Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Signature Songs - Susan Whisnant

I started this new poll series a couple of weeks ago, and today we're continuing it.

This week we're looking at another outstanding alto in Southern Gospel - Susan Whisnant. Susan is known for her power ballads. She has had a number of songs over the years that she is known for and that have made their way to the top of the charts. When it comes to songs that you want Susan to sing during a concert, there are several that immediately pop into my mind. But what would you consider to be her signature song? Take the poll below!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Happy Memorial Day!

Today is the day we set aside to honor those who have given their lives for our country. Enjoy the day off everyone, but also take time to remember what this day is about. I can think of no better gospel song to share today than this one from Triumphant Quartet.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - May 28

Here are the latest news items from this week in Southern Gospel -

  • Congratulations to Pat Barker and Lynnelle Terry who were married this week. The two were married on Thursday in Oxford, Alabama. 
  • Congratulations also to Jared Stuffle and Lindsey Miller who were married today in Gallatin, Tennessee. 
  • Prayers are requested for Tracy Stuffle who had to be put in the hospital earlier for a UTI and AFib. Keep him in your prayers as he recovers.
  • Daywind Music Publishing has added Devin McGlamery to its roster of songwriters. Devin has been the lead singer for Ernie Haase & Signature Sound for more than five years.
  • Brian Free & Assurance announce the release of their Live Redeemed Challenge, an online journey that takes an in-depth look at their new project, Live Like We’re Redeemed. The 10-week journey takes visitors not only into the message of each song recorded on the project, but presents a new challenge with each successive week. Brian Free & Assurance extend an invitation to everyone to take part in the challenge by visiting: http://www.redeemedchallenge.com.
  • The 2016 Singing News Songwriters Search is now open. Find out more here
Anything I've missed?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Facebook Live

Facebook Live is the latest social media trend to sweep Southern Gospel artists. Facebook started allowing live streaming late last year and now it's been opened up to all people and pages. Gospel artists are definitely taking advantage of this new tool as another way to connect with fans.

I have to say Gold City is probably the group that does Facebook Live the best. They will live stream a lot of nights after the concert just talking to fans, taking questions and allowing them to see what it's like to travel down the road with the quartet. They enjoy picking on each other and telling stories.

The Nelons shared a video last night of the view of Gatlinburg from the Skylift and the view of the city at night.

TaRanda Greene Beene, Doug Anderson and Jody McBrayer, also known as Cana's Voice, shared a preview of their new album yesterday from Chicago and told fans about a contest for the album.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Hymns of Fanny Crosby - Ernie Haase & Signature Sound - CD Review

If I had to list my favorite hymns, several Fanny Crosby songs would make the list! Earlier this
month, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound released an album of just her hymns. I'm always interested to see when groups release a hymns project if they will cut them as we are used to hearing or put their own style to the song.

With Ernie Haase & Signature Sound you can guarantee they aren't going to put out any ordinary hymn CD, but do their best to make the songs their own.

The album starts with "Blessed Assurance." This group definitely gives the song a fresh feel with a bluesy feel. Bass singer Paul Harkey takes the first verse and Ernie Haase the second.

Devin McGlamery is featured on the first verse of a soulful "He Hideth My Soul," and again Ernie takes the second verse. I think the organ on this song is a nice touch.

"I Am Thine O Lord/ Draw Me Nearer" has a cool intro that starts with a steady background beat that continues throughout the song. Devin has the lead on this song. I love how this song shows off his voice. When the guys hit the chorus of "Draw Me Nearer," I really liked some of the creative liberties they took.

Ernie starts "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross" very tenderly. I really like the soft arrangement of the song. Ernie does a recitation for one of the verses. I love how the quartet sounds as a group on the chorus.

Piano starts "Pass Me Not" with the full quartet singing. Then Dustin Doyle takes one of the verses. This verse is further evidence of the great hire EHSS made with Dustin. Even though I love how EHSS can take these old songs and make them their own, this simple arrangement was a stand out to me.

"Praise Him! Praise Him!" starts out with a Celtic feel. The blend of the group is really showcased throughout the song. I also love the start to "Redeemed" with a totally different feel. This one has a country feel with some banjos and "heys" thrown in. Dustin takes the lead on this one as well.

The project ends with "Tell Me the Story of Jesus" featuring Paul and Ernie. This shows off Paul's range as he tackles the upper part of his register. This one was another favorite.

I love how diverse Signature Sound made a hymns project. From Celtic sounds to banjos to organs, they really put their own style to each song and brought new life to these familiar hymns! This project is definitely worth checking out!

Song List -
1. "Blessed Assurance"
2. "He Hideth My Soul"
3. "I Am Thine O Lord/ Draw Me Nearer"
4. "Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross/ In the Cross"
5. "Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior"
6. "Praise Him! Praise Him!"
7. "Redeemed How I Love to Proclaim It"
8. "Tell Me the Story of Jesus"

Saturday, May 21, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - May 21

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

  • The Harper Agency has added Mark Lowry to its roster of artists for booking.
  • Prayers requested for Christy Hinson. Weston and Christy Hinson shared via a Facebook video that Christy has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Doctors believe they have caught it early. Pray for Christy and her doctors as they take the next steps for treatment.
  • The Browders celebrated six #1 singles from their album Time Machine. With their latest #1 in April, "Waiting for You To Get Home," they are the only artist in Southern Gospel to have this many #1 songs from the same album.
  • The Steeles announced a change for their ministry this week. Their son Brad will now join them as the third vocalist. Matthew Thompson is coming off the road to spend more time with his family and to dedicate more time to his business, Thompson Renovations. Brad also serves as the music and worship pastor at their church.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Drive Thru Demos - Jaquita Lindsey

Happy Friday to everyone! A Front Row View has put out some great videos lately on social media with several different artists. Here's the latest Drive Thru Demo featuring 11th Hour vocalist Jaquita Lindsey. Join their car ride as they talk about the latest 11th Hour CD, Jaquita's writing, music choices and how she and another writer are making their home state (Arkansas!!) proud!


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Signature Songs - Sheri Easter

For some artists and groups, there is a song that comes along, and it just becomes their song. There's not a concert that goes by without this song. For other artists, that "signature song" may not be as clearly defined. There are a number of songs that are requested night after night that resonate with an audience.

So here's the start of a new series - We'll look at some of the most requested songs for certain artists and vote for one that you consider "their" song.

I'm starting with Sheri Easter. Sheri is known for her ability to communicate a tender ballad. Over the years, she's built a strong repertoire of songs, and some of her most recent ones are becoming just as requested from fans. So here are what I consider to be her songs, which one do you think is Sheri's signature song? (If you think I've left out one, comment below and I'll add it!)

Saturday, May 14, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - May 14

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

  • Congratulations to both the Nelons and Russ Taff who were inducted into the GMA Hall of Fame this week!
  • The 2016 Singing News Fan Awards Top Five Nominations have now been announced. Check out the full list here
  • Daniel Mount, who ran Southern Gospel Blog that was later renamed Southern Gospel Journal, has announced a new book. The book is called Southern Gospel Journal: An Anthology and is available in paperback and Kindle formats at Amazon. Daniel has chosen 50 of his best posts to highlight in this book. 
  • The Knight Family of Fall Branch, Tennessee, has announced a 30th Anniversary Album. The group consists of Adam, Angel and Linda Knight. It will include songs such as “I Claim The Blood," “Transfer Plans,” “There's a Refuge In Jesus” and “How Great Thou Art.”  
  • Congratulations to Karen Peck Gooch who was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Divinity from Toccoa Falls College on Saturday. 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Nelons and the GMA Hall of Fame

Sorry I've had a blog sabbatical this week. I promise to do better next week!

Here's a clip of the Nelons' induction into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame earlier this week. Selah, Michael English and Travis Cottrell honored the group at the ceremony. Check out this video for today's Fun Clip Friday.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - May 7

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

  • The Nelons, who will be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame next week, were honored by their hometown of Dallas, Georgia this week. Representatives from the office of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and Dallas Mayor Boyd L. Austin, Jr. honored the family with a commendation and a dedication setting the day of May 10, 2016, as “The Nelons Day" in Dallas, Georgia. 
  • StowTown Records has announced the signing of the Little Roy and Lizzy Show to its label. 
  • The Ball Brothers released this video as a tribute to mothers for Mother's Day. Check it out below -

Anything else that I missed?

Friday, May 6, 2016

Fun Clip Friday with Pat Barker's PB&J Productions and Bill Shivers

Pat Barker announced the beginning of PB&J Productions a few weeks ago. This week he released his first video interview with Bill Shivers of Brian Free & Assurance. He quizzes Bill on how well he knows his group!

Enjoy this clip for today's Fun Clip Friday post!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Because He Lives - Nelons - Concert Recap

One of the first concerts where I saw the Nelons by themselves was in Ward, Arkansas several years ago. A few weeks ago, I returned to that church again to see the Nelons. This family is one of the best in gospel music. Their incredible harmonies blow me away each time I hear them live.

It was good to see Autumn Nelon Clark take a bigger role with the group. She brings some bluegrass influence with her pure voice. She also adds another live instrument on stage, the mandolin, in addition to Jason's guitar.

Here's a line up of what they sang -
  • "Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad"
  • "I Just Can't Make It By Myself" - Love this new song, and it's a fun one to see live!
  • "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus" - This is my favorite hymn, and I love their a cappella take on this song!
  • "O For a Thousand Tongues" - Nobody can sing this song like Kelly. Always love to hear her sing this. 
  • "Family Chain" - This song featured Autumn. Beautiful song!
  • "I Don't Want to Get Adjusted" 
  • "Hallelujah" - Love hearing them sing this a cappella!
  •  "The Sun's Coming Up"
  • "Then Came the Morning" - I love hearing Amber sing this song. This is a song that is included on their new Stronger Together project. 
  • "I'm Going Home With Jesus" - This is always a fun one to hear them sing live!
  • "Down to the River"
  • "I Stand Amazed" 
  • "Do Unto Others" - Another great a cappella song!
  • "Excuse Me Are You Jesus" - Jason always does a great job on this song. He conveys the story of the song so well.
  • "Amazing Grace" - This was a fun spin on the traditional hymn. Autumn sang the first line bluegrass style and the congregation repeated it the familiar way.
  • "Precious Lord, Lead Me On" 
  • "I Know Who Holds Tomorrow"
  • "Grandpa Tell Me About the Good Ole Days" - Good hearing Autumn sing this one by request!
  • "We Shall Behold Him" - Amber was named Female Vocalist by AbsoutelyGospel.com just a few days before this concert. After this song, you definitely see why. That last note, WOW!
  • "I'll Talk to My Father" - I'm so glad someone asked Kelly to sing this one. Love hearing her sing this song!
To close the night, Jason told the story about a couple from their church, Grady and Jessie. It was during the time the Nelons were off the road and Jason was serving as worship pastor. Grady would always ask if they were going to sing his song that morning. It became an inside joke between him and Jason. Grady was such an encouragement to him and their family. Right before the Nelons came back on the road, Grady got extremely sick with a rare form of cancer. Jason went to visit with him after the doctors gave him only a short time to live. Grady asked Jason to pray that he would be able to go to church one more time. The doctors had only given him hours to live. For the Wednesday night service the church decided to bring the worship service to him. About 700 people took church to Grady that night on his front porch. They sang, testified and read Scriptures. Jason said it was one of the most powerful worship experiences of his life. Jason said he knew it was a divine night. At one point, he leaned over to Grady and asked if he was enjoying it, but Grady asked him when they were going to sing his song. After a time of invitation, they sang his favorite song, "Because He Lives."

The Nelons sang one more before the night was over, "I'll Fly Away." The crowd was on its feet clapping and singing along. 

It was an incredible night. I'm so glad the Nelons made their way back to Ward, Arkansas this year. If they are in your area, don't miss this family!