Saturday, April 30, 2016

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

Here are some news and tidbit items from this week -

  • Chip Pullen, lead singer for Gold City, announced his resignation over Facebook Live on Thursday night. He has been attending Bible school and been called to preach, so he plans to devote more time to that coming off the road. "We love Chip, and we hate to see him go, but we certainly understand that God has a great plan for his life in the ministry. Chip is like a brother to us, so we are certainly going to miss him and his powerful voice in the lead position," Daniel Riley said. If you are interested in auditioning for the lead position, you can email with a resume, photo and demo.
  • Tim Lovelace was given the keys to the city of Orleans, Indiana last week. He was honored at the Orleans Dogwood Festival.
  • Ernie Haase was recently recognized as a Legend by Castle High School in Newburgh, Indiana. He has been faithful to return to his high school to mentor youth and included some of the high school students in various Ernie Haase and Signature Sound productions. 
  • Please remember the family of Jack Henderson in your prayers. He was the original tenor singer for the Kingsmen. He passed away on April 16.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Mark Lowry and Bill Gaither

Happy Friday to everyone. For today's Fun Clip Friday, check out this recent video from Mark Lowry. He spent a few days with Bill and Gloria Gaither and this is what happened during one of their drives. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hope and Healing - The Taylors - CD Review

The Taylors released their sophomore project Hope and Healing with StowTown records just a few weeks ago. This is the group's first recording as a trio with the departure of Leslie Taylor Perkins. Even though the group goes from quartet to trio, they stay true to their style. They take on a few more progressive numbers, but overall it's the same sound fans have come to love.

To me, this family is one of the most underrated in Southern Gospel. They have some of the purest voices in gospel music.

This project also has a "who's who" of Southern Gospel writers. They got the best of the best with Marcia Henry, Sue C. Smith, Kenna West, Joel Lindsey, Wayne Haun, Tony Wood, Joseph Habedank, just to name a few. Hope and Healing has 13 songs, so listeners are treated to a few extra tracks than normal. The song choice for the project is just incredible!

The album starts off with "He Won't Fail You" which definitely has a different sound than the rest of the project. This is a more country sound than what we are used to with the Taylors, something you would be used to hearing from labelmates the Browns. That being said, it works for them! I like that it's different from anything else making it stand out. I think this is also their first single.

Chris Taylor is featured on "Somebody's Praying." His move from bass to baritone with the trio really allows him to be showcased more. I love the message of this song. It really speaks to feeling the power of prayer when we need it.

Suzanne Taylor Hise takes the lead on "For What I Don't Know." This is probably my favorite song on the project. For what we don't we can trust Him; he understands what we don't know. Suzanne's delivery of this song is spot on. She also is featured on "That's What the Cross Is For." I love these type of story songs, definitely another highlight of the project.

"Between Here and Heaven" picks up the tempo with a more progressive sound. Jonathan Taylor takes the lead on this song. "Right Now" is another song that has a more progressive flair. I like their sound on these songs and it's good to mix it up some with all the great ballads they have on this album.

Jonanthan and Suzanne share the verses on "Call Out My Name." This is a more contemporary sounding song. It's a great encouragement for believers.

Jonathan shines on "The Day I Lay My Isaac Down." This story is familiar, but I love their take on this song and message.

"I Hope He Smiles" features the duo of Chris and Suzanne. This is the perfect closer, and one of my favorites on the project. The song is a sweet prayer of wanting the Lord to be pleased with our lives that they would bring Him glory.

Don't miss this project from the Taylors! It's a must-buy album this year!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

When Lyrics Speak - More and More of You

Sunday night my church had an incredible time of worship with our choir and orchestra. We had been preparing to just have a sweet time of worship as a body. We spent hours rehearsing special music and preparing our hearts, and the night was just amazing, one of those nights that will stick out in your mind.

There was one song that struck me every time we sang it. Those lyrics that just reach out and grab you. It doesn't matter how many times you might have heard the song, they speak and convict each time.

One of the songs we sang that night was "More and More of You" made popular by Selah. The song has the line, "Forgive us of seeking Your hand and not Your face." Every time this lyric gripped me. How many times do my prayers sound like a wish list? How much time do I talk to God and just lay out all my requests before Him? How many times do I get frustrated when I don't get what I want from God or He doesn't answer in a time I want Him to? Am I really seeking God or just what He can give me?

These thoughts and questions have been following me all this week. I can't get this lyric off my heart. What can I do to just seek Him and not His blessings? How do my prayers need to change? God, forgive me for wanting what You have to give me more than wanting You.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

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

Here are news items from this week in gospel music -

  • Prayers for the Riley Family (Gold City) with the loss of Barbara Riley, wife of Tim Riley, unexpectedly on Tuesday. Along with Tim, keep children Danny and Amy in your prayers. Services were held this morning in Glencoe, Alabama.
  • Chris West, also of Gold City, lost a parent this week. His father, Sammy, died on Friday of cancer. His service will be held tomorrow in Nauvoo, Alabama. Please remember all of his family in your prayers as well. 
  • Congratulations to Jon Charles Taggart of Spoken 4 Quartet. He and his wife Amanda welcomed baby boy Charlie on April 20.
  • The second round of voting is now open in the Singing News Fan Awards. Voting is open for all subscribers. Vote online here
Anything I've missed?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Greater Vision with Eli

Happy Friday to everyone! It's been one of those weeks where I'm glad it's Friday.

As busy of a week as I've had at work, I'm a little jealous of all those at Singing in the Sun in Myrtle Beach, SC this week. It looks like it's been a great event this year as usual. This is one of those events that is on my bucket list to attend one day.

Here's a great clip from last night when Greater Vision had a special guest, a 12-year-old boy named Eli, join them for "I Know a Man Who Can." Watch and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Worshipping with Karen Peck & New River - Concert Recap

From the first notes of "Through It All," I knew this was going to be a good night. Kristi Michelle opened the night with a few songs, and you could already tell the Spirit of God was in that place.

Karen Peck and New River come to Batesville, Arkansas each year for a concert with Friendship Outreach and WARP 180. This ministry helps women who are struggling with addiction of any kind. They offer residential care at no cost with Christ-centered teaching. Many graduates of the program were in attendance that night. Doc Spurlin and his wife Connie operate the ministry. They travelled and sang for several years before starting the ministry in Batesville (and they also sang some before New River took the stage). They have 100 percent success rate, which is just incredible.

I had been to this annual concert once before, and it has been one of those that has stood out in my mind. This night will too.

Karen Peck & New River - Kari Gooch, Ricky Braddy, Karen Peck Gooch
and Susan Peck Jackson (Matthew Gooch not pictured)
Karen Peck and New River opened the night with "I Wanna Know How It Feels" with Karen on the first verse and Ricky on the second. I saw him first with the group before it was official this fall. He is sounding incredible with them! They sang "On the Banks of the Promised Land" next and after it was over repeated the chorus a cappella. Love the blend they all have together!

Susan then stepped up to sing "Sustaining Grace." This is one of my favorites that she sings. Susan told a story that happened to her just a few weeks ago. She looked out her window and saw a lady sitting at the end of her driveway with several trash bags and her dog. Susan said it was extremely unusual because you don't just happen to go by her house. They live out in the country with not a lot of traffic. She and her husband, David, went out and talked to the lady and she had been staying with someone a little farther up the road. The lady was on drugs and had been kicked out of the house. They prayed with the lady and helped her get to the next place. Susan said the lady was a Christian and she told them this wasn't what she wanted to do. She encouraged the audience that night that there's always hope in Jesus, He loves us all no matter what we have done. Susan then led the congregation in "Jesus Loves Me."

Karen then sang "I Am Blessed." This is becoming a KPNR favorite of mine! Kari has been singing with the group more on stage, but that night was the first night I got to hear her sing solo. She sang the song from their latest project, "A Life That's Good." She's definitely got her mama's musical abilities; she sounded great! Karen said that she is definitely the shy one in the family, so it took a lot for her to step up. I'm glad she did!

Karen talked about their year last year and the journey they had been through. Rickey, her husband, is now cancer free. Last year was the hardest year of their lives, but she praised God for being faithful to their family. The song "Pray Now" was their theme song last year, so they sang that next.

Karen introduced all the members of the group next. She introduce Ricky Braddy last and set him up to sing "Were You There." He sounds amazing on this song!

They picked up the tempo next with "Revival" and "We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown." They then led the audience in "The Old Rugged Cross" and ended the first half with "Four Days Late." This might be my favorite gospel song ever. It never gets old, and Karen always nails it!

After a brief intermission, Karen, Susan, Ricky and Matthew took the stage again. Karen introduced a friend they had made. She called Landon up to the stage and asked him to tell everyone his name, how old he was and where he was from. I think he was about 8, such a cute kid. Then she asked him to tell everyone who his favorite gospel music group is. Without missing a beat, he responded, "Mark Trammell." Everyone, including Karen, couldn't help but laugh. She said, "Well, he's favorite too." He sang "Ephesians Chapter 1" with them, and the kid didn't miss a beat. He knew every word to that song! After it was over, she said, "I know Mark is your favorite, but who's your second favorite." The little boy paused for a minute, and you could tell he was really thinking. Karen stopped him and said, "That's ok, don't worry about answering that!" Haha!

Ricky was featured on "The Truth Is" next. I wasn't as familiar with this older Karen Peck and New River song, but I'm glad they started staging it again with Ricky. They sang "Hold Me While I Cry" and "Everybody's Going Through Something" before leading the invitation.

They finished the night with "I'll Fly Away" and "Finish Well." "Finish Well" is always such a powerful song! Perfect way to close an incredible night of worship!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - April 16

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

  • Congratulations to Riley Harrison and Megan Clark on their newest addition to their family. Big brother Colbin welcomed sister Charlee Rae on April 14. She was 7 lbs., 9 oz. and 20.5 inches long. She was born via emergency c-section, but both mother and baby are doing better.
  • Daywind Music Group announced the addition of Daywind Roots to its family of award-winning music labels. Daywind Roots strives to fill a void left in Christian music. The rich, classic sounds of Christian, country and gospel artists will be the foundation of this label; providing these timeless artists with a home to create new, quality music to be heard by fans around the world The first project on Daywind Roots comes from the GRAMMY Award winning country group, Shenandoah. 
  • The Absolutely Gospel Music Awards were held this week. Check out the full list of winners.
  • Gospel music songwriter Tina Sadler-Stark passed away this week after a battle with an aggressive form of cancer. She is known for "God Is Good All The Time" (Gaither Vocal Band), "Meanwhile In The Garden" (Tony Gore & Majesty), and "Something In The Upper Room" (The Wilburns). Services were held this week in Poplar Bluff, Missouri.
  • Pat Barker announced the start of PB&J Productions. This will include promoting, broadcasting with webcasts and an internet music school. Check out his full video announcement -
  • The Talleys debuted their new concept video "The People in the Line" at the Absolutely Gospel Music Awards on Tuesday. The video stars Lauren Talley and Jedda Meyers. Watch it below -

Anything I've missed?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

2016 Absolutely Gospel Music Award Winners

The 2016 Absolutely Gospel Music Awards were held on Tuesday night. This is one of the only years they have offered live streaming that I wasn't able to tune in. I'm hoping it will be made available later to watch!

Karen Peck & New River was one of the big winners of the night taking home both the Song and Album of the Year awards. The Jim Brady Trio was also a big winner with the Breakthrough Artist, Traditional Song and Jim individually for songwriter. Michael English picked up both Fan Favorite and Male Vocalist.

I was glad to see the Williamsons receive an award for "Shout." That song has been such a big hit for them! It was also good to see 11th Hour pick up the group's first win for "Jesus Is in the House."

To me one of the best songs of the year was "Jesus Loves You." I was definitely glad that song was recognized. After All This Time has become probably my favorite Talleys' recording so I was glad to see it win as well.

I think this was Amber Nelon Thompson's second time to win Female Vocalist, so deserving! And Kelly Nelon Clark, her mom, was awarded the Susan Unthank Memorial Award.

Here is a list of all the winners -

Song of the Year: “Pray Now” – Karen Peck & New River (written by Dave Clark, Michael Farren, and Karen Peck Gooch)

Album of the Year: Pray Now – Karen Peck & New River (produced by Wayne Haun)

Pacesetter: Heritage of Gold Reunion Tour (featuring Gold City, Jay Parrack & Vocal Event, LeFevre Quartet, Steve Ladd, and Wilburn & Wilburn)

Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Jim Brady Trio

Male Vocalist of the Year: Michael English

Female Vocalist of the Year: Amber Nelon Thompson (The Nelons)

Male Group of the Year: Booth Brothers

Female Group of the Year: Sisters

Mixed Group of the Year: Karen Peck & New River

Songwriter of the Year (Artist): Jim Brady (Jim Brady Trio)

Songwriter of the Year (Professional): Kenna West

Producer of the Year (Artist): Ben Isaacs (The Isaacs)

Producer of the Year (Professional): Wayne Haun

Engineer of the Year: Kevin Ward

Musician of the Year: Gordon Mote

Traditional Song of the Year: (a tie) “Shout” – The Williamsons (written by Lee Black and Gina Boe) and “Steppin’ Out In Faith” – Jim Brady Trio (written by Jim Brady and Melissa Brady)

Traditional Recording of the Year: Songs In the Key of Happy – Goodman Revival (produced by Johnny Minick and Michael Sykes)

Progressive Song of the Year: “Jesus Is In the House” – 11th Hour (written by Karen Gillespie and Rachel McCutcheon)

Progressive Recording of the Year: After All This Time – The Talleys (produced by Lauren Talley and Roger Talley)

Country Song of the Year: “Jesus Loves You” – Jeff & Sheri Easter (written by Sheri Easter and Kenna West)

Country Recording of the Year: Shoulders – Wilburn & Wilburn (produced by Ben Isaacs, Jonathan Wilburn, and Jordan Wilburn)

Special Event Project of the Year: Live at Daywind Studios – Tribute (produced by Scott Godsey)

Music Video of the Year: “Waiting For You to Get Home” – The Browders (directed by Patrick Tohill)

Fan Favorite Artist of the Year: Michael English

Susan Unthank Memorial Award: Kelly Nelon Clark

Monday, April 11, 2016

First Time as a Trio - Brian Free & Assurance - Concert Recap

Brian Free & Assurance has been traveling as a trio since last fall, but I hadn't been able to see them live since then. With the departure of Jeremy Lile, Brian Free, Bill Shivers and Mike Rogers decided to press on as a trio. And with the release of their latest project, Live Like We're Redeemed, I knew there would be plenty to look forward to! And the night did not disappoint!

The concert started with "What a Beautiful Day" and then they went into the familiar hymn "When We All Get to Heaven." It's good to hear the mix of older and newer songs.

The next song was the first one from their new project and it was the title song, "Live Like We're Redeemed." Mike does a fantastic job on this song! 

The group picked up the tempo a bit with "I Keep Looking Up." The crowd stood on its feet for the whole song. I have to say of all the concerts I attend, I was really impressed with the energy of the crowd that night. You could tell they were enjoying every note!

After the introductions, Mike was featured on "Tell It Like It Was." It was good to hear more from him this time. Then, Brian sang their new single "That's What Grace Does." I love this song. I cannot say enough about how great this song is! Brian such an incredible job on it. It was definitely a highlight of the night!

They then picked up the tempo with "Anything Is Possible." It's good to still here this one in a live concert setting, great song from their Never Walk Alone CD. 

Brian then told the story of how they were invited to be a part of the Elvis tribute that BBC did a couple of years ago. They were the only Christian artist there and got to be a witness that day. They sang the song they did that day "Peace in the Valley," which Bill sings. I love hearing Bill sing this song! 

They ended the first half with "Say Amen." This song is always great to hear live and watch the audience get into it. Again, Bill is such a great lead singer, one of the most underrated in the business. 

After a brief intermission, they group came back and sang "I Want to Be That Man." This is still one of my favorite Brian Free & Assurance songs. They sang "Praying Man" and then "Oh What a Savior" before the invitation. Brian always knocks it out of the park. 

The group came back and ended with "Long As I Got King Jesus." Always a fun one and the audience loved it!

This group hasn't missed a beat since they started traveling as a trio! Make sure you see them next time they are in your area!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

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

Here are some news items from this week in Southern Gospel music -
  • Melissa Brady's mother passed away on Monday. Please be in prayer for her family. The funeral was held in Ohio.
  • The Troy Burns family has welcomed Shane Mathis to the group. He is from Gainesville, Georgia.
  • Check out the newest On the Couch with Fouch interview with Cana's Voice here. 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, April 8, 2016

Second Half Quartet - Fun Clip Friday

The Second Half Quartet has been making the rounds lately. They had their first full concert last week in Oxford, Alabama. This week the group was in Osage Beach, Missouri. The group consists of Gerald Wolfe, Chris Allman, Mark Trammell, Rodney Griffin and Pat Barker.

I'm not sure how many more appearances they will make this year, but be sure to check them out if you can. I got to see them last year at the Memphis Quartet, which I know will be one of their future stops.

In the meantime, enjoy this clip below from their concert in Oxford last week for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Live Like We're Redeemed - Brian Free & Assurance - CD Review

When Jeremy Lile came off the road late last year, Brian Free & Assurance decided to continue on as a trio for the time being. I actually had chance to see the group as a trio live for the first time last week. I think they are sounding great, and I can definitely see pressing on as a trio if you can't find the right person to fit the group.

Live Like We're Redeemed is the latest release from the now trio of Brian Free, Bill Shivers and Mike Rogers. Brian Free & Assurance have a unique style in gospel music, more on the progressive side. They are also known in the industry for picking great songs. And while the group has changed, it's still full of that great sound and style fans love and contains some amazing songs.

The project starts with "Somebody's Miracle" featuring Bill. It's a great uptempo opener. This is a definite highlight of the project. It's a great encouragement to believers to help others and be the miracle they need.

"That's Just What Grace Does" is probably my favorite on this CD! I got to hear the song live last week, and I was so thankful that's one of the new songs they sang. Brian sings this one and delivers the lyrics so tenderly. It's a beautiful message about grace.

The trio pulls into the Contemporary Christian catalog a bit with "The Measure of a Man," which 4Him recorded a couple of decades ago. I like this choice to pull this song, and it fits the group well. The arrangement doesn't stray far from 4Him's version.

"Live Like We're Redeemed" features Mike. This a great feature for him. It's good to hear more from him on this project. This was another I got to hear live.

Bill is featured on "Forever Home" that tells the story of a man who has made his way to Heaven. He does a great job of telling that story with his voice. I couldn't help but cry and think of my sweet Grandaddy who passed away last year as I listened to it. Beautiful song.

"He Will Carry You" is a great song that features Brian. It's a great song and encouragement for believers who are facing problems that no matter what He'll carry us; we are never alone.

"Mission of Mercy" starts with Mike and then switches to Bill mid-first verse. I like this little change. With the second Mike starts and then Bill joins him for a couple of lines. Bill takes the chorus. I like the switch-offs in this song!

The album closes with "One Mile World" featuring Brian. I like the concept of this song, we live in a one mile world where no one is willing to go the second mile. How often do we take the time to go beyond what is expected for others?

Fans of Brian Free and Assurance won't be disappointed in this project. It's the same sound fans have come to love from them!

Song List -
1. "Somebody's Miracle"
2. "That's Just What Grace Does"
3. "The Measure of a Man"
4. "Live Like We're Redeemed"
5. "He Will Carry You"
6. "Mission of Mercy"
7. "When Mercy Looks at Me"
8. "Forever Home"
9. "You Could Be the Difference"
10. "One Mile World"

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Light - Barry Rowland and Deliverance - CD Review

I've gotten a bit behind recently on CD reviews, so this week might be full of them! I'm starting this week with the most recent release from Barry Rowland and Deliverance.

Barry Rowland and Deliverance released The Light just a few weeks ago. The trio consists of Barry Rowland, Tammy Rowland and Shawn Rupert. This group was nominated for favorite new trio the past two years. They have a very pure, country gospel sound. With Barry Rowland being Kyla Rowland's son, it's no surprise that she wrote eight of the 10 songs. You can definitely tell her influence on the songs.

The CD starts with "God Delivered Me," which is great opener. Shawn is featured on this one. To me, this is a definite highlight of the project. The title track is another great feature for Shawn.

A couple of the songs on the project focus on the resurrection. Tammy is featured on "Looking at a Risen Lamb." She has a great country sound with her voice. "That Tomb Is Still Empty" features the blend of the group and then gives each member a few step out lines.

Barry steps up to sing "God's Word Will Stand." The song is a powerful reminder that no matter what God's Word will stand. It's a timely message that in today's world we definitely need.

"He's Still on the Throne" is the same song that Gold City recorded many years ago. It's good to hear the trio bring back this song. And it's a nice change of pace in the project to bring up the tempo a bit.

"Holy, Glory to the Lamb" has a strong country feel. The song talks about Heaven and what we'll be singing there. The project ends with another Heaven song, "Marching in Victory."

Song List -
1. "God Delivered Me"
2. "Looking at a Risen Lamb"
3. "The Light"
4. "That Tomb Is Still Empty"
5. "God's Word Will Stand"
6. "So, I'll Tell Jesus"
7. "He's Still on the Throne"
8. "God Understands"
9. "Holy, Glory to the Lamb"
10. "Marching in Victory"

Saturday, April 2, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - April 2

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

  • Update on Chris White of Crossroards Music - He is home starting his recuperation process. “I just want to thank the thousands that stood by me and Kim in this very difficult time! When a trauma team of 8 doctors looked at Kim and said 'we don’t know what to do next,' …..God’s people said 'We Do!!' I’m here today because of those prayers," he said. "It has made me want to be a new kind of prayer warrior for those truly in need. When there is a moment available, continue to lift me up through the recovery process. Thanks again to everyone," he said.
  • The 2016 Jackie Wilburn Memorial Spring Sing will be April 29 - May 1. The talent line up will be the Inspirations, the McKameys and the Primitive Quartet. The event is held each year in Carthage Tennessee at the Smith County AG Center. 
  • The Guardians, and best-selling author and speaker, Dr. Stan Toler, have announced a Revive America tour “to encourage Christians to realize the need for local and national revival.” Each Revive America event will feature The Guardians and Stan Toler, with guest appearances at several dates by The Toler Brothers, a Southern Gospel quartet that includes Dr. Toler and his brother, platinum-award winning songwriter, Terry Toler.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, April 1, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Scott Fowler with Ernie Haase and Signature Sound

Change is inevitable in Southern Gospel groups, and sometimes you see people move from one group to another. It looks like the last time Ernie Haase and Signature Sound had an opening, Scott Fowler tried out. I think he nailed the vocals, but there were some choreography issues, which is why he didn't get the job. Take a look at his tryout video below -

Happy April Fool's Day! Scott Fowler has never tried out for Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. He filled in one night during a Cathedrals Family Reunion Event after the birth of Dustin Doyle's child.