Thursday, September 29, 2016

2016 National Quartet Convention - Thursday Night Recap

It's hard to believe that Thursday night is already over. I tuned in tonight in time to catch the end of the McKameys set. I was in and out some but was able to watch most of the webcast after that.

Commentary/ Highlights -
  • The set of the night has to go to the Mark Trammell Quartet. Each song they sang, I kept thinking this was the highlight of the set, but they kept getting better and better. They sang several songs from their latest project, Full Sail. Apparently Sunday night they sang one and had a little mishap on the words. They made some jokes about it tonight, and tonight every word was sung! Blake Buffin is really doing a great job on tenor with them. Love their arrangement of "He Hideth My Soul," but the last song of the set was probably my favorite, "My Faith Still Holds."
  • Last night it was Trey Ivey, tonight it was Bryan Elliot. It's good to see some of these vocally talented piano players getting a chance to step up to the mic. Gold City featured Bryan on "When I Get Carried Away." It was good to hear him sing!
  • Greater Vision pulled up young Eli Shaw, who some might remember from Singing in the Sun at Myrtle Beach. The clip of him singing "I Know a Man Who Can" with them quickly went viral. He was there tonight, so Mark Trammell actually suggested him coming up to join Greater Vision on the stage again.
  • The Nelons teased on Facebook that they would have a special guest on stage with them tonight. Karen Peck Gooch joined the Nelons for a highlight of the night, "Old Friends." It was sweet to see Kelly and Karen both get teary-eyed as they sang. Kelly joked at the end that they made it through it. 
  • Remember Jeff Chapman in your prayers as the Kingdom Heirs were a trio tonight. He just went to the hospital with elevated blood pressure for precaution since he's just had a stent put in recently. The Kingdom Heirs pulled up Quartet Gilead to finish up the night with them on "He Locked the Gates."
  • Matt Rankin of Soul'd Out Quartet paid tribute to Ian Owens who will be coming off the road in November. Ian was featured on a song that he's become known for, "I Believe."

Favorite Performances/ Songs -
  • "Praise His Name" - Jeff & Sheri Easter
  • "There Rose a Lamb" - Gold City
  • "Keep On" - Perrys
  • "Faces" - Greater Vision
  • "My Faith Still Holds" - Mark Trammell Quartet
  • "Old Friends" - The Nelons with Karen Peck Gooch
  • "Moment of Grace" - Booth Brothers
  • "I'd Rather Have Jesus" - Kingdom Heirs
  • "Worship You Again" - The Taylors
  • "Arise My Love" - Soul'd Out Quartet

I won't be able to watch any Friday night but will tune in again on Saturday for the last night!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

2016 National Quartet Convention - Wednesday Night

Overall this has been the strongest night so far of the convention. I started watching during the end of the Mylon Hayes Family's set tonight. I was in and out a bit, but got to see most of it from then on.

Commentary/ Highlights -

  • I am struggling to crown a set of the night. It's a toss up between the Hoppers and the Second-Half Quartet. It was good to hear from the Hoppers' new project as well favorites like "Jerusalem." I also was glad that the Hoppers included the Hopper Brothers 2.0 coming up and singing "I Know." I think after this week people are going to be interested in seeing more and more from the Second-Half Quartet. I think people love their sound and the voices with just piano and bass. 
  • Kudos to the Ball Brothers for doing an a cappella number tonight. A cappella is challenging anyway, but especially at NQC. However these guys pulled it off with "I Shall Know Him."
  • It's good to see Trey Ivey step out from behind the piano. I really enjoyed hearing him sing "In the Hands of a Carpenter."
  • Susan Whisnant singing "I Love You This Much" was definitely one of the top moments of the night. It was sweet how she asked where her parents where in the audience before singing and how she paid tribute to her mom. 
  • I don't know who came up with #DaywindBusKaraoke, but thank you. Hilarious, especially Legacy Five's impersonation of Tribute. 
  • Ernie Haase joined Legacy Five on stage for "He Made a Change" for a nice Cathedral tribute. 
  • The webcast cut out for me during the Talleys set. I saw the first song and then it came back in during them singing with the audience "What a Day That Will Be." 
  • I would have rearranged the schedule a bit tonight. Nothing against the Browns, but the part where all the Daywind artists came back to the stage and sang some of their most popular songs felt like the finale. It was one of my favorite parts of the night. 

Favorite Songs/ Performances -

  • "I Shall Know Him" - Ball Brothers
  • "It's Almost Over" - Mark Trammell Quartet
  • "Pray Now" - Karen Peck & New River
  • "Sometimes I Cry" - Jason Crabb
  • "I've Come Too Far" - Hoppers
  • "Standing on Holy Ground" - Second-Half Quartet
  • "After All This Time" - Talleys
  • "I Love You This Much" - The Whisnants
  • "God of the Storms" - Tribute Quartet
  • "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" - Legacy Five
  • "Jesus The One" - Hoppers
  • "Christ Is Still the King" - Legacy Five joined by Tribute Quartet

2016 Singing News Fan Awards Winners

The Singing News Fan Awards were held this afternoon during the National Quartet Convention. The big honors of the afternoon were given to Triumphant Quartet taking home awards for both song and album. Booth Brothers were once again named the fan favorite artist.

Connie Hopper received the award for Favorite Alto for the second year in a row. That's one category that seems to be less predictable than others though. Mark Trammell was also Favorite Baritone for the second consecutive year. Two very deserving people!!

It was good to see Riley Harrison Clark honored as Favorite Young Artist. He's one of the best tenors on the road.

Here's the full list of winners -

Favorite Soloist: Ivan Parker
Favorite New Artist: Goodman Revival
Favorite Band: Kingdom Heirs Band
Favorite Mixed Group: Collingsworth Family
Favorite Soprano: Kim Hopper
Favorite Tenor: Michael Booth
Favorite Southern Gospel Radio Station: WJBZ (Knoxville, TN)
Favorite Musician: Kim Collingsworth
Favorite Songwriter: Rodney Griffin
Favorite Alto: Connie Hopper
Favorite Lead: Ronnie Booth
Favorite Trio: Booth Brothers
Favorite Young Artist: Riley Harrison Clark (Tribute Quartet)
Favorite Bass: Eric Bennett
Favorite Baritone: Mark Trammell
Favorite Traditional Quartet: Triumphant Quartet
Favorite Song: “Amazing God” (Triumphant Quartet)
Favorite Album: Living In Harmony (Triumphant Quartet)
Favorite Artist: Booth Brothers

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

2016 National Quartet Convention - Tuesday Night

Night two of National Quartet Convention is now in the books. I got home in time to turn on the webcast as the Inspirations were on stage. Here are my thoughts and highlights of the night -

  • If the Booth Brothers and Collingsworth Family went on tour together, that would be a concert I wouldn't miss. That was one incredible hour of gospel music. From the opening song together to the last note of "Jesus Saves," it was amazing. I loved Michael's sweet tribute to Jim and his time with the group. He even joined them on the last song. The two instrumentals from the Collingsworth Family, "Let There Be Peace on Earth" and "My Tribute," were also highlights. I also enjoyed Michael putting together the live band on "Life's Railway to Heaven."
  • Jim Brady told the story of his sister's battle with cancer to set up "Every Cry Is Heard." Last year at NQC is when he found out his sister didn't have much longer to live, and this song written by Jim was a song that she heard on the radio after her diagnosis. It was one of the more emotional moments of the night.
  • It was good to hear the Perrys sing "Calvary Answers for Me," probably my favorite performance by an individual group tonight. 
  • Triumphant Quartet had one of the strongest sets of the night with "Love Came Calling" and "This Blood," both being highlights.
  • "Jesus Loves You" is such a powerful song from Jeff and Sheri Easter. I'm glad they sang it tonight, definitely the highlight of their set. 
  • Both Loren Harris and Trent Adams have just started with their respective groups, Kingdom Heirs and LeFevre Quartet. They are getting thrown in the deep end with this being the biggest event in gospel music, but both have been very impressive!

Favorite Songs/ Performances -

  • "Every Cry Is Heard" - Jim Brady Trio
  • "I Can Pray" - Kingdom Heirs
  • "Calvary Answers for Me" - The Perrys
  • "This Blood" - Triumphant Quartet
  • "Then I Met the Master" - Booth Brothers
  • "Blood of Jesus" - Collingsworth Family
  • "Jesus Saves" - Collingsworth Family/ Booth Brothers
  • "Jesus Loves You" - Jeff and Sheri Easter
  • "He Left No Stone Unturned" - LeFevre Quartet

Monday, September 26, 2016

2016 National Quartet Convention - Monday Night

The 2016 National Quartet Convention is officially underway. I should be able to watch most of each night except for Friday night. NQC started today with the announcement that NQC will be held in Pigeon Forge through 2021.

I tuned in tonight to the webcast just in time to catch the end of the McKameys set. Here are some of my thoughts and then some of my favorite songs and performances of the night -

Commentary/ Thoughts -
  • Karen Peck & New River had the best set of the night in my opinion. From start to finish, it was solid. You can't go wrong with "Four Days Late." 
  • Tribute Quartet and the Second-Half Quartet also had some of the best sets of the night. Tribute Quartet had a really nice paced set singing several of their newer songs from Here For You. The Second-Half Quartet is just pure quartet singing at its finest. 
  • I did like having two "featured" groups of the night that had a bit longer sets. Tonight it was Ernie Haase and Signature Sound and the Kingdom Heirs. Loren Harris is sounding great with the Kingdom Heirs!
  • Claude Hopper had one of the more touching moments of the night when he turned to Connie and said he was singing this part to her. It was the last verse of "Where We'll Never Grow Old." It was such a sweet moment!
  • Peg McKamey Bean might throw her shoes off every night, but she is a class act. Her induction to the Southern Gospel Hall of Fame was short, sweet and very heartfelt.
  • Every time I see the Mylon Hayes Family, I am more and more impressed!
  • Viewing on Roku tonight, I had minimal hiccups with the broadcast, and they were short-lived. No complaints here!

Favorite Songs/ Performances
  • "Grace at Its Best" - Tribute Quartet
  • "Where We'll Never Grow Old" - The Hoppers
  • "Blessed" - Karen Peck & New River
  • "Soldier Fighting to Go Home" - Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
  • "Chain Gang" - Kingdom Heirs
  • "Love Medley" - Mylon Hayes Family
  • "Cheer the Weary Traveler" - Second-Half Quartet
  • "It's Still the Cross" - Gold City

Saturday, September 24, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - September 24

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

  • Loren Harris is the new baritone singer for the Kingdom Heirs.
  • The National Quartet Convention is next week. Tickets are still available, and you can also purchase the webcast. Go to their website to purchase or for more information.
  • The Nelons are venturing into the movies. Kelly Nelon Clark had her movie premiere this week for Old Rugged Cross and Amber has been filming this week for her new movie A Question of Faith. Check the Nelons' Facebook page for more details!
  • The Crabb Family announced their Back to our Roots tour that is coming in early 2017. See more details here
Anything I've missed?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - National Quartet Convention 2003

Everyone in the industry is getting ready for National Quartet Convention next week. I would say it's the event people most look forward to. I'll be watching via webcast again this year and definitely looking forward to it!

For today's Fun Clip Friday, let's take a look back at one of the most memorable moments from NQC. George Younce made an appearance with Ernie Haase and Signature Sound in 2003 and sang "Suppertime."

Enjoy the clip below for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Only Faith Can See - The Erwins - CD Review

The Erwins are one of the emerging groups in gospel music. This group of siblings has definitely made a splash in the industry and with good reason. Kody, Kris, Keith and Katie bring a fresh sound that it all their own to the genre. Only Faith Can See is the group's second release from StowTown Records.

The project opens with the up-tempo song "Up and Out of the Valley." It's catchy; you'll find out yourself tapping along. I can hear this progressive song doing really well on radio.

Keith takes the lead on the title track. I love the message of this song written by the team of Jeff Bumgardner, Daniel Doss and Kenna West. He does an incredible job of communicating the lyrics, encouraging believers that there are some things that only faith can see. He's also featured on "Clouds and "The Same Grace."

Katie is featured on two Rachel McCutcheon songs, "He's Still Alive" and "Here's My Everything." Katie is such a great singer at only 16. I can't wait to keep watching and hearing her as she grows and matures. My favorite of the two is "Here's My Everything." Katie does a beautiful job on this song that just says "God, here's my everything."

"Chasing After You" is another more progressive song on the project. If you loved "Greater" on their last project, you'll love this song. Kody has the feature on this song. This song really reminds you of the youthfulness of the group and also one of those songs that can pull in a younger audience or young at heart.

Kris steps up on "Holding on to Me." It's another nice progressive song that I think really captures a nice sound that the Erwins have. The other song that features Kris is "Give It to God." This song really shows a tender side of his voice. It has a more simple arrangement that really shows off his voice. The rest of his siblings join him on the chorus.

One of my favorite songs by Avalon was "Everything to Me." I was so glad to see the Erwins include this song and loved their take on this song!! Definitely a highlight of the project!

The Erwins are sounding better than ever. You can really tell the growth and maturity of the group. The backing of StowTown Records have really helped them find their place in the industry. They bring a fresh sound and youthful energy. I think they have really solidified their place in Southern Gospel with this release. It's definitely a must-buy of 2016.

Song List -
1. "Up and Out of the Valley"
2. "Only Faith Can See"
3. "He's Still Alive"
4. "Chasing After You"
5. "I Can Through Christ"
6. "Holding on to Me"
7. "Here's My Everything"
8. "The Same Grace"
9. "Everything to Me"
10. "Give It to God"
11. "Clouds"

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Kingdom Heirs Name New Baritone

The Kingdom Heirs announced today their new baritone singer will be Loren Harris. Loren is probably most known in gospel music for his tenure with the Perrys. He also sang with the Wilburns and Ricky Atkinson and Compassion.

Here's the full release from the Kingdom Heirs -

Pigeon Forge, TN — With the sudden departure of baritone Brian Alvey, the Kingdom Heirs have been in search of a new baritone vocalist.

Andy Stringfield, piano player extraordinaire, stepped in vocally and has done an exceptional job doing double duty on the piano and the baritone part as we searched for just the right man for the job.

We are so proud and excited to announce that Loren Harris has accepted the position as the Kingdom Heirs baritone! We welcome Loren, his wife Cindy, and their children Cameron and Kenidy to the Kingdom Heirs family. Help us make them welcome and show our love and support to this wonderful family.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Telling the Story - Higher Call Quartet - CD Review

Sometimes I get introduced to a group through social media that I wouldn't otherwise have a chance to "meet." Recently, that group was Higher Call Quartet based out of North Carolina. The quartet has been together for about 15 years. They were initially founded as the Bread of Life Quartet. Today the group consists of Allen Mays (tenor), Ric Mull (lead), Todd Griffin (baritone), Barry Williams (bass), Allen Furr (bass guitar) and Keith Rummage (piano).

Their most recent release is Telling the Story. If you love traditional male quartets, you will love this project! Gospel fans should recognize most of the songs on this project. I like how even thought you'll know many of the songs, they are a good mix and not ones that are overdone.

It starts with "Plan of Salvation." The group has a really good sound together. The bass feature by Barry Williams is very nice. Then, they go into the popular Gaither Vocal Band song, "Heartbreak Ridge." I've always been a fan of this song, and I really enjoyed Higher Call's version! "Saved by Grace" is another great uptempo song that they sing. The song again really shows the blend of the group. Lead singer Ric Mull takes the verses of the song. He's got a great country sounding voice.

They also featured a great Perrys song, "He Loves to Save." Baritone Todd Griffin is featured on this one and does a great job. Allen Mays, tenor, sings on "Just Another Hill." This was probably the song I was least familiar with on the CD. Allen has a clear tone that is very nice on this song.

"Look for Me" has about a minute long instrumental introduction before a recitation starts. There's a sweet story from a child's perspective about his father and missing conversations with him. After a couple of minute, the group sings the well-known Goodman song. I don't think I'd heard it done this way before, so it was good to hear them change this up a bit. "Living in Canaan Now" was another Goodman song they included!

It was good to hear two hymns on the project, "It Is Well" and "I Love to Tell the Story," which is where the title of the CD comes in.

If you're looking for a new quartet to listen to, definitely check out Telling the Story from Higher Call Quartet!

Song List -
1. "Plan of Salvation"
2. "Heartbreak Ridge"
3. "Just Another Hill"
4. "Song of Victory"
5. "He Loves to Save"
6. "Saved By Grace"
7. "Look For Me"
8. "Living in Canaan Now"
9. "It Is Well"
10. "I Love to Tell the Story"

Saturday, September 17, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - Sept. 17

Here are news items from this week in gospel music -

  • Ed Harper will receive the Lifetime Acheivement Honor from the Southern Gospel Music Guild this month at the National Quartet Convention. He is the president of the Harper Agency, one of the top booking agents in Southern Gospel.
  • Allegiance Trio announced that the single, “I Will Stand” is headed to the silver screen. The song is featured as part of the movie I Will Stand scheduled to premier next week.
  • Last Sunday Jeff Chapman had heart surgery and three stents placed. He is now home recovering but please keep him in your prayers.
  • Don't miss your chance to donate to the Veranda and dunk some of your favorite gospel artists. Check out the NQC Celebrity Dunk Tank Challenge.
  • The Mark Trammell Quartet announced that they are now accepting pre-orders for its new album Full Sail. Go to
Anything I've missed?

Friday, September 16, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - NQC Celebrity Dunk Tank Challenge

Happy Friday to everyone! NQC is fast approaching, and this year it seems there will be a new event for fans to look forward to - the Celebrity Dunk Tank Challenge.

This event will benefit The Veranda, a respite care ministry for families affected by Alzheimers and Dementia. Tim Lovelace, Scotty Inman, Michael, Booth, Josh Singletary and Kirk Talley are the five artists who have agreed to be in the dunk tank. Check out the GoFundMe page to donate and say who you want your throws to go toward.

For today's Fun Clip Friday, Lauren Talley explains a bit more -

Saturday, September 10, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - September 10

Since I've been out of town the past few weeks, this is going to be a bit of a catch up post. Here are some news items that have happened in the past couple of weeks -

  • The LeFevres welcomed two new members, Trent Adams and Josh Townsend. Trent was a police officer for many years. Josh has been traveling with them for several months playing piano but is now an official member. Welcome both of these guys to the LeFevre Quartet!
  • StowTown Records announced the signing of Southern Raised to its roster of artists.
  • The Anchormen announced that lead singer Phillip Hughes is leaving the group. He wants to be off the road so he can better manage his health (diabetes). If you are interested in the position, email
  • Salem Media Group and Singing News Radio announced that Joe Mullins, host of Front Porch Fellowship, has received multiple nominations for this year's International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards. Congratulations!
  • Song Garden Music Group welcomed the Hinson Family to its family of artists.
  • Drew Long is back with Canaan's Crossing. He played with the band previously from 2010-2014. He will be officially back with them in mid-September.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Best of the Fouch Zone

Happy Friday to all! Matt Fouch of Legacy Five released a Best of the Fouch Zone video featuring the Booth Brothers this month.

Check it out below for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Wrapping Up Southern Gospel Picnic 2016 - Silver Dollar City

Well, I am back in the real working world, so my last recap of Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic is a little late coming.

The last day of the picnic wrapped up with me seeing 11th Hour, the Kingsmen and the Isaacs, who typically close out the festival each year.

11th Hour

They started their set with "Mountain Moving Faith," and then Jaquita was featured on "Bound," two great songs from their most recent project.

Then Grant and Amber were featured on the verses of the classic "He'll Roll You Over the Tide." Love hearing them sing this one live!

Amber sang "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" a cappella and wow! She did an incredible job! They sang two more of their most popular songs, "Jesus Is in the House" and "Room With a View" before the end of the set.

Kingsmen Quartet

This was my first chance to see the Kingsmen with new tenor Joshua Horrell. He's doing a great job with them so far and brings a lot of energy on stage. He was featured on "He's All I Need," beautiful job!

It was good to hear a mix of classic Kingsmen with some of their newer songs. They started the set with "Beautiful City" and then sang "Battle Cry" and "I Know" both from their most recent project.

They ended with "Saints Will Rise," which was a fun one to close with!

The Isaacs

The Isaacs took the stage for the last night of the 12-day festival.

They just released their new project Nature's Symphony in 432. They sang several from that project. It was great to hear all of the new songs. They sang a couple of more uptempo ones like "Bird on the Wing," "This Is the Year" and "Rocks." One of my favorites they sang from the new project was "I Love You More." Sonya gave her testimony about her miscarriage and explained where the song came from.

It doesn't get much better than the Isaacs a cappella. They sang "The Lord's Prayer" right before intermission; it was incredible!!

It's good to see the next generation of Isaacs on stage. Levi is playing with his family now and was even featured singing on the John Denver song, "Back Home Again."

They, of course, sang several favorites like "Walk On," "If That Isn't Love," "Stand Still" and "I Have a Father Who Can." They ended the night and the festival with "He Ain't Never Done Me Nothin' But Good." I can't think of a better way to close it!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Day 11 of Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic 2016

Yesterday we made it out to Silver Dollar City in time for the worship service with Dennis Swanberg. It's always a treat to hear him speak. We heard a great message and got our funny bones tickled a bit.

After the morning worship, we caught four other artists on park. Here's a recap of the day -

The Lesters

This was my first chance to see the Lesters again as a family group with Bailee Lester singing with them now. She is doing a fantastic job with them!

They opened with "When We All Get to Heaven" and then sang "Hold on Tight." Bailee was then featured on "Blessed Beyond Measure," love this song!

Brian said that he had a 10-year-old request a song at the table and any time a 10-year-old requests that they sing a song, he was going to do it. He loved seeing young people interested in Southern Gospel music. He said that Bailee had never sung this before, but they were going to try it. It was actually a medley arrangement of their hits like "Ain't God Good" and "Camp Meeting," for their reunion CD.

They sang "He Is" and then a great a cappella arrangement of "I Sing the Mighty Power of God" to end the set!

The Dunaways

After the Lesters, we made our way to the Opera House for the Dunaways. They had Jason Davidson singing with them for the weekend. He's a great vocalist and was featured on a song entitled, "Forgiveness."

They sang a lot of favorites like "Again and Again," "Church in the Kitchen" and "Didn't I Walk on the Water," which is a personal favorite!

They brought up the tempo a bit with "Muddy Mississippi," a fun one to see live. They also sang "When My Tears Wash the Scars," I don't remember hearing this one before. It's such a beautiful song!

Gordon Mote

I first saw Gordon Mote live a couple of years ago at Silver Dollar City, so it was a treat to see him again. He said that he was at Silver Dollar City today and then would be helping an up and coming country artist named Brad Paisley in the studio. He's played on so many country artists' projects, such a great talent!

He sang several from his recent hymns project, "Power in the Blood" and "Just a Closer Walk With Thee." He did an instrumental version of "When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder." It was a more jazzed up version of the hymn. He said that when he first played it for his mom she didn't recognize it and still wasn't sure she was a fan of this version, but the audience loved it!

He sang a few favorites before the end of his set, "Call Me Gone" and "Mercy Walked In," loved hearing these live!

Jeff and Sheri Easter

Dennis Swanberg opened for Jeff and Sheri to get the crowd going. It was good to hear him again doing more of his comedy stories, got to hear some I hadn't heard before!

Jeff and Sheri took the stage with their #1 "Small Town Someone," love this song!! Then they sang "Over and Over," and then Morgan was featured on "Someone's Listening," great song and reminder of how God hears us and gives us encouragement in sometime unexpected ways.

They did some instrumentals of "Amazing Grace," with Jeff on harmonica and then "The Lighthouse" and "I'll Fly Away, featuring Jared, who played about five different instruments on stage!

Sheri read an excerpt from one of her devotional books to set up "Jesus Loves You." I love this song!! Such a beautiful reminder of when we don't feel loved and feel alone, He loves us with an amazing and everlasting love, and we are engraved on the palm of His hand.

You never know who Jeff might pull on stage or what he might do in the second half. He'd helped a Keith Welcher make a CD at their studio in Lincolnton, so he let him play the guitar for the audience to start the second half.  He also brought up Mike, the stage manager for Echo Hollow, to sing lead on "Victory in Jesus." He did a great job! Then a young couple was celebrating their fifth anniversary by seeing Jeff and Sheri, so he let her join them on "Sitting on Top of the World."

They took several requests from the audience and sang "Roses Will Bloom Again," "Hallelujah From the Valley," "Party Time," "Lord, Send Your Angels" and "Thread of Hope," a personal favorite! They ended the night with "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me." They had the audience stand on its feet and join them for the last part of the song.

I can't believe it's almost over, today is the last day of Southern Gospel Picnic!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Day 10 of Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic - 2016

It's Labor Day Weekend, and you couldn't ask for nicer weather this weekend in the Ozarks. As someone who has survived Southern Gospel Picnic in the rain and 100+ degrees, I appreciate the sun and 80-degree temperatures.

Today I was later going out to the park, so I caught one other group before the evening concert with New Road and the Booth Brothers.

The Diplomats

I've forgotten how talented the Diplomats are. There were about seven different instruments on stage that the group played throughout the set. 

The quartet opened with "Meet Me Over on the Other Side" and then sang "Walking With Jesus," always a fun one!

Alex showed off his bass vocals on "Rainbow of Love." He gets better each time I see him! Corey also nailed the high part at the end!

After the song, Duane Garren, who has been the emcee for the festival, came out and interrupted the show asking them to show off the youngsters of the group more. He wanted to hear a bit more bluegrass. He called them the Georgia Skillet Lickers. They sang "When the Sun of My Life Goes Down."

They ended the set with the Goodman classic "I Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now."

New Road

I've been able to see this group for the past couple of years now. They are from the area, and one of the most impressive things about this group is the use of all live music.

They sang a lot of great songs you would recognize like "Meet Me at the Table," "Wedding Music," "What a Beautiful Day" and "I'm Rich."

Their tenor singer did an incredible job on "Oh What a Savior." They ended their time with "I Would Crawl All the Way to the River."

Booth Brothers

The Booth Brothers brought in the largest crowd so far this week! They are always a favorite at Silver Dollar City, and this is normally the one time of year I get to see them.

They opened the night with "Sail On" and then sang one of their most requested songs, "The Blind Man Saw It All."

Paul was featured on "Touch of the Master's Hand," love this song!! After the song, Michael said that they had to stop for a minute. He said there had been a large bug on stage that looked like a stick. They looked for the bug and found it on the guitar behind them. A lady from the front row came up to the stage and got it for them! Haha! Michael then said that he needed a picture with her. She stopped for a photo and held up the walking stick bug to him, and he changed his mind and walked back to the stage. LOL

With the bug problem resolved, they got back to singing. They sang their version of "Happy Rhythm," a gospel jazz, and then "All Over the World," which has a Latin feel to it.

Michael shared the story of his wife and how she grew up not knowing or understanding the love of father. He then sang a song that was written about her story, "Wildflower."

They ended the first half with "Jesus Saves," and what an incredible moment of worship that was! The crowd was on its feet singing and worshipping along with the group.

The Booth Brothers pulled out some instruments of their own for the second half and sang a few more country flavored songs, "Life Is Like a Mountain Railway," "High Cotton" and "Down By the River." They sang one more, "It Is No Secret," before bringing back New Road to the stage to sing a play a few more to end the night.

The Booth Brothers never disappoint! Only two days of the picnic left!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Feeling Happy on Day 9 - Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic 2016

It's Day 9 of Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic, and things are winding down. And as much as I love this, I am wearing out. I still managed to see six groups today, three trios, a family group and two quartets.

I'm sorry that I feel like my recaps are getting shorter and shorter, but here is how my day went -

Greater Vision

My day began at the park at the 12:30 p.m. Greater Vision show. They started with the fan favorite "My Name Is Lazarus."

They also sang a few newer ones like "The Blood Hasn't Ever Changed," "I Do Know" and "Put Out the Fire."

Gerald said he had some requests to play the piano so he accompanied Chris as he sang "Like I Wish I'd Lived in the Past," such a great song! They ended the set with "When They Ring the Bells of Heaven."


This was my first time seeing the group since Leslie left earlier this year. They opened with their single, "He Won't Fail You." Loved hearing this one live. Chris was featured on another one from their latest release, "Somebody's Praying."

They sang a few familiar favorites like "Joy Bells" and "My, My, My." They also sang a couple of classics, "Victory in Jesus," where they had the audience join in, and "I Believe in a Hill Called Mt. Calvary," love their version of this song!

They ended with "We Are Not Ashamed," such a powerful song!


From the Taylors, I went to see the second family group of the day, The Goulds. This family is from the Joplin, Missouri area so not far from Silver Dollar City. They opened with "Bigger Than Any Mountain" and then sang "Glory Hallelujah Song."

Kelsey and Kristen sang "This Is the Stuff" accompanied by their dad on guitar. This is a song made popular by contemporary artist Francesca Battestelli. It's a great song about how God can be in the little interruptions in our lives.

They sang a few hymns, "In the Sweet By and By" and "At Calvary," which they did a cappella. Tim told Kristen to pick a note and start it. He joked that when he told her to do that he could either end up like J.D. Sumner or Ernie Haase. He sounded just like Tim Gould this time! :)

Downing Family

The Downing Family is from Oklahoma. I think I remember seeing them a few years ago at Silver Dollar City. They have a more bluegrass sound to them and use all live instruments on stage.

They opened with "The Grass Will Be Greener." They then let the next generation of their family come up and sing "He Holds Me in His Hands."

They sang a song made popular by the Isaacs, "If That Don't Make You Wanna Go." One of the daughters writes a lot of their music. She wrote a song from the viewpoint of the child who died as a baby about growing up in Heaven, such a beautiful, touching song!

They ended their set with "Walk the Sea With Me."

New South

New South was awarded Branson's favorite gospel group last year. This quartet performs nightly at the Grand Country Music Hall. You might recognize of their quartet members, David Ragan, who has sung with a few gospel groups. They opened with "Riding High."

They talked about the history of the Foggy River Boys in Branson and paid tribute to them with a few songs, "Low Down Chariot" and "Glory Road."

They brought out their comedian from the show, Jamie Hagee, who did entertain at Silver Dollar City for a number of years. He was featured on "By the Time."

They sang a few more classics like "The Lighthouse," "Getting Ready to Leave This World" and "Just a Little Talk With Jesus."

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound

Last year was my first time seeing this group live in person. They sang mostly songs from their recent hymns CD and Happy People.

They opened with "One of These Mornings" and then Devin was featured on "He Hideth My Soul."

They sang "Noah Found Grace in the Eyes of the Lord," which is always a fun one to hear them sing live!

But I loved hearing all the hymns that they sang from their Fanny Crosby hymn sing! Paul and Ernie were featured on "Blessed Assurance," one of my all-time favorite hymns. They also sang "Near the Cross," "Redeemed" and "I Am Thine Oh Lord."

It wouldn't be a night with EHSS without "Oh What a Savior," which they did right before intermission and had the crowd on its feet. They also sang a few Cathedrals classics like "Step Into the Water." Once they started "Step Into the Water," the audience immediately started clapping.

They featured piano player Tyler Vestal not only with an instrumental but also turned him loose to sing "Who Am I." He did an outstanding job!

It was also good to hear "A Soldier Fighting to Go Home" and "Jesus Changed Everything Live."

They ended with a reprise of "Happy People" that they sang in the first half.

Three more days of the festival left!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Family Day - Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic - Day 8 2016

It seemed to be family day at Silver Dollar City yesterday. I got to see four different family groups and one soloist. Here's a recap of the day -

The Nelons

I made it out to Silver Dollar City in time to catch the Nelons' last show of the day. They started the set with "I Think I'll Read It Again" from one of their new projects.

It was good to hear them sing a lot of classics like "Because He Lives" and "Down to the River to Pray." They sang a little snippet of "Going Home With Jesus."

It's great hearing more from Autumn. She has such a pure, bluegrassy voice. She was featured on the hymn "Blessed Assurance."

Kelly sang "Take My Hand, Precious Lord," love this classic song! Amber ended their set with "Then Came the Morning," which is such a powerful song that she knocks out of the park!

Reggie Saddler Family

The Reggie Saddler Family took the stage at Red Gold Hall that afternoon. They did several of their more popular songs like "I've Got Me a Home" and "The Real Thing."

Ingra, Reggie's daugther who is newly engaged, was featured on several songs including "Home" and "We've Got to Tell the Truth." She has a beautiful voice!

Reggie did a special salute to all the veterans and military personnel in the audience. He had the medley of all the branches of service playing and gave tribute to each branch as the song played.

The Freemans

It had been a while since I'd seen the Freemans live in concert. They started with "Voice in the Desert."

Darrell was featured on a couple of songs, "The Next Step" and "Lead Me Home," which they closed with. Love that great song! They paid tribute to his mom with the song.

It was good to hear Misty and Caylon sing "Water Grave." Also, I loved that they staged "He'd Still Been God." It had been a while since I'd heard them sing this one live!

Chris also paid tribute to the Hinsons with "The Lighthouse." Love hearing her sing this one!

Pat Barker

Pat opened the night in Echo Hollow. This was my first chance to see him as a soloist. He started the night with "Ain't God Good." He sang several others from his new solo CD release, "It's a Miracle" and "Heaven Is Real," which has a cool 40s sound. He also sang "I Can See (Emmaus Road)," awesome song!! 

He also wrote a song for the occasion to help calm his nerves, check it out on the Singing News Facebook page.

He also sang one where the Guardians joined him on the track. As he was singing several policemen started walking down the aisle to a reserved section. And the audience responded by standing and clapping. Pat joked after it was over that he wanted to use a photo of the audience standing and clapping during his set. But Pat got a standing ovation of his own before the night was over.

Pat told the story of how he started singing "How Big Is God," which is probably his most requested song. He started singing it at Silver Dollar City when he was with the Dixie Echoes, so he said it was only fitting that he close his set with it. The audience loved it and so did I! Love hearing him sing this live!

Before the Martins took the stage, Silver Dollar City paid tribute to Aaron Pearson, a police officer who was injured in the line of duty. It was a touching tribute to him and all public service personnel. I'll post a video soon! Allen Asbury then sang "Somebody's Praying Me Through."

The Martins

Every time I get to see the Martins at Silver Dollar City, it brings back so many memories. This is the group that helped me discover Southern Gospel. I was sitting on the front row, right side at Echo Hollow as a high school teen watching them sing, and I fell in love with this music.

It was so good to hear them sing so many of their classic songs last night like "No Not One," "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever" and "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho."

They opened the night with "Out of His Great Love" a cappella. No one sings a cappella like they do! They sang several others a cappella including the "Riverside Medley," "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "Shut De Door."

They also sang "The Promise," which I was so glad to hear! This is my favorite song that they sing!! They also brought out an older one, "Except for Grace," such a beautiful song.

Of course, they also had the audience on its feet standing and clapping along with songs like "Love's Gonna Drive This Train" and "So High," which they closed with. Pat came out and joined them on this one! It was such a great night!

Only four more days left!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

A Soloist, A Duo, A Trio and a Quartet - Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic 2016

A soloist, a duo, a trio and a quartet all walk into a theme park ... kinda sounds like the start of a joke and probably not a very good one at that. But yesterday all of these groups walked into a theme part and spent the day singing Southern Gospel.

Wednesday, I covered all the bases by seeing a soloist, a duo, a trio and a quartet. I got out to the park in the early afternoon and was able to see four different artists. Here's how my day went -

Jim Brady Trio

I went straight to Red Gold Hall when I got to Silver Dollar City. I was anxious to see the Jim Brady Trio with new singer Layke Jones. He's only 22, but sounds like a seasoned singer, incredible young talent! Layke was featured on "When He Saved Me." 

They started the set with "Stepping Out in Faith" and then sang the Booth Brothers song, "I Have an Anchor."

They sang "Tell Me" with a special guest that had been traveling with them for the weekend, Jim's sister Marla. I've always been a fan of this song when Melissa did it with the Booth Brothers, so I was glad they staged it! The trio ended the set with "Half That's Never Been Told."

Wilburn and Wilburn

It was great to get a chance to see this father/ son duo again. They featured Jordan on several of their hit songs including, "Help Me Help Someone." I didn't realize the lead singer for Rascal Flatts wrote this song. 

They also got the crowd going with "I John, Saw a Mighty Number." Jonathan really cut loose on this one! They also sang "Nobody Like Jesus," another great uptempo one!

They closed with "You Asked Him to Leave," which has probably become their most requested song!

Mark Bishop

Mark Bishop opened the night in Echo Hollow with "Listening for the Call." He sang one song from his latest project, "Pick Me Up and Carry Me."

He also sang a few of his more well-known songs like "I Can Rejoice," "Can I Pray for You" and "I Got Here Just as Fast as I Could."

He sang a few of my favorites like, "Pray on the Little Days" and "My Name is Jesus," which he closed with! Love this song!

Legacy Five

They opened their set with "Great Day" and then really got the crowd going with "He Made a Change." They turned it around and repeated the chorus with the audience clapping and singing along.

Josh was featured on the Goodman classic "What a Lovely Name." They also sang one of the first songs that Scott Fowler sang with the Cathedrals, "After While" with just piano.

They sang one of my favorites, "I Found Grace." Then Matt was featured on "I'll Keep Working, Watching, Waiting for the King," love this one as well!

They ended the first half with the audience standing up through both of the last two songs. Trey played "God Bless America" and then they went into the "Hallelujah Chorus."

They came back after intermission and sang "Great Medley," "His Name is Wonderful" and "Who Is This Man."

Ready for Day 8 tomorrow, only five days left now!