN, and has a fantastic tenor voice, and we're sure Dixie Echoes fans will come to love his singing, and sweet spirit. Be sure to welcome Stephen to the group next time you see the Dixie Echoes!"

A quick Google search failed to tell me whether or not this is Stephen's first opportunity with a group. If anyone knows the answer, chime in below and comment!

Josh Feemster Joins Legacy Five

Legacy Five welcomes new tenor singer Josh Feemster. He previously sang lead with Mercy's Mark. He also sang in a quartet with Craig and Chris West and Brent Mitchell.

Josh will join them the first full weekend of November. Legacy Five announced in August that Gus Gaches would be leaving the group. He had been having severe allergies and vocal fatigue and thought it would be best to come off the road.

Here's the video announcement Legacy Five released on its Facebook page -

And our new tenor is ......
Posted by Legacy Five on Thursday, October 8, 2015

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Happy People Deluxe Edition - Ernie Haase and Signature Sound - CD Review

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound released a deluxe edition of Happy People last week. Doug Anderson departed the group earlier this year with Dustin Doyle coming on board with the group. With the personnel change, several songs were recut and a few new ones added for this project. Check out my original review here.

Many of the songs are the same as the original version. “Jesus Changed Everything,” “A Soldier Fighting To Come Home,” and “I Do Believe” were all recut for this project. A number of solo lines from other songs that featured Doug though were left alone, so the project has a mix of Doug and Dustin.

The deluxe edition does include four additional songs including another version of "Oh What a Savior." "Redemption Draweth Nigh" was the song used to introduce Dustin as a member of the group. He does an incredible job on this song. The version is pretty straightforward. He lets the lyrics and his voice speak for itself on the song.

"Go Down Moses" is one of the new cuts. It's a cappella featuring bass singer Paul Harkey. The style is like an old spiritual. "It's Jesus in Me" really lets Ernie's tenor voice shine. It has a "soft shoe" feel.

I think it's a neat concept to release a new version of a recent project with the personnel change. It's good to get a project with Dustin on it so soon. However, if you already have Happy People, it doesn't differ so much from the original version. Dustin's version of "Redemption Draweth Nigh" is definitely a highlight though!

Monday, October 5, 2015

What Is Southern Gospel?

I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker a couple of weeks ago to inspire this post. We were sitting together eating lunch. She knew I had recently taken off work to go to Branson and asked what I did while I was there. Most people I work with have no clue that I love Southern Gospel as much as I do and have a blog. So I explained that I was there going to Silver Dollar City for a gospel music festival. She asked if it was like rock gospel music. I might have giggled a bit, said "no" and paused. How should I explain Southern Gospel?

We weren't really in a place for me to actually pull up a clip to show her. And then what group would you pull up? I was at a loss. I asked if she was familiar with the Gaithers. That was a no, and I was back to the drawing board. I made it clear that it was not rock, closer to country and traditional hymns.

I know what Southern Gospel is, but how exactly do you explain that to someone else who has no frame of reference? And there's a wide range of styles within the genre. There's a big difference between Jason Crabb, the Dixie Echoes and the Perrys. I think the National Quartet Convention was proof that it's not a quartet dominated industry, so you can't just describe it as male quartets but neither is everything exactly classified as "country gospel."

So here's my question - how do you explain Southern Gospel? I'd love to know what you would have said in my shoes!

Friday, October 2, 2015

National Quartet Convention 2015 - Friday Night Recap

I just want to say how thankful I am for the webcast. For those of us who aren't able to make the trip to Pigeon Forge, it's great to be able to watch so much of the concerts online! I watched tonight but was also doing other things, and now I'm having to check out a little early. But here's what stood out to me tonight.

The Booth Brothers once again proved why they are at the top of this industry. I know a lot of people don't like when they take time talking away from singing, but you can't argue with what he said. They started with "Look for Me at Jesus' Feet" and then sang the new song "I Am the Word." They ended with "Jesus Saves" with the Collingsworth Family. Such a great moment of worship!!

I really like the "This Is My Story" segments they are showing paying tribute to different artists. It was a sweet tribute to Claude and Connie Hopper and all they've overcome this year. The Hoppers had a solid set as usual. Legacy Five also had a great set tonight with Trey Ivey getting a featured vocal solo!

Many groups staged songs for the first time this week which isn't that unusual. I was driving home listening to Wilburn and Wilburn's newest song written by Gerald Crabb and couldn't catch the name, but loved the song. Extremely timely, because it started off talking about a school shooting. Also loved hearing a couple of new ones by the Collingsworth Family. Their That Day Is Coming project is full of amazing songs!

It was good that several lesser-known groups got time on main stage tonight - the Littles, the Rick Webb Family and the Childress Family. Claude Hopper also brought up the Hall Sisters who sang "I Will Arise" a cappella, beautiful!

I liked how Tribute Quartet and the Talleys had sets back to back. We got a glimpse of their "Good News He's Alive" tour. Lauren Talley and Riley Harrison Clark's singing "The Prayer" was an early highlight of the evening! Also loved hearing Lauren sing "Hidden Heroes."

Apparently several groups got the Christmas memo tonight. It was interesting to me how many groups broke out Christmas songs. I love all things Christmas, but it is a little early even for me. That being said, I loved Riley Harrison Clark's (Tribute Quartet) version of "Mary, Did You Know."

Highlights -

  • "The Prayer" - Riley Harrison Clark and Lauren Talley
  • "There Is Jesus" - The McKameys
  • "Jesus Saves" - Booth Brothers with Collingsworth Family
  • "Little Is Much" - Dixie Melody Boys
  • "Shoutin' Time" - The Hoppers

Thursday, October 1, 2015

National Quartet Convention 2015 - Thursday Night Recap

Tonight was by far the best night yet of NQC. There so many memorable moments from tonight, I'm going to try to narrow it the best I can. I was glad that tonight was one of the nights I got to watch all the way through.

The moment of the night definitely belonged to the Perrys. I loved hearing "Sing" from their project that releases tomorrow. Tracy was featured on an old Nelons song "Time Has Made a Change" with special guests Kelly Nelon Clark and Karen Peck Gooch. But they were not the only guests the Perrys had on stage! They started singing "I Wish I Could Have Been There" and Troy announced Loren Harris to come to the stage. He sang part of the first verse, and then passed it off to Joseph Habedank. They were all joined on stage by so many other Perrys alums including Mike Bowling, Nick Trammell, Bryan Walker, Debra Perry and Bryan Elliot had been playing piano for them the entire set. Loved the Perrys reunion that we got to see!!

Several top-notch groups went early in the night and had incredible sets like Tribute Quartet, Karen Peck and New River, the Old Paths and Greater Vision. Tribute started its set with an a cappella medley that was amazing! (Sorry I don't have a more specific name, but this was the first I'd ever heard them do this. If you know it, help me out!) Love hearing Karen sing "Pray Now!" It was a little bittersweet with this being The Old Paths last performance at NQC, but the guys really brought it tonight!

I couldn't believe that this was Gordon Mote's first time on main stage at NQC during an evening concert. He really amazes me to watch him play. Loved hearing him sing "Mercy Walked In." Also he got some help from the Voices of Lee on "Great Is Thy Faithfulness." Actually Voices of Lee made several appearances tonight. They sang with Canton Junction on "Every Hallelujah" and Lillie Knauls on "Oh Happy Day."

I thought Canton Junction had one of the strongest sets of the night. Since they don't really tour full time, it's good to hear them live (or live via webcast) when you get a chance. Also, the Mylon Hayes Family continues to impress me more and more. I like that they sang "Jesus Spoke to Me" and did the shape note singing tonight.

I'm glad the Whisnants sang a little bit of their newest single, "Worry Ends Where Faith Begins." Love that song! Then they ended with "New Day Dawning" turning it around several times and getting Mark and Nick Trammell to join in.

The night ended with a sample of the Brotherhood tour which is Ernie Haase and Signature Sound and the Booth Brothers. They had live music for most if not all of the set featuring Michael of course on drums. Loved hearing the two groups on songs like "Life Is Like a Mountain Railway" and "Home." They closed the night with the Gaither classic "He Touched Me." What a way to end the evening!!

Mark and Nick Trammell were great hosts tonight! I really like the theme that they've had this week (minus last night) of the father and sons. They all have played off each other well!

Highlights -

  • A cappella medley - Tribute Quartet 
  • "Pray Now" - Karen Peck and New River
  • "Long Live the King" - The Old Paths
  • "Wish I Coulda Been There" - The Perrys
  • "Jesus Spoke to Me" - Mylon Hayes Family
  • "Jesus Loves You"- Jeff and Sheri Easter
  • "It's Almost Over" - Mark Trammell Quartet
  • "The Cross Is Calling" - The Taylors
  • "Oh Happy Day" - Lillie Knauls
  • "Arise My Love" - Soul'd Out Quartet
  • "New Day Dawning" - The Whisnants
  • "He Touched Me" - Brotherhood (Ernie Haase and Signature Sound and the Booth Brothers)

Singing News Fan Awards 2015

The Singing News Fan Awards were held Wednesday afternoon at the National Quartet Convention. It was part of the live stream included in the webcast, but I was at work. I did try to listen to some of it, but only caught bits and pieces.

I have mixed feelings about the fan awards each year. It's nice to see consistency, but at the same time sometimes it's very predictable. That being said, there were a few surprises this year or at least some changes.

We knew there would be a change with baritone because Jim Brady was in a new category this year. I thought it would be one of two people - Scott Inman or Mark Trammell - and I remember having trouble deciding myself between the two. Mark has to be the most consistent in the business and has been the best in the industry for decades now, so I was thrilled to see him win it! I did get to hear his speech! Very touching, all glory to God!

It was good to see Trey Ivey win for young artist. Honestly, not because he looks it, but because of what all he's accomplished with his arrangements and producing I thought he might have aged out of the category already. Well deserved!

Connie Hopper winning favorite alto was a switch, but with the year the Hoppers have had, it's no surprise. Fans definitely know how to show their support to artists who need encouragement. It was a beautiful moment and so sweet that Karlye and Claude were the ones who announced it!

The pairings of the presenters was interesting. It seemed to be a younger artist and, well, a more established artist. Not sure how they paired who went with who there except for the pairing of Karlye and Claude, the others seemed a bit random. In the past, it's been siblings or parent/child, so they seemed less random.

I think it's very ironic that Triumphant Quartet won best album with a project that is full of praise and worship songs. I think Eric even mentioned that as he accepted it. I have to say it was one of my favorite projects from last year, and Triumphant is one of the top groups in the industry, so overall it's no huge surprise. However, it is very ironic!

I'll say no matter how many times an artist wins, it's cool to see how they never take it for granted. I feel like speeches get more humble with the number of times in some cases. I did get to hear part of Rodney's speech where he shared his demo tape with Kirk Talley at a concert. It was neat hearing how now if aspiring songwriters so that to him, he takes time to listen.

For the first time, the awards were split into two different events. All the radio DJs and new categories were awarded in a ceremony on Tuesday. The new categories weren't big surprises to me with the Jim Brady Trio winning trio and Pat Barker winning soloist. Both were well deserved as they have branched out into new ministries. Also, I was glad to see the Erwins recognized!

Here's a full list of the winners -

Favorite Small Market DJ - John Whisnant
Favorite New Soloist - Pat Barker
Favorite Medium Market DJ - Lottie Squires
Favorite New Trio - Jim Brady Trio
Favorite Large Market DJ - Daniel Britt
Favorite New Mixed Group - The Erwins
Favorite New Traditional Quartet - The Carolina Boys and Freedom Quartet (tie)
Favorite Bass - Eric Bennett
Favorite Young Artist - Trey Ivey
Favorite Soloist - Ivan Parker
Favorite Male Singer - Ronnie Booth
Favorite Baritone - Mark Trammell
Favorite Alto - Connie Hopper
Favorite Lead - Ronnie Booth
Favorite Band - Kingdom Heirs Band
Favorite Tenor - Michael Booth
Favorite Mixed Group - Collingsworth Family
Favorite Trio - Booth Brothers
Favorite Musician - Kim Collingsworth
Favorite Female Singer - Kim Hopper
Favorite Soprano Singer - Kim Hopper
Favorite Non-performing Songwriter - Dianne Wilkinson
Favorite Performing Songwriter - Rodney Griffin
Favorite Male Quartet - Triumphant Quartet
Favorite Album - Awesome God by Triumphant Quartet
Favorite Song - "For All He's Done" - Greater Vision
Favorite Artist - Booth Brothers