Saturday, July 30, 2016

ICYMI - News and Tidbits - July 30

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

  • Prayers requested for Mary Hurst, mother of vocal coach Steve Hurst. She suffered a stroke early Friday morning. She had surgery Friday to remove a clot in the brain, but it was unsuccessful, and she remains in ICU. Please pray for her, her family and her doctors in the days to come.
  • Vonda Easley, owner and manager of Gospel artists Hope’s Journey, announced the new lineup of of the group. Joining Vonda onstage is Cody McCreary (piano) from Scottsboro, Alabama, Caleb Kelley (baritone/lead) from Savannah, Tennessee, and Hillary Snow (soprano) from Roanoke, Alabama.
  • The Pruitt Family welcomed pianist Justin Bailey from Gainesville, Georgia this week.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Mylon Hayes Family

Happy Friday! Thanks to modern technology fans of gospel music get to catch up on events we aren't able to be present for. Over the last several months, videos have been added to the NQCOnline YouTube channel of NQC 2015. Be sure to check out so many performances from your favorite groups!

I'm highlighting one from the Mylon Hayes Family for today's Fun Clip Friday. Check it out below!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Refreshing - Second Half Quartet CD Review

Although the Second Half Quartet's CD Refreshing was officially released last week, I was able to get a copy at the Memphis Quartet Show last year after seeing the group for the first time. The quartet consists of Chris Allman, Rodney Griffin, Mark Trammell, Pat Barker and Gerald Wolfe on the piano. This CD has one of the most pure quartet sounds of any recent project.

The group started singing together during the second half of concerts that Greater Vision and Mark Trammell Quartet would sing on together. A clip of the group singing "The Prodigal Son" together took the internet by storm a few years ago. Refreshing is a collection of Cathedral songs, however, not your typical Cathedrals tribute songs that you might think of immediately. As someone who had not yet really discovered Southern Gospel when the Cathedrals were big, I appreciate them cutting some of the lesser known songs so new fans are introduced or re-introduced to them.

One of the things I was impressed with when I saw the group live was their set up with piano and bass guitar, that's it. No tracks. The album has a few more instruments on it, but still with the same feel where the voices are front and center.

From beginning to end, this project is solid. In my opinion, there's not a weak track on the CD.

The project starts with "Cheer the Weary Traveler," which is also the first single. Love this song to start off the project. The guys tackle a few more of the fun, up tempo songs like "Standing on Holy Ground," "Gonna Shout All Over Heaven" and "I'm Going Up When I Die."

"Rivers of Joy" is definitely one that you need to put on repeat. Love Chris's step-out tenor lines on the chorus!

Mark Trammell turns in one of the best vocal performances on "Remind Me of Calvary." He reminds us of why he is one of the best in the business.

I'm glad they decided to include "The Prodigal Son" on this project, since it's the song that really made people stop and notice this lineup. Rodney does an incredible job on this song.

Many of the songs don't stray far from their original versions. In fact, the quartet turns in the same a cappella arrangement of "Wonderful Grace of Jesus," which is a definite highlight of the project.

The album closes with "Going Home," featuring Chris on the first verse and Pat on the second. While you hear these two throughout the album, they really get to step out and shine on this song.

If you love good quartet music, this album is for you. If you love a throwback to the days of Cathedrals, this album is for you. If you love pure southern gospel, this is album is for you!

Song List -
1. "Let Us Cheer the Weary Traveler"
2. "I'm Going Up When I Die"
3. "Gonna Shout All Over Heaven"
4. "Rivers of Joy"
5. "Remind Me of Calvary"
6. "When I Move"
7. "Wonderful Grace of Jesus"
8. "Standing on Holy Ground"
9. "The Prodigal Son"
10. "Going Home"

Monday, July 25, 2016

Experiencing Victory at Victory - Joseph Habedank - Concert Recap

One of the things that I've grown to love about this industry is getting to know people. I've loved getting to see people's hearts in this industry. I love how artists are willing to share with audiences where they've been and how God has worked in them.

Several weeks ago, I had the chance to see Joseph Habedank in concert at Victory Baptist in Benton. He shared his testimony and the victory he's experienced over addiction. I've been able to see Joseph a handful of times as a soloist and each time I'm impressed with how openly he shares with the audience and he uses his struggle to show just how great God is.

Here are some highlights of the evening -

  • "It Is Well" - Joseph sang several songs from his hymn project, Take Time to Be Holy. This was probably my favorite of the ones he sang. Joseph stated that this song contains the greatest lyrics ever written, and I would agree.
  • "God Is Big Enough" - Love this song, which is also his latest single. Great reminder of God's strength in our lives. 
  • "What a Day That Will Be" - Joseph said this was actually the song that he sang when he tried out with the Perrys. Loved hearing him sing this hymn.
  • "Beauty of the Blood" - Incredible song and message. Joseph always does a great job on this song!
  • "Now I Know Him" - This is such a great testimony song for Joseph, and I think for a lot of us as Christians. We may think we know God, but we know Him so much better and so much sweeter when we walk through trials. Joseph communicates this song so well.
It was such a great night of worship and celebrating the victory that we all have through Christ. If you get the chance to see Joseph in concert, don't miss him. See his website for his concert schedule.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

ICYMI - News and Tidbits - July 23

Here are some news and tibit items from this week in Southern Gospel -
  • Congratulations to Matt Fouch and his wife Candice on the birth of their son Kingston David on Tuesday. He weighed in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces and measured 19.5 inches. Mother and baby are doing great!
  • Abby Paskvan sang the United States national anthem “The Star- Spangled Banner” at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday night. Abby is a Chapel Valley artist and has filled in for groups like The Hoppers.
  • Jonathan Thompson has joined the Pine Ridge Boys as lead singer.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Gospel Singing Jubilee

Happy Friday to everyone! I got the chance to finally watch the Harmony Honors that aired on TBN last Friday night. This year the Harmony Honors paid tribute to Les Beasley and The Gospel Singing Jubilee. I'll confess I'm a little young to have watched the show when it aired, but I was able to find several clips online. So for today's Fun Clip Friday, I'm sharing one with you! Here's a clip from the show with several groups singing "Looking for a City." Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Hearing the Good News - Tribute Quartet Concert Recap

I'm still catching up on concert recaps from the end of June. One of the last concerts of June that I saw was the Tribute Quartet. Here are some highlights of the night -

  • "Oh What a Savior" - Riley nails this song! Amazing job. He set up the song a little differently than normal. That night right before the concert, their bus started having some issues with the generator. He talked about how growing up all he ever wanted to be was a mechanic. He had no desire to sing. He said it's funny how God works in that since being with Tribute, God hadn't forgotten that desire and had given him plenty of opportunities to be a mechanic. However, he said his life was changed when as a 12-year-old boy he stepped up to sing this song, the first song he ever sang as as solo.
  • "Outside the Gate" - The way the guys do this song is incredible. I love when they come out into the audience on the chorus with just the four voices. It really shows the talent and blend of the group.
  • I love Christmas. I mean, I love Christmas. However, I'm not usually a fan of Christmas music when it's 90 degrees outside. That being said, Riley singing "Mary Did You Know" was definitely a highlight of the night! Loved getting to hear him sing this song live!
  • "I Am Healed" - This was not a song I remember hearing before. Gary was featured on this song. Before he sang Gary said he had had this song on his mind all night, and he felt like someone needed to hear it. He said we serve a God who still saves and heals. Love this song!!
  • They had several requests that night including "I've Got Leaving on My Mind." Glad they wanted Anthony to sing this, another highlight!
  • "Good News From Jerusalem" continues to be a request from fans, and I think this song continues to get the biggest responses from the audience. Josh always does a great job on this song!
  • Also, I can't go without mentioning, they might have the most entertaining product pitch in gospel music. Kuddos to the group who can make the audience laugh during the entire thing!
If you get a chance to see Tribute in your area, don't miss them!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

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

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

  • Prayers go out to the O'Neal family and the Dixie Melody Boys in the passing of Joy O'Neal, Ed's wife. 
  • Some new booking agreements were made this week with Beckie Simmons Agency signing 11th Hour and April Potter signing Mark209.
  • Prayers also for the English family with the passing of Michael's mother, Grace, last week. 
  • Jon Epley announced his departure from the LeFevre Quartet on Facebook. 
  • Mickey Bell was announced as the new host of “The Dixie Gospel Caravan” in Birmingham, Alabama.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Mark Lowry and Gloria Gaither

Sometimes weeks just don't go as planned, but as Gloria Gaither has said it's often in the interruptions of life that we really see God work. Mark Lowry reminded her of this statement in a recent visit. Check out this clip below for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

When Lyrics Speak - I Am Blessed - Karen Peck and New River

I think most Christians would use the word "blessed" to describe their lives. However, how many of us live like it? I would definitely use that word, but I find myself more often focusing on what I'm lacking or things I want. I can often lose sight of all that God has given me.

I can also be very guilty of thinking that blessed = things, maybe not even bad things but at least something tangible. I can easily forget about everything that God has blessed me with that has nothing to do with anything I can see. My salvation, His love, His faithfulness, His mercy, His grace. We are blessed because we are His children. And even if He chooses to give us nothing else on this earth, we can consider ourselves blessed.

Through pain and disappointments, we know that He is always there and for that we are blessed. Just because we may not see the earthly things we want doesn't mean that we aren't blessed beyond measure. He is enough for everything in our lives. Whatever comes our way, we can still say that we are blessed because of who God is and what He's done for us.

I love this song by Karen Peck and New River that really got me thinking about the blessing of just being His child.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

McKameys - Something Worth Saving - CD Review

The McKameys are one of those groups I really admire in the industry. They are who they are. They have a unique sound all their own and have really found a home in this industry.

The group released its latest project Something Worth Saving in June. The project is full of 10 songs that McKameys fans will love!

The project opens and closes with songs that deviate from typical McKameys songs, but songs that they have done in that familiar sound of the group. They took the praise and worship song "Christ Is Able" and made it sound more like a hymn. I found this to be a highlight of the project! The album closes with "Come to My Rescue." Sheryl does a great job on this song. Beautiful closing song! I like that they tried some different things with these songs without straying too far from their sound.

Peg is featured on "I've Been in the Book," which is written by Dianne Wilkinson and Rebecca Peck. You'll find yourself tapping your toe along to this one!

"Bring You Glory" has an incredible message that all believers need to be reminded of. No matter what we face as Christians we are called to bring Him glory each day of our lives. Connie does a beautiful job on this song. She is also featured on "Days Gone By," which is another Wilkinson/ Peck song.

Eli gets a turn to step out on "I Believe." The style of this song really gives listeners a taste of something different and a little unexpected. He gets the entire song solo. It's good to hear a little bit more from him.

"That's Why There's a Cross" is the first single from the project. Sheryl is featured on the project and also wrote it. It's one of three songs that she wrote for this album. The song is straight Southern Gospel with the great traditional McKamey sound. Lyrically, it's one of the more powerful songs of the project.

"A Few Things" starts with a unique steel guitar intro that really gets the listener's attention. Roger sings this country ballad. It's a sweet, honest prayer that he communicates really well.

The title track is where Ruben gets a chance to shine. The arrangement of the song is not complex with some great guitar work to really bring attention to the vocals and message of the song.

This album has songs with some powerful lyrics that really speak to the hearts of believers. McKameys fans will not want to miss this project!

Song List -
1. "Christ Is Able"
2. "I've Been in the Book"
3. "Bring You Glory"
4. "I Believe"
5. "That's Why There's a Cross"
6. "A Few Things"
7. "Back to Bethel"
8. "Days Gone By"
9. "Something Worth Saving"
10. "Come to my Rescue"

Monday, July 11, 2016

Reminder of Faithfulness - Talleys Concert Recap

I'm trying to get back in the swing of blogging. Sorry I've been sporadic lately! A few weeks ago, I had a string of concerts, so I'm trying to get around to all the recaps.

The Talleys had several concerts in Arkansas at the end of June. I was able to catch them in Jacksonville, Arkansas. It was the first time I had seen them since the release of their latest project After All This Time. Here are highlights of the concert that night -

The Talleys - Lauren, Debra and Roger Talley
I loved how many of their new songs they sang that night, including "After All This Time," "Naaman" and "There's Never Been a Mountain." All of these songs were great to see in person. "Naaman" is one of my favorites from the project. It was also good to hear "The People in the Line," a definite highlight of the evening. They played the concept video as they sang. If you haven't seen it, check it out here!

That night, Debra talked about how her dad had not been doing well. She was afraid she wouldn't be able to make the trip at all. Debra talked about how she was thankful for every day they had with him. "God is faithful in every circumstance of our lives," she said. "If he had passed right then, God would still have been faithful. If he passes tomorrow, God will still be faithful. Because it's not about our circumstances, but it's about who He is." It was an incredible reminder from her. And Debra's dad actually did pass on later that week. It was inspiring to see that in a time when they were struggling personally with his illness that they still pressed on in ministry and were able to proclaim the faithfulness of God. After Debra talked, they sang "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," such a great moment!

Debra was featured on "Thinking About Home" later on that night. It was such a sweet performance. It was so special that night knowing the state that her dad was in that night.

Dennis Dugger who sang with Tribute Quartet for several years was there that night. The Talleys called Dennis on stage to join then for "Searchin.'" Great seeing him back on stage and singing with them!

Another new one that I didn't mention earlier is "There Is Coming a Day." Lauren talked about the promise of Heaven and the hope we have in Christ before the song. If we place our hope in the things and people of the world, we will have disappointment. However, as a believer, we have a promise that we can stand on that one day we will see Him face to face. After this song, Lauren started "What a Day That Will Be" a cappella. Incredible moment of the night!

It was great as always to see the Talleys! It was such a sweet time of worship and reminders of just how faithful God is. No matter what we are facing or what may be ahead, we can rest in the promises of God. Thankful that they reminded us of that!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

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

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

  • There are only a few days left to vote in the Singing News Fan Awards. Subscribers can go here to cast their votes. 
  • The Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame announced its 2016 inductees - Lari Goss, Carroll McGruder, Peg McKamey Bean and Ronny Hinson. 
  • Skyland Records (Crossroads Entertainment & Marketing) announced the signing of the Joylanders.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Booth Brothers Quartet

The Booth Brothers Quartet was scheduled for the Saturday matinee this year at the Memphis Quartet Show. A few years ago, they performed at the event with Gene McDonald singing bass. This time they didn't say who the bass singer would be. So fans were in for a treat that Saturday afternoon to find out who would be singing with them.

Saturday they found out that it wouldn't be just one person, but three different bass singers - Anthony Davis, Eric Bennett and Jon Epley. Below is a clip of Michael and Danny Jones of the Singing News talking about who would be singing and then introducing the group.

Also, here are links with each of the guys singing with the Booth Brothers. Enjoy for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Eric Bennett - Look for Me at Jesus' Feet
Jon Epley - I'm Free
Anthony Davis - I Played in a Band

Monday, July 4, 2016

Encouragement Through Songs - Greater Vision - Concert Recap

As I made my way up down Hwy. 64 in Arkansas a few weeks ago, I was recounting the day I'd had to a friend, and I knew I needed this concert tonight. It had been one of those days, I'm sure you know what I mean. It wasn't that anything major had happened but the culmination of a lot of little things made it one of "those days." Thankfully after the Memphis Quartet Show, Greater Vision made its way to Arkansas that night, and I was very glad for the chance to be there.

Disclaimer - I'm going to try out a new format for concert recaps and focus on what I consider to be the highlights of the night.

Highlights of the night - 
Greater Vision - Gerald Wolfe, Rodney Griffin and Chris Allman

I don't care how many times I hear Chris Allman sing "I Know a Man Who Can," it's going to be a highlight for me to see it live. I love hearing him sing this song. 

One song that I really hear them sing live often is "He'll Carry Me." Such a powerful song! Gerald set up the song by talking about the movie Risen. The movie, if you haven't seen it, is the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from a perspective of a Roman soldier. The movie really makes you think about what events must have taken place after the resurrection. I'm so glad they chose to sing that song. It's a great reminder of Christ's sacrifice and because of that He will carry us through to eternity. Rodney wrote the song and does such a great job of communicating the lyrics and message.

Gerald included a hymn sing at the beginning of the second half singing "It Is Well." I love that they are fitting these in to their concerts.

Gerald was featured on "Until You've Known the Love of God." He talked about Paul to set up the song saying that Paul had a thorn that he fought with and begged God to remove. Gerald pointed out that the Bible never says what this was, and he said that may be to help us put whatever we struggle with in that place and help us identify. God reminded Paul through that that His grace is sufficient, and the song reminds us that God's love is all powerful.

That night of gospel music was just what I needed. The encouragement through songs is sometimes just what you need to hear, this was one of those times. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

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

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

  • Steve French, former owner and baritone singer of the Kingdom Heirs, passed away. Please be in prayer for his family during this time.
  • Congratulations to Jordan LeFevre of the LeFevre Quartet who along with his wife Ali welcomed a baby boy on Monday. Jayce Michael was 6 lbs., 5 oz. He and his mother are doing well.
  • Daywind Records added the Second Half Quartet to its list of artists. The quartet consists of Chris Allman, Rodney Griffin, Mark Trammell, Pat Barker and Gerald Wolfe on piano. 
  • StowTown Records added Rambo McGuire to its roster of artists.
  • Godsey & Associates, producers of The Music City Show, announced that Season 5 of the show will see an expansion. In addition to expanding to several national television networks, the show is “hittin' the road” in the form of a traveling quartet. The Music City Show Quartet - consisting of Chris Golden, Marshal Pugh, Daryl Williams, and Jim Sheldon - has been formed to travel as ambassadors for the show. 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, July 1, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Karen Peck and New River Homecoming

Happy Friday to all! Karen Peck & New River hold its homecoming each year during Father's Day weekend with multiple artists. Here's a recent clip from their homecoming where Jeff and Sheri Easter had a chance to sing and introduce their friends.

Check it out for today's Fun Clip Friday!