Friday, October 28, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - A Cappella Style

Happy Friday to everyone. It's a two clip post for this week. Two groups shared videos of a cappella songs during their travels. The Nelons were in New York City this past week, and Tribute Quartet made the long flight to Ireland. Enjoy both a cappella songs for today's Fun Clip Friday post!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Joylanders - Parables - CD Review

The Joylanders was a name I wasn't familiar with prior to this release. The group is from Tennessee and has actually been around for more than 40 years. The family group now has three generations singing, Perry and Nell Wimberly, their daughter Vanessa and son-in-law Jason and their children Jay and Allison.

Parables is the group's first project with Skyland Records. It contains 14 songs. You might recognize several songs on the album from "The Old Rugged Cross" to "Leave It There." With 14 songs, the album is very diverse with several different style songs.

The project opens with the uptempo "Why Don't You Try Jesus." I immediately noticed the great family harmonies this group has!

"There's No Other God" was another standout favorite on this project. There are definitely moments where the style of the group reminds me of the Nelons. This song is one of those times.

"I'm Checking Out" and "Down in the Valley" are both great songs, more uptempo that use some brass and horns. Then, "Heaven's Ridge" uses bagpipes to start and has a more Celtic feel. This song is so beautiful and melodic. I love the diversity of sounds and styles!

"Without Grace" is a great ballad. It's a great reminder of how we would be nothing without the grace of God.

With 14 songs and all different styles, there is something for everyone on this project! If you haven't heard of the Joylanders, definitely give Parables a listen.

Song List -
1. "Why Don't You Try Jesus"
2. "Leave It There"
3. "Without Grace"
4. "There's No Other God"
5. "I'm Checking Out"
6. "Heaven's Ridge"
7. "I Know Where Home Is"
8. "Come to the Water"
9. "Sunday's Comin'"
10. "Down in the Valley"
11. "Dry Ground"
12. "America, God Bless"
13. "The Old Rugged Cross"
14. "Now I Have Everything"

Monday, October 24, 2016

Names You Might Not Know Yet - Redemptions Plan

Redemptions Plan is a Southern Gospel group from Wilsonville, AL. The group includes Brett Sanders and Jon Ray.

Get to know a little more about this group -

Question - When did you become interested in singing Southern Gospel Music?
Answer - Brett has been raised in Southern Gospel Music and always had a desire to sing. His grandmother has been singing in a southern gospel group for over 50 years. It wasn’t until January 2009, after a battle of drug addiction that Jon found his interest in gospel music.

Q - What are some of your earliest memories of Southern Gospel?
A - Brett’s earliest memories would have to be watching his grandmother sing with their group. Jon’s earliest memory goes back to when he was 5 years old and singing “What A Day” with his Pawpaw.

Q - How did you get started?
A - Both of us were singing solos at our home church and had become really good friends. We were at our adopted grandparents’ house when it was mentioned we should sing together. We discussed it the next weekend at Jon’s house, and that’s where it all began.

Q - How long have you been singing?
A - We both have been singing for a long time. We started singing together February 12, 2016.

Q - What's one thing that you want people who walk away from your concert to know about you?
A - We are just normal good ol’ country boys who enjoy singing and spreading God’s Word.

Q -  Do you have a favorite song you like to sing?
A - We love to sing "Redeemed." It is our testimony.

Q - And what song from another group has ministered to you?
A - "Unforgiven" by Jason Crabb has really touched both of us. With our history this song has really touched us.

Q - What artists have been your biggest influence (musically and/or personally)?
A - The Crabb Family. We can sit and listen to them sing all the time.

Q - What has your favorite memory been so far in ministry?
A - Meeting so many wonderful new people, but our favorite memory so far has been singing on stage with Jeff and Sheri Easter.

Q - What new things are coming up for you?
A - We have our first CD coming out in the next couple of weeks. The name of the CD is By Request because we have been asked by so many family and friends to sing the songs. We also have a few specially written songs we are starting to work on, so hopefully we will have a lot of new releases soon!

For more on Redemptions Plan, go to their website -

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Jordan's River Signs With Lighthouse Media

On September 22, 2016, Jordan's River made a big announcement that they would be signing with Lighthouse Media Group on an extensive management deal. If you are unfamiliar with the name Jordan's River, they are a progressive Southern Gospel trio with a country bluegrass flavor, who love the Lord and have a heart for serving others.

The group currently consists of J. Randy Graham, his wife Belinda and longtime friend Angie Wilson. They released this statement, “We are very happy to announce that we have signed with Andrew Brunet and Lighthouse Media Group for radio promotions, publicity, and CD distribution. We are so grateful to join up with such a hard-working, fine young man.”

Their publicist, Andrew Brunet, said, “Jordan's River is definitely a one-of-a-kind group, you will not find a more-loving, caring trio then what you see right here.”

You will find more information about them via their website at For booking purposes, give them a call at (478)-484-0548.

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - October 22

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

  • The Erwins sang the National Anthem at a Tennessee Titans home football game. You can see a clip of it here.
  • The Singing News announced the first round of finalists in the 2016 Songwriter Search. You can see the full list here. The Top 50 songs in the contest will be announced on Wednesday, October 26.
  • WCKB, a Southern Gospel station based in North Carolina that began on March 11, 1946 with a meeting of three Dunn businessmen, is celebrating 70 years of broadcasting. The station will host an open house from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Friday, October 28.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, October 21, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Jason Crabb and Point of Grace

Happy Friday to everyone! A few weeks ago I got the chance to see Jason Crabb and Point of Grace in concert in Arkansas. To be honest, I was a Point of Grace fan far longer than I have been a Southern Gospel fan. They got their start here in Arkansas. And, I went to college the same place as they did (or at least two of the three).

It was a great night of music and worship. I loved seeing those artists together! Point of Grace has definitely made an impression in the Southern Gospel world. Check out this clip of them on TBN and then a Facebook Live video I did from the concert for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Names You Might Not Know Yet - The Chordsmen Quartet

In the late 70's three brothers The Chordsmen Quartet was formed by three brothers, Thomas, Gary and Keith Jennings. The group traveled for 15 years all over South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in churches and concerts. As life goes, changes came and the group had to leave the road. In 2013, Thomas's sons renewed the group. The group now consists of Jerry Jennings, Harold Jennings, Randy Leslie and Stephen Williams. Get to know a little bit about this group!

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

Jerry Jennings - Of course, I don't remember, but my parents always said when I was born in October 1962, I was at in Greenville S.C. at the old Textile Hall for a Thanksgiving singing. So I guess you could say I was marked from birth to be involved in Southern Gospel music. As I grew older in the 70s we began going to the Charlotte Coliseum Easter singings with groups like The Happy Goodman, The Hinsons, The Oak Ridge Boys, Speer Family, The Lefevres, Jerry Goff, The Cathedrals and many, many more. That's when I really feel in love with the style and harmonies of a quartet. Men like Jerry Goff, Ronnie and Kenny Hinson, George Younce, Glenn Payne and Danny Funderburk were and still are a very big inspiration to me. They always had time to talk to the young fans that wanted to speak them and give encouragement to us.

Q - How did you get started?

Jerry - My dad, Tom Jennings, and his two brothers Keith and Gary began putting a quartet together in the mid 70s so I started on the tambourine at 13 years old. After a short while our drummer left and I began picking up the drums and by the grace of God I learned how to play. I did that for a few years along with practicing the bass guitar, then the bass player position was open so I moved to bass and my brother Harold moved into the drums spot. We traveled like that for a while then the tenor singer left, and I began singing tenor and playing bass for the next 10 years or so.

Q - How long have you been singing?

Jerry - I have been singing and/or  playing for 40 years and I have loved each and every minute and every mile of it!!

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

Jerry - I would like for people to walk away from one of our concerts or church services knowing that I love them.l I care for their souls and that God is right here wanting to give them the gift of eternal life.

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

Jerry - My all time favorite song is "The Lighthouse" by Kenny Hinson. That was my first song I sang in public as a teenager, and I still sing it today. It's one of those songs that has an everlasting message.

Over the past three years that my brother Harold and I have had the group back on the road, I have been singing a song, "I Still Cling To The Old Rugged Cross." I first heard Brian Free's group sing this song, and it really ministered to me. We can try to cling to a lot of things down here on earth, but the only thing that will always be around is the love of my Savior and that's worth clinging to in life.

Q - What artists have been your biggest influence (musically and/or personally)? 

Jerry - I guess hanging around the all night singings there were a lot of artists that I looked up to, but the biggest influence musically was The Hinsons but not just one of them. The whole gang was so awesome. Ronnie and Kenny told me one night backstage that "when you're on stage you are the best in the business, but when you come down form the stage you are nobody special just a servant of God." That has stuck with me all of these years. Personally I would have to say my dad Thomas Jennings. He taught me to laugh, live, love and sing for The Lord. To keep God first in your life and you can't go wrong.

Q - What has been your favorite memory so far in your ministry?

Jerry - There are so many memories in The Chordsmen Ministry, but I have to go back to when my dad, two uncles, my brother and myself were traveling every weekend all over South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia together. But I'm looking forward to many memories of the "RENEWED" Chordsmen.

Q - What new things are coming up for you?

Jerry - We have a few new things coming up this year. We have started planning our first single release ever for TCQ, and we are very excited about it. We are also looking and listening for new songs to record on a new project. We were featured in the SGMA Promoters Association Showcase during NQC week with a wonderful lady Edna Wright. With all that God is doing for TCQ, we are keeping busy, and we love it. Keep us in your prayers that we will always be behind the cross so that He can be seen!!

For more on the Chordsmen, go to

Monday, October 17, 2016

Here For You - Tribute Quartet - CD Review

I'm not going to be surprised to find Here For You in many lists of the top album of 2016. I feel like this is the best album the group has ever produced. It was no wonder that the group featured so many of these songs at NQC a few weeks ago. They have a right to be proud of every song on this project.

Tribute Quartet has had the same lineup since 2011 with tenor Riley Harrison Clark, lead Gary Casto, baritone and piano player Josh Singletary and bass Anthony Davis. Not only has their lineup been steady for the past several years, they still have two of the founding members with Gary and Josh.

The album opens with the title song "Here For You." The song has a long intro and build up. It's a bit more progressive. It has a unique, fun sound to start off the album. We continue with the uptempo songs with "Never Forsaken."

Josh and Anthony share the verses on "Somebody Sing Me That Song." This song has more of a crooner feel to offer a little something different style wise.

Riley has a couple of really great ballads on the project, "When the Prodigal Comes Home" and "Nothing Stops the Savior's Love." The latter is my favorite. What a great reminder that His love can always reach us wherever we are and how undeserving we are of that love! I got to hear this song for the first time in Branson at Silver Dollar City, and I was so impressed and couldn't wait to hear the rest of the album after that tease! Riley also is featured on "God of the Storms." This song is more mid-tempo with a little background banjo for a different sound.

Gary is featured on "Meeting in the Middle of the Air." It's a fun song with a lot of words in the chorus. I can see this going over really well live. However, my favorite of Gary's features is "Grace at Its Best." He and Riley split the verses. Gary also wrote this song with Barbara Huffman. It's a beautiful reminder of the cross, "grace at its best is still the cross."

"Everybody Come See Jesus" shows off a little more banjo along with harmonica. Josh does a great job on this Dianne Wilkinson song.

One song I was really glad to see them sing at NQC was "That's How I Know." It's a story song that will have you snapping along. It's a great feature for Anthony!

The only song that has been previously released is "Jesus Saves." The song was recorded by the Hoppers but they put their own Tribute spin on it.

It's rare in a CD review when I mention every song on the project. This review is an exception, because all the songs are so strong. When you look at the writing credits on this project, it's a "who's who" of writers from Dianne Wilkinson to Wayne Haun to Sonya and Becky Isaacs to Sue Smith.

This is the strongest release to date by this quartet. This is one album you do not want to miss this year!

Song List -
1. "Here For You"
2. "Never Forsaken"
3. "Somebody Sing Me That Song"
4. "When the Prodigal Comes Home"
5. "Meeting in the Middle of the Air"
6. "God of the Storms"
7. "Everybody Come See Jesus"
8. "That's How I Know"
9. "Grace at Its Best"
10. "Jesus Saves"
11. "Nothing Stops the Savior's Love"

Sunday, October 16, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - Oct. 16

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

  • The Dove Awards were held this week in Nashville. The awards show will air tonight on TBN at 9 p.m., Central. Congratulations to these Southern Gospel winners - 
    • Southern Gospel Artist of the Year - Karen Peck & New River, Daywind Record
    • Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year - “I Am Blessed" by Karen Peck & New River; (writers) Karen Peck Gooch, Kenna West, Michael Farren 
    • Country Recorded Song of the Year  - "Small Town Someone (Lunch)" Jeff & Sheri Easter; (writers) Sheri Easter, Kenna Turner West, Jason Cox 
    • Southern Gospel Album of the Year - Still, Booth Brothers (producers) Jason Webb, Lari Goss, Ronnie Booth, Michael Booth, Jim Brady 
    • Bluegrass/Country Album of the Year Small Town, Jeff & Sheri Easter (producers) Madison Easter, Greg Cole, Jeff & Sheri Easter 
    • Choral Collection of the Year - Southern Gospel Songs (10 New, Emerging and Classic Hits for Southern Gospel Choir) (arranger & orchestrator) Marty Hamby 
    • Long Form Video of the Year Hymns That Are Important To Us, Joey + Rory, (director) Daniel Grace (producers) Aaron Carnahan, Joel McAfee, Bill Gaither
  • Prayers go out to Devin McGlamery of Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. He lost his father suddenly after a possible stroke. 
  • Congratulations to Kasey (Allegiance Trio) and Haley Kemp who welcomed their first baby, a daughter, Avaline, on October 11. She was 8 pounds, 7 ounces. Both mother and baby are doing well. 
  • Squire Parsons was honored with The Order of the Long Leaf Pine on Oct. 5. The event took place at Trinity Baptist Church in Asheville, North Carolina. According to the The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Society the award is among the most prestigious awards conferred by the Governor of North Carolina. It is awarded to persons for exemplary service to the State of North Carolina and their communities that is above and beyond the call of duty and which has made a significant impact and strengthened North Carolin,
Anything I've missed?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Ball Brothers

Dollywood is now in the middle of their National Southern Gospel and Harvest Celebration. They have Southern Gospel artists on park each day singing. The Singing News has been there and has been sharing videos on Facebook.

For today's Fun Clip Friday, check out this video of the Ball Brothers! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Church - 2nd Generation - CD Review

2nd Generation is a trio based in Arkansas. The group consists of sisters Brenda Denney and Elaine Robinson and Randy Barnes. This is a group that I have had the pleasure of getting to know since starting the blog. I have enjoyed getting to see their hearts for ministry. Their latest album was released this summer entitled The Church.

The project starts with "Rock of Ages," which is not the hymn but contains part of the hymn. This is a great uptempo song that sounds like an old convention song.

Randy Barnes is featured on "Mama's Rocking Chair," which is the group's current single. It's such a great song about being raised by a sweet Godly mother who told stories of the Bible as her children grew up. This is one of two Aaron Wilburn cuts on the project. Randy does a great job on this song. He's also featured on "Faces," which is probably my favorite song that Rodney Griffin has ever written.

"All Our Hope" is one of my favorites on this project. Elaine sings this song. I remember hearing it live in concert a few months ago and was blown away. The message is so encouraging, and Elaine does an incredible job in her delivery.

Brenda is featured on the Hemphill song "I Came on Business for the King." I love this song. I know they use this song a lot as a motto for their ministry. I think it sums them up perfectly. Brenda sounds great on this song. It's a great reminder that no matter what we do in life that as Christians we are representatives of Him always.

"I've Got This" is stylistically a different from anything else on the project. I love the tenderness of the song. Brenda sings the message of how no matter what we face God's got this. We all need this reminder from time to time or really every day if you're like me.

"It's a Good Life Living for the Lord" and "We'll Go Down Standing Up" are two great uptempo songs on the project. Both will have you clapping and toe-tapping along.

If you've never heard 2nd Generation, pick up this album today. This is their best album yet! Make sure you check out this trio. I predict only great things ahead for them!

Song List -
1. "Rock of Ages"
2. "The Church"
3. "Mama's Rocking Chair"
4. "I Came on Business for the King"
5. "All Our Hope"
6. "It's a Good Life Living for the Lord"
7. "That Sounds Like Home to Me"
8. "I've Got This"
9. "Faces"
10. "We'll Go Down Standing Up"
11. "It Was a Gospel Song"

Monday, October 10, 2016

Faith in a Great God - Carolina Boys Quartet - CD Review

The Carolina Boys Quartet released Faith in a Great God in September. I'll confess this was not a quartet I was familiar with. The group is based in South Carolina. Patrick Campbell (tenor), Chuck Lowe (lead), Toby Fricks (baritone) and Stephen Jewell (bass) make up the quartet.

The project starts with "For Every Goliath," which is a fun uptempo song. I love the brass on this song. Great way to start the album! "God Made a Way" continues with that uptempo vein.

Then they slow things down with "By a Show of Hands." Tenor Patrick Campbell is featured on this song. This is a great song written by Kristi Fritzwater, Belinda Smith and Lee Black. This songwriting combination is a great team for the Carolina Boys with three cuts on the project.

The quartet goes with a traditional arrangement for "Treasures in Heaven." I've always been a fan of this song and really enjoyed their take on it. This song and "Walk With Me" are the two songs that gospel music fans will definitely be familiar with.

"He Still Moves Mountains for Me" features Toby Fricks. This is a great ballad and a great reminder of the power of God working in our lives today. Another stand out ballad is "The Blood of Jesus" written by Phil Cross. This one features Chuck Lowe.

"I Didn't See Him Rise" is another highlight of the project. This is a great song with beautiful orchestration behind it. "God Shed His Grace on Me" is another great power ballad with a great build up and orchestration. The message and reminders of how amazing God's grace is never get old.

Bass singer Stephen Jewell steps up on the title track. This is another great brass-infused uptempo song. This song is definitely a highlight of the project!

If you're like me and are not familiar with the Carolina Boys Quartet, don't miss out on Faith in a Great God. I can't wait to hear future projects from this group!

Song List -
1. "For Every Goliath"
2. "God Made a Way"
3. "By a Show of Hands"
4. "Treasures in Heaven"
5. "He Still Moves Mountains for Me"
6. "Faith in a Great God"
7. "Blood of Jesus"
8. "I Cried Out"
9. "I Didn't See Him Rise"
10. "When They Had Prayed"
11. "God Shed His Grace on Me"
12. "Walk With Me"

Saturday, October 8, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - October 8

Unfortunately there's a lot of sad news this week. Here's a recap of news from this week -

  • Carolyn Reese, wife of Ray Dean Reese of the Kingsmen, suddenly passed away this week. Her funeral will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 11 in Asheville, North Carolina. Please keep all of the Reese family in your prayers.
  • Jeff Bumgardner's daughter, Ella, had a ruptured brain aneurysm and passed away this week. She was only 10 year old. Jeff is a well-known songwriter in the gospel music community. Please pray for Jeff, his wife and children in the days ahead.
  • Tanya Goodman Sykes shared via Facebook this week that doctors founds some malignancy with an ovarian cyst. Please keep her and the physicians in your prayers as they walk through the next steps of treatment and procedures. She will have surgery on Monday.
  • Daywind Instrumental announced the addition of Jeff Stice to its roster of musicians. His first release is scheduled for early 2017.

Please keep all of these families who are hurting and dealing with sickness and loss in your prayers!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Bowling Family Sisters - At the Cross

Sorry, I've been a bit inconsistent lately. However, I am bringing you a Fun Clip Friday post today. If you missed the National Quartet Convention Saturday night, you missed one of the highlights of the week.

The Bowling Family girls took the stage to sing a familiar hymn, "At the Cross." They sang the hymn arrangement again at Dollywood this week. You can check out the video below! These girls sound incredible together and have a bright future ahead!

Enjoy for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

2016 National Quartet Convention - Saturday Night Recap

The 2016 National Quartet Convention is now complete. It was a great year. I am looking forward to seeing some of the performances again on demand and also catching what I missed Friday night. Here are my thoughts and highlights from the last night of NQC -

Commentary/ Highlights -

  • It was great to see so many of the younger generation in Southern Gospel highlighted tonight. I loved what the Erwins did by having so many of them join them on stage for "I Choose to Be a Christian." It was definitely a highlight of the night. The Bowling sisters singing "At the Cross" was another incredible moment. That sister harmony cannot be beat!
  • The hour of Tribute and Triumphant Quartets were the best of the night. These two groups had the longer sets of the night. Tribute again sang a lot from their new project again. I loved hearing all the new songs; their new project is a must buy! They ended their set with Triumphant joining them on "I Remember the Day." Triumphant then did a lot of favorites and requests. They closed with "He Is," great moment!
  • Gerald Wolfe had some chest congestion so he asked Mark Trammell to join Greater Vision on stage to help him sing. During their set, he said he felt like he could sing bass like J.D. So they did the Cathedrals arrangement of "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" with him singing bass. 
  • I have to say I was expecting more during the finale. I was a little disappointed that several groups didn't come back to the stage and sing some of their hits. 
  • Voices of Lee, though not officially on the program this year, made an appearance during Gordon Mote and Mark Trammell Quartet's sets. They also sang a great arrangement of "Good, Good Father." 

Favorite Songs/ Performances of the Night -

  • "I Choose to Be a Christian" - The Erwins
  • "At the Cross" - Bowling Family (sisters)
  • "Only Jesus Can Heal This Hurting World" - Gordon Mote
  • "Holy Shore" - Perrys
  • "My Faith Still Holds" - Mark Trammell Quartet (with Voices of Lee)
  • "When the Prodigal Comes Home" - Tribute Quartet
  • "He Is" - Triumphant Quartet
  • "His Life for Mine" - The Talleys
  • "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" - Greater Vision with Mark Trammell

Saturday, October 1, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - October 1

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

  • The National Quartet Convention had a press conference on Monday to say that NQC would be held in Pigeon Forge for the next five years.    
  • Here is the full list of Singing News Fan Award winners. The ceremony was held on Wednesday afternoon at NQC.
  • Mark Lowry was named the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Golden Note Award at the ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) Christian Music Awards on Monday night in Nashville. The Golden Note Award is presented to songwriters, composers, and artists who have achieved extraordinary career milestones.
  • Zach Cleghorn is the new lead vocalist for the Anchormen Quartet. He grew up in Arley, Alabama and most recently served as worship pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Athens, Alabama.
Anything I've missed?