Thursday, June 30, 2016

2nd Generation - Concert Recap

You know how some days just don't go as planned? I knew when I walked into the church's fellowship hall, this had been one of those times. When you walk in a concert as the group is going through introductions, you know you have must have missed part of it. And unfortunately that's what happened to me a few weeks ago when I went to see 2nd Generation. The time got moved up unexpectedly, so I was a little late to join them. However, it was good to see how the group made the best of the situation and still had a great afternoon of worship!

2nd Generation - Elaine Robinson, Brenda Denney
and Randy Barnes
The first song I got to hear was "Faces." The song, made popular by Greater Vision, is such a powerful song. When we were making the list of songs to include in my grandfather's visitation to honor him, this was one I wanted in the playlist! Randy Barnes does an incredible job of taking this song and making it his own. I was excited to find out later that this will be included on the group's upcoming project.

The next song was "Hanging on a Nail," which was one of the first hits for the group. The song features Brenda Denney. Always love getting to hear her sing this song! Next they picked up the tempo a bit with "Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man," paying tribute to Brenda and Elaine's dad.

Randy then was featured on "Waving on the Other Side," which is a great song about those who have passed on encouraging us here on earth.

Before the next song, Elaine talked about the hope we have in Christ. The problems we face in this life is nothing for our God. We have a promise that He is our Light in this dark world. He's our hope and He is all we need. Then, Elaine sang one that will be from the group's upcoming project The Church called "All Our Hope." This song was the highlight of the afternoon, incredible song with an incredible message!

They ended the afternoon with the uptempo songs "Singing and Rejoicing" and "We'll Go Down Standing Up."

I always love hearing this group sing, but I love seeing their hearts after and seeing them minister after the concert is over. This is a group that really knows their mission is not just to sing but to minister and encourage believers. If they are in your area, don't miss 2nd Generation! Learn more about them and check out their schedule here.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - June 25

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

  • The final round of voting for the Singing News Fan Awards is now open. Subscribers can go here to vote. 
  • The 2016 BMI Christian Awards were held this week in Nashville. BMI honored the songwriters and publishers of the top 25 songs of the past year played on Christian radio. The following songs were honored - 
    • "Everybody's Going Through Something"
    • "Glorybound"
    • "Joys of Heaven"
    • "Love Them to Jesus"
    • "Oh Yes I Am"
  • Prayers go out to the Talley family with the passing of Debra's father this week. 
  • Daywind Music Publishing is proud to welcome singer/songwriter and comedian Tim Lovelace to its expanding roster of talented songwriters.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, June 24, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Brian Free Gets Punked

Happy Friday to all! Here's a great clip of Brian Free from a recent concert. Apparently the pastor decided to have a little fun with Brian before the concert. He confessed to the prank that night during the concert. Watch to see what happened!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Scott Brand Is Gold City's New Lead Singer - News

I was able to go to the Memphis Quartet Show on Saturday. It was an incredible night of gospel music, but also an exciting announcement was made. Gold City chose to announce that Scott Brand would be the group's new lead singer Saturday night. I had the chance to see Scott on his first weekend filling in/ trying out with the group. I think he's a great fit!

Here's the full release below from Gold City -

Daniel Riley, manager of Gold City, is pleased to announce Gold City’s new lead vocalist is Scott Brand. Scott is from Lineville, AL. He and his wife, Caitln, have a one-year-old daughter, Brelynn Scott’s hiring became official with a major announcement made tonight in Memphis, TN, appropriately at the Memphis Quartet Show.

Daniel says, “Scott Brand is a singing machine! I am thrilled to have his voice in our vocal line-up. Musically, he was a top contender from the moment I heard him, and then when he went out on the road with us the first weekend, I quickly realized what a fine gentleman he is as well. He fits right in with our group off stage, and that’s equally as important as what you see happen on stage. We are very excited to introduce him to our friends and fans all across the country, and will be heading into the studio very soon for a late summer or early fall release. We thank everyone who has prayed for us during this hiring process, and we as for your continued prayers for this ministry as we continue to use our talents to the best of our ability for the glory of God.”

Saturday, June 18, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - June 18

Here are some news items from this week in gospel music -
  • Congratulations to Layke Jones who is the newest member of the Jim Brady Trio. Recently, he was a guest vocalist on a project with the Gaither Vocal Band, as well as a featured vocalist for the Anderson Symphony Orchestra. He is from central Indiana.
  • Butch Owens's dad and Ian Owens's grandfather passed away last night. Pray for the family in the days ahead. 
  • Here's a clip from last night's Memphis Quartet Show with Michael Helwig with a health update and powerful performance of "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power."

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - PB&J Productions

Pat Barker announced the creation of PB&J Productions a few months ago. He has now released the first webcast episode. It features interviews with Bill Shivers, Scott Fowler, Ernie Haase and Matt Fouch. Enjoy for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

This Changes Everything - Cana's Voice - CD Review

When I first got the opportunity to see the trio of Doug Anderson, TaRanda Greene and Jody McBrayer, I was blown away. Inside the Southern Gospel circle, fans will recognize those first two names from their days with Ernie Haase & Signature Sound and the Greenes, respectively. Outside Southern Gospel, Jody McBrayer may be the name people know the most from his days with the popular CCM group Avalon. When videos first started circulating of the newly formed trio, I knew this was something special being born, and it is.

The trio has officially been named Cana's Voice. And this is probably the album I was looking forward to hearing this year the most. With 13 songs, This Changes Everything did not disappoint in the least!

The project kicks off with "Heavenly Father," which acknowledges our need for our Father. This song was written and recorded by CeCe Winans in the early 2000s. Right away you see the blend the group has on the chorus on this song.

Doug is featured on "I Give It To You." It's another uptempo song that reminds me a bit of "Greater" style-wise recorded by the Erwins and MercyMe (in the CCM circle). Doug is also featured on "Love Anyway," which also has a more progressive sound. Another great song!

"Jesus Never Fails" is the highlight of the project!! It was the perfect choice for the first single. It features all three singers individually and the great blend they have. It shows what powerhouse singers are three are. Also, I love the orchestration and the build up of the song. If you want a taste of the album, download just this song, listen to it, and then you'll want the complete album! :)

"On Mountains Alone" is a great song for TaRanda. I think it really fits her story and testimony well. We've all been through rough times of life, but it's better to walk with Him through valleys than stand on mountains alone. Love the message of the song! TaRanda again shows off her power vocals on this song! She is also featured on "The Same Hands." Love the contrast of the tender side of her voice at the beginning and then how she lets it soar at the end!

Jody McBrayer steps up on "All My Reasons Are You." Fans might recognize this song because LordSong recorded it several years ago. Jody has an incredible voice. His smooth vocals really shine on this song. The song definitely has a CCM feel. Another song where Jody is featured along with TaRanda is "Hello Fear," which has a more R&B feel.

"There Is a Mountain" is a song that was previously recorded by the Gaither Vocal Band. It's one of the more Southern Gospel songs. The arrangement isn't too far from the original. I like the horns and the brass touch. It's a song that you can't help but clap along to!

I'm used to hearing "I Won't Go Back" as a choral arrangement. My church choir has sung it several times. I like this version with a trio. This song probably showcases all three singers the best. The vocals are just spot on.

The closing song, "Holy Spirit Come Fill This Place," is a great worship song. Jody is incredible on this song!

The trio has obviously been influenced by different styles within Christian music, but don't let the fact that it's not a straight Southern Gospel project deter you from picking it up! Vocally, I don't know how you top this album. You have three incredible powerhouse singers. It's a must-have album in your collection!

Song List - 
1. "Heavenly Father"
2. "I Give It To You"
3. "Jesus Never Fails"
4. "On Mountains Alone"
5. "All My Reasons Are You"
6. "Love Anyway"
7. "His Heart Is Big Enough"
8. "There Is a Mountain"
9. "The Same Hands"
10. "Let the Blood Speak for Me"
11. "Hello Fear"
12. "I Won't Go Back"
13. "Holy Spirit Come Fill This Place"

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Bread of Life - Names You Might Not Know Yet

I am revisiting an old series today that features some new groups, some regional groups and just in general some groups you might not have heard about yet in the industry.

Today, we're looking at the family group Bread of Life that consists of Tod Davis, his wife Jennifer and children, Christopher, Ryan and Desiree. Thank you Tod and the Davis family for taking the time to answer my questions!

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

When I was 19 years old in Scottsdale, Arizona where the original Bread Of Life Singers were formed and traveled in a old beat up van and went to nursing homes and small churches. I can recall getting $10 and getting all excited back then $10 was good. Then when I married my wife, Jennifer Davis, and our two sons Christopher and Ryan and their sister Desiree basically reformed The Bread of Life singers as a family group ministering to the lost. Our daughter is in college now but will still sing with her family on rare occasions like holidays or our homecoming, which is planned for later.

2. How did you get started? How long have you been singing?

When I was younger I started in church and in choir. Years ago, my family was in Mississippi and attended Grace Independent Baptist Church. It just happened, and then in July 2010 God called us to Georgia. My wife gave up a career in the medical field at a prominent pediatrician's office, and the kids gave up friends and football and moved sight unseen into a trailer. All we knew was God had called us, and we all answered and said, "Yes, Lord we will go." Total the group has been singing together almost seven years.

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

We want people to know first we work for the Lord, and there is hope for all through Christ Jesus. We want them to know we love them, and also about our 24/7 prayer line they can call if they need.

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

We don't have a favorite; we like them all. They all have ministered to us, as there are so many great songs, and they all touch our hearts.

5. What artists have been your biggest influence (musically and/or personally)?

The Freemans, the Perrys, the Kingsmen, the Crabb Family, Crimson Ridge, the Gaither Vocal Band and Vestal Goodman

6. What has been your favorite memory so far in your ministry?

Mine personally (Tod) was stepping back on stage and singing after 26 strokes. Group wise, we prayed for a man who had been in a wheelchair 10 years, and he was healed and walked right before our eyes. Another time we prayed for a man with a rod in his leg, and God replaced it with a brand new bone, and before he could not dance but as we said, "Amen," he jumped up bending his leg and dancing to the song, "Jesus on the Mainline." And this is true I can even give you pastors for reference that were there!

7. What new things are coming up for you?

God has opened so many new doors out of state for us and have some big things on the horizon that will be announced by our record Label AOK Records very soon!

Check out Bread of Life's website for more information about their ministry!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - June 11

There was a lot going on this week in gospel music. A lot of people in the industry could use your prayers right now. Here are some news items from this week -
  • The Nelons were robbed this week at their home. Theives took four MacBook Pros, jewelry (including family heirlooms), cash, instruments, music equipment and more. Pray for them as they seek to recover what was lost.
  • Pray for Jeff Whisnant. He had to have emergency eye surgery yesterday in Kentucky. He was diagnosed with acute angle-closure glaucoma. He is doing fine this morning, but keep praying as he recovers and as doctors make decisions about the future.
  • Keep praying for Christy Hinson who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Doctors will be making some decisions next week about surgery and course of treatment. 
  • Ricky Braddy of Karen Peck & New River was hospitalized earlier this week because of an infection in his bloodstream. He is improving, but please keep him in your prayers. Devin McGlamery is filling in with the group this weekend. 
  • The Harmony Honors took place this week in Nashville honoring Les Beasley and the Gospel Singing Jubilee television show. It is set to air on TBN on July 15.
  • Song Garden has announced the addition of Allegiance Trio to its music group.
  • Chuck Pettyjohn announced a solo ministry this week. He was most recently with The Old Paths until the group came off the road in December. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - On the Couch With Fouch with Michael Booth

Happy Friday to you all! This Fun Clip Friday features the popular On the Couch With Fouch series. This month Matt Fouch shares with viewers his interview with Michael Booth. Many times we see Michael Booth providing the laughs on stage at Booth Brothers concerts. This is a great interview where we do get to share a few laughs with Michael but also get to hear a more serious side of Michael Booth. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Undeniable - Spoken 4 Quartet - CD Review

Spoken 4 Quartet, based out of Branson, Missouri, consists of Brandon Britton, Jon Charles Taggart, Steven Hickinbotham and Cecil Stringer. The quartet's latest project is entitledUndeniable. It's actually the group's 11th. If you have not heard of this quartet before, it's time for that to change!

The album starts with the first single "Hope Was Carved in a Rolling Stone." The song has a country feel that really shows off the group sound. Great choice for the single!

"A King and a Pauper" features lead singer Jon Charles. The song has a bit of a suspenseful tone with a lot of strings. Lyrically, this song is a great story song. Who are you going to follow, a king or a pauper? What you have in the world really doesn't matter, what matters is how you are prepared to go into eternity.

The style switches to a great traditional quartet song, "Joy Comes in the Morning." "There'll Be No Peace 'Til Jesus Comes Again" is in that same traditional vein featuring bass singer Cecil Stringer. "Some Dawning" is another great quartet number where you hear tenor Brandon Britton show off his range.

The tempo slows down a bit with "God's Gonna See You Through." The song is such a great encouragement to believers. He knows, sees and hears everything we go through. No matter what we may be facing, He will see us through.

Bass singer fans, do not miss "There Is a Light." You'll hear just how low Cecil can go. The end of the song is just with a piano, so it really shows off the vocals.

"Covered" is a fun uptempo song that features Brandon. His smooth vocals are really showcased on this song. I like how they added a little bit of the live concert element to this song with clapping at the end.

"Grace Runs Deeper" is a highlight of the project. The chorus really shows the great blend the quartet has. I love the message of the song and how it portrays how deep God's grace is. Jon Charles does a great job on this song. The project ends with the patriotic song, "God's Not Through With the Red, White and Blue."

Like I said, if you haven't heard of this group, you have been missing out and pick up this project today!

Song List -

  1. "Hope Was Carved in a Rolling Stone"
  2. "A King and a Pauper"
  3. "Joy Comes in the Morning"
  4. "There'll Be No Peace 'Til Jesus Comes Again"
  5. "God's Gonna See You Through"
  6. "Some Dawning"
  7. "There Is a Light"
  8. "Covered"
  9. "Grace Runs Deeper"
  10. "God's Not Through With the Red, White & Blue"

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Chuck Pettyjohn Announces Solo Ministry

Chuck Pettyjohn announced yesterday that he is striking out as a soloist. For the last year, he was the tenor singer for The Old Paths. Here's the full release below -

Monroe, GA – Effective immediately, Chuck Pettyjohn has announced his plans to launch his solo ministry, as well as another ministry venture that will soon be announced. Pettyjohn has been a crowd favorite, both as a solo artist and serving in several prominent quartets in the industry. Most recently, he traveled with the Kingsmen Quartet as interim tenor. Prior to that, he served as tenor for The Old Paths in their final year of ministry, as well as with The Proclaimers Quartet. His career in Southern Gospel music began in 1994 with regional charting group, The Joymasters from Canton, GA and continued with Singing News charting groups The Melodyaires from Traveler’s Rest, SC and Pureharmony from Winder, GA.

A seasoned vocalist with many years of experience, Pettyjohn’s smooth tenor voice soars effortlessly as he sings those polished high notes right from his heart. Although he has enjoyed finding that perfect harmony with the groups he has traveled with, he also enjoys singing and speaking as a solo artist. He will continue to fill in with some of his favorite groups, as needed. Chuck is looking forward to special reunion concerts with Pureharmony, bringing a well-loved trio back to North Georgia and beyond. The time has come for him to branch out and serve God in new and challenging ways.

Chuck shares, “My mother and grandmother sang on the radio station in Texas where she grew up. I also had several family members in regional and national groups. It is been my hearts desire to sing and minister through southern gospel music. The Lord has blessed me beyond measure to travel with wonderful quartets and now has opened the door for me to share more than harmony. I am so thrilled to see new doors opening in ministry, from both with music and beyond.”

Danny Jones, Editor-in-Chief of Singing News, said “To sing is a privilege, but to share from the heart is a calling. Chuck Pettyjohn has answered that calling faithfully.” Diane Wilkinson stated, “Chuck Pettyjohn is a new Southern Gospel solo artist with a powerful testimony and a unique ministry to which God has called him. I first became acquainted with Chuck when he was singing tenor for The Old Paths. I was impressed with his singing, and especially with the evident love for the Lord. I know God has plans to use Chuck in a mighty way!”

Pettyjohn is currently in the studio working on a brand new album, which he expects to release in late summer.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - June 4

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

  • The Kingsmen Quartet announced their new tenor yesterday. Joshua Horrell, 24, is now their tenor singer. He has been filling in and trying our for the past month and is now with the group permanently. He's previously been with Declaration and the Anchormen Quartet. Below is a clip of him with the group.
  • Master's Voice have announced T.J. Evans as the group's new lead singer. Justin Morphis left the group a little over a month ago. T.J. was previously with Allegiance (Declaration) Trio. 
  • Jan Crouch of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) passed away earlier this week. Keep her family in your prayers.
  • Scott Fowler made an appearance this week on the popular game show The Price Is Right. You can catch a clip from the show here

Anything I've missed?

1,000th Post

I'm interrupting my normal Saturday post because this is officially my 1,000th post! 

When I started this journey more than four years ago, I honestly wasn't sure what would come of it or how long I would continue it. I had no idea how much this would impact my life. It's been a way to not only write about the best music on earth, but also share some of my life with you. Thank you for reading and taking the journey with me. Over the past four years, I've been so blessed by this music, the ministries and the worship I have experienced. I've made some incredible friends through this blog. Again, thank you for sticking with me!

So today, I'm sharing some of blog posts that mean the most to me or have stood out to me the most over this time, in chronological order - 

Now just for fun,  here are the top 10 most read posts on the blog. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - The Price Is Right

If you watch The Price Is Right, you might have seen a familiar face this week! On Wednesday, Scott Fowler was a contestant on the popular game show. He won some nice watches and a curling iron. You can also see fellow group member Trey Ivey in the audience with him during the show.

Here's a clip from the show that Legacy Five put on the group's Facebook page. Enjoy for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Only One - Doug Anderson - CD Review

Doug Anderson embarked on his soloist journey last year. He left Ernie Haase and Signature Sound where he had been since the group's beginning. However, this is not his first solo project. Drive was a top album in 2014, and Doug makes another splash with The Only One.

The thing I love about Doug is how diverse he can be as a soloist. This project is definitely a testament to that from country to soulful to traditional gospel, he can tackle it all.

The project starts with a strong country sounding "The Only One," the title track and first single. The song is a reminder that God is the only One we need. The song will have you tapping your foot along with it.

The country vibe continues with "Little White Church." It's a great tribute to that small country church that many of us grew up in. I know this song will resonate with many listeners.

"Jesus Saved Me (When I Could Not Save Myself" has a traditional gospel feel with a choir backing him up. This is definitely a standout track on the project. "I Don't Know How He Did It" has a similar feel with the choir.

"Tell Me That's Not God" has a bit of a contemporary Christian feel. The song talks about all those "God moments" we experience and can take for granted.

Going again with a country vibe, "Thirsty World" could really transfer well over to country radio. It's one of those life songs that really speaks to how we should be more aware of those around us. We need to let God's love pour out from us to the people we come in contact with each day.

There are several songs with a love theme, "Only Room for Love," "Enough Love to Go Around" and "Remember That He Loves You." The first two definitely have a more contemporary feel. The third song has a bit more of a Michael Buble feel, great song from Rachel McCutcheon and Sue Smith. I can see this being a style song that the Ball Brothers would also cut. Love really is the theme of the entire album. It's a good mix of talking about how we should love others and how God loves us.

My favorite track of the album is probably "Thorns." It's a challenging ballad that really makes you think about those thorns in your life and how you view those challenges in life. Lyrically it's one of the strongest songs on the project but of course with a writing team of Lee Black, Kenna West and Tony Wood, you wouldn't expect anything else. I might have chosen this song as an album closer.

"Don't Miss the Sunset" is a precious song that is full of sound fatherly advice. Don't take a moment for granted on earth; don't miss the sunset. There's a sweet recitation at the end dedicated to his daughters.

Things are only looking up for Doug Anderson with this release. It's his third release as a soloist, and I think his best yet! He's also doing some group dates with the newly formed Cana's Voice, who just released their first album. Don't miss picking up your copy of The Only One. 

Song List -
1. "The Only One"
2. "Little White Church House"
3. "Jesus Saved Me (When I Could Not Save Myself)
4. "Tell Me That's Not God"
5. "Thirsty World"
6. "God Speed the Day"
7. "Only Room for Love"
8. "Enough Love to Go Around"
9. "I Don't Know How He Did It"
10. "Remember That He Loves You"
11. "Thorns"
12. "Don't Miss the Sunset"