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"