Saturday, December 31, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 31

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

  • Congratulations to Joseph Habedank, Michael Farren and Tony Wood who wrote the title cut "Sing It Now" on Reba McEntire's new gospel album due out in early 2017.
  • The Dixie Melody Boys announced the addition of Willie Sawrey as their new baritone singer. Willie, wife, Dana, and their children reside in Mt. Olive, North Carolina. For the last 28 years, Willie sang regionally with the Southern Ambassadors and King’s Messengers. His first official date with the group is tonight.
  • Prayers requested for Jim Brady and family. Jim's older brother, Chuck, was killed in a car accident on Monday.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Top CDs of 2016

It's time to look at the best of 2016. There were many "must-buy" projects this year, but who came out on top? Of the 25 projects I reviewed that were released this year, here's my list of top 10 -

10. Undivided - Master's Voice 
Favorite songs - "Lord of Mercy" and "Everything the Blood Touches"

9. Only Faith Can See - The Erwins
Favorite songs - "Chasing After You" and "He's My Everything"

8. Family Harmony/ Stronger Together - The Nelons
The Nelons released two projects this year on the same day. I went back and forth on this, but decided to call it a tie and put them in the same spot at #8. 
Favorite songs - "We Shall Behold Him," "I Just Can't Make It By Myself," "Family Chain" and "You Can't Make Old Friends"

7. In the Hands of a Carpenter - Legacy Five
Favorite songs - "In the Hands of a Carpenter" and "Grace Will Find You"

6. Life Is Good - The Hoppers
Favorite songs - "Jesus, the One" and "Life Is Good"

5. This Changes Everything - Cana's Voice
Favorite songs - "Jesus Never Fails," "Same Hands" and "All My Reasons Are You"

4. Refreshing - Second-Half Quartet
Favorite songs - "Cheer the Weary Traveler," "Remind Me of Calvary" and "The Prodigal Son"

3. What a Moment - 11th Hour
Favorite songs - "When God Shows Up," "He Welcomes the Beggar" and "I Trust"

2. Nature's Symphony in 432 - The Isaacs
Favorite songs - "Rocks," "I Love You More" and "This Is the Year"

1. Here for You - Tribute Quartet
Favorite songs - "Nothing Stops the Savior's Love," "God of the Storms" and "Somebody Sing Me That Song"

When I first heard Tribute's new project this year, I knew it was the best they had ever released. Every song on the project is worthy of repeating. It was hard just picking the top three of my favorite songs. To me, this was the best CD released in 2016.

What are your top albums of 2016?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Top Moments of 2016

Each year, I enjoy looking back at the top moments of the year. I look back at either memorable concerts or moments that I experienced live either in person or via webcast. This year they were all in person and it seemed that they either occurred toward the beginning of the year or toward the end. Here's a look at the top 5 moments of the year -

5. Home for Christmas Tour - It's no secret that I love all things Christmas, so when two top groups (The Whisnants and the Mark Trammell Quartet) team up for a tour chances are it's going to make the list of top moments. I was able to see them on their first night of the tour this year, and it was the perfect night to put you in the Christmas spirit. Not only was it full of great Christmas songs, but they had a few of their newer songs too that made for some great, worshipful moments. Here's the full recap.

4. Sheri Easter testimony - This was a moment that came early in the year in January actually. Jeff and Sheri Easter were in concert in Sherwood, Arkansas. Sheri spoke candidly about life-defining moments, her breast cancer diagnosis and the death of her father at a young age. Life happens to everyone, but it's what we do about it, how we come through it and the perspective we gain from it. She sang "Jesus Loves You," which made for such a touching moment. Read the full concert recap here.

3.  Crabb Family Reunion Concert - Last year this the moment of the year, and it was definitely one of the best this year as well. I love seeing this family together, knowing how much they have been through together and as individuals. It was an incredible night! It was very nostalgic hearing so many classic Crabb Family songs. Read more on the night here.

2. Tribute Quartet concert on Dec. 1 - Ironically, my first and last concert of the year was Tribute Quartet in Ward, Ark. The church liked them so well in January, they had them back in December. And I'm glad they did. You can read my full recap here, but it was one of the sweetest nights of worship I experienced this year.

1. Gospel Music Hymn Sing in Conroe, Texas - This moment was easy to identify. In October, I got the chance to visit a friend in Houston. It happened to be the same weekend as the Gospel Music Hymn Sing in Conroe, Texas. So I took advantage of that trip to pass through Conroe on my way home, and I'm glad I did! Because of the DVD taping, we were allowed to have our phones our during the concert, so I have no real photos or notes, but it's a night I won't forget. The choir from Mims Baptist was amazing. The artists on stage included Greater Vision, Mark Trammell Quartet, the Whisnants, Karen Peck & New River, Jim Brady Trio, the Mylon Hayes Family, Pat Barker and Stan Whitmire. There was such an incredible spirit that night. I loved the hymn singing, and you could hear the entire congregation singing along. I can't wait for the DVD to release soon.

What are some of the top moments you have seen this year?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Nature's Symphony in 432 - The Isaacs - CD Review

I wanted to squeeze in one more CD review before the end of the year and before I made the list of best albums of the year. The final one for the year is the Isaacs' release Nature Symphony in 432.

The Isaacs released Nature’s Symphony in 432 is recorded in ‘Verdi’s A tuning,’ which is warm and gentle to the ear. Apparently, this is also the natural tuning for animals, like birds singing, whales bellowing explaining a bit more about the title and concept. Several songs have "nature" names - "Fields," "Rocks" and "Bird on the Wing."

Almost every song on the 15-song project was co-written by Becky Bowman and Sonya Yeary. Sonya's husband, Jimmy, also was a co-writer on several.

The first song I heard on this project was "I Love You More" in a live concert setting. I remember that night what an incredible song that was and especially coming off Sonya telling the testimony of the baby she and Jimmy lost. It's such a heartfelt, raw and reflective song about how God doesn't always answer prayers like we want, but ultimately it will draw us closer to him. We will love him more for it. Sonya's performance on this song is just incredible. "Keep Breathing" is another deeply personal song that Sonya delivers so well.

The Isaacs' break out of their typical shell a bit with "Lord of My Heart," which has a more praise and worship style to it. Becky is featured on this song. "Dining With the King" is probably my favorite Becky feature on the project. This song tells the story of Mephibosheth and how David pulled him from poverty showing kindness to him let him dine with the king.

"This Is the Year" is a song that pays tribute to their Jewish heritage about the Year of Jubilee. The end of 2015 to late 2016 was the Year of Jubilee according to Hebrew calendars. The song starts with the blowing of the shofar. It does a great job of featuring all members of the group. It's a great contrast of celebration after a wilderness time in our lives.

The bluegrass is turned up on "Bird on the Wing," which features Sonya. Another country/ bluegrass uptempo song is "God Is Still With Me." It's a fun song to break up a lot of ballads, but still keeps with the same theme of the album.

Lily sings on "I Find It All in You," which is a great ballad that speaks to the peace and rest we find in Christ. "If That's What It Takes" is another heartfelt, tender song featuring Ben. This song is sometimes a scary prayer, asking God to do things to get our attention and humble if it will draw us closer to Him. It's a sweet surrender to God, to do whatever it takes to be closer to Him.

"Rocks" is one of my favorites from this project. It tells the story of the adulterous woman. It's easy to reach down and pick up rocks to throw at people, but think about how our rocks (words) can hurt them and think about the sins in our own lives because we throw rocks at others. It's got a great country feel, and, let's be honest, a great message that we all need to be reminded of.

The project ends with "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" where producer Terry Bradshaw joins them.

I'm going to say that this is the strongest family group project released in 2016. See where it actually ended up on my list of best in 2016 later this week. In the meantime, make sure you pick up a copy of this project if you don't already have it!

Song List -
1. "Nature's Symphony"
2. "Fields"
3. "I Love You More"
4. "Lord of My Heart"
5. "This Is the Year"
6. "Bird on the Wing"
7. "Keep Breathing"
8. "I Find It All in You"
9. "Rocks"
10. "If That's What It Takes"
11. "Yours Amen"
12. "God Is Still With Me"
13. "Dining With the King"
14. "None So Lovely"
15. "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! I hope you are all have a wonderful holiday celebrating the birth of our Savior. Here are a few of my favorite Christmas songs. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 24

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

  • The National Quartet Convention released its initial lineup for 2017. As always, things are subject to change and it's likely that more artists will be added, but you can take a look at the schedule at
  • The Daywind Roots label announced the addition of Misty Freeman. Her project with Daywind Roots will be the first solo release in nearly a decade. The EP should be released in Spring 2017. 
Anything I've missed?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Night of Testimonies and Worship - Tribute Quartet Concert Recap

I kicked off December by seeing the Tribute Quartet in concert. I went in hoping and expecting to hear a lot of Christmas songs, but what I got was so much more.

It was one of those nights where you felt the Spirit moving during the first few notes that were sung. It was a night where you know people walked away changed. I'm thankful for nights like these, where we experience a little bit of Heaven on earth. I'm thankful that Tribute was attentive to the Spirit's leading and didn't just stick to the "plan."

The night started with "Here For You" from their latest project of that title. They sang almost every song off their new CD. It was good to hear so many of those songs live. That project is definitely one of the best of 2016 (see where it ranks on my list next week).

Other songs that they sang from that project were "Jesus Saves," "More than Able," "Everybody Come See Jesus," "Never Forsaken" and "That's How I Know" with several repeats. Each of these new songs is incredible!

Then, they sang "God of the Storms" (also from Here for You). After the song, Riley said that the line, "Troubled waters of danger set a stage for His feet" was one of his favorite lyrics from the new project. "Your circumstance and situation, chances are it's too big for us to handle, but it's in those moments that God shows Himself more faithful than we can imagine," he said. The next lyric goes on to say, "I'm peaceful in the midst of all danger and harm beneath the safe cover of the God of the storms." Riley said that it's a great reminder that we don't have to be discouraged by storms but be encouraged He is in control.

Gary stepped up next to sing "Grace at Its Best," which he actually cowrote with Barbara Huffman. The song is a beautiful picture of the greatest love story. There's no greater picture of grace than the cross itself. It was one of the moments of the night.

During the second half, they started out with a Christmas song, "Jesus, What a Wonderful Child," but they kept getting different requests from the audience. So they decided to skip the Christmas and go with requests, which included "I Remember the Day" and "In the Valley I Can Hear His Voice." Gary said that he's thankful to serve a God who speaks to us even in the valley. He's a God who heals from whatever we might be going through, not just physical, but also spiritual or emotional. Then, Gary sang "I Am Healed." It was such a powerful moment where you felt the presence of the Lord in that little church in Ward, Arkansas.

Gary then led the congregation in "I Am Blessed." We are blessed to have a Savior, blessed to be loved enough for Jesus to pay the ultimate price at Calvary. Gary said that no matter what we face, what we've done or where we have been, nothing can stop the Savior's love from reaching us. Riley then stepped up to sing "Nothing Stops the Savior's Love," one of my favorites from their new project. Such a beautiful reminder of His love for us!

Riley said no matter where people may be tonight, the Savior is always standing there waiting with arms open waiting on us to turn to Him and say that we can't do it on our own. He then started singing "God's Been Good." Through it all God has been good. Even though we know that God is faithful and the many times God has been faithful to us in the past, when we face the storms and difficult situations of life, we can lose sight of that. God has not changed; if He was faithful once, He will be faithful again.

Tribute invited people to share their testimonies. We heard stories of healing and stories of God's power at work. It was incredible to hear several people stand up and share. Riley told the congregation to not only be encouraged by what God has done in your life and in the lives of others, but be encouraged by what God is going to do.

I'm so thankful that this group allowed God to lead them that night. While I would have loved Christmas music, that's not what God had planned, and it's His plan always better? The night was a beautiful worship service and a testimony of God's love and grace.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

In the Hands of a Carpenter - Legacy Five

In the Hands of a Carpenter is the latest release by Legacy Five. This is the first release with Josh Feemster at tenor. Legacy Five is one of the most consistent groups in the industry. This latest release is one of their strongest CDs and one of the top albums of the year.

The project starts with "Deep in My Heart." It definitely has that Legacy Five sound. It has a fun, upbeat feel that features each of the four main vocalists. "What All the Shoutin's About" is in that same vein.

The title track actually features piano player Trey Ivey proving that he's just as capable behind the mic as he is the piano. "In the Hands of a Carpenter" is my favorite song on this project. It was written by Lee Black and Jerry Salley. Lyrically, this song paints such a vivid picture.

Scott Fowler gets a couple of great ballads on this project, "I Trust the Cross" and "Grace Will Find You." The first one has the big ending with a choir backing them up. My favorite of the two is the latter. Scott delivers the tender lyrics of "Grace Will Find You" in the simple arrangement that encourages believers that His grace will always find us no matter what we've done or where we are.

"Still" is a great reminder that no matter what happens God is still on the throne. God never changes no matter what happens in the world around us.

Matt Fouch steps up with "Who Knew." This song has a crooner feel, very different from anything else on the project, but I like that it changes things up a bit.

"Soul Pilot" is a feature for Josh Feemster. I can see this song being really great in a live setting to get the audience going. With the uptempo, you can't help but clap along.

Scott Howard sings the verses of "Lost in God's Grace." He shows why he's one of the most underrated baritone singers in the industry. Jerry Salley and Rebecca Peck wrote this song that really reminds us of the power of His grace.

Legacy Five reminds us all of why they are one of the top quartets in the industry. In the Hands of the Carpenter is one of the strongest project of the year and a must-buy for Southern Gospel fans!

Song List -

1. "Deep in My Heart"
2. "In the Hands of a Carpenter"
3. "I Trust the Cross"
4. "What all the Shoutin's About"
5. "Still"
6. "Who Knew"
7. "Soul Pilot"
8. "Lost in God's Grace"
9. "Grace Will Find You"
10. "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"

Saturday, December 17, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 17

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

  • Congratulations to Ben Wolfe and Maria Kramer who married on Monday, Dec. 12. The two were married in a private ceremony by Dr. Charles Stanley. 
  • Congratulations to Logan Smith and Jordy Hinson who got engaged at a recent concert!
  • Singing News Magazine along with the Singing News Radio Network announced the Ultimate Talent Search. This contest to discover the next major artist of Southern Gospel music will start in January and will culminate with a "Sing-Off" in the Nashville area in May 2017. For more details, go to
  • Prayers requested for Dean Hopper. Last week, Dean Hopper was taken to the emergency room after experiencing unexplained vertigo symptoms. After several hours of neurological exams, a CT scan, MRI, echocardiogram and an extensive battery of other tests––it was determined that he had suffered two strokes in the cerebellum of the brain within just two days of each other. Thankfully, he has no permanent damage and his arteries are clear.
  • Mark Lowry and Cana's Voice announced a tour this week, Diapers to Depends. The tour will begin in Spring 2017.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Southern Gospel Christmas CD 2016 Releases - Part 2

Next week is Christmas! If you're looking for some more great Christmas music for the holiday season, here are three other Southern Gospel Christmas releases this year!

Glad Tidings (Home for Christmas Series) - The Whisnants and Mark Trammell Quartet

This is the second Christmas CD the two groups have done together. The project includes more non-traditional and new Christmas songs than the first. I like the mix of the groups singing together and then each group having a few songs that are their own.

As much as I love traditional Christmas songs and carols, my favorite songs on this project are the new ones or ones that you aren't as familiar with.

Favorites -

  • "That's Why We Adore Him" - Incredible song for any time of year!
  • "His Excellent Greatness"
  • "Ordinary Donkey, Carrying a King" - I love songs from a unique perspective on the Christmas story, and this one fits the bill!
  • "Glad Tidings" - The title track features both groups and really gets you in the Christmas spirit. 

Song List -
1. "Glad Tidings"
2. "Glory To God In The Highest"
3. "Away In A Manger"
4. "Christmas Is Coming Again"
5. "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"
6. "Glory"
7. "That’s Why We Adore Him"
8. "Hark The Herald Angels Sing"
9. "Silver Bells"
10. "His Excellent Greatness"
11. "Ordinary Donkey, Carrying A King"

He Is Christmas - Triumphant Quartet

I like that they included the more traditional songs in medleys to switch things up a little. It was also a good way to incorporate some of the fun, nonsecular songs into the project.

They had a choir backing them up on several songs, which was a really nice touch especially on "Jesus, What a Wonderful Child."

Triumphant fans will recognize "He Is" (the books of the Bible song). You don't think about it as a Christmas song, but it does work!

Favorite Songs -

  • "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - I really like their a cappella take on this song!
  • "Mary Did You Know" - Eric's version is a new favorite. 
  • "Hallelujah" - I've never heard this Christmas version before, but loved it. Don't skip this song. 
  • "Hope Has Hands"

Song List -
1. "Repeat the Sounding Joy"
2. "Celebration Medley"
3. "He Is"
4. "Hallelujah"
5. "Blessed Be the Day (Of Our Savior's Birth)"
6. "Medley of Fun"
7. "Thank God for Kids"
8. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
9. "Jesus, What a Wonderful Child"
10. "Mary Did You Know?"
11. "Hope Has Hands"
12. "Jesus Is Lord for all Time"

Messiah - Legacy Five

Legacy Five released this Christmas EP this year. They are all songs that you have probably heard of but not familiar enough that you know all the words to. It begins with a big instrumental "Prelude" to kick off the Christmas feeling.

With a six song EP, you'll find yourself wanting more, but this is great taste of Christmas!

Favorite Songs -

  • "For Unto Us a Child Is Born" - I really like this arrangement. The bass step out lines by Matt Fouch are great!
  • "I Pray on Christmas" - I like the soulful feel to this song.
  • "Mary's Wish" - Beautiful song!

Song List -

1. "Prelude"
2. "For Unto Us a Child Is Born"
3. "I Can Still Celebrate Christmas"
4. "I Pray on Christmas"
5. "Mary's Wish"
6. "Hallelujah Chorus"

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Home for Christmas with Whisnants and Mark Trammell Quartet - Concert Recap

There's nothing better than a Christmas concert right after Thanksgiving to get you in the holiday spirit. And a concert with two of the top artists in gospel music, even better! This was my second year to see the Mark Trammell Quartet and the Whisnants joint Christmas tour, Home for Christmas. It was the perfect way to kick off the Christmas season.

I love how these groups work so well together. This year, Vilonia, Arkansas was the first stop on the tour, so we got to see the first concert this year. They had a new joint Christmas CD out this year, so it was great to hear so many songs from that.

Here are some highlights of the night -

  • "His Excellent Greatness" - This was one of the new songs featuring both Jeff Whisnant and Nick Trammell. I wasn't really familiar with the song, but it's not a brand new song. Glad this was one they chose to record.
  • "Strange Way to Save the World" - Ethan Whisnant does a great job on this song!
  • "Ordinary Donkey, Carrying a King" - Love this new song that features Susan. It's tells the story of Jesus' birth from the perspective of the donkey carrying Mary and Joseph that night, such a unique song!
  • Non-Christmas Songs - It was the Christmas season, but I'm so glad the groups threw in a few non-Christmas songs. The Whisnants sang "All Is Well," and it was one of the most powerful moments of the night. Mark Trammell Quartet also sang one of their new songs, "My Faith Still Holds," such an incredible song. Of course, we had to hear a bit of "New Day Dawning," which the audience was on its feet clapping along. 
  • Traditional Christmas songs - They sang several familiar Christmas favorites like "Away in a Manger" and "Silent Night."
  • "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem" - One of my favorites and Mark Trammell Quartet does this one the best!
  • "O Holy Night" - Mark Trammell sings this one solo, and his version is one of my favorites. 
  • "That's Why We Adore Him" - I love this song!! This one is one the new Christmas project and features the Whisnants. Beautiful song!!

I hope this tour with the Whisnants and Mark Trammell Quartet will continue for years to come! I love that this is becoming a Christmas tradition.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 10

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

  • Karen Peck and New River had the opportunity to recently travel to Honduras. They received the invitation from a local businessman in Roatan after he heard "Four Days Late." Karen said, "This trip literally changed our lives. In all of the years that we have traveled, we have never been so blessed by an audience as we were from the people of Roatan. They sang along at the top of their lungs as we sang 'Four Days Late' and 'Special Love.'"
  • Gold City has set up a GoFundMe to help with costs of recent bus issues including needing a transmission replaced. They have a rewards with different amounts you can give that varies from a signed copy of their new CD to a phone call or FaceTime with the group and Tim Riley to a personal visit with the group. Find out more here.  
  • Congratulations to the Isaacs, Gaither Vocal Band, Joey + Rory and Gordon Mote who all received Grammy nominations this week for Best Gospel Roots Album. See the full list of nominations here
  • Prayers go out to Jeff Chapman (Kingdom Heirs) whose dad passed away earlier this week. Please keep him and his family in your prayers. The services will be Monday.
  • Prayers also go out to Daniel Ashmore (Old Paths) whose grandfather passed away yesterday. Please keep the Ashmore family in your thoughts and prayers.
  • Prayers requested for Mike LeFevre who has been diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and is currently hospitalized. Tests are being run to diagnose the cause and how to proceed. Please pray for Mike, his family and the group.
  • Congratulations to the Ball Brothers who have had a #1 song on the iTunes Christian chart after their video "It's About the Cross" went viral.
Any thing I missed?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Christmas Handbells

Happy Friday! Bells are definitely a sound you associate with Christmas whether that's "Jingle Bells," sleigh bells, Salvation Army bells or handbells. For today's Fun Clip Friday, here's another clip from the Jubilee Christmas tour. Hope you enjoy Trey Ivey's handbell choir that he put together for this year's tour. Be sure to pay attention to Michael Booth and Rodney Griffin's contribution. ;) Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

2016 Christmas Projects - Part 1

I love all things Christmas. Christmas music normally starts playing at my house in early November. Several Southern Gospel artists have released new Christmas projects this year. Here's a quick overview of three projects that have been released this year. I'll cover three more in a later post!

Glory to God in the Highest - Kingdom Heirs

I like the song selection of this project. It's easy to fall into the trap of picking the most familiar songs of Christmas and having a few new ones. It was also a really good mix of secular, fun Christmas songs and Christian Christmas songs. It also has some country, some big band and some classic sounding songs.

Original or new Christmas songs are hard to come by, but they found a couple of great ones! If you're looking for a good quartet Christmas CD, this is must add to your collection.

Favorite Songs -

  • "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Love hearing Jeff Chapman featured on this song. 
  • "King of Eternity" - I wasn't familiar with this Squire Parsons song, but love that the Kingdom Heirs included this one.
  • "Singing to the King"
  • "Glory to God in the Highest"

Song List -

1. "Jesus Is Born Today (It Is His Birthday)"
2. "Glory to God in the Highest"
3. "Mary Did You Know"
4. "Singing to the King"
5. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
6. "Christmas Cookies"
7. "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
8. "The Christmas Wish"
9. "The King of Eternity"
10. "Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child"

The Keys to Christmas - Jeff Collins

Jeff Collins is a producer and arranger and pianist who has worked on hundreds of albums in gospel music. With this new instrumental project, it's his turn to come out from behind the scenes.

I'll be honest, I'm normally not one to listen to instrumental CDs. I like the voices and singing, but this project definitely got my attention. I really loved the song choices here as well, several not your average Christmas songs! "The Man With the Bag" is probably the song that is least known. I like that he also chose different styles from big band sounds to easy listening.

Favorite songs -

  • "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - When I first heard this one, I went back to make sure I was hearing it right. I love the opening song of Downton Abbey included. Such a cool touch!
  • "Go Tell It on the Mountain" - I love the soulful approach to this one!
  • "Baby It's Cold Outside" - Nice touch with the sax on this song. 
  • "Carol of the Bells" - This is one song that I love instrumental and Jeff's version did not disappoint!

Song List -

1. "Medley: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; O Come, All Ye Faithful; Joy to the World"
2. "Baby It's Cold Outside"
3. "The Man With the Bag"
4. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
5. "Linus and Lucy"
6. "Go Tell It on the Mountain"
7. "Mary Did You Know"
8. "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow"
9. "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"
10. "Carol of the Bells"
11. "O Come, O Come Emanuel"

Silent Night: Christmas for Quiet Reflection - Joseph Habedank

If you're looking for an easy listening Christmas project, this is one you need to pick up. The title is definitely spot on, Christmas for Quiet Reflection. I love that this is just Joseph's voice and simple piano accompaniment for all songs.

If you are in the mood for traditional Christmas songs, this is the one to listen to. I love his take on a few of my favorite Christmas carols. You really get to hear his lower register on several songs that you don't normally hear.

Favorite Songs -

  • "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"
  • "O Holy Night" - This sounds like the same arrangement that several gospel artists use, but love Joseph's voice on this song.
  • "O Come All Ye Faithful"

Song List -

1. "Prelude"
2. "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"
3. "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"
4. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
5. "What Child Is This"
6. "O Come All Ye Faithful"
7. "Silent Night"
8. "O Holy Night"

Monday, December 5, 2016

Encouraging Night with the Jim Brady Trio - Concert Recap

The Jim Brady Trio made a stop in Arkansas right before Thanksgiving several weeks ago. This was my first chance to see the group in a full concert since Layke Jones joined Jim and Melissa earlier this year. He's doing a great job rounding out this trio!

The night was full of encouragement. I love concerts like this where the artists through their words and songs speak nuggets of wisdom and inspiration. I was blessed to be there that night!

A local quartet opened the night with a few familiar songs like "Loving God," "Pray About Everything" and "Victory in Jesus" before the Jim Brady Trio took the stage.

Highlights from the night include -
  • "Stepping Out in Faith" - This is such a great song that's really become the theme of the group in their first years of ministry.
  • "That Sounds Like Home to Me" - I love this sweet song about Heaven. They repeated the chorus a cappella, and it was beautiful!
  • "Keep on the Firing Line"
  • "Love of God" - I love their version of this classic song! Melissa told the story of her grandmother before they sang this song. When Melissa was young, she would go visit her grandmother almost every day. Her grandmother lived right across the street from the school, so she would get to go have lunch with her and they would watch The Price is Right together. They had a close relationship, but her grandmother didn't know Jesus. When Melissa invited her to church, her grandmother still didn't want any part of a personal relationship. Later in life, her grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Melissa prayed that her grandmother wouldn't die without accepting Christ. She didn't realize that in addition to her family the pastor's wife from the nearby church was also praying and visiting her grandmother every week. Before she passed away, her grandmother accepted Christ one afternoon sitting with the pastor's wife. Melissa said God reminded her during that time that God loves us so much He gives us a will of our own to choose Him. When we really stop to think about how amazing the love of God is, the thought is overwhelming. 
  • "Tell Me" - Jim's sister, Marla, and her husband Keith are traveling with the group now. Jim pulled his sister up to join them on this song. She also was featured on "Consider the Lilies."
  • "Every Cry is Heard" - This is one of my favorite songs that Jim has written! He actually wrote this song for his sister when she was first diagnosed with cancer. It's such a sweet reminder of how God always hears us and cares about us. Jim talked about how great it is to look back on our life and see how God has answered us and worked in every detail of our lives. He cares about every difficulty in our life. He loves the world, but He is a personal God. 
  • Booth Brothers fans also were not disappointed with the trio singing several songs from Jim's days with the male trio like "All Over the World," "I Have an Anchor" and "When He Saved Me." 

Be sure to check out the group's schedule to know when they are in your area!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 3

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

  • Soul'd Out Quartet announced this week that Jason McAtee will be joining the group as lead singer. Jason joins the group after spending 10 years at Godfrey United Methodist Church near St. Louis, Missouri. Matt Rankin also announced that in 2017 the quartet will be touring with a live band.
  • Former Poet Voices members Phil Cross, Howard Stewart, and Philip Hare along with Jump Keys announce they have reunited to begin a new musical journey as Highland Park.
  • Soloist Caleb Kelley is joining Lighthouse Media Group for publicity. Caleb is no stranger to Southern Gospel Music after traveling with the well-known group Hope's Journey among others.
  • The TOP Television Channel, a division of Johnny Minick Ministries, announced its official launch on the ROKU system of channels and programming. TOP, which stands for Trustworthy On-Line Programming, will join other major networks on the popular online portal. To sign up and receive more information on future programming and news go to
Anything I've missed?

Friday, December 2, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Southern Gospel Style - Fun Clip Friday

Happy Friday! Christmas is in full swing. Halls are decked, bells are ringing and all is merry and bright. Christmas music is playing every where you go, and I love it!!

The "12 Days of Christmas" is a Christmas staple, but have you heard the Jubilee gang's Southern Gospel version of the song? Enjoy for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Getting in the Christmas Spirit with Jeff and Sheri Easter

Jeff and Sheri Easter is one of the groups that has made a stop in Arkansas recently. They were the first artist I got to hear break out the Christmas music.

Here are highlights of the night - 
  • "Small Town Someone" - They opened the night with this song. It's a favorite of mine from their latest project. 
  • "Someone's Listening" - Love hearing Morgan sing this song, another great one from Small Town.
  • Live music - It's refreshing to see a group play several different instruments live on stage with Landan Smith on drums, Jeff on keys and harmonica and Jared Easter playing so many instruments I lost count (a few were guitar, steel guitar, mandolin and banjo)! It's great to see them incorporate so many different instruments into their lineup. 
  • "Jesus Loves You" - I love this song. It never fails to minister to me. Sheri always sets this song up so beautifully reading from her devotional book and the inspiration for the song. The idea of the song is simple, something we have heard all our lives, but it's something we all need to hear.
  • The Snake Song - The pastor made a joke early in the night about getting the snakes out later on. Jeff sang the song his uncle Ed wrote about singing at a church one time with snake handling. It always gets great laughs from the audience!
  • "I'll Be Home With Bells On"- They started the second half with this song. Loved getting to hear a few Christmas favorites. 
  • "The Greatest Gift of All" - This was so sweet seeing Jeff and Sheri sing this song to each other. It was the song that Jeff had playing when he gave Sheri her engagement ring.
  • "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me" - Sheri talked about having an attitude of gratitude. The song thanks God for the simple things that we so many times take for granted. Jeff's dad wrote the song as a new Christian when he didn't have much, but he had an attitude of gratitude for every blessing.
It was a great night of laughs, uplifting music and words of encouragement. If you get the chance to see Jeff and Sheri Easter in your area, don't miss it!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - November 26

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

  • Bryan Hutson announced this week his plans to leave Soul'd Out Quartet. Please be in prayer for him and the quartet as they go through this transition.
  • The Jordan Family Band has signed with Skyland Records, an imprint of the Crossroads Label Group. The group is based in Calhoun, Georgia.
  • Daywind Instrumental announced the addition of Josh Singletary (Tribute Quartet) to its roster. Josh released his first project Hymns From Home on November 25.
  • Please keep Paul Heill and his family in your prayers. His mother passed away on Wednesday. The service will be held next Wednesday in Pennsylvania.
  • Please be in prayer for the Clark Family. The Nelons' Jason Clark's mom had a heart attack on Thursday and is in critical condition. She will have to undergo open heart surgery soon. 
Anything I've missed?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I saw Jeff and Sheri Easter Friday night. Sheri talked about choosing an "attitude of gratitude" every day. So many times it's easy for me to focus on what I don't have and what I want. I don't take time often enough to thank God for all that He has given me when I deserve nothing. May we not only have that attitude of gratitude today but every day.

This is one of the best Thanksgivings songs I know - "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me." Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Spoken 4 Quartet - Concert Recap

Spoken 4 Quartet was in Hot Springs Village last Sunday night. This quartet is based in Branson, Missouri and has been together for about 10 years now. The group consists of Brandon Britton, Jon Charles Taggart, Steven Hickingbotham and Cecil Stringer.

It's always great to see these guys and see their hearts for the ministry. They are never afraid to stand for the truth of God's Word. They boldly proclaim him through song and through their own personal testimonies -

Here are highlights -
  • "Grace Runs Deeper" - This was actually the song they ended the night on, but I love this song from their last project. Jon Charles does such an incredible job on this song. 
  • "There Is a Light" - Cecil showed off his bass singing skills on this song. If you haven't heard Cecil, he's one of the best!
  • "When the King Comes to Claim His Throne"
  • The quartet sang a few hymns like "Blessed Assurance" and "Because He Lives." I think I along with the rest of the audience always enjoys when a group pulls out a hymn.
  • "When He Set Me Free"
  • "He Was There All the Time" - Before this song, Steven shared his testimony about how his parents faithfully prayed for him during a time when he was far from God. It was a touching testament of how God was always there with a plan and purpose for his life. 
  • "Oh What a Savior" - Brandon shared his testimony before this song. He talked about his struggle with depression, suicidal thoughts and his mom's death because of suicide. He talked about how God helped him through it and how thankful he was for a Savior like Jesus.
With Spoken 4, I love their singing, but I love how they always show their hearts and are willing to share their stories for the glory of God. If you haven't seen this group before, you are in for a treat! Check out to see if they are in your area soon. For people in Arkansas and Southern Missouri, they have two big event coming up soon -

  • Dec. 11 - Homer Lee & Friends - Christmas Homecoming at Hamner Barber Theater in Branson
  • Dec. 18 - Spoken 4 Quartet Homecoming at Ozark Mountain Assembly of God Church in Kimberling City

Monday, November 21, 2016

Changes for Soul'd Out Quartet

Bryan Hutson announced today that he will be leaving Soul'd Out Quartet and focusing on a different ministry. He has been with the group since 2011. He put this message on his Facebook page -

I want to thank everyone who has embraced me and my family over these last nearly 24 years in full time gospel music.

For sometime now, I have felt God’s leading into a different avenue of ministry. To be transparent, I am not completely sure what avenue that is but God always reveals Himself in His timing. I am sure though that the time has come to make a change.

I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the best men in the Southern Gospel industry. I value my time with the Heartland Boys to my nearly 10 years with the Kingsmen. I also have had the privilege to minister next to Dusty Barrett, Matt Fouch, Ian Owens, Michael Howard and Zach Lloyd (Soul’d Out Quartet).

My hope for the future is to continue to minister/sing in whatever form that becomes in an environment that is passionate about reaching lost people and helping others grow in their walk with The Lord. I remain passionate about encouraging men to be men of integrity and fighting for their marriage and family.

From now until the New Year, I will be ministering with my wife, Yvonne, on select dates that can be found on our Facebook page Rescue Me Ministries or Friends of Bryan Hutson.

Our family covets your prayers during this season of change.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

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

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

  • Jason Crabb has partnered with New Day Christian Distributers to make his Jase the Crabb children's book series available to the Christian retail market. Lifeway Christian Stores and independent retailers will carry the series along with the Jase® the Crabb plush figure. 
  • Prayers requested for Soul'd Out's Ian Owens' son Liam who has a tumor called a polyp lesion in his bowel. He will have to have surgery for removal next week. 
  • The Music City Show will have taping for its fifth season on Monday and Tuesday. Guests include Triumphant Quartet, Lauren Talley, Brian Free & Assurance and more! Reserve your tickets now by emailing: 
  • Allegiance Trio announced a new video series that they will be launching to go along with the release of their new album. See the full video of the announcement.
  • Cliff Barrows passed away at the age of 93 this week. He was the music and program director for Billy Graham Crusades. 

Anything I've missed?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

11th Hour on the 11th - Concert Recap

Last Friday was Veterans Day, 11/11, so it was only fitting that I see 11th Hour following through on the 11 theme. They were in Ward, Arkansas that night at Dayspring Baptist Church. The church has several concerts throughout the year and this was their last one for 2016.

The current lineup of 11th Hour is Amber Eppinette, Jaquita Lindsey and Grant Gibson. I love the sound that these three have together. They might be younger than most groups on the road, but they do an incredible job of communicating timeless lyrics with wisdom beyond their years.

11th Hour sang several songs from What a Moment, one of my personal favorite releases of 2016. Here are some highlights of the night -

  • "He Welcomes the Beggar" - I love this song, and this was my first time to see them sing the song live. I'm so glad to see them staging it!
  • "He'll Roll You Over the Tide" - I first heard them sing this one back in February. It had an incredible response from the audience. Then they staged it again at NQC. This young group does an incredible job on bringing new life to this classic and really making it resonate with a younger audience.
  • "He Sees What We Don't" - Every time I hear this song live, it's always going to be a highlight. This song never fails to speak to me. Incredible message, and Amber always communicates it so well!
  • "How Will You Plead" - Great song written by Amber and Dianne Wilkinson

They sang a really good mix of some of their most well-known songs like "Bloodline" and "Room With a View." It was also good to hear them stage a few of their first big songs like "Tomb to a Table" and "Adam's Fall." I had not heard Grant sing "Tomb to a Table" before; I'm glad they are doing that one live. I was also really glad that someone had asked to hear "Adam's Fall."

They also sang several more from What a Moment like "Can You Burn," "Mountain Moving Faith" and "I Am Bound." 

This lineup of 11th Hour has now been together for several years, and I think they are sounding better than ever! Be sure to check out their schedule and don't miss them if they are near you in concert!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Life Is Good - The Hoppers - CD Review

It's hard to believe that it's been four years since the Hoppers have released a CD. In those four years, the family has had some challenges with the health of Connie and Claude, but both are now doing well. The family has also added Karlye into the lineup full-time since the last release. It's just getting better for the Hoppers, and they are proving that "life is good."

Life Is Good was one of the last projects that Lari Goss worked on. After his passing, they brought in Lari's brother Roni to help them finish the album.

"Jesus, The One" was the first single from the project. The song went #1 for the group in August and had already gotten a lot of recognition even before the album release. It's definitely a highlight of the project.

The title track "Life Is Good" will remind you of the simple pleasures in life. Life is good, because God is. The uptempo track can't help but put you in a good mood.

Connie is featured on both "Grace Will Get to You" and "Before the Sun Goes Down." My favorite of the two is the latter. The song is really classic Connie. I hope that this one works its way into live concerts. Claude also steps up with the feature on the Rusty Goodman classic "Until You've Known the Love of God.

Kim shows why she's been the favorite female vocalist for so long on "Walk Two." Not only does she have a powerhouse voice, but she communicates lyrics so well.

"If We Ever Gotta Look" is one of my personal favorites. I think this song struck a chord with a lot of people when the Hoppers sang it at NQC. It's their new radio single, and I can see why. If we could see what Heaven is like, why would we ever want to stay here?

Karlye sings "My Ransom," a beautiful song that really shows what a great talent she has. The arrangement is simple to really let her vocals shine. She has a great future ahead of her!

We get to hear from Dean on "By and By." He and Karlye share the verses on this song. This is another great uptempo song. It's one that I found myself hitting repeat on.

Some things are just worth the wait. Even though it's been four years since their last release, this project is definitely one of my favorites from the beloved family group. It's a must buy CD of 2016.

Song List -
1. "Jesus, The One"
2. "Life Is Good"
3. "Grace Will Get to You"
4. "Walk Two"
5. "Brethren We Have Met to Worship"
6. "If We Ever Gotta Look"
7. "Until You've Known the Love of God"
8. "Song of Moses"
9. "My Ransom"
10. "By and By"
11. "Before the Sun Goes Down"

Saturday, November 12, 2016

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

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

  • Stowtown Records added the Guardians to its roster of artists this week.
  • Rick and Phyllis Webb were honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine from North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory for their 40 years of ministry and service. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award is the highest award given to a civilian who has a proven record of extraordinary service to North Carolina.
  • Allegiance Trio performed at The Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial this past week in Tennessee. The group sang “I Will Stand.” The event was hosted by Springfield Memorial Gardens in Robertson County, Tennessee.
  • Song Garden Music Group announced the addition The Sounds of Jericho to its artist roster this week.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - On the Couch with Fouch

Happy Friday everyone! This has been one of those weeks where real life got in the way of blogging. I just got back from a work conference out of town, so things were a little crazy. But at least, today is Friday and I have a clip to share!

Matt Fouch has moved his popular On the Couch with Fouch Series to Facebook. Check out this month's video with members of the Ball Brothers.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - November 5

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

  • Ray Lewis passed away October 30 at the age of 79. Ray was a well-known songwriter in the industry. Ray was instrumental in the development of the Chestnut Mound Music catalog for the Eddie Crook Company for more than 10 years. The service will be held Monday in Nashville.
  • The winners of the 2016 Songwriter Search have been announced. The Erwins, Kingsmen and Talleys have selected each a song to record. Congratulations to Debbie Davis and Bernadette Negus, Kevin Woolard and Melanie Watson and Bernadette Negus.  
  • Oakland City University honored Kim and Dean Hopper a Honorary Doctorate of Music. Congratulations to Dean and Kim!
Anything I've missed?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - McKameys at NQC

Happy Friday to everyone!

The National Quartet Convention Facebook page has been sharing a few clips from this year's NQC. Here's one that the convention shared recently of the McKameys on the main stage. Enjoy!

Be sure to watch their Facebook page for more clips, and the On Demand is still available for subscribers!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Family Harmony & Stronger Together - The Nelons - Double CD Review

The Nelons released two projects late this summer, Family Harmony and Stronger Together. The group previously released an EP of some of the songs on Stronger Together, but decided to release 18 songs on these two projects at the same time.

So let's look at each project -

Family Harmony

  • "I Just Can't Make It By Myself" is a great remake of the Cathedrals classic. I like the family group spin on this quartet song. They also pull out another Cathedrals song with "Suppertime" that features Jason.
  • "Imagine Alleluia" is one that I kept hitting repeat on. Jason wrote this song that features Amber. It's a beautiful song that describes the picture of Heaven and the worship that will occur there.
  • Kelly is featured on "Greater Things," a great ballad that I can see doing well on Southern Gospel radio. It's a great reminder that the best is yet to come for us.
  • Autumn has really come into her own. I love her feature "When Grandpa Sang Amazing Grace" to show her more country, bluegrass voice.
  • Jason wrote three of the nine songs on this project, some of the strongest ones on the CD.
  • "Days of Jericho" is stylistically different from most of the other songs but it was another highlight for me. It reminds me of an uptempo song the Martins might record. 
  • "We Shall Behold Him" - WOW! I remember first hearing Amber sing this one on the 2015 Harmony Honors. The recording is just as impressive.

Stronger Together
  • "My Fathers's House" is a great opener to this project. I love all the harmonies; there are some really nice moments with the sisters.
  • I love Kelly's take on "You Can't Make Old Friends" with Karen Peck Gooch making a special appearance. 
  • Autumn has such a pure, bluegrass voice that really brings a great fresh sound to the Nelons as she has taken her spot with her family. I love her feature "Family Chain."
  • "The Awakening" is an incredible song, an incredible performance. This broadway type song is one that I kept repeating, but it's very different from the rest of the album. I like that they included though, it shows off the musicality of the group.
  • "I Think I'll Read It Again" is a great uptempo song that features Autumn. It's a remake of an old Gold City song.
  • Amber is featured on "Then Came the Morning," another great song that shows off her power vocals.
  • "Angels Hover Near You" is a slow and melodic song that feature the great blend of the entire family.
If I had to pick the stronger of the two of the two albums, I would lean toward Family Harmony. Both projects have some incredible songs and really nice moments. Overall though, I had more favorites on Family Harmony

After hearing all the songs they had to pick from, I can certainly see how they ended up with 18 songs and a two project release. I think both projects are among my favorite releases this year!

Family Harmony Song List

1. "I Just Can't Make It By Myself"
2. "Greater Things"
3. "Days of Jericho"
4. "Imagine Alleluia"
5. "Suppertime"
6. "When Grandpa Sang Amazing Grace"
7. "Don't Give Up on Me"
8. "Songs That Answer Questions"
9. "We Shall Behold Him"

Stronger Together Song List
1. "My Father's House"
2. "One Little Word"
3. "Family Chain"
4. "Then Came the Morning"
5. "Gate of Heaven"
6. "You Can't Make Old Friends"
7. "The Awakening"
8. "I Think I'll Read It Again"
9. "Angels Hover Near You"

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - A Cappella Style

Happy Friday to everyone. It's a two clip post for this week. Two groups shared videos of a cappella songs during their travels. The Nelons were in New York City this past week, and Tribute Quartet made the long flight to Ireland. Enjoy both a cappella songs for today's Fun Clip Friday post!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Joylanders - Parables - CD Review

The Joylanders was a name I wasn't familiar with prior to this release. The group is from Tennessee and has actually been around for more than 40 years. The family group now has three generations singing, Perry and Nell Wimberly, their daughter Vanessa and son-in-law Jason and their children Jay and Allison.

Parables is the group's first project with Skyland Records. It contains 14 songs. You might recognize several songs on the album from "The Old Rugged Cross" to "Leave It There." With 14 songs, the album is very diverse with several different style songs.

The project opens with the uptempo "Why Don't You Try Jesus." I immediately noticed the great family harmonies this group has!

"There's No Other God" was another standout favorite on this project. There are definitely moments where the style of the group reminds me of the Nelons. This song is one of those times.

"I'm Checking Out" and "Down in the Valley" are both great songs, more uptempo that use some brass and horns. Then, "Heaven's Ridge" uses bagpipes to start and has a more Celtic feel. This song is so beautiful and melodic. I love the diversity of sounds and styles!

"Without Grace" is a great ballad. It's a great reminder of how we would be nothing without the grace of God.

With 14 songs and all different styles, there is something for everyone on this project! If you haven't heard of the Joylanders, definitely give Parables a listen.

Song List -
1. "Why Don't You Try Jesus"
2. "Leave It There"
3. "Without Grace"
4. "There's No Other God"
5. "I'm Checking Out"
6. "Heaven's Ridge"
7. "I Know Where Home Is"
8. "Come to the Water"
9. "Sunday's Comin'"
10. "Down in the Valley"
11. "Dry Ground"
12. "America, God Bless"
13. "The Old Rugged Cross"
14. "Now I Have Everything"

Monday, October 24, 2016

Names You Might Not Know Yet - Redemptions Plan

Redemptions Plan is a Southern Gospel group from Wilsonville, AL. The group includes Brett Sanders and Jon Ray.

Get to know a little more about this group -

Question - When did you become interested in singing Southern Gospel Music?
Answer - Brett has been raised in Southern Gospel Music and always had a desire to sing. His grandmother has been singing in a southern gospel group for over 50 years. It wasn’t until January 2009, after a battle of drug addiction that Jon found his interest in gospel music.

Q - What are some of your earliest memories of Southern Gospel?
A - Brett’s earliest memories would have to be watching his grandmother sing with their group. Jon’s earliest memory goes back to when he was 5 years old and singing “What A Day” with his Pawpaw.

Q - How did you get started?
A - Both of us were singing solos at our home church and had become really good friends. We were at our adopted grandparents’ house when it was mentioned we should sing together. We discussed it the next weekend at Jon’s house, and that’s where it all began.

Q - How long have you been singing?
A - We both have been singing for a long time. We started singing together February 12, 2016.

Q - What's one thing that you want people who walk away from your concert to know about you?
A - We are just normal good ol’ country boys who enjoy singing and spreading God’s Word.

Q -  Do you have a favorite song you like to sing?
A - We love to sing "Redeemed." It is our testimony.

Q - And what song from another group has ministered to you?
A - "Unforgiven" by Jason Crabb has really touched both of us. With our history this song has really touched us.

Q - What artists have been your biggest influence (musically and/or personally)?
A - The Crabb Family. We can sit and listen to them sing all the time.

Q - What has your favorite memory been so far in ministry?
A - Meeting so many wonderful new people, but our favorite memory so far has been singing on stage with Jeff and Sheri Easter.

Q - What new things are coming up for you?
A - We have our first CD coming out in the next couple of weeks. The name of the CD is By Request because we have been asked by so many family and friends to sing the songs. We also have a few specially written songs we are starting to work on, so hopefully we will have a lot of new releases soon!

For more on Redemptions Plan, go to their website -

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Jordan's River Signs With Lighthouse Media

On September 22, 2016, Jordan's River made a big announcement that they would be signing with Lighthouse Media Group on an extensive management deal. If you are unfamiliar with the name Jordan's River, they are a progressive Southern Gospel trio with a country bluegrass flavor, who love the Lord and have a heart for serving others.

The group currently consists of J. Randy Graham, his wife Belinda and longtime friend Angie Wilson. They released this statement, “We are very happy to announce that we have signed with Andrew Brunet and Lighthouse Media Group for radio promotions, publicity, and CD distribution. We are so grateful to join up with such a hard-working, fine young man.”

Their publicist, Andrew Brunet, said, “Jordan's River is definitely a one-of-a-kind group, you will not find a more-loving, caring trio then what you see right here.”

You will find more information about them via their website at For booking purposes, give them a call at (478)-484-0548.

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - October 22

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

  • The Erwins sang the National Anthem at a Tennessee Titans home football game. You can see a clip of it here.
  • The Singing News announced the first round of finalists in the 2016 Songwriter Search. You can see the full list here. The Top 50 songs in the contest will be announced on Wednesday, October 26.
  • WCKB, a Southern Gospel station based in North Carolina that began on March 11, 1946 with a meeting of three Dunn businessmen, is celebrating 70 years of broadcasting. The station will host an open house from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Friday, October 28.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Jason Crabb and Point of Grace

Happy Friday to everyone! A few weeks ago I got the chance to see Jason Crabb and Point of Grace in concert in Arkansas. To be honest, I was a Point of Grace fan far longer than I have been a Southern Gospel fan. They got their start here in Arkansas. And, I went to college the same place as they did (or at least two of the three).

It was a great night of music and worship. I loved seeing those artists together! Point of Grace has definitely made an impression in the Southern Gospel world. Check out this clip of them on TBN and then a Facebook Live video I did from the concert for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Names You Might Not Know Yet - The Chordsmen Quartet

In the late 70's three brothers The Chordsmen Quartet was formed by three brothers, Thomas, Gary and Keith Jennings. The group traveled for 15 years all over South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in churches and concerts. As life goes, changes came and the group had to leave the road. In 2013, Thomas's sons renewed the group. The group now consists of Jerry Jennings, Harold Jennings, Randy Leslie and Stephen Williams. Get to know a little bit about this group!

Question - When did you become interested in singing Southern Gospel music? What are some of your earliest memories of Southern Gospel?

Jerry Jennings - Of course, I don't remember, but my parents always said when I was born in October 1962, I was at in Greenville S.C. at the old Textile Hall for a Thanksgiving singing. So I guess you could say I was marked from birth to be involved in Southern Gospel music. As I grew older in the 70s we began going to the Charlotte Coliseum Easter singings with groups like The Happy Goodman, The Hinsons, The Oak Ridge Boys, Speer Family, The Lefevres, Jerry Goff, The Cathedrals and many, many more. That's when I really feel in love with the style and harmonies of a quartet. Men like Jerry Goff, Ronnie and Kenny Hinson, George Younce, Glenn Payne and Danny Funderburk were and still are a very big inspiration to me. They always had time to talk to the young fans that wanted to speak them and give encouragement to us.

Q - How did you get started?

Jerry - My dad, Tom Jennings, and his two brothers Keith and Gary began putting a quartet together in the mid 70s so I started on the tambourine at 13 years old. After a short while our drummer left and I began picking up the drums and by the grace of God I learned how to play. I did that for a few years along with practicing the bass guitar, then the bass player position was open so I moved to bass and my brother Harold moved into the drums spot. We traveled like that for a while then the tenor singer left, and I began singing tenor and playing bass for the next 10 years or so.

Q - How long have you been singing?

Jerry - I have been singing and/or  playing for 40 years and I have loved each and every minute and every mile of it!!

Q - What's one thing that you want people who walk away from your concert to know about you?

Jerry - I would like for people to walk away from one of our concerts or church services knowing that I love them.l I care for their souls and that God is right here wanting to give them the gift of eternal life.

Q - Do you have a favorite song that you sing? And what song from another group has ministered to you?

Jerry - My all time favorite song is "The Lighthouse" by Kenny Hinson. That was my first song I sang in public as a teenager, and I still sing it today. It's one of those songs that has an everlasting message.

Over the past three years that my brother Harold and I have had the group back on the road, I have been singing a song, "I Still Cling To The Old Rugged Cross." I first heard Brian Free's group sing this song, and it really ministered to me. We can try to cling to a lot of things down here on earth, but the only thing that will always be around is the love of my Savior and that's worth clinging to in life.

Q - What artists have been your biggest influence (musically and/or personally)? 

Jerry - I guess hanging around the all night singings there were a lot of artists that I looked up to, but the biggest influence musically was The Hinsons but not just one of them. The whole gang was so awesome. Ronnie and Kenny told me one night backstage that "when you're on stage you are the best in the business, but when you come down form the stage you are nobody special just a servant of God." That has stuck with me all of these years. Personally I would have to say my dad Thomas Jennings. He taught me to laugh, live, love and sing for The Lord. To keep God first in your life and you can't go wrong.

Q - What has been your favorite memory so far in your ministry?

Jerry - There are so many memories in The Chordsmen Ministry, but I have to go back to when my dad, two uncles, my brother and myself were traveling every weekend all over South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia together. But I'm looking forward to many memories of the "RENEWED" Chordsmen.

Q - What new things are coming up for you?

Jerry - We have a few new things coming up this year. We have started planning our first single release ever for TCQ, and we are very excited about it. We are also looking and listening for new songs to record on a new project. We were featured in the SGMA Promoters Association Showcase during NQC week with a wonderful lady Edna Wright. With all that God is doing for TCQ, we are keeping busy, and we love it. Keep us in your prayers that we will always be behind the cross so that He can be seen!!

For more on the Chordsmen, go to

Monday, October 17, 2016

Here For You - Tribute Quartet - CD Review

I'm not going to be surprised to find Here For You in many lists of the top album of 2016. I feel like this is the best album the group has ever produced. It was no wonder that the group featured so many of these songs at NQC a few weeks ago. They have a right to be proud of every song on this project.

Tribute Quartet has had the same lineup since 2011 with tenor Riley Harrison Clark, lead Gary Casto, baritone and piano player Josh Singletary and bass Anthony Davis. Not only has their lineup been steady for the past several years, they still have two of the founding members with Gary and Josh.

The album opens with the title song "Here For You." The song has a long intro and build up. It's a bit more progressive. It has a unique, fun sound to start off the album. We continue with the uptempo songs with "Never Forsaken."

Josh and Anthony share the verses on "Somebody Sing Me That Song." This song has more of a crooner feel to offer a little something different style wise.

Riley has a couple of really great ballads on the project, "When the Prodigal Comes Home" and "Nothing Stops the Savior's Love." The latter is my favorite. What a great reminder that His love can always reach us wherever we are and how undeserving we are of that love! I got to hear this song for the first time in Branson at Silver Dollar City, and I was so impressed and couldn't wait to hear the rest of the album after that tease! Riley also is featured on "God of the Storms." This song is more mid-tempo with a little background banjo for a different sound.

Gary is featured on "Meeting in the Middle of the Air." It's a fun song with a lot of words in the chorus. I can see this going over really well live. However, my favorite of Gary's features is "Grace at Its Best." He and Riley split the verses. Gary also wrote this song with Barbara Huffman. It's a beautiful reminder of the cross, "grace at its best is still the cross."

"Everybody Come See Jesus" shows off a little more banjo along with harmonica. Josh does a great job on this Dianne Wilkinson song.

One song I was really glad to see them sing at NQC was "That's How I Know." It's a story song that will have you snapping along. It's a great feature for Anthony!

The only song that has been previously released is "Jesus Saves." The song was recorded by the Hoppers but they put their own Tribute spin on it.

It's rare in a CD review when I mention every song on the project. This review is an exception, because all the songs are so strong. When you look at the writing credits on this project, it's a "who's who" of writers from Dianne Wilkinson to Wayne Haun to Sonya and Becky Isaacs to Sue Smith.

This is the strongest release to date by this quartet. This is one album you do not want to miss this year!

Song List -
1. "Here For You"
2. "Never Forsaken"
3. "Somebody Sing Me That Song"
4. "When the Prodigal Comes Home"
5. "Meeting in the Middle of the Air"
6. "God of the Storms"
7. "Everybody Come See Jesus"
8. "That's How I Know"
9. "Grace at Its Best"
10. "Jesus Saves"
11. "Nothing Stops the Savior's Love"

Sunday, October 16, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - Oct. 16

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

  • The Dove Awards were held this week in Nashville. The awards show will air tonight on TBN at 9 p.m., Central. Congratulations to these Southern Gospel winners - 
    • Southern Gospel Artist of the Year - Karen Peck & New River, Daywind Record
    • Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year - “I Am Blessed" by Karen Peck & New River; (writers) Karen Peck Gooch, Kenna West, Michael Farren 
    • Country Recorded Song of the Year  - "Small Town Someone (Lunch)" Jeff & Sheri Easter; (writers) Sheri Easter, Kenna Turner West, Jason Cox 
    • Southern Gospel Album of the Year - Still, Booth Brothers (producers) Jason Webb, Lari Goss, Ronnie Booth, Michael Booth, Jim Brady 
    • Bluegrass/Country Album of the Year Small Town, Jeff & Sheri Easter (producers) Madison Easter, Greg Cole, Jeff & Sheri Easter 
    • Choral Collection of the Year - Southern Gospel Songs (10 New, Emerging and Classic Hits for Southern Gospel Choir) (arranger & orchestrator) Marty Hamby 
    • Long Form Video of the Year Hymns That Are Important To Us, Joey + Rory, (director) Daniel Grace (producers) Aaron Carnahan, Joel McAfee, Bill Gaither
  • Prayers go out to Devin McGlamery of Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. He lost his father suddenly after a possible stroke. 
  • Congratulations to Kasey (Allegiance Trio) and Haley Kemp who welcomed their first baby, a daughter, Avaline, on October 11. She was 8 pounds, 7 ounces. Both mother and baby are doing well. 
  • Squire Parsons was honored with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine on Oct. 5. The event took place at Trinity Baptist Church in Asheville, North Carolina. According to the The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society the award is among the most prestigious awards conferred by the Governor of North Carolina. It is awarded to persons for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty and which has made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolin,
Anything I've missed?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Ball Brothers

Dollywood is now in the middle of their National Southern Gospel and Harvest Celebration. They have Southern Gospel artists on park each day singing. The Singing News has been there and has been sharing videos on Facebook.

For today's Fun Clip Friday, check out this video of the Ball Brothers! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Church - 2nd Generation - CD Review

2nd Generation is a trio based in Arkansas. The group consists of sisters Brenda Denney and Elaine Robinson and Randy Barnes. This is a group that I have had the pleasure of getting to know since starting the blog. I have enjoyed getting to see their hearts for ministry. Their latest album was released this summer entitled The Church.

The project starts with "Rock of Ages," which is not the hymn but contains part of the hymn. This is a great uptempo song that sounds like an old convention song.

Randy Barnes is featured on "Mama's Rocking Chair," which is the group's current single. It's such a great song about being raised by a sweet Godly mother who told stories of the Bible as her children grew up. This is one of two Aaron Wilburn cuts on the project. Randy does a great job on this song. He's also featured on "Faces," which is probably my favorite song that Rodney Griffin has ever written.

"All Our Hope" is one of my favorites on this project. Elaine sings this song. I remember hearing it live in concert a few months ago and was blown away. The message is so encouraging, and Elaine does an incredible job in her delivery.

Brenda is featured on the Hemphill song "I Came on Business for the King." I love this song. I know they use this song a lot as a motto for their ministry. I think it sums them up perfectly. Brenda sounds great on this song. It's a great reminder that no matter what we do in life that as Christians we are representatives of Him always.

"I've Got This" is stylistically a different from anything else on the project. I love the tenderness of the song. Brenda sings the message of how no matter what we face God's got this. We all need this reminder from time to time or really every day if you're like me.

"It's a Good Life Living for the Lord" and "We'll Go Down Standing Up" are two great uptempo songs on the project. Both will have you clapping and toe-tapping along.

If you've never heard 2nd Generation, pick up this album today. This is their best album yet! Make sure you check out this trio. I predict only great things ahead for them!

Song List -
1. "Rock of Ages"
2. "The Church"
3. "Mama's Rocking Chair"
4. "I Came on Business for the King"
5. "All Our Hope"
6. "It's a Good Life Living for the Lord"
7. "That Sounds Like Home to Me"
8. "I've Got This"
9. "Faces"
10. "We'll Go Down Standing Up"
11. "It Was a Gospel Song"

Monday, October 10, 2016

Faith in a Great God - Carolina Boys Quartet - CD Review

The Carolina Boys Quartet released Faith in a Great God in September. I'll confess this was not a quartet I was familiar with. The group is based in South Carolina. Patrick Campbell (tenor), Chuck Lowe (lead), Toby Fricks (baritone) and Stephen Jewell (bass) make up the quartet.

The project starts with "For Every Goliath," which is a fun uptempo song. I love the brass on this song. Great way to start the album! "God Made a Way" continues with that uptempo vein.

Then they slow things down with "By a Show of Hands." Tenor Patrick Campbell is featured on this song. This is a great song written by Kristi Fritzwater, Belinda Smith and Lee Black. This songwriting combination is a great team for the Carolina Boys with three cuts on the project.

The quartet goes with a traditional arrangement for "Treasures in Heaven." I've always been a fan of this song and really enjoyed their take on it. This song and "Walk With Me" are the two songs that gospel music fans will definitely be familiar with.

"He Still Moves Mountains for Me" features Toby Fricks. This is a great ballad and a great reminder of the power of God working in our lives today. Another stand out ballad is "The Blood of Jesus" written by Phil Cross. This one features Chuck Lowe.

"I Didn't See Him Rise" is another highlight of the project. This is a great song with beautiful orchestration behind it. "God Shed His Grace on Me" is another great power ballad with a great build up and orchestration. The message and reminders of how amazing God's grace is never get old.

Bass singer Stephen Jewell steps up on the title track. This is another great brass-infused uptempo song. This song is definitely a highlight of the project!

If you're like me and are not familiar with the Carolina Boys Quartet, don't miss out on Faith in a Great God. I can't wait to hear future projects from this group!

Song List -
1. "For Every Goliath"
2. "God Made a Way"
3. "By a Show of Hands"
4. "Treasures in Heaven"
5. "He Still Moves Mountains for Me"
6. "Faith in a Great God"
7. "Blood of Jesus"
8. "I Cried Out"
9. "I Didn't See Him Rise"
10. "When They Had Prayed"
11. "God Shed His Grace on Me"
12. "Walk With Me"

Saturday, October 8, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - October 8

Unfortunately there's a lot of sad news this week. Here's a recap of news from this week -

  • Carolyn Reese, wife of Ray Dean Reese of the Kingsmen, suddenly passed away this week. Her funeral will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 11 in Asheville, North Carolina. Please keep all of the Reese family in your prayers.
  • Jeff Bumgardner's daughter, Ella, had a ruptured brain aneurysm and passed away this week. She was only 10 year old. Jeff is a well-known songwriter in the gospel music community. Please pray for Jeff, his wife and children in the days ahead.
  • Tanya Goodman Sykes shared via Facebook this week that doctors founds some malignancy with an ovarian cyst. Please keep her and the physicians in your prayers as they walk through the next steps of treatment and procedures. She will have surgery on Monday.
  • Daywind Instrumental announced the addition of Jeff Stice to its roster of musicians. His first release is scheduled for early 2017.

Please keep all of these families who are hurting and dealing with sickness and loss in your prayers!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Bowling Family Sisters - At the Cross

Sorry, I've been a bit inconsistent lately. However, I am bringing you a Fun Clip Friday post today. If you missed the National Quartet Convention Saturday night, you missed one of the highlights of the week.

The Bowling Family girls took the stage to sing a familiar hymn, "At the Cross." They sang the hymn arrangement again at Dollywood this week. You can check out the video below! These girls sound incredible together and have a bright future ahead!

Enjoy for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

2016 National Quartet Convention - Saturday Night Recap

The 2016 National Quartet Convention is now complete. It was a great year. I am looking forward to seeing some of the performances again on demand and also catching what I missed Friday night. Here are my thoughts and highlights from the last night of NQC -

Commentary/ Highlights -

  • It was great to see so many of the younger generation in Southern Gospel highlighted tonight. I loved what the Erwins did by having so many of them join them on stage for "I Choose to Be a Christian." It was definitely a highlight of the night. The Bowling sisters singing "At the Cross" was another incredible moment. That sister harmony cannot be beat!
  • The hour of Tribute and Triumphant Quartets were the best of the night. These two groups had the longer sets of the night. Tribute again sang a lot from their new project again. I loved hearing all the new songs; their new project is a must buy! They ended their set with Triumphant joining them on "I Remember the Day." Triumphant then did a lot of favorites and requests. They closed with "He Is," great moment!
  • Gerald Wolfe had some chest congestion so he asked Mark Trammell to join Greater Vision on stage to help him sing. During their set, he said he felt like he could sing bass like J.D. So they did the Cathedrals arrangement of "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" with him singing bass. 
  • I have to say I was expecting more during the finale. I was a little disappointed that several groups didn't come back to the stage and sing some of their hits. 
  • Voices of Lee, though not officially on the program this year, made an appearance during Gordon Mote and Mark Trammell Quartet's sets. They also sang a great arrangement of "Good, Good Father." 

Favorite Songs/ Performances of the Night -

  • "I Choose to Be a Christian" - The Erwins
  • "At the Cross" - Bowling Family (sisters)
  • "Only Jesus Can Heal This Hurting World" - Gordon Mote
  • "Holy Shore" - Perrys
  • "My Faith Still Holds" - Mark Trammell Quartet (with Voices of Lee)
  • "When the Prodigal Comes Home" - Tribute Quartet
  • "He Is" - Triumphant Quartet
  • "His Life for Mine" - The Talleys
  • "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" - Greater Vision with Mark Trammell