Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Getting in the Christmas Spirit with Jeff and Sheri Easter

Jeff and Sheri Easter is one of the groups that has made a stop in Arkansas recently. They were the first artist I got to hear break out the Christmas music.

Here are highlights of the night - 
  • "Small Town Someone" - They opened the night with this song. It's a favorite of mine from their latest project. 
  • "Someone's Listening" - Love hearing Morgan sing this song, another great one from Small Town.
  • Live music - It's refreshing to see a group play several different instruments live on stage with Landan Smith on drums, Jeff on keys and harmonica and Jared Easter playing so many instruments I lost count (a few were guitar, steel guitar, mandolin and banjo)! It's great to see them incorporate so many different instruments into their lineup. 
  • "Jesus Loves You" - I love this song. It never fails to minister to me. Sheri always sets this song up so beautifully reading from her devotional book and the inspiration for the song. The idea of the song is simple, something we have heard all our lives, but it's something we all need to hear.
  • The Snake Song - The pastor made a joke early in the night about getting the snakes out later on. Jeff sang the song his uncle Ed wrote about singing at a church one time with snake handling. It always gets great laughs from the audience!
  • "I'll Be Home With Bells On"- They started the second half with this song. Loved getting to hear a few Christmas favorites. 
  • "The Greatest Gift of All" - This was so sweet seeing Jeff and Sheri sing this song to each other. It was the song that Jeff had playing when he gave Sheri her engagement ring.
  • "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me" - Sheri talked about having an attitude of gratitude. The song thanks God for the simple things that we so many times take for granted. Jeff's dad wrote the song as a new Christian when he didn't have much, but he had an attitude of gratitude for every blessing.
It was a great night of laughs, uplifting music and words of encouragement. If you get the chance to see Jeff and Sheri Easter in your area, don't miss it!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - November 26

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

  • Bryan Hutson announced this week his plans to leave Soul'd Out Quartet. Please be in prayer for him and the quartet as they go through this transition.
  • The Jordan Family Band has signed with Skyland Records, an imprint of the Crossroads Label Group. The group is based in Calhoun, Georgia.
  • Daywind Instrumental announced the addition of Josh Singletary (Tribute Quartet) to its roster. Josh released his first project Hymns From Home on November 25.
  • Please keep Paul Heill and his family in your prayers. His mother passed away on Wednesday. The service will be held next Wednesday in Pennsylvania.
  • Please be in prayer for the Clark Family. The Nelons' Jason Clark's mom had a heart attack on Thursday and is in critical condition. She will have to undergo open heart surgery soon. 
Anything I've missed?

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! I saw Jeff and Sheri Easter Friday night. Sheri talked about choosing an "attitude of gratitude" every day. So many times it's easy for me to focus on what I don't have and what I want. I don't take time often enough to thank God for all that He has given me when I deserve nothing. May we not only have that attitude of gratitude today but every day.

This is one of the best Thanksgivings songs I know - "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me." Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Spoken 4 Quartet - Concert Recap

Spoken 4 Quartet was in Hot Springs Village last Sunday night. This quartet is based in Branson, Missouri and has been together for about 10 years now. The group consists of Brandon Britton, Jon Charles Taggart, Steven Hickingbotham and Cecil Stringer.

It's always great to see these guys and see their hearts for the ministry. They are never afraid to stand for the truth of God's Word. They boldly proclaim him through song and through their own personal testimonies -

Here are highlights -
  • "Grace Runs Deeper" - This was actually the song they ended the night on, but I love this song from their last project. Jon Charles does such an incredible job on this song. 
  • "There Is a Light" - Cecil showed off his bass singing skills on this song. If you haven't heard Cecil, he's one of the best!
  • "When the King Comes to Claim His Throne"
  • The quartet sang a few hymns like "Blessed Assurance" and "Because He Lives." I think I along with the rest of the audience always enjoys when a group pulls out a hymn.
  • "When He Set Me Free"
  • "He Was There All the Time" - Before this song, Steven shared his testimony about how his parents faithfully prayed for him during a time when he was far from God. It was a touching testament of how God was always there with a plan and purpose for his life. 
  • "Oh What a Savior" - Brandon shared his testimony before this song. He talked about his struggle with depression, suicidal thoughts and his mom's death because of suicide. He talked about how God helped him through it and how thankful he was for a Savior like Jesus.
With Spoken 4, I love their singing, but I love how they always show their hearts and are willing to share their stories for the glory of God. If you haven't seen this group before, you are in for a treat! Check out to see if they are in your area soon. For people in Arkansas and Southern Missouri, they have two big event coming up soon -

  • Dec. 11 - Homer Lee & Friends - Christmas Homecoming at Hamner Barber Theater in Branson
  • Dec. 18 - Spoken 4 Quartet Homecoming at Ozark Mountain Assembly of God Church in Kimberling City

Monday, November 21, 2016

Changes for Soul'd Out Quartet

Bryan Hutson announced today that he will be leaving Soul'd Out Quartet and focusing on a different ministry. He has been with the group since 2011. He put this message on his Facebook page -

I want to thank everyone who has embraced me and my family over these last nearly 24 years in full time gospel music.

For sometime now, I have felt God’s leading into a different avenue of ministry. To be transparent, I am not completely sure what avenue that is but God always reveals Himself in His timing. I am sure though that the time has come to make a change.

I’ve had the privilege to work with some of the best men in the Southern Gospel industry. I value my time with the Heartland Boys to my nearly 10 years with the Kingsmen. I also have had the privilege to minister next to Dusty Barrett, Matt Fouch, Ian Owens, Michael Howard and Zach Lloyd (Soul’d Out Quartet).

My hope for the future is to continue to minister/sing in whatever form that becomes in an environment that is passionate about reaching lost people and helping others grow in their walk with The Lord. I remain passionate about encouraging men to be men of integrity and fighting for their marriage and family.

From now until the New Year, I will be ministering with my wife, Yvonne, on select dates that can be found on our Facebook page Rescue Me Ministries or Friends of Bryan Hutson.

Our family covets your prayers during this season of change.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - November 19

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

  • Jason Crabb has partnered with New Day Christian Distributers to make his Jase the Crabb children's book series available to the Christian retail market. Lifeway Christian Stores and independent retailers will carry the series along with the Jase® the Crabb plush figure. 
  • Prayers requested for Soul'd Out's Ian Owens' son Liam who has a tumor called a polyp lesion in his bowel. He will have to have surgery for removal next week. 
  • The Music City Show will have taping for its fifth season on Monday and Tuesday. Guests include Triumphant Quartet, Lauren Talley, Brian Free & Assurance and more! Reserve your tickets now by emailing: tickets@themusiccityshow.com. 
  • Allegiance Trio announced a new video series that they will be launching to go along with the release of their new album. See the full video of the announcement.
  • Cliff Barrows passed away at the age of 93 this week. He was the music and program director for Billy Graham Crusades. 

Anything I've missed?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

11th Hour on the 11th - Concert Recap

Last Friday was Veterans Day, 11/11, so it was only fitting that I see 11th Hour following through on the 11 theme. They were in Ward, Arkansas that night at Dayspring Baptist Church. The church has several concerts throughout the year and this was their last one for 2016.

The current lineup of 11th Hour is Amber Eppinette, Jaquita Lindsey and Grant Gibson. I love the sound that these three have together. They might be younger than most groups on the road, but they do an incredible job of communicating timeless lyrics with wisdom beyond their years.

11th Hour sang several songs from What a Moment, one of my personal favorite releases of 2016. Here are some highlights of the night -

  • "He Welcomes the Beggar" - I love this song, and this was my first time to see them sing the song live. I'm so glad to see them staging it!
  • "He'll Roll You Over the Tide" - I first heard them sing this one back in February. It had an incredible response from the audience. Then they staged it again at NQC. This young group does an incredible job on bringing new life to this classic and really making it resonate with a younger audience.
  • "He Sees What We Don't" - Every time I hear this song live, it's always going to be a highlight. This song never fails to speak to me. Incredible message, and Amber always communicates it so well!
  • "How Will You Plead" - Great song written by Amber and Dianne Wilkinson

They sang a really good mix of some of their most well-known songs like "Bloodline" and "Room With a View." It was also good to hear them stage a few of their first big songs like "Tomb to a Table" and "Adam's Fall." I had not heard Grant sing "Tomb to a Table" before; I'm glad they are doing that one live. I was also really glad that someone had asked to hear "Adam's Fall."

They also sang several more from What a Moment like "Can You Burn," "Mountain Moving Faith" and "I Am Bound." 

This lineup of 11th Hour has now been together for several years, and I think they are sounding better than ever! Be sure to check out their schedule and don't miss them if they are near you in concert!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Life Is Good - The Hoppers - CD Review

It's hard to believe that it's been four years since the Hoppers have released a CD. In those four years, the family has had some challenges with the health of Connie and Claude, but both are now doing well. The family has also added Karlye into the lineup full-time since the last release. It's just getting better for the Hoppers, and they are proving that "life is good."

Life Is Good was one of the last projects that Lari Goss worked on. After his passing, they brought in Lari's brother Roni to help them finish the album.

"Jesus, The One" was the first single from the project. The song went #1 for the group in August and had already gotten a lot of recognition even before the album release. It's definitely a highlight of the project.

The title track "Life Is Good" will remind you of the simple pleasures in life. Life is good, because God is. The uptempo track can't help but put you in a good mood.

Connie is featured on both "Grace Will Get to You" and "Before the Sun Goes Down." My favorite of the two is the latter. The song is really classic Connie. I hope that this one works its way into live concerts. Claude also steps up with the feature on the Rusty Goodman classic "Until You've Known the Love of God.

Kim shows why she's been the favorite female vocalist for so long on "Walk Two." Not only does she have a powerhouse voice, but she communicates lyrics so well.

"If We Ever Gotta Look" is one of my personal favorites. I think this song struck a chord with a lot of people when the Hoppers sang it at NQC. It's their new radio single, and I can see why. If we could see what Heaven is like, why would we ever want to stay here?

Karlye sings "My Ransom," a beautiful song that really shows what a great talent she has. The arrangement is simple to really let her vocals shine. She has a great future ahead of her!

We get to hear from Dean on "By and By." He and Karlye share the verses on this song. This is another great uptempo song. It's one that I found myself hitting repeat on.

Some things are just worth the wait. Even though it's been four years since their last release, this project is definitely one of my favorites from the beloved family group. It's a must buy CD of 2016.

Song List -
1. "Jesus, The One"
2. "Life Is Good"
3. "Grace Will Get to You"
4. "Walk Two"
5. "Brethren We Have Met to Worship"
6. "If We Ever Gotta Look"
7. "Until You've Known the Love of God"
8. "Song of Moses"
9. "My Ransom"
10. "By and By"
11. "Before the Sun Goes Down"

Saturday, November 12, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - November 12

Here are news and tidbits from this week in gospel music -

  • Stowtown Records added the Guardians to its roster of artists this week.
  • Rick and Phyllis Webb were honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine from North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory for their 40 years of ministry and service. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award is the highest award given to a civilian who has a proven record of extraordinary service to North Carolina.
  • Allegiance Trio performed at The Moving Wall, a half-size replica of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial this past week in Tennessee. The group sang “I Will Stand.” The event was hosted by Springfield Memorial Gardens in Robertson County, Tennessee.
  • Song Garden Music Group announced the addition The Sounds of Jericho to its artist roster this week.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - On the Couch with Fouch

Happy Friday everyone! This has been one of those weeks where real life got in the way of blogging. I just got back from a work conference out of town, so things were a little crazy. But at least, today is Friday and I have a clip to share!

Matt Fouch has moved his popular On the Couch with Fouch Series to Facebook. Check out this month's video with members of the Ball Brothers.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - November 5

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

  • Ray Lewis passed away October 30 at the age of 79. Ray was a well-known songwriter in the industry. Ray was instrumental in the development of the Chestnut Mound Music catalog for the Eddie Crook Company for more than 10 years. The service will be held Monday in Nashville.
  • The winners of the 2016 Songwriter Search have been announced. The Erwins, Kingsmen and Talleys have selected each a song to record. Congratulations to Debbie Davis and Bernadette Negus, Kevin Woolard and Melanie Watson and Bernadette Negus.  
  • Oakland City University honored Kim and Dean Hopper a Honorary Doctorate of Music. Congratulations to Dean and Kim!
Anything I've missed?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - McKameys at NQC

Happy Friday to everyone!

The National Quartet Convention Facebook page has been sharing a few clips from this year's NQC. Here's one that the convention shared recently of the McKameys on the main stage. Enjoy!

Be sure to watch their Facebook page for more clips, and the On Demand is still available for subscribers!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Family Harmony & Stronger Together - The Nelons - Double CD Review

The Nelons released two projects late this summer, Family Harmony and Stronger Together. The group previously released an EP of some of the songs on Stronger Together, but decided to release 18 songs on these two projects at the same time.

So let's look at each project -

Family Harmony

  • "I Just Can't Make It By Myself" is a great remake of the Cathedrals classic. I like the family group spin on this quartet song. They also pull out another Cathedrals song with "Suppertime" that features Jason.
  • "Imagine Alleluia" is one that I kept hitting repeat on. Jason wrote this song that features Amber. It's a beautiful song that describes the picture of Heaven and the worship that will occur there.
  • Kelly is featured on "Greater Things," a great ballad that I can see doing well on Southern Gospel radio. It's a great reminder that the best is yet to come for us.
  • Autumn has really come into her own. I love her feature "When Grandpa Sang Amazing Grace" to show her more country, bluegrass voice.
  • Jason wrote three of the nine songs on this project, some of the strongest ones on the CD.
  • "Days of Jericho" is stylistically different from most of the other songs but it was another highlight for me. It reminds me of an uptempo song the Martins might record. 
  • "We Shall Behold Him" - WOW! I remember first hearing Amber sing this one on the 2015 Harmony Honors. The recording is just as impressive.

Stronger Together
  • "My Fathers's House" is a great opener to this project. I love all the harmonies; there are some really nice moments with the sisters.
  • I love Kelly's take on "You Can't Make Old Friends" with Karen Peck Gooch making a special appearance. 
  • Autumn has such a pure, bluegrass voice that really brings a great fresh sound to the Nelons as she has taken her spot with her family. I love her feature "Family Chain."
  • "The Awakening" is an incredible song, an incredible performance. This broadway type song is one that I kept repeating, but it's very different from the rest of the album. I like that they included though, it shows off the musicality of the group.
  • "I Think I'll Read It Again" is a great uptempo song that features Autumn. It's a remake of an old Gold City song.
  • Amber is featured on "Then Came the Morning," another great song that shows off her power vocals.
  • "Angels Hover Near You" is a slow and melodic song that feature the great blend of the entire family.
If I had to pick the stronger of the two of the two albums, I would lean toward Family Harmony. Both projects have some incredible songs and really nice moments. Overall though, I had more favorites on Family Harmony

After hearing all the songs they had to pick from, I can certainly see how they ended up with 18 songs and a two project release. I think both projects are among my favorite releases this year!

Family Harmony Song List

1. "I Just Can't Make It By Myself"
2. "Greater Things"
3. "Days of Jericho"
4. "Imagine Alleluia"
5. "Suppertime"
6. "When Grandpa Sang Amazing Grace"
7. "Don't Give Up on Me"
8. "Songs That Answer Questions"
9. "We Shall Behold Him"

Stronger Together Song List
1. "My Father's House"
2. "One Little Word"
3. "Family Chain"
4. "Then Came the Morning"
5. "Gate of Heaven"
6. "You Can't Make Old Friends"
7. "The Awakening"
8. "I Think I'll Read It Again"
9. "Angels Hover Near You"