Saturday, January 30, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - January 30

Here are a few news items from this week in gospel music -

  • Jon Epley has joined the LeFevre Quartet as bass singer leaving the Ball Brothers. Brandon Barry was the bass singer for the group.
  • Brian Free & Assurance is releasing its next album as a trio - Live Like We're Redeemed.
  • The Kingsmen Quartet are continuing their search for a tenor singer. Ernie Phillips has been filling in for the past few weeks. They posted on Facebook that if you or someone you know is interested to email
  • Daywind Records announced a talent contest with its 2nd Annual Daywind Quartet Festival. Daywind invites quartets to submit a video of an a cappella performance of a public domain song up to 2 minutes in length. The five quartet videos with the most Facebook likes will be invited to perform at the Daywind Quartet Festival in April. Attendees will vote on their favorite quartet, and the winner will a recording package from Daywind Studios. To enter, send your video to by February 5.  
  • Gold City is inviting fans to take the "Are You Ready" Challenge in memory of Doug Riley who passed away on Jan. 31, 2006. The group is asking fans to share the song with a friend and on their Facebook timelines. Find out more details on the group's Facebook page
Anything I've missed?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Brian Free and Assurance - Making of Live Like We're Redeemed

Happy Friday to everyone! Brian Free & Assurance is getting ready to release a new project "Live Like We're Redeemed" as a trio. As they went into the studio to record the album, they took a video camera with them. They have not only the new album but a new DVD to show the making of this project. The DVD features behind-the-scenes footage, interviews, stories about each song and more!

They posted the trailer for the new project on YouTube this week. Check it out here!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Daily Devotionals - The Nelons - Jason Clark #ThisDay

It's not uncommon for artists to share news, information and videos on Facebook. Social media has become such a great tool for artists in Southern Gospel. This year Jason Clark of the Nelons has started doing a daily video devotional on Facebook. Each morning the Nelons have shared the video on the group's Facebook page. It's such a great extension of their ministry and great to hear Jason teach and share his heart. It's called the #ThisDay devotional. Most of them are between five and 10 minutes. Be sure to start watching! Here's the video from today.

#ThisDay Video Devoby Jason ClarkRestless NightsDaniel 2:28"We grow best, not on mountain top of prosperity but in valley of problems"
Posted by The Nelons on Thursday, January 28, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Jon Epley Joins The LeFevre Quartet

The LeFevre Quartet welcomes Jon Epley as its new bass singer. Jon has sang with the Inspirations and most recently the Ball Brothers. He will replace Brandon Barry.

Here's a statement from Jon from the release -

Jon stated, “I am so excited to be joining The LeFevre Quartet. I have been a fan of Mike LeFevre for many years, and feel that joining the vocal lineup of Mike, Jordan and Jeremy can yield great things for the glory of the Lord. The guys and their families have welcomed my wife Tiffany and myself with open arms, and that means the world to us! Their heart for the Lord, ministry, and family is an inspiration. We are looking forward to what is in store, and are extremely grateful for this opportunity.”

Congratulation to Jon and the LeFevre Quartet. Look forward to seeing this new lineup!

Mark Bishop and Forget the Sea - CD Review

Mark Bishop and Forget the Sea made a big splash at the National Quartet Convention this year. Mark Bishop along with his daughters and band have released a new self-titled project Mark Bishop and Forget the Sea.

I’ve been a longtime fan of Mark Bishop’s songwriting. I like that Mark is now involving a new generation of Bishop singers with the addition of his daughters, but also he’s reaching a new audience. I was listening to the CD in my car last week and had a friend riding with me. She’s been drug to come with me to several concerts, but gospel music still isn't something she really listens to. However, she commented how much she really liked this as we were listening in the car.

The project starts with "You Love Me Anyway" which is one of my favorites from the album. This is first single off the project and does a good job setting the tone and musical style of the album.

"Baptize Me in the Rain" is another favorite that is probably the song that stuck out to me the most. Mark gets the feature with one of his daughters joining him on the chorus. This is fun song that really showcases Mark's voice.

Mark's daughter Courtney is featured on "Take to the Sky" and "You Are, You Are." She has a unique folk sounding voice. The girls sing together a bit on "You Are, You Are." They have a great sound together. It's a song that I really feel like can crossover well into other areas of Christian music. This is definitely a highlight of the project!

"I Will Sing" features his daughter Haley. This song has a modern, praise and worship feel to me. Both of his daughters definitely got the musical gene, and look forward to hearing more from them in the future!

"Pick Me Up and Carry Me" and "Sometimes God Whispers" sound more like what listeners are used from Mark Bishop. Both are songs you can't help but clap and tap your toes along with. "Sometimes God Whispers" is probably my favorite of the two. It's a great story song that reminds of how God is always near and we can see Him in little details of life.

"Everything I Give" has a more progressive sound to it. The song is a great reminder that everything we have came from God, we brought nothing into this world, and we should be willing to give it all to Him.

This album is very different stylistically from most other Southern Gospel albums, but don't let that be a reason that you don't give it a listen. Song styles really vary within the album so I'm sure you'll find something you like!

Song List -
1. "You Love Me Anyway"
2. "Baptize Me in the Rain"
3. "Take to the Sky"
4. "The Son Is Shining"
5. "I Will Sing"
6. "Pick Me Up and Carry Me"
7. "You Are, You Are"
8. "Tinderbox"
9. "Sometimes God Whispers"
10. "Everything I Give"
11. "Ordinary Average Autumn."

Saturday, January 23, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - January 23

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

  • Prayers requested for the Steele family. Both Jeff and Sherry Steele have lost their mothers recently.
  • Cana's Voice made it official this week. The trio of Doug Anderson, TaRanda Greene and Jody McBrayer that has been singing together announced its name of Cana's Voice. The group will start touring select dates and has been in the studio this week working on an upcoming album.
  • 2nd Generation announced a change this week. Brenda Denney, a founding member, was recently engaged and will be leaving the group to pursue ministry with her soon-to-be husband Jonathan Bond. The two will be married in June 2016. Elaine Robinson and Randy Barnes will be continuing as 2nd Generation. 
  • The Bledsoes also announced this week that soprano Melissa Cates will be leaving. She has been with the trio for nearly three years. She and her husband Sam will be moving to Tennessee to further Sam's business opportunities.
  • Josh Singletary and Gordon Mote were announced as the hosts for this year's Absolutely Gospel Music Awards. Read more here and find out who will be performing this year.  
  • A rebirth of the Statesmen Quartet was announced this week. Three of the men will be Hovie Walker, Deon Unthank (of and Wallace Nelms doing select dates throughout 2016. Find out more on this rebirth and information on their search for a lead singer.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Crabb Family Reunion

We are snow covered here in Arkansas this morning! And thankfully since no one (including me) in Arkansas knows how to drive well with snow and ice, everything shuts down. So I'm working from the comfort of home this morning.

For today's Fun Clip Friday, here's a clip from a recent Crabb Family Reunion concert that Global Promotions put on Facebook. I can't wait to see them again in Memphis in just a few weeks. Enjoy!

***GLOBAL PROMOTIONS COMEDY EXPLOSION*** Funny moment on stage last night by The Crabb Family at the "Revive Our Nation" concert followed by the family singing "Holding On."
Posted by Global Promotions on Saturday, January 16, 2016

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Singing of His Love - Jeff and Sheri Easter Concert Recap

Jeff and Sheri Easter are one of the first groups I started following in Southern Gospel. I loved listening to their music, but I'll never forget getting to see them live for the first time. They are one of those groups where you walk away from a concert knowing that what you see on stage is exactly what they are off stage. They let the love of Christ shine through in how they interact with each other on stage, the audience during the concert and fans at the table. I was reminded of just how great it is to see them live in a church setting last weekend.

They came to Rock City Harvest Church in Sherwood, Arkansas. I've been to this church several times for concerts with various groups including Jeff and Sheri. They know the Ward family from the church very well, and all are very talented. Jeff and Sheri made it a point to share the stage with different family members and showcase their own talents which I think is such a neat thing that they do.

Jeff and Sheri started the night with "Small Town Someone." I love their latest project Small Town, and it was good hearing so many of these songs live. And this one was one of my favorites! Then they sang "Over and Over," with Jeff on the first verse and Morgan on the second. Morgan was featured on another new one "Someone's Listening" next. I love how Morgan has grown into her role with them and become such a great vocalist. I was with a friend who is a little hard to impress, I'll just say. :) I've only heard her compliment two singers; Morgan Easter is one of them. Next they sang "Sitting on Top of the World," which is my favorite recent Jeff and Sheri love song.

They introduced the band members next. Jared Easter is now playing with the group. I think he played about four different instruments that night, incredibly talented. And they have a young drummer, Joshua Phillips, who Jeff likes to pick on about his hair! :)

Jeff decided to demonstrate what the steel guitar sounded like that Jared had been playing and where people might have heard it from. Jared started the intro of "He Stopped Loving Her Today." They played and Jeff sang just a little bit of it, but the people wanted just a bit more. The pastor and his son, Arthur and Chopper Ward, even joined in a bit!

After some fun with that, they played a medley of different songs to showcase the live band - "Amazing Grace," "The Lighthouse" and "I'll Fly Away."

Sheri gave a bit of her testimony. She talked about how life happens to everyone. She lost her father at the age of 20, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer seven years ago. She talked about how blessed she was to only have a few of those really tough times of life. She said that the important part was to keep your level of gratitude high no matter what you may be going through or how long your list of wants is. She read an excerpt from her devotional book talking about love. It was an incredible reminder of how powerful God's love is for us and how we have issues understanding this perfect love. We are engraved on the palm of His hand. This set up perfectly "Jesus Loves You." I absolutely love this song! She stopped for a moment to speak after the song. Sheri has such a way of connecting with and encouraging the audience. What she said was to good to paraphrase, so here it is in Sheri's words -

"We've been singing since we were 2 or 3 years old, 'Jesus Loves Me, this I know.' We sang it with affirmation because we believed it. Somewhere along the road of anger, bitterness, betrayal, loss, busyness, even celebrations we can sometimes forget that we are very valuable, that we are loved deeply by the Creator of the universe. We forget. It's nice to be reminded from time to time because I truly think if we could all understand and recognize the value that we hold, I think we'd be a lot kinder to each other....Somewhere along the way people forget that they are loved. All we can do is keep showing people that they are loved." They then sang the chorus again. What an incredible moment!!

Jeff then talked about his dad and sang with him via video screen. He talked about how blessed he was to still have his dad and how much he cherished that video of them singing together. It was so sweet to see the musical heritage and for him to pay tribute to his dad.

After a short break and hearing from a few members in the church, Jeff and Sheri took the stage again. They invited a few members of the Ward family to join them. Chopper Ward sang before the second half and even has been featured on TBN. His son Judah played the drums for them on one song, and one of his daughters Sydney sang "I Need You More Today." Their oldest daughter Katlynn also sang "Victory in Jesus" with them at the end. And their youngest Zoe came and sang "Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart." I think it's sweet how Jeff and Sheri are always willing to share the stage.

The second half was all requests with songs like "I Just Came to Talk to You Lord," "Thread of Hope," "Handful of Weeds" and "Living in the Rain." I'm not the one who requested "Thread of Hope," but I'm very thankful for whoever did! That's probably my favorite song they sing, love hearing Sheri sing it live! Morgan was featured on "Handful of Weeds." They also had a request for "Going Away Party," which Chopper sang the first verse on.

They ended the night with "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me" and then "More Than Enough" to end the service with one of their fast tempo new songs!

It was an incredible concert. It was such an encouragement for believers and a powerful reminder of God's love for us through music, testimonies and demonstrated through the artists themselves.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

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

Here are some news and tidbits from this week in gospel music -
  • Richard Hyssong of The Hyssong’s has joined the Southern Gospel Music Association Board of Directors.
  • Daywind Music Publishing Group has added Brandon Sharp to its staff of songwriters.
  • Chapel Valley welcomed Ann Downing and 4 One Quartet to its family of artists.
  • Allison Durham Speer signed a booking agreement with the Adoration Agency.
Did I miss anything?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Bass vs. Tenor Challenge

Matthew Fouch and Chris Allman are back at the Bass vs. Tenor challenge. This time it's the Double Windsor Tie Challenge. See what happens for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

That Day Is Coming - The Collingsworth Family - CD Review

Collingsworth FamilyThe Collingsworth Family has become of the top mixed groups in the industry. This family is well-known for its incredible harmonies. The group released That Day Is Coming late last year. This project has to be the best the family has released to date.

The project features the now adult siblings along with their parents. As the kids have matured, their voices and the blends they all have together are amazing. Fans of the family will find the orchestrated songs that they have come to love from this group!

The writing on this project is amazing. And I have to say that fellow Arkansan Rachel McCutcheon has eight cuts on the project.

The title track features the ensemble really nicely. It's exactly the type of song and style you've come to love from the Collingsworth Family. "Saints Love to Sing About Heaven" is one of the highlights of the project that also features the family blend nicely on the chorus.

"He Will Abide" is definitely a personal favorite. Courtney is featured on this song. Unlike most of the other songs, the track is simple without a lot of orchestration, which is a nice change of pace. Courtney's voice just shines through on the track. The message of this song is timeless and one that we always need to be reminded of. Courtney also does an incredible job on "Gotta Get to Jesus." I love the blend of the all female voices on the chorus. Absolutely beautiful!

Brooklyn is featured on my next favorite from this project. I remember hearing them sing "You're About to Climb" on the NQC webcast. I feel like this is going to be a big song for Brooklyn. The song has a really nice build. Brooklyn does an incredible job on this song! She's also featured on the verses of "Saints Love to Sing About Heaven."

I was so impressed with Olivia on this album. She has really come into her own. She's featured on "I Love Living in Love With Jesus." This mid-tempo song really showcases her voice and is probably her best work to date. She also takes the lead on a recut of the Martins' "Wherever You Are."

"That's What the Bible Says" features Phillip Jr. He does a really nice job on the uptempo songs. I can see this being a great one to see live! He and his wife Sharlenae have a duet with "Redeemer of the Rain," the final cut of the project. This is a beautiful song, and I love the way they sound together!

I can't leave out the matriarch and patriarch of the family. Phil is featured on a recut of the Talley's song "There's Still Power in the Blood." This is a fun uptempo song. Kim has the lead on the ballad "When He Carries Me Away." It's a beautiful reminder of the promise that we have in Heaven.

This is probably the best Collingsworth Family project to date. Each family member alone is great, but magic happens when their voices all come together. You can't beat great family harmonies, and this album is full of them!

Song List -
1. "Awesome, Magnificent"
2. "I Love Living in Love With Jesus"
3. "That Day Is Coming"
4. "He Will Abide"
5. "Ever Faithful"
6. "There's Still Power in the Blood"
7. "Wherever You Are"
8. "You're About to Climb"
9. "What the Bible Says"
10. "Gotta Get to Jesus"
11. "Saints Love to Sing About Heaven"
12. "When He Carries Me Away"
13. "Redeemer of the Rain"

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

First Concert of 2016 - Tribute Quartet Concert Recap

Tribute Quartet
My first concert of 2016 was with Tribute Quartet last week! It's always good to see those guys. I really think they are one of the more underrated quartets in the industry.

I was a little disappointed to hear that tenor Riley Harrison Clark wasn't with them. Riley had gallbladder surgery last week and was recovering at home. You never really know what to expect with a fill-in, but I have to say they had a fantastic fill-in tenor with Anthony Facello formerly with Beyond the Ashes. I got to hear Beyond the Ashes only once live, so it was a treat to hear Anthony sing live again.

They started the night with "Stepping on the Clouds" and then sang "I Could Sing About Heaven," featuring Anthony Davis. The group then sang a newer song "Everybody Needs Jesus." Josh sings the verses on this song and it suits him so well. Then pulled out the Goodman song "I'm Living in Canaan Now." I don't ever remember hearing them sing this live before, but glad they chose to stage it that night! The song got a big response from the audience. 

Gary Casto made the intros and let everyone know where Riley was. After the intros, they sang "I Remember the Day." The audience could not get enough of this song and the group did several encores. Josh then was featured on the piano. Their cruise song "Those Who Know Me Know" was next. This song is fun to see live. 

Gary talked about how they enjoyed the old songs of the church. He talked about how they aren't good because they are old, but a good song will last. The hymns are important because they convict the lost and encourage the saints. 

Then, Gary called Anthony Facello up to sing. He asked him to sing "Oh What a Savior." And, wow, what a moment! He knocked it out of the park!

They ended the first half with "Good News for Jerusalem." This has been such a great song for this quartet and when you see and hear them sing it live, it's evident why.

During the intermission, the pastor talked about both "Living in Canaan Now" and "Oh What a Savior" and wanting to hear them again. He said or just do one of them again, but he bragged on how good those songs were. Well, he and the rest of the crowd got to hear both of them again!

They started the second half with "I'm Been Blessed." It's good to hear them stage this one again. Gary started setting up the next song and called Anthony to set up forgetting there were two this weekend. They just looked at each other and asked "Which Anthony?" It was Anthony Davis. After the death of a close friend and promoter, Anthony was asked to sing "Leaving on My Mind" for his memorial just one day after the death. He was able to learn it quickly just for that occasion, but it's since become one of his signature songs. He even got to sing also in a Rusty Goodman tribute on TBN. He does such an incredible job on this song!

Gary led the congregation in a time of worship with "Take Your Burden to the Lord and Leave It There" and the chorus of "Because He Lives." There was just a sweet spirit of worship that night.

After the invitation and altar call, Gary said he just wasn't ready for the night to end. They sang a few more songs including all of "Because He Lives" and "I'm So Glad Jesus Lifted Me." I love how Gary followed the lead of the Holy Spirit because you could definitely sense His presence in the room that night.

Tribute wasn't the same without having Riley there, but if you have to see the group with a fill-in, this was definitely the right one. Anthony Facello came in and did an incredible job with the guys!

I would definitely say that Tribute was a great group to kick off 2016 concerts for me. Make sure you go see them when they are in your area!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - January 9

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

  • The Absolutely Gospel Music Awards were announced this week. The Jim Brady Trio received the most nominations this year. See the full list on
  • Brian Free & Assurance announced its first ever fan retreat coming up in October. See more details here.
  • Check out the latest episode of On the Couch with Fouch featuring Blake Buffin, tenor singer for the Mark Trammell Quartet.
  • Highroad's Sarah Davidson has announced new members. The new members, Kinsey Kapfhammer and Kristen Bearfield, have extensive resumes in music already and the three have been writing for a new project as well as touring across the country. Kinsey will be a vocalist and playing acoustic guitar while Kristen will sing and play mandolin, banjo, and guitar. Sarah will continue her role as keyboard player and vocalist. 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Facebook Live

If you haven't seen Facebook has rolled out a new feature called "Facebook Live." In order to compete with Periscope, Facebook allows verified pages to stream videos live that are then saved to their Facebook pages.

Some of your favorite gospel artists have picked up on this new feature and have shared videos. So for today's Fun Clip Friday post, check out a few recent videos from the Nelons, Jeff and Sheri Easter and the Perrys. You can subscribe to them on Facebook to receive notifications when they start broadcasting! Enjoy!

Finally on the way home!
Posted by The Nelons on Sunday, January 3, 2016

On the Bus......
Posted by The Perrys on Thursday, January 7, 2016

Enjoying new baby
Posted by Jeff & Sheri Easter on Sunday, January 3, 2016

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Brian Free & Assurance Announce Fan Retreat

Brian Free & Assurance announced today that the group will host its very first fan retreat in more than 20 years of ministry. The retreat will be held this fall at Lifeway's Ridgecrest Conference Center. This event will offer fans a unique chance to interact with the group and each other. Read the full release about the event below!

DOUGLASVILLE, GA, January 5, 2016 – Dove Award Winning artist Brian Free & Assurance (BFA) will host their very first Unashamed Fan Retreat to be held October 14-16, 2016. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina at LifeWay’s Ridgecrest Conference Center, BFA will spend three days with a limited number of fans providing an exclusive weekend with the group.

The campus at Ridgecrest encompasses 1,300 acres and is conveniently located just east of Asheville, North Carolina, less than a day’s drive from over 15 states. Ridgecrest Account Manager Annette Frisby states, "Ridgecrest is delighted to have Brian Free & Assurance as part of our fall calendar! They will bring an excitement to this Spirit-filled place in the Blue Ridge mountains!"

Unlike a homecoming or three day event with multiple artists, the Unashamed Fan Retreat will solely feature Brian Free and Assurance with unique day and night time activities. A special feature during concert times will be a live band, with Brian’s oldest son, Ricky, playing drums. Brian shares, “When we were planning this retreat, we didn’t want an event that people would come to and just be sung at – yes, we are going to sing – but more importantly, we want to interact and spend time with our fans.”

VIP Packages go on sale today. For information about price, location and activities during the fan retreat visit the website at: Reservations can be made Monday through Friday from 9:00 am – 4:00 PM EST by calling Ridgecrest directly at 1-800-588-7222.

About Brian Free & Assurance: Brian Free and Assurance has been traveling full time in Gospel Music for over 22 years and are the recipients of multiple Dove Awards; most recently, Southern Gospel Performance of the Year for “Say Amen” in 2014. The group was chosen by BBC to represent Elvis Presley’s love of Gospel Music on That’s Alright Mama, a Tribute to Elvis Presley. They have made a number of notable television appearances, including TBN, Gospel Music Channel, Prime Time Country (TNN), The “Today Show” (NBC), and 27 of the “Gaither Video” series. With 34 years of experience, Brian Free is the genre’s most awarded tenor. To learn more about Brian Free & Assurance visit their website:

Monday, January 4, 2016

Celebrating Four Years

This month officially marks four years of this blog. Thank you all who have gone on this journey with me. I honestly had no idea what would happen, how long or what to expect when I started this four years ago. It's definitely surpassed anything I thought. Thank you for allowing me this outlet to share with you the music I love but also share a few personal experiences. I'm so thankful for everyone who I've gotten to know through the blog. Thank you all for reading.

So just a few things looking back on the last year and top posts since the blog was started -

2015 Top Posts

All Time Top Posts
Thank you all for reading seriously. I had no idea if anyone would read or care when I first started this. I appreciate all the sweet comments and messages. Thanks for reading and looking forward to another great year of blogging!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - Jan. 2

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

  • Congratulations to Madison and Shannon Easter who welcomed a baby boy on Thursday, Dec. 31. Miles Lewis Easter was 8 lbs. 2 oz and 21 inches long. Congratulations also to grandparents Jeff and Sheri Easter!
  • Greater Vision celebrated its 25th anniversary on Dec. 31 with a concert at First Baptist Church in Morristown, Tennessee. The concert was with the Mark Trammell Quartet and the 2nd Half Quartet.
  • Karen Peck and New River also celebrated 25 years of ministry this week.
  • Prayers requested for the family of Gail Shelby of Eternal Vision who passed away yesterday. She suffered from respiratory disease for several years. 
Anything I've missed?