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!

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