Saturday, December 31, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 31

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

  • Congratulations to Joseph Habedank, Michael Farren and Tony Wood who wrote the title cut "Sing It Now" on Reba McEntire's new gospel album due out in early 2017.
  • The Dixie Melody Boys announced the addition of Willie Sawrey as their new baritone singer. Willie, wife, Dana, and their children reside in Mt. Olive, North Carolina. For the last 28 years, Willie sang regionally with the Southern Ambassadors and King’s Messengers. His first official date with the group is tonight.
  • Prayers requested for Jim Brady and family. Jim's older brother, Chuck, was killed in a car accident on Monday.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Top CDs of 2016

It's time to look at the best of 2016. There were many "must-buy" projects this year, but who came out on top? Of the 25 projects I reviewed that were released this year, here's my list of top 10 -

10. Undivided - Master's Voice 
Favorite songs - "Lord of Mercy" and "Everything the Blood Touches"

9. Only Faith Can See - The Erwins
Favorite songs - "Chasing After You" and "He's My Everything"

8. Family Harmony/ Stronger Together - The Nelons
The Nelons released two projects this year on the same day. I went back and forth on this, but decided to call it a tie and put them in the same spot at #8. 
Favorite songs - "We Shall Behold Him," "I Just Can't Make It By Myself," "Family Chain" and "You Can't Make Old Friends"

7. In the Hands of a Carpenter - Legacy Five
Favorite songs - "In the Hands of a Carpenter" and "Grace Will Find You"

6. Life Is Good - The Hoppers
Favorite songs - "Jesus, the One" and "Life Is Good"

5. This Changes Everything - Cana's Voice
Favorite songs - "Jesus Never Fails," "Same Hands" and "All My Reasons Are You"

4. Refreshing - Second-Half Quartet
Favorite songs - "Cheer the Weary Traveler," "Remind Me of Calvary" and "The Prodigal Son"

3. What a Moment - 11th Hour
Favorite songs - "When God Shows Up," "He Welcomes the Beggar" and "I Trust"

2. Nature's Symphony in 432 - The Isaacs
Favorite songs - "Rocks," "I Love You More" and "This Is the Year"

1. Here for You - Tribute Quartet
Favorite songs - "Nothing Stops the Savior's Love," "God of the Storms" and "Somebody Sing Me That Song"

When I first heard Tribute's new project this year, I knew it was the best they had ever released. Every song on the project is worthy of repeating. It was hard just picking the top three of my favorite songs. To me, this was the best CD released in 2016.

What are your top albums of 2016?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Top Moments of 2016

Each year, I enjoy looking back at the top moments of the year. I look back at either memorable concerts or moments that I experienced live either in person or via webcast. This year they were all in person and it seemed that they either occurred toward the beginning of the year or toward the end. Here's a look at the top 5 moments of the year -

5. Home for Christmas Tour - It's no secret that I love all things Christmas, so when two top groups (The Whisnants and the Mark Trammell Quartet) team up for a tour chances are it's going to make the list of top moments. I was able to see them on their first night of the tour this year, and it was the perfect night to put you in the Christmas spirit. Not only was it full of great Christmas songs, but they had a few of their newer songs too that made for some great, worshipful moments. Here's the full recap.

4. Sheri Easter testimony - This was a moment that came early in the year in January actually. Jeff and Sheri Easter were in concert in Sherwood, Arkansas. Sheri spoke candidly about life-defining moments, her breast cancer diagnosis and the death of her father at a young age. Life happens to everyone, but it's what we do about it, how we come through it and the perspective we gain from it. She sang "Jesus Loves You," which made for such a touching moment. Read the full concert recap here.

3.  Crabb Family Reunion Concert - Last year this the moment of the year, and it was definitely one of the best this year as well. I love seeing this family together, knowing how much they have been through together and as individuals. It was an incredible night! It was very nostalgic hearing so many classic Crabb Family songs. Read more on the night here.

2. Tribute Quartet concert on Dec. 1 - Ironically, my first and last concert of the year was Tribute Quartet in Ward, Ark. The church liked them so well in January, they had them back in December. And I'm glad they did. You can read my full recap here, but it was one of the sweetest nights of worship I experienced this year.

1. Gospel Music Hymn Sing in Conroe, Texas - This moment was easy to identify. In October, I got the chance to visit a friend in Houston. It happened to be the same weekend as the Gospel Music Hymn Sing in Conroe, Texas. So I took advantage of that trip to pass through Conroe on my way home, and I'm glad I did! Because of the DVD taping, we were allowed to have our phones our during the concert, so I have no real photos or notes, but it's a night I won't forget. The choir from Mims Baptist was amazing. The artists on stage included Greater Vision, Mark Trammell Quartet, the Whisnants, Karen Peck & New River, Jim Brady Trio, the Mylon Hayes Family, Pat Barker and Stan Whitmire. There was such an incredible spirit that night. I loved the hymn singing, and you could hear the entire congregation singing along. I can't wait for the DVD to release soon.

What are some of the top moments you have seen this year?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Nature's Symphony in 432 - The Isaacs - CD Review

I wanted to squeeze in one more CD review before the end of the year and before I made the list of best albums of the year. The final one for the year is the Isaacs' release Nature Symphony in 432.

The Isaacs released Nature’s Symphony in 432 is recorded in ‘Verdi’s A tuning,’ which is warm and gentle to the ear. Apparently, this is also the natural tuning for animals, like birds singing, whales bellowing explaining a bit more about the title and concept. Several songs have "nature" names - "Fields," "Rocks" and "Bird on the Wing."

Almost every song on the 15-song project was co-written by Becky Bowman and Sonya Yeary. Sonya's husband, Jimmy, also was a co-writer on several.

The first song I heard on this project was "I Love You More" in a live concert setting. I remember that night what an incredible song that was and especially coming off Sonya telling the testimony of the baby she and Jimmy lost. It's such a heartfelt, raw and reflective song about how God doesn't always answer prayers like we want, but ultimately it will draw us closer to him. We will love him more for it. Sonya's performance on this song is just incredible. "Keep Breathing" is another deeply personal song that Sonya delivers so well.

The Isaacs' break out of their typical shell a bit with "Lord of My Heart," which has a more praise and worship style to it. Becky is featured on this song. "Dining With the King" is probably my favorite Becky feature on the project. This song tells the story of Mephibosheth and how David pulled him from poverty showing kindness to him let him dine with the king.

"This Is the Year" is a song that pays tribute to their Jewish heritage about the Year of Jubilee. The end of 2015 to late 2016 was the Year of Jubilee according to Hebrew calendars. The song starts with the blowing of the shofar. It does a great job of featuring all members of the group. It's a great contrast of celebration after a wilderness time in our lives.

The bluegrass is turned up on "Bird on the Wing," which features Sonya. Another country/ bluegrass uptempo song is "God Is Still With Me." It's a fun song to break up a lot of ballads, but still keeps with the same theme of the album.

Lily sings on "I Find It All in You," which is a great ballad that speaks to the peace and rest we find in Christ. "If That's What It Takes" is another heartfelt, tender song featuring Ben. This song is sometimes a scary prayer, asking God to do things to get our attention and humble if it will draw us closer to Him. It's a sweet surrender to God, to do whatever it takes to be closer to Him.

"Rocks" is one of my favorites from this project. It tells the story of the adulterous woman. It's easy to reach down and pick up rocks to throw at people, but think about how our rocks (words) can hurt them and think about the sins in our own lives because we throw rocks at others. It's got a great country feel, and, let's be honest, a great message that we all need to be reminded of.

The project ends with "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" where producer Terry Bradshaw joins them.

I'm going to say that this is the strongest family group project released in 2016. See where it actually ended up on my list of best in 2016 later this week. In the meantime, make sure you pick up a copy of this project if you don't already have it!

Song List -
1. "Nature's Symphony"
2. "Fields"
3. "I Love You More"
4. "Lord of My Heart"
5. "This Is the Year"
6. "Bird on the Wing"
7. "Keep Breathing"
8. "I Find It All in You"
9. "Rocks"
10. "If That's What It Takes"
11. "Yours Amen"
12. "God Is Still With Me"
13. "Dining With the King"
14. "None So Lovely"
15. "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! I hope you are all have a wonderful holiday celebrating the birth of our Savior. Here are a few of my favorite Christmas songs. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

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

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

  • The National Quartet Convention released its initial lineup for 2017. As always, things are subject to change and it's likely that more artists will be added, but you can take a look at the schedule at
  • The Daywind Roots label announced the addition of Misty Freeman. Her project with Daywind Roots will be the first solo release in nearly a decade. The EP should be released in Spring 2017. 
Anything I've missed?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Night of Testimonies and Worship - Tribute Quartet Concert Recap

I kicked off December by seeing the Tribute Quartet in concert. I went in hoping and expecting to hear a lot of Christmas songs, but what I got was so much more.

It was one of those nights where you felt the Spirit moving during the first few notes that were sung. It was a night where you know people walked away changed. I'm thankful for nights like these, where we experience a little bit of Heaven on earth. I'm thankful that Tribute was attentive to the Spirit's leading and didn't just stick to the "plan."

The night started with "Here For You" from their latest project of that title. They sang almost every song off their new CD. It was good to hear so many of those songs live. That project is definitely one of the best of 2016 (see where it ranks on my list next week).

Other songs that they sang from that project were "Jesus Saves," "More than Able," "Everybody Come See Jesus," "Never Forsaken" and "That's How I Know" with several repeats. Each of these new songs is incredible!

Then, they sang "God of the Storms" (also from Here for You). After the song, Riley said that the line, "Troubled waters of danger set a stage for His feet" was one of his favorite lyrics from the new project. "Your circumstance and situation, chances are it's too big for us to handle, but it's in those moments that God shows Himself more faithful than we can imagine," he said. The next lyric goes on to say, "I'm peaceful in the midst of all danger and harm beneath the safe cover of the God of the storms." Riley said that it's a great reminder that we don't have to be discouraged by storms but be encouraged He is in control.

Gary stepped up next to sing "Grace at Its Best," which he actually cowrote with Barbara Huffman. The song is a beautiful picture of the greatest love story. There's no greater picture of grace than the cross itself. It was one of the moments of the night.

During the second half, they started out with a Christmas song, "Jesus, What a Wonderful Child," but they kept getting different requests from the audience. So they decided to skip the Christmas and go with requests, which included "I Remember the Day" and "In the Valley I Can Hear His Voice." Gary said that he's thankful to serve a God who speaks to us even in the valley. He's a God who heals from whatever we might be going through, not just physical, but also spiritual or emotional. Then, Gary sang "I Am Healed." It was such a powerful moment where you felt the presence of the Lord in that little church in Ward, Arkansas.

Gary then led the congregation in "I Am Blessed." We are blessed to have a Savior, blessed to be loved enough for Jesus to pay the ultimate price at Calvary. Gary said that no matter what we face, what we've done or where we have been, nothing can stop the Savior's love from reaching us. Riley then stepped up to sing "Nothing Stops the Savior's Love," one of my favorites from their new project. Such a beautiful reminder of His love for us!

Riley said no matter where people may be tonight, the Savior is always standing there waiting with arms open waiting on us to turn to Him and say that we can't do it on our own. He then started singing "God's Been Good." Through it all God has been good. Even though we know that God is faithful and the many times God has been faithful to us in the past, when we face the storms and difficult situations of life, we can lose sight of that. God has not changed; if He was faithful once, He will be faithful again.

Tribute invited people to share their testimonies. We heard stories of healing and stories of God's power at work. It was incredible to hear several people stand up and share. Riley told the congregation to not only be encouraged by what God has done in your life and in the lives of others, but be encouraged by what God is going to do.

I'm so thankful that this group allowed God to lead them that night. While I would have loved Christmas music, that's not what God had planned, and it's His plan always better? The night was a beautiful worship service and a testimony of God's love and grace.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

In the Hands of a Carpenter - Legacy Five

In the Hands of a Carpenter is the latest release by Legacy Five. This is the first release with Josh Feemster at tenor. Legacy Five is one of the most consistent groups in the industry. This latest release is one of their strongest CDs and one of the top albums of the year.

The project starts with "Deep in My Heart." It definitely has that Legacy Five sound. It has a fun, upbeat feel that features each of the four main vocalists. "What All the Shoutin's About" is in that same vein.

The title track actually features piano player Trey Ivey proving that he's just as capable behind the mic as he is the piano. "In the Hands of a Carpenter" is my favorite song on this project. It was written by Lee Black and Jerry Salley. Lyrically, this song paints such a vivid picture.

Scott Fowler gets a couple of great ballads on this project, "I Trust the Cross" and "Grace Will Find You." The first one has the big ending with a choir backing them up. My favorite of the two is the latter. Scott delivers the tender lyrics of "Grace Will Find You" in the simple arrangement that encourages believers that His grace will always find us no matter what we've done or where we are.

"Still" is a great reminder that no matter what happens God is still on the throne. God never changes no matter what happens in the world around us.

Matt Fouch steps up with "Who Knew." This song has a crooner feel, very different from anything else on the project, but I like that it changes things up a bit.

"Soul Pilot" is a feature for Josh Feemster. I can see this song being really great in a live setting to get the audience going. With the uptempo, you can't help but clap along.

Scott Howard sings the verses of "Lost in God's Grace." He shows why he's one of the most underrated baritone singers in the industry. Jerry Salley and Rebecca Peck wrote this song that really reminds us of the power of His grace.

Legacy Five reminds us all of why they are one of the top quartets in the industry. In the Hands of the Carpenter is one of the strongest project of the year and a must-buy for Southern Gospel fans!

Song List -

1. "Deep in My Heart"
2. "In the Hands of a Carpenter"
3. "I Trust the Cross"
4. "What all the Shoutin's About"
5. "Still"
6. "Who Knew"
7. "Soul Pilot"
8. "Lost in God's Grace"
9. "Grace Will Find You"
10. "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross"

Saturday, December 17, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 17

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

  • Congratulations to Ben Wolfe and Maria Kramer who married on Monday, Dec. 12. The two were married in a private ceremony by Dr. Charles Stanley. 
  • Congratulations to Logan Smith and Jordy Hinson who got engaged at a recent concert!
  • Singing News Magazine along with the Singing News Radio Network announced the Ultimate Talent Search. This contest to discover the next major artist of Southern Gospel music will start in January and will culminate with a "Sing-Off" in the Nashville area in May 2017. For more details, go to
  • Prayers requested for Dean Hopper. Last week, Dean Hopper was taken to the emergency room after experiencing unexplained vertigo symptoms. After several hours of neurological exams, a CT scan, MRI, echocardiogram and an extensive battery of other tests––it was determined that he had suffered two strokes in the cerebellum of the brain within just two days of each other. Thankfully, he has no permanent damage and his arteries are clear.
  • Mark Lowry and Cana's Voice announced a tour this week, Diapers to Depends. The tour will begin in Spring 2017.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Southern Gospel Christmas CD 2016 Releases - Part 2

Next week is Christmas! If you're looking for some more great Christmas music for the holiday season, here are three other Southern Gospel Christmas releases this year!

Glad Tidings (Home for Christmas Series) - The Whisnants and Mark Trammell Quartet

This is the second Christmas CD the two groups have done together. The project includes more non-traditional and new Christmas songs than the first. I like the mix of the groups singing together and then each group having a few songs that are their own.

As much as I love traditional Christmas songs and carols, my favorite songs on this project are the new ones or ones that you aren't as familiar with.

Favorites -

  • "That's Why We Adore Him" - Incredible song for any time of year!
  • "His Excellent Greatness"
  • "Ordinary Donkey, Carrying a King" - I love songs from a unique perspective on the Christmas story, and this one fits the bill!
  • "Glad Tidings" - The title track features both groups and really gets you in the Christmas spirit. 

Song List -
1. "Glad Tidings"
2. "Glory To God In The Highest"
3. "Away In A Manger"
4. "Christmas Is Coming Again"
5. "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"
6. "Glory"
7. "That’s Why We Adore Him"
8. "Hark The Herald Angels Sing"
9. "Silver Bells"
10. "His Excellent Greatness"
11. "Ordinary Donkey, Carrying A King"

He Is Christmas - Triumphant Quartet

I like that they included the more traditional songs in medleys to switch things up a little. It was also a good way to incorporate some of the fun, nonsecular songs into the project.

They had a choir backing them up on several songs, which was a really nice touch especially on "Jesus, What a Wonderful Child."

Triumphant fans will recognize "He Is" (the books of the Bible song). You don't think about it as a Christmas song, but it does work!

Favorite Songs -

  • "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - I really like their a cappella take on this song!
  • "Mary Did You Know" - Eric's version is a new favorite. 
  • "Hallelujah" - I've never heard this Christmas version before, but loved it. Don't skip this song. 
  • "Hope Has Hands"

Song List -
1. "Repeat the Sounding Joy"
2. "Celebration Medley"
3. "He Is"
4. "Hallelujah"
5. "Blessed Be the Day (Of Our Savior's Birth)"
6. "Medley of Fun"
7. "Thank God for Kids"
8. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
9. "Jesus, What a Wonderful Child"
10. "Mary Did You Know?"
11. "Hope Has Hands"
12. "Jesus Is Lord for all Time"

Messiah - Legacy Five

Legacy Five released this Christmas EP this year. They are all songs that you have probably heard of but not familiar enough that you know all the words to. It begins with a big instrumental "Prelude" to kick off the Christmas feeling.

With a six song EP, you'll find yourself wanting more, but this is great taste of Christmas!

Favorite Songs -

  • "For Unto Us a Child Is Born" - I really like this arrangement. The bass step out lines by Matt Fouch are great!
  • "I Pray on Christmas" - I like the soulful feel to this song.
  • "Mary's Wish" - Beautiful song!

Song List -

1. "Prelude"
2. "For Unto Us a Child Is Born"
3. "I Can Still Celebrate Christmas"
4. "I Pray on Christmas"
5. "Mary's Wish"
6. "Hallelujah Chorus"

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Home for Christmas with Whisnants and Mark Trammell Quartet - Concert Recap

There's nothing better than a Christmas concert right after Thanksgiving to get you in the holiday spirit. And a concert with two of the top artists in gospel music, even better! This was my second year to see the Mark Trammell Quartet and the Whisnants joint Christmas tour, Home for Christmas. It was the perfect way to kick off the Christmas season.

I love how these groups work so well together. This year, Vilonia, Arkansas was the first stop on the tour, so we got to see the first concert this year. They had a new joint Christmas CD out this year, so it was great to hear so many songs from that.

Here are some highlights of the night -

  • "His Excellent Greatness" - This was one of the new songs featuring both Jeff Whisnant and Nick Trammell. I wasn't really familiar with the song, but it's not a brand new song. Glad this was one they chose to record.
  • "Strange Way to Save the World" - Ethan Whisnant does a great job on this song!
  • "Ordinary Donkey, Carrying a King" - Love this new song that features Susan. It's tells the story of Jesus' birth from the perspective of the donkey carrying Mary and Joseph that night, such a unique song!
  • Non-Christmas Songs - It was the Christmas season, but I'm so glad the groups threw in a few non-Christmas songs. The Whisnants sang "All Is Well," and it was one of the most powerful moments of the night. Mark Trammell Quartet also sang one of their new songs, "My Faith Still Holds," such an incredible song. Of course, we had to hear a bit of "New Day Dawning," which the audience was on its feet clapping along. 
  • Traditional Christmas songs - They sang several familiar Christmas favorites like "Away in a Manger" and "Silent Night."
  • "Beautiful Star of Bethlehem" - One of my favorites and Mark Trammell Quartet does this one the best!
  • "O Holy Night" - Mark Trammell sings this one solo, and his version is one of my favorites. 
  • "That's Why We Adore Him" - I love this song!! This one is one the new Christmas project and features the Whisnants. Beautiful song!!

I hope this tour with the Whisnants and Mark Trammell Quartet will continue for years to come! I love that this is becoming a Christmas tradition.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

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

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

  • Karen Peck and New River had the opportunity to recently travel to Honduras. They received the invitation from a local businessman in Roatan after he heard "Four Days Late." Karen said, "This trip literally changed our lives. In all of the years that we have traveled, we have never been so blessed by an audience as we were from the people of Roatan. They sang along at the top of their lungs as we sang 'Four Days Late' and 'Special Love.'"
  • Gold City has set up a GoFundMe to help with costs of recent bus issues including needing a transmission replaced. They have a rewards with different amounts you can give that varies from a signed copy of their new CD to a phone call or FaceTime with the group and Tim Riley to a personal visit with the group. Find out more here.  
  • Congratulations to the Isaacs, Gaither Vocal Band, Joey + Rory and Gordon Mote who all received Grammy nominations this week for Best Gospel Roots Album. See the full list of nominations here
  • Prayers go out to Jeff Chapman (Kingdom Heirs) whose dad passed away earlier this week. Please keep him and his family in your prayers. The services will be Monday.
  • Prayers also go out to Daniel Ashmore (Old Paths) whose grandfather passed away yesterday. Please keep the Ashmore family in your thoughts and prayers.
  • Prayers requested for Mike LeFevre who has been diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and is currently hospitalized. Tests are being run to diagnose the cause and how to proceed. Please pray for Mike, his family and the group.
  • Congratulations to the Ball Brothers who have had a #1 song on the iTunes Christian chart after their video "It's About the Cross" went viral.
Any thing I missed?

Friday, December 9, 2016

Fun Clip Friday - Christmas Handbells

Happy Friday! Bells are definitely a sound you associate with Christmas whether that's "Jingle Bells," sleigh bells, Salvation Army bells or handbells. For today's Fun Clip Friday, here's another clip from the Jubilee Christmas tour. Hope you enjoy Trey Ivey's handbell choir that he put together for this year's tour. Be sure to pay attention to Michael Booth and Rodney Griffin's contribution. ;) Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

2016 Christmas Projects - Part 1

I love all things Christmas. Christmas music normally starts playing at my house in early November. Several Southern Gospel artists have released new Christmas projects this year. Here's a quick overview of three projects that have been released this year. I'll cover three more in a later post!

Glory to God in the Highest - Kingdom Heirs

I like the song selection of this project. It's easy to fall into the trap of picking the most familiar songs of Christmas and having a few new ones. It was also a really good mix of secular, fun Christmas songs and Christian Christmas songs. It also has some country, some big band and some classic sounding songs.

Original or new Christmas songs are hard to come by, but they found a couple of great ones! If you're looking for a good quartet Christmas CD, this is must add to your collection.

Favorite Songs -

  • "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" - Love hearing Jeff Chapman featured on this song. 
  • "King of Eternity" - I wasn't familiar with this Squire Parsons song, but love that the Kingdom Heirs included this one.
  • "Singing to the King"
  • "Glory to God in the Highest"

Song List -

1. "Jesus Is Born Today (It Is His Birthday)"
2. "Glory to God in the Highest"
3. "Mary Did You Know"
4. "Singing to the King"
5. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
6. "Christmas Cookies"
7. "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
8. "The Christmas Wish"
9. "The King of Eternity"
10. "Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child"

The Keys to Christmas - Jeff Collins

Jeff Collins is a producer and arranger and pianist who has worked on hundreds of albums in gospel music. With this new instrumental project, it's his turn to come out from behind the scenes.

I'll be honest, I'm normally not one to listen to instrumental CDs. I like the voices and singing, but this project definitely got my attention. I really loved the song choices here as well, several not your average Christmas songs! "The Man With the Bag" is probably the song that is least known. I like that he also chose different styles from big band sounds to easy listening.

Favorite songs -

  • "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - When I first heard this one, I went back to make sure I was hearing it right. I love the opening song of Downton Abbey included. Such a cool touch!
  • "Go Tell It on the Mountain" - I love the soulful approach to this one!
  • "Baby It's Cold Outside" - Nice touch with the sax on this song. 
  • "Carol of the Bells" - This is one song that I love instrumental and Jeff's version did not disappoint!

Song List -

1. "Medley: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; O Come, All Ye Faithful; Joy to the World"
2. "Baby It's Cold Outside"
3. "The Man With the Bag"
4. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen"
5. "Linus and Lucy"
6. "Go Tell It on the Mountain"
7. "Mary Did You Know"
8. "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow"
9. "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"
10. "Carol of the Bells"
11. "O Come, O Come Emanuel"

Silent Night: Christmas for Quiet Reflection - Joseph Habedank

If you're looking for an easy listening Christmas project, this is one you need to pick up. The title is definitely spot on, Christmas for Quiet Reflection. I love that this is just Joseph's voice and simple piano accompaniment for all songs.

If you are in the mood for traditional Christmas songs, this is the one to listen to. I love his take on a few of my favorite Christmas carols. You really get to hear his lower register on several songs that you don't normally hear.

Favorite Songs -

  • "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"
  • "O Holy Night" - This sounds like the same arrangement that several gospel artists use, but love Joseph's voice on this song.
  • "O Come All Ye Faithful"

Song List -

1. "Prelude"
2. "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"
3. "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"
4. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"
5. "What Child Is This"
6. "O Come All Ye Faithful"
7. "Silent Night"
8. "O Holy Night"

Monday, December 5, 2016

Encouraging Night with the Jim Brady Trio - Concert Recap

The Jim Brady Trio made a stop in Arkansas right before Thanksgiving several weeks ago. This was my first chance to see the group in a full concert since Layke Jones joined Jim and Melissa earlier this year. He's doing a great job rounding out this trio!

The night was full of encouragement. I love concerts like this where the artists through their words and songs speak nuggets of wisdom and inspiration. I was blessed to be there that night!

A local quartet opened the night with a few familiar songs like "Loving God," "Pray About Everything" and "Victory in Jesus" before the Jim Brady Trio took the stage.

Highlights from the night include -
  • "Stepping Out in Faith" - This is such a great song that's really become the theme of the group in their first years of ministry.
  • "That Sounds Like Home to Me" - I love this sweet song about Heaven. They repeated the chorus a cappella, and it was beautiful!
  • "Keep on the Firing Line"
  • "Love of God" - I love their version of this classic song! Melissa told the story of her grandmother before they sang this song. When Melissa was young, she would go visit her grandmother almost every day. Her grandmother lived right across the street from the school, so she would get to go have lunch with her and they would watch The Price is Right together. They had a close relationship, but her grandmother didn't know Jesus. When Melissa invited her to church, her grandmother still didn't want any part of a personal relationship. Later in life, her grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer. Melissa prayed that her grandmother wouldn't die without accepting Christ. She didn't realize that in addition to her family the pastor's wife from the nearby church was also praying and visiting her grandmother every week. Before she passed away, her grandmother accepted Christ one afternoon sitting with the pastor's wife. Melissa said God reminded her during that time that God loves us so much He gives us a will of our own to choose Him. When we really stop to think about how amazing the love of God is, the thought is overwhelming. 
  • "Tell Me" - Jim's sister, Marla, and her husband Keith are traveling with the group now. Jim pulled his sister up to join them on this song. She also was featured on "Consider the Lilies."
  • "Every Cry is Heard" - This is one of my favorite songs that Jim has written! He actually wrote this song for his sister when she was first diagnosed with cancer. It's such a sweet reminder of how God always hears us and cares about us. Jim talked about how great it is to look back on our life and see how God has answered us and worked in every detail of our lives. He cares about every difficulty in our life. He loves the world, but He is a personal God. 
  • Booth Brothers fans also were not disappointed with the trio singing several songs from Jim's days with the male trio like "All Over the World," "I Have an Anchor" and "When He Saved Me." 

Be sure to check out the group's schedule to know when they are in your area!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - December 3

Here are news and tidbit items from this week in gospel music -

  • Soul'd Out Quartet announced this week that Jason McAtee will be joining the group as lead singer. Jason joins the group after spending 10 years at Godfrey United Methodist Church near St. Louis, Missouri. Matt Rankin also announced that in 2017 the quartet will be touring with a live band.
  • Former Poet Voices members Phil Cross, Howard Stewart, and Philip Hare along with Jump Keys announce they have reunited to begin a new musical journey as Highland Park.
  • Soloist Caleb Kelley is joining Lighthouse Media Group for publicity. Caleb is no stranger to Southern Gospel Music after traveling with the well-known group Hope's Journey among others.
  • The TOP Television Channel, a division of Johnny Minick Ministries, announced its official launch on the ROKU system of channels and programming. TOP, which stands for Trustworthy On-Line Programming, will join other major networks on the popular online portal. To sign up and receive more information on future programming and news go to
Anything I've missed?

Friday, December 2, 2016

12 Days of Christmas Southern Gospel Style - Fun Clip Friday

Happy Friday! Christmas is in full swing. Halls are decked, bells are ringing and all is merry and bright. Christmas music is playing every where you go, and I love it!!

The "12 Days of Christmas" is a Christmas staple, but have you heard the Jubilee gang's Southern Gospel version of the song? Enjoy for today's Fun Clip Friday!