Monday, September 25, 2017

National Quartet Convention - Monday Night

The first official night of the 2017 National Quartet Convention is now in the books. And what a full night of great gospel music, it was! It's great getting to be here in person this year.

Here are commentary and highlights from the night -

  • The Kingsmen Reunion with Squire Parsons was a highlight of the night. Nick Bruno had the original chart he wrote for "Beulah Land" when the Kingsmen first cut the song. Kingsmen alumni joining them on stage included Arthur Rice, Ernie Phillips, Mark Trammell along with Squire and Nick. It was probably the highlight of the night.
  • The young talent was out in full force tonight with the Erwins and the Hayes kids all doing incredible. These kids can sing!
  • There were seven groups that took the stage I'd never seen before live. One that you might be surprised about is the Kingdom Heirs. It was good to finally see them in person.
  • Recent events in the NFL and national anthem were front and center tonight with several groups singing patriotic songs and having commentary on it. 
  • We got to hear a lot more new songs tonight from several different groups including the Kingdom Heirs, 11th Hour, the Mylon Hayes Family and the Whisnants. 
  • Riley Harrison Clark and Lauren Talley were great hosts for the night!
  • The power half-hour featuring a lot of new or lesser known groups is a nice addition. I was glad that most people around us at least stuck around to see all these groups. It's a nice way to feature them on main stage.

Favorite Songs of the Night - 
  • "He's Still Alive" - The Erwins
  • "The Last Big Thing" - Kingdom Heirs
  • "He Welcomes the Beggar" - 11th Hour
  • "Is That the Old Ship of Zion" - Kingsmen Reunion
  • "I Choose Christ" - Karen Peck & New River
  • "The Lighthouse" - Mark Trammell Quartet
  • "Grace Happened Here" - Mylon Hayes Family
  • "When the Trumpet Sounds" - Triumphant Quartet
  • "All Is Well" - The Whisnants
  • "God Calls It Grace" - Kingsmen

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sunday Night at National Quartet Convention

Today we drove all day to get to Pigeon Forge tonight. We weren't sure if we'd make it in time or be able to go to the kickoff concert, but we made it! The Sunday night bonus concert featured the Hoppers, Mark Trammell Quartet, Tribute Quartet, Tim Lovelace, the Jim Brady Trio and Greater Vision. Each group came out and sang two sets. I have to say overall the second sets were better than the first sets. There were some incredibly powerful moments!

As is pretty typical, we got to hear some songs from some new projects. Mark Trammell Quartet sang several from their Great Moments project. Tribute Quartet also featured one from their quartet tribute CD.

Here are some highlights of the night -

  • "Life Is Good" - The Hoppers - Dean is back on stage with them. For them to stand and sing "Life Is Good" with all they have been through with Dean back on stage, you couldn't help but smile.
  • "Why Me Lord" - Greater Vision
  • "God of the Storms" - Tribute Quartet
  • "What a Day That Will Be" - Jim Brady Trio
  • "He Is Mine and I Am His" - Mark Trammell Quartet
  • "Come on and Go to That Land" - Tribute Quartet
  • "Grace at Its Best" - Tribute Quartet 
  • "Love of God" - Jim Brady Trio
  • "Grace Will Always Be Greater Than Sin" - The Hoppers
  • "The King Is Coming" - Mark Trammell Quartet
  • "For All He's Done" - Greater Vision
I'm going to tie the two grace songs for the moment of the night with "Grace at its Best" and "Grace Will Always Be Greater Than Sin."

Can't wait for a week full of gospel music!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - September 23

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

  • Jason Crabb will join Selah on the “Your Love Is Unbreakable” tour this fall. It is presented by World Vision and will start tonight. It is scheduled to be in 13 cities during the months of September, October and November.
  • Smacker Bats has partnered with Matt Felts to release a special edition bat. The company is now offering a “Matt Felts Signature Series” baseball bat. The bat has Matt Felts signature and logo on the barrel of the bat.
  • The Griffith Family reached an exclusive recording and distribution deal with Newday Records, a division of Daywind Music Group and Newday Distribution.
  • Karen Peck and New River, the Talleys, Highroad and Emily Ann Roberts have kicked off The Gospel Through Girls and Guitars Tour. This tour will be in fall 2017 and continuing into the spring 2018. 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fun Clip Friday - NQC

Well in honor of National Quartet Convention, today's Fun Clip Friday is a clip from last year's NQC. Greater Vision pulled up young Eli Shaw to sing "I Know a Man Who Can" with them. Check it out below.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

National Quartet Convention

Sorry for the lack of blogging lately. I promise to make up for it next week since I'll be at NQC! This is my first time to go to National Quartet Convention. I normally end up watching it on the webcast. This has been a bucket list item of mine for a long time, so I'm excited for the chance to be there in person.

There will be several groups there that I will get to see for the first time in person and of course so many favorite groups. Since it's the 60 anniversary of the convention, I know they have a lot of great things planned throughout the week.

If you're in the area, it's not too late to get tickets. Or if you can't make it, tune into the webcast. Go to

If you're going to be there next week, I'd love to hear from you. What's your favorite part of NQC? What do I not need to miss? Any tips for the week?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Still Greater Vision - Concert Recap

Earlier last month, I had the chance to see Greater Vision in Arkansas. This was my first time to see the group since Jon Epley's addition. When a group as consistent as Greater Vision makes a big change, fans are always interested to see what the group will sound like. You'll be happy to know they are still Greater Vision with the same sound they've always had. Jon is a great addition to the group and fits in well with their overall blend.

Here are some highlights from the night -

  • "He'd Still Been God"
  • "Rolled Back Stone" - It was good to hear so many songs from their new project during this concert. This is just one of the new ones that has a country-flair that Chris sang.
  • "Why Me Lord" - Jon was featured on this great, old song.
  • "His Grave Wrote the song" - Another great new one!
  • "I Know a Man Who Can" - Never get tired of hearing Chris on this one.
  • "God Doesn't Care" - I don't know of a person who doesn't need to hear this song and be reminded that God doesn't care what we have done in the past.
  • "Still" - This was the moment of the night for me. Such a powerful song that Rodney sings.
  • They pulled Wade Lentz on stage who is the pastor of the church. He got to sing bass with Greater Vision last time they were there, so they made a quartet and had him sing with them again. He has a great bass voice. They sang "Wedding Music," then he said there's a quartet song he's always wanted to sing but never gotten the chance. The song was "Boundless Love."
  • "Until You've Known the Love of God" - Gerald stepped out from the piano to sing this song. Good hearing him featured on this one!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

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

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

  • Prayers go out to the family of Elinor LeFevre. She was the mother of Mike LeFevre and grandmother of Jordan LeFevre. The services were held this past Monday in Gainesville, Georgia.
  • The Blackwood Brothers have welcomed Jonathan Mattingly as their new lead singer. Jonathan and his wife Sarah and first child Asher now live in Nashville, Tennessee. 
  • Daywind Publishing has welcomed Hunter Leath to its family of writers. 
  • Several artists including the Perrys, Legacy Five and the Chuck Wagon Gang had damage to their personal vehicles and bus from recent flooding in Nashville. 
Anything I've missed?

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Wrapping Up Southern Gospel Picnic

Well I'm finally getting a chance to wrap up the rest of Southern Gospel Picnic at Silver Dollar City. On Sunday, we enjoyed a great morning service with Dennis Swanberg. I got to see Voices of Lee, Jeff Stice and the Martins later that day. Then on Monday, I enjoyed the last day of the festival with Spoken 4 Quartet, the Diplomats and the Isaacs before heading back to the real world.

Here are highlights from the last two days -

Voices of Lee

This was my first time seeing this group live, and I was impressed!

  • "The Lord's Prayer"
  • "No Longer a Slave" - This song featured Tripp Hess (son of Judy Martin Hess). Since the Martins sang that night, his mom and other family members were there to support him. He did a great job on this feature!
  • "Higher"
  • "Gloryland Medley"

Jeff Stice
  • Andre Crouch Medley
  • "Hallelujah Chorus"
  • He brought Maddy on stage to sing "Sing." At 12 years old, she has quite a good voice!
The Martins
  • "He Leadeth Me"
  • "Love's Gonna Drive This Train"
  • "The Promise" - One of my favorite gospel songs ever. Love hearing this long live!
  • "Out of His Great Love"
  • "On Days Like This" - This is a new song that will be on their upcoming album. I think I have the title right. It was great hearing new material from them!
  • "You'll Never Walk Alone" - No one does a cappella like they do!
  • "Love Enough"
  • "I'm Still Standing" - Another new one that featured Judy!
  • "So High" - They were about to close the night when Duane Garren came out and said they had to sing this song! I'm glad he did!

Spoken 4 Quartet
  • "I Know My God Can Do It"
  • "Blessed Assurance" 
  • "Because He Lives" - Love hearing them on the classic hymns.
  • "Light at the End of the Darkness" - Great hearing Cecil featured on this song!
The Diplomats
  • "Sheltered in the Arms of God"
  • "Walking With Jesus"
  • "Scars on the Hands of Jesus" - Harold Reed was featured on this song. Love this one!
  • Their live band is incredible!
  • "I Wouldn't Take Nothing for my Journey Now"
The Isaacs
  • "Rocks"
  • "I Love You More" - Love hearing Sonya's testimony with this song. Definitely the moment of the night!
  • "If That Isn't Love"
  • "I Find It All in You"
  • "Yours Amen"
  • "Lord's Prayer" - You can't beat family a cappella harmonies.
  • "Walk On"
  • "If That's What It Takes" - Ben gave a bit of testimony before singing this song talking about how much it meant to him. 
It was a great festival again this year! Thank you Silver Dollar City, Brad Thomas, DA Callaway and Duane Garren for all you do to make this event happen each year!

    Sunday, September 3, 2017

    Saturday at Silver Dollar City - Southern Gospel Picnic

    I went out to the park late yesterday afternoon. I went to see the Browns before heading down to Echo Hollow to see Michael English and the Nelons. Here are a few highlights!

    The Browns

    • "Aim Higher"
    • "What a Beautiful Day" - Andrew has more energy on stage than anyone else in gospel music. It's great to see him have such an energetic spirit!
    • Instrumentals - Love hearing them play their violins. 
    • "Grandpa Tell Me 'Bout the Good Ole Days"

    Michael English 
    • "Mary Did You Know"
    • "Daystar" - Michael talked about the song and how it has been a breakthrough song for him with the Gaither Vocal Band.
    • "In Christ Alone"
    • "Love Is the Golden Rule"
    The Nelons
    • "In My Father's Hosue"
    • "The Sun's Coming Up" - Always good to hear Kelly sing this song!
    • "Coat of Many Colors" - Autumn was featured on this one playing her mandolin. She did a great job! 
    • "God Bless America" - Their a cappella arrangement of this song was great! 
    • "You Needed Me" - Kelly dedicated this song to Jason for this birthday! It was such a sweet moment!
    • "Then Came the Morning" - Amber does an amazing job on this song!!

    Both groups came out of the very last part and sang a number of songs together including - "Home," "Look for Me," "I Bowed on my Knees" and "We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown."

    Saturday, September 2, 2017

    Good Things Happening - Friday Recap of Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic

    Friday, we made it out to the park in time to catch four different groups. Three of these groups I don't get to see very often or at all, so it was good to see them live. We ended the night with a packed house for the Booth Brothers! Don't miss the video on my Facebook page of the song that Michael Booth requested to warm up the crowd.

    Here are highlights from the day -

    High Road

    This is the first time I remember seeing this group live. These young people are talented and used no tracks -- all live music. And they write a lot of their own music!

    • "We Are Broken"
    • "Somewhere I'm Going" - Beautiful song about Heaven!
    • "His Hand on Me"
    • "Two Coats"
    The Craguns
    • "Blessed Assurance" - Elena does an incredible job on this song!
    • "I Know the Master of the Wind" - They did this chorus a cappella.
    • "On the Other Side"
    • "This Is My Father's World"
    • "Oh What a Savior"
    • "Giver of Life" - Loved hearing Chris on this song!
    • "I'm Going There" - Newest member Ronnie Bright was featured on this song.
    • "Come to the Fountain"
    Booth Brothers

    Of course, it's always good to see the Booth Brothers. They sang several songs from their recent project that I wasn't as familiar with, so it was a good mix of the newer songs and classic favorites. 
    • "I Just Feel Like Something Good Is About to Happen"
    • "Moment of Grace" - Love hearing Paul sing this song!
    • "Stop the Storm"
    • "It Is No Secret"
    • "Down by the River" - Such a fun one that really gets the crowd going!
    • "Jesus Saves" - This was just a powerful moment of worship with the crowd on its feet!
    • "Life's Railway to Heaven"
    • "Look for Me at Jesus' Feet" - Always a powerful song from Michael!
    • "Then I Met the Master" - No one sings this better than Ronnie.
    • "Facts Are Facts"

    Friday, September 1, 2017

    Ain't God Good - Thursday Recap of Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic

    Wednesday night was the Second Half Quartet and the good news is that all of the members were back in the park on Thursday. I got the chance to see the Mark Trammell Quartet, Pat Barker and Greater Vision before heading down to Echo Hollow to see Ernie Haase and Signature Sound. Here's a look at highlights from the day -

    The Mark Trammell Quartet

    • "Leave Your Sorrows"
    • "Treasures in Heaven" 
    • "I Know" - Nick did a great job on this song! This is one from their new project, which releases today. 
    • "The King Is Coming" - No one does this song better than this group!
    • "He Hideth My Soul"
    • "Echoes From the Burning Bush" - They joined new piano player Trevor Conkle around the keyboard for this song with just the keys backing them up. 
    Pat Barker
    • "Ain't God Good"
    • "How Big Is God" - Of course he received several requests for this song. He said it was 10 years ago when he first sang that song at Silver Dollar City on the stage where he was yesterday.
    • "I Can See (Emmaus Road)" - Such an incredible song!! He shared a bit of his testimony and what the song meant to him now.
    • Request time - Pat took time just to hear what people wanted him to sing or answer questions. He sang a cappella verses and choruses of several songs like "Amazing Grace," "The Lighthouse" and "Because He Lives." 
    • "Thanks to Calvary"
    Greater Vision
    • "There Is Hope" - Great one they started with from Still.
    • "God Doesn't Care" - Love this song also from their new project! It's a song that Chris wrote.
    • "My Name Is Lazarus" 
    • "He's Still Been God" - They ended with this one that you could tell the audience still loved hearing!
    Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
    • "Some Day"
    • "Noah Found Grace" - Even if it might not be Devin's favorite song, it's one the audience loved hearing. 
    • "Give Me Jesus" - This is a song that Fanny Crosby wrote lyrics to but was only recently found. 
    • "Sometimes I Wonder" - So glad to hear them staging this song again!
    • "A Soldier Coming Home" 
    • "Then Came the Morning" - This was the moment of the night for me!! Ernie said it had been a while since they had sung this one, but it was incredible!
    • "Step Into the Water"
    • "Heavenly Parade" - It's good to hear them doing a lot of these older gospel songs. 
    • "Draw Me Nearer" - They put an EHSS spin on this Fanny Crosby classic.
    • "Any Other Man"

    Thursday, August 31, 2017

    Beginning the Second Half - Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic

    I was back at Silver Dollar City Wednesday ready for a full day of gospel music. And I'll be here for the rest of the second half of the festival. And what a better way to start the second half of the picnic than a night with the Second Half Quartet! But before the evening in Echo Hollow, here's a look at highlights from other groups throughout the day -

    The LeFevre Quartet

    • "He Was There" - I've been hearing this song so much on the radio, so I'm glad I got to hear it live!
    • "Let the Church Arise" - Incredible song from their new album!
    • "I'm Gonna Be Movin'"
    • "I Want to Walk Every Day With My Lord" - Good to hear their new bass singer Keith Plott.
    Soul'd Out Quartet
    • "Blessed Assurance"
    • "I'll Fly Away" - Love their spin on this song!
    • "I Believe" - Always enjoy hearing Ian featured on this song. 
    • "Arise My Love"
    The Talleys
    • "After All This Time"
    • "His Life For Mine" - Always such a powerful song! 
    • "Up Above" - I hadn't heard them sing this one in a while, I forgot what a great song it is! 
    • "People in the Line"
    • "But I Need You More"
    • Piano medley - They had audience member call out hymns, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness, "What a Day That Will Be" and "How Great Thou Art" and Roger put them together on the piano.
    • "He's Alive" 
    Second Half Quartet

    • "Standing on Holy Ground"
    • "Master Builder" - Always love hearing Mark on this song! 
    • "There's Something About That Name/ I Will Serve Thee" - This was absolutely beautiful! 
    • "Cheer the Weary Traveler"
    • "Prodigal Son" - I believe this is the song that started it all for this group. 
    • "How Big Is God" 
    • "I Know a Man Who Can"
    • "Going Home"
    • "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" - Good to hear them on the Cathedrals a cappella arrangement. 
    • "Boundless Love" - Last song of the night and the audience was on its feet!

    Monday, August 28, 2017

    Sundays are Family Days - Silver Dollar City Southern Gospel Picnic

    I am currently back home working for a couple of days before heading north again to catch the last half of Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic.

    Sunday we started the morning at the Red Gold Hall for morning worship. We had a great service with the Hosea Bilyeu family. I was able to see four different family groups. Here is a look at some of the highlights.

    The Lesters

    This was the second time I have seen the Lesters since it became an all family group again with the addition of Bailee Lester. They are just getting better and better!

    • "Hold On Tight"
    • "Ain't God Good"
    • "Call on Jesus Medley" - Great song that really got the crowd going. 
    • "I Shall Know Him" - They did a great job on this old hymn!
    Reggie Saddler Family
    • "In Christ Alone" - Ingra sang this song solo from her new project. This was the highlight of the set for me! Absolutely beautiful!
    • "Whiter Than Snow"
    • "I've Got Me a Home"
    • "Fill My Cup Lord" - This is the title song from their new project. Good to hear some of their new songs!
    The Erwins
    • "Isn't He God" 
    • "I Choose to Be a Christian" - Katie knocked this one out of the park!
    • "Plan of Salvation" - With all that Kody has been through recently, it was good to hear him bring the bass on this Cathedral classic.
    • "Well Done"
    Jeff and Sheri Easter

    In true Jeff and Sheri Easter fashion, they didn't take the stage right away that night at Echo Hollow. They gave up part of their time to let the Erwins sing a few songs that night to a packed house of almost 5,000. The Erwins certainly got the crowd going with "Chasing After You," "He's Still Alive" and "What a Lovely Name." This was such a great opportunity for these talented siblings!

    • "Small Town Someone"
    • "Someone's Listening"
    • "Sitting on Top of the World" - One of my favorite love songs they have recorded.
    • "Jesus Loves You" - This has become one of my all-time favorite Jeff and Sheri songs. 
    • Instrumental - "Beulah Land" and "I'll Fly Away" - Jared Easter is one of the most talented musicians on the road today.
    • "Praise His Name" - So glad this was a request for Sheri to sing!
    • "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings on Me" - It's such an incredible moment to hear Jeff and Sheri and a full amphitheater choir sing the chorus of this song.  
    I can't wait to get back up there for the second half of the festival!

    Sunday, August 27, 2017

    Reasons to Shout - Saturday recap of Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic

    Today was the first day I was able to be at Silver Dollar City for the Southern Gospel Picnic. My morning started at Red Gold Hall and ended at Echo Hollow with one of gospel music's most beloved family groups. Here's a look at who I saw and some highlights!

    The Ball Brothers
    • "It's About the Cross" - Forever a favorite song they sing! Always such a powerful response!
    • "Forgiven"
    • "Gentle Shepherd"
    • "Count Your Blessings" - Love hearing them on the big band style songs!
    • "Mercy Tree"
    2nd Generation 
    • "Blessed Assurance" - They started their set with this one a cappella.
    • "On Business for the King"
    • "Waving on the Other Side" - They set this one up by singing "How Beautiful Heaven Must Be" with the audience.
    • "All Our Hope"
    The Whisnants
    • "I've Prayed Through It" - This is a brand new song from Susan's solo CD. She shared a little bit of testimony and how the song was written for her. What a moment this was!
    • "Be Not Afraid"
    • "Grave Mistake"
    • "1+2+3" - I was glad to get to hear this song from Austin and Ethan's CD live.
    • "New Day Dawning" - The audience was on its feet clapping only a few measures into the song!
    The Hoppers

    Given all this family has been through in the last few weeks, it was so good to see them. Dean, of course, is still recovering but the rest of the family was there. Shane McConnell, previously with Canton Junction, filled in for Dean.
    • "Life Is Good"
    • "Grace Will Always Be Greater Than Sin"
    • "Grace Will Get You Through" - It was good to hear Connie on this song.
    • "Jerusalem" 
    • "I've Come Too Far" - Before this song is when they shared their testimony about the last few weeks and all they had been through. Dean had a successful surgery with the stent but Kim shared if they hadn't been able to do the surgery when they did, things could have been much different. They had so much to be thankful for. Also, where Dean had the stroke has caused no permanent damage. He's still walking, talking and will be able to sing again when the doctors release him.  
    • "Something's Happening" - I love hearing this song live! So powerful! 
    • "If I Could Help Somebody" - Claude dedicated this song to Silver Dollar City General Manager Brad Thomas. Such a sweet moment!
    • "Shoutin' Time" - As soon as Claude announced it was shoutin' time, the audience was on its feet clapping along! 

    Saturday, August 26, 2017

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

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

    • Congratulations to William and Brooklyn (Collingsworth) Blair on the arrival of baby Winston James. He was born last Saturday on Brooklyn's birthday and was welcomed by big sister Emma. The family of four is doing well!
    • The Joylanders have announced they have a new name - Endless Highway. They are hoping with the new name they will reach a broader, younger audience. Founding members Perry and Nell Wimberly are passing the mantle on to the second and third generation more to carry on the heritage.  
    • The Freemans had a bus fire on Thursday. Everyone on board is ok, but the bus is in need of serious repairs from the damage. 
    • Prayers requested for former SGPA President and Southmen owner Jim Hefner who learned that only 38% of his heart is working. He was admitted to a Birmingham Hospital earlier this week where he received two stents and more stents will be required very soon.
    • Prayers also requested for Southern Gospel promoter Norm Basden of Oneonta, Alabama, who suffered a stroke on Thursday, August 17. He was driving on Alabama Highway 79 near Birmingham when he lost consciousness and crossed the median and collided with an 18–wheeler. He was transported to a local hospital where he later suffered a major stroke. He is still recovering in the hospital
    • Dean Hopper is now home recovering after surgery last week to put a stent in his brain. Please continue to pray as he recovers.

    Anything I've missed?

    Thursday, August 24, 2017

    Silver Dollar City's Southern Gospel Picnic

    Today starts Southern Gospel Picnic at Silver Dollar City. If you've followed my blog before, you know that this is an event I look forward to each year. I'll be there again this year on and off for the next 12 days. Look for recaps going up throughout the festival and maybe even some Facebook videos along the way!

    If you are in the area at all, try to come out for this event. Check out the full schedule below. I can't wait to be there on Saturday!

    Tuesday, August 22, 2017

    Being Thankful With Triumphant Quartet - Concert Recap

    Triumphant Quartet doesn't make many stops in Arkansas, so it's always good to see this quartet when they are in the area. Seeing them live is always a reminder of why they are consistently the fan favorites.

    It was good to hear so many of their new songs from Thankful. The guys actually recently celebrated a #1 song from that project, "Chain Breaker," which they did sing that night.

    I love getting to hear this group sing, but I also love the chance to hear their hearts. They see how this music changes lives and draws people to Christ. They share stories of that with their audience, but you can see when they sing how they communicate every line making sure the message of the song is front and center.

    Here are some highlights from the night -
    • "Amazing God" - I love this song and hearing David sing this. The song really makes you stop and think about how blessed we are to have such an Almighty God. 
    • "Thankful, So Thankful" - Such a great song from their new CD! This is such a fun song to hear live. 
    • "Chain Breaker" - This is becoming one of my new favorite songs of theirs. I love how they brought this song to the Southern Gospel world.
    • "Hallelujah" - This was actually included on their Christmas project and is a spin on the Leonard Cohen classic. Love how this song tells the story of Christ. It's good to hear each of the guys get featured on a verse. 
    • "Hello Mama" - They featured Aaron Dishman on this song. Good to hear him step up the mic. 
    • "Grace and Mercy" - This was a highlight of the night for me! I love this song, another one from Thankful.
    • "I Know Him" - Such a great song that features David. After the song, Eric talked some about the song and what it meant. As great as it is for us to know Him, it's also a reminder that He knows who we are. Do we talk to Him enough and read His word enough? Are we really taking time to build that relationship with Him? It was a great challenge for all of us. 
    • "White Flag of Surrender" - Always such a fun song! I love watching the audience and seeing everyone involved from the little kids to the more mature audience members. :)

    Thanks, Triumphant Quartet, for a great night of incredible music and worship!

    Saturday, August 19, 2017

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

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

    • Legacy Five officially announced Josh Townsend as their new piano player this week. He's previously played for the LeFevre Quartet and The Old Paths.
    • Dean Hopper had surgery this week to put a stent in his brain after having three strokes recently. The surgery was successful, but please keep him and the family in your prayers as he recovers.
    • Trey Ivey has moved into a new role as staff pianst and arranger/ orchestrator for First Baptist Church in Indian Trail, North Carolina. He will continue to serve as producer and arranger for many gospel artists in addition to being in the band for The Music City Show.
    • Gerald Crabb recently celebrated his 25th #1 song as a songwriter with "I Choose Christ" by Karen Peck & New River. 

    Anything I've missed?

    Friday, August 18, 2017

    Fun Clip Friday - Bass vs. Tenor Challenge

    Matt Fouch recently posted the latest installment of the bass vs. tenor challenge. He and Chris Allman competed for a note holding contest with Michael Booth serving as the impartial judge. Watch what happens below!

    Thursday, August 17, 2017

    Still - Greater Vision - CD Review

    Two weeks ago, Greater Vision released its new project Still. Since Jon Epley joined the group several months ago, this is the first project with him as baritone, Rodney Griffin filling out the lead part and Chris Allman on tenor. Gerald Wolfe is definitely still present. Even with the main vocal lineup shifting, fans will soon discover the project is definitely still the same Greater Vision sound they love.

    I had the chance to see the group live last week, and it was really good to hear several of these songs live.

    I must say that the title track, "Still," is the highlight of the album. The song was one of seven that Rodney Griffin had a hand in writing. I'm already hearing this one on radio quite a bit. I think it's going to turn into a most requested for them. The strong lyrics backed by great orchestration make it a hit!

    "Rolled Back Stone" is another favorite of mine. This is a great country-flavored song that featured Chris. It was written by Lee Black and Dee Wilkinson.

    Chris also has several cuts on the project. Hands down my favorite of his is "God Doesn't Care." Gerald said they expected to receive some criticism over the title. Listen to the song, and it's definitely the perfect choice for the title. When we stop to really think about how much God has forgiven and His grace, it really should amaze us. Whatever your story and your past, God doesn't care. I love the line that says - "His grace has covered sin we'll never know." How many times do we fail Him and don't even realize it. He forgives us when we don't realize how much we've wronged Him.

    Jon is featured on "His Grave Wrote the Song," which also has a bit of a country feel. The trio opens the song. You won't hear that much of a difference in the sound and blend you're used to hearing. Jon steps out on the second verse. His baritone voice is a great compliment for this song.

    "Jesus Stood" is a great story-song, ballad from Rodney's pen. I also love his vocals on this song and how well he tells the story.

    Chris is featured on "Forgiven by the Lord," which is a little bit different style than what we're used to hearing from him. "All the Above" is another catchup uptempo song that will have you clapping and toe tapping along. This is another one that you get to hear Jon on.

    It was good to see them bring back an older Rodney Griffin song, "Common Garments," to this project. Always enjoyed this song and didn't feel like it got enough recognition.

    "Nothing to See" has an old country feel with a lot of steel guitar. Chris has the verses on this one. It's another song that talks about the empty grave, which seems to be a theme of the project. We can be thankful that there's nothing to see there in that tomb. In the same way, our sins are now no more because He has forgiven us.

    Gerald starts "The Gospel" with a recitation. This is a great closing song that really rounds out the project.

    Greater Vision and gospel music fans can rest assured this is "still" Greater Vision. And this is the same quality and caliber you're used to hearing. Still is definitely a must-buy of 2017!

    Song to put on repeat - "Still"
    Song to give a second listen - "God Doesn't Care"
    Songs to turn up - "Rolled Back Stone" and "Forgiven by the Lord"

    Song List -
    1. "There Is Hope"
    2. "Still"
    3. "Rolled Back Stone"
    4. "I Believe It All"
    5. "God Doesn't Care"
    6. "His Grave Wrote the Song"
    7. "Jesus Stood"
    8. "Forgiven by the Lord"
    9. "Common Garments"
    10. "All the Above"
    11. "Nothing to See"
    12. "The Gospel"

    Monday, August 14, 2017

    Ministry of 2nd Generation - Concert Recap

    It's amazing what can happen when a group allows the Holy Spirit to take over and lead the service. That's exactly what happened when I saw 2nd Generation a few weeks ago.

    If you're not familiar with 2nd Generation, they are based in Arkansas and consist of sisters Brenda Denney and Elaine Robinson and Randy Barnes. They were actually at Randy Barnes' home church. It was a special night not only because of the worship, but it was a night for the church to pray over Randy before he left for a two-week mission trip in Mongolia.

    Randy not only stepped out to follow God's leading by going on this mission trip, but when God led them to stop the service to pray over a friend who received troubling news right before the concert started that's exactly what they did. I love seeing groups when they live out exactly what they sing.

    It was a great night of incredible songs and worship, and I'm thankful of how this group ministered that night.

    Here are a few highlights from the night -

    • "It's a Good Life Living for the Lord" - Wonderful song to kick off the night featuring Brenda.
    • "One More River" - This is one of my favorite songs to hear them sing live.
    • "What a Day That Will Be" - Love hearing Brenda and Randy featured on this classic hymn!
    • "Sheltered in the Arms of God" - Elaine talked about not fully understanding this song when she started singing it as a teenager. Sometimes in this life we still don't understand the path we are one and what God is doing, but we can rest assured that God is right there with us. No matter what is going on, we are sheltered in His arms and He is in control. Elaine does a beautiful job on this song. 
    • My God Can Do Anything" 
    • "Somebody Go Get God" 
    • "Faces" - Since this was Randy's home church, they asked for requests and this was one of them. Love hearing Randy sing this song!
    • "Redemption Draweth Nigh" - Such a powerful, incredible song. The moment of the night for me!
    • "Feel the Joy" - This is always a fun one that gets a little audience participation!
    • "Rock of Ages" - This is not the hymn you might be used to, but a fun uptempo song from their most recent project The Church.
    If you get a chance to see 2nd Generation in your area, don't miss them!

    Sunday, August 13, 2017

    In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - August 13

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

    • Pray for Dean Hopper, who has three strokes in the last week. In December he had two strokes and doctors found that he only has one vertebral vein. This has now become 80-90% blocked causing the recent strokes. On Monday he will have surgery to have a stent placed in the vein. 
    • Freedom Quartet announced the addition of Nathan Parrish as the group's new piano player. He formerly played with the Florida Boys.
    • The Dove Award nominees were announced last week. See the full list of nominees here
    • TaRanda Greene made a surprise appearance at the Grand Ole Opry last weekend with Dailey and Vincent. She sang "Go Rest High on That Mountain" in memory of Glen Campbell.
    • Jason Crabb will be inducted in the Kentucky Gospel Music Hall of Fame as part of its 2018 class. The ceremony will take place in May 2018.
    • Pray for the family of Lisa Hamblen Jaserie, CEO of Hamblen Music Company and singer/songwriter, who passed away this past week at age 79.
    • Pray for Aaron Wilburn and family. His brother Jackie passed away on Thursday. 
    Anything I've missed?

    Friday, August 11, 2017

    Fun Clip Friday - Perrys Christmas

    The Perrys are gearing up for their first Christmas album. They had a very Perry Christmas party yesterday to get ready for it.  Check out this movie from their Facebook Live yesterday.

    Wednesday, August 9, 2017

    The One in the Water - Inspirations - CD Review

    The Inspirations bring the classic gospel sound back with The One in the Water. The group has gone through transitions recently, but the traditional sound of the group has remained constant. The project features the lineup of Archie Watkins, Eddie Deitz, Marlon Shubert, Matt Dibler and Roland Kesterson.

    The project starts with the title track "The One in the Water" with Archie taking the lead on this one. He also sings the ballad "Teaching Me to Fly." It's a more tender song that still has a little bit of Inspirations flair, but it definitely departs from their normal cuts. It's one to really stop and take a second listen to.

    Traditional quartet fans will enjoy "I Want to Be Like My Lord" and "I Shall Not Be Moved." Bass singing fans will really enjoy Martin's feature lines.

    Roland Kesterson's vocals shine on "When Jesus Turns My Prison into My Shouting Ground."  It's a fun uptempo, toe-tapping kind of song.

    Fans of the Browders will probably recognize the cut "I Am So Blessed." This song was written by Tommy and Matthew Browder. Matt Dibler takes the verses on this one. They do a good job of making it their own.

    Eddie Dietz pays tribute to those who have made an impact on our lives with "Thank God for Preachers." It's a song that makes you stop and be thankful for those in your life, your salvation and all that God has done.

    Song List -

    1. "The One in the Water"
    2. "I Want to Be Like My Lord"
    3. "I Know Him"
    4. "When Jesus Turns My Prison into My Shouting Ground"
    5. "I Shall Not Be Moved"
    6. "Teaching Me to Fly"
    7. "I Am So Blessed"
    8. "We Are Christians"
    9. "Thank God for Preachers"
    10. "Jesus They're Offended at Your Name"

    Monday, August 7, 2017

    Worshipping with Tribute Quartet - Concert Recap

    Toward the end of July, Tribute Quartet made its way to Arkansas. I got to see them at Unity Baptist in DeWitt. A sister duo, the Walker Sisters, opened for them that night. They did an a cappella version of "It Is Well" that was incredible! They were fantastic and set the night up for a great time of worship.

    When Tribute took the stage, it was so good to hear so many song from their most recent project Here For You. They even started out with the title track. They featured more than half of the songs that night including "Everybody Come See Jesus," "Jesus Saves" and "Somebody Sing Me That Song." If you don't have a copy of that project, get it now. It was, in my opinion, the best Southern Gospel album released last year.

    I love the energy these guys bring to the stage and to the music but also how they always bring the focus back to the main thing. They make sure that Christ is at the forefront of the night. I'm thankful I was able to be there for such a great night of worship. 

    Here are a few highlights from the night - 

    • "That's How I Know" - This is such a fun one to see and hear live!
    • "God of the Storms" - This has probably become my favorite song from Here For You. When you take time to stop and really pay attention to the lyrics, they are incredible. "Troubled waters of danger set a stage for His feet." Riley took the time after the song to talk about them. Our circumstances and situations are too big for us, but in the middle of what we are facing, we can know that God is faithful and more than able to take care of it. We can experience an extreme peace because of this even when we are in the midst of the storms. 
    • "Oh What a Savior" - I haven't seen Riley sing this one live very much, so I was glad they chose to include it that night.
    • "I've Been Blessed" - They called up Dennis Duggar to sing one with them. Dennis sang with Tribute for several years and was in the audience that night. It was good to have him back on stage!

    Gary closed the night by talking about how much the hymns of the church have meant to him. He talked about specific hymns and how encouraging they have been to him - "In the Garden," "Because He Lives" and "Leave It There." It was such a sweet time of worship with the congregation singing along with the choruses of each song. 

    Thank you, Tribute Quartet, for a great night of worship. Thank you for being an encouragement to believers and pointing people to Christ. 

    Saturday, August 5, 2017

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

    Here are some news items from this week in Southern Gospel -
    • Common Bond Quartet announced that Chad Riley has been named to the position of tenor singer following the departure of Kevin Willis. Chad has been part of Southern Gospel groups including The Stamps, The Mystery Men, and most recently Steve Hess and Southern Salvation. Additionally, Riley began his career singing with his family. The group also announced that Karen Melton, wife of Rick Melton, will join the group on stage providing keyboard and background vocals.
    • Timothy Armour, pianist for Debra Perry & Jaidyn’s Call, passed away this week. Armour died as a result of a recent illness. He was only 54.
    • Karen Peck & New River recently celebrated the group's 18th #1 song with "I Choose Christ."
    • The 2017 Songwriters Search is now open. Find out more information here.
    • You can now order the National Quartet Convention webcast for this year. Order it online here for $64.99. 
    Anything I've missed?

    Friday, August 4, 2017

    Fun Clip Friday - Four Days Late

    Happy Friday! In July, Karen Peck & New River visited Israel with the Isaacs. Karen said she was able to do something she also dreamed about, which was singing "Four Days Late" at Lazarus' tomb. Becky Isaacs Bowman was able to capture the moment on video. Watch it below for today's Fun Clip Friday!

    Thursday, August 3, 2017

    Walk Worthy - Master's Voice - CD Review

    Master's Voice made its mark with its first project Undivided. The project set the bar high for what this group was capable of. Now, Walk Worthy is the sophomore release and the first one with lead singer T.J. Evans.

    "He Saw Me" kicks off the project featuring T.J. It's a great opening song that should definitely be a single. "Love Goes a Mighty Long Way" is another fun one that T.J. sings. The song reminds me a bit of "Footprints on the Water" by Gold City stylistically, which makes sense since Dianne Wilkinson and Joseph Habedank were co-writers along with David Edwards.

    Bass Jerry Pilgrim is featured on "Another One Like Him," which has a fun, jazz style. The song definitely brings something a little different to the table.

    "One Day Longer" is a heartfelt song that touches on the subject of Alzheimer's. It's such a tender song sung by Ricky Capps. I don't know if he's been personally affected by Alzheimer's but he communicates the lyrics so well you think that could be the case.

    The group takes on the very traditional quartet-style song "Yes He Did, Yes He Does, Yes He Will," which is another Dianne Wilkinson cut along with Jerry Salley. You'll find yourself clapping or toe tapping along. It's a definite highlight of the project!

    "Sowing the Good Seed" is a song that's really an encouragement to believers to keep planting seeds. We may never see what comes of seed that is planted and don't be discouraged when the seeds sometimes fall by the wayside.

    The quartet goes back and pulls out a familiar hymn for gospel fans with "Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary." The song just has piano accompaniment and features Jerry again. He has such a great smooth bass voice!

    "Where My Savior Is" is the first radio single and features Stan Watson. This is a great uptempo song that I feel like will do really well on radio. I think this will also be a great one live!

    Walk Worthy closes with "Lift Up Your Hands When You Can't," and they might have saved the best for last. This is a must-listen! The song is a more progressive ballad that you'll find yourself listening to over and over again. There are some great harmonies and blend on this song. T.J. communicates the message of this song so well. Even when we can't see his face, we can sing to the One who is faithful.

    When Master's Voice hit the scene with Undivided, they set the bar so high, but this sophomore project is just as strong and proves this quartet is rising to the top of the pack in gospel music. Walk Worthy is a must buy for any quartet fan!

    Songs to Hit Repeat On - "Where My Savior Is" and "Lift Up Your Hands When You Can't"
    Song to Turn Up - "Love Goes a Mighty Long Way"
    Song for Traditional Quartet Fans - "Yes He Did, Yes He Does, Yes He Will"
    Song to Give a Second Listen - "Sowing the Good Seed"

    Song List -
    1. "He Saw Me"
    2. "Another One Like Him"
    3. "Love Goes a Mighty Long Way"
    4. "One Day Longer"
    5. "Yes He Did, Yes He Does, Yes He Will"
    6. "Without You I Haven't Got a Prayer"
    7. "More Than Enough"
    8. "Sowing the Good Seed"
    9. "Do What Jesus Did"
    10. "Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary"
    11. "Where My Savior Is"
    12. "Lift Up Your Hands When You Can't"

    Tuesday, August 1, 2017

    God in the Interruptions - Jim Brady Trio - Concert Recap

    It's said that God can be in the interruptions. I'm sure when a breaker was flipped during the first song of the night the Jim Brady Trio didn't exactly know what kind of night was in store. However, the group never missed a beat and let God use the moment.

    The fist song of the night was "If It Had Not Been the Lord" and about halfway through the song the group lost power. Instead of stopping or even pausing for a moment, the group just kept going a cappella. They moved up to the front of the church and kept singing. Jim stopped after the song and talked about how sometimes God was in the interruptions of life and whether or not they got the issue fixed, they would keep going with the concert. Sometimes when things don't go as planned, those can be the sweetest moments of worship with God.

    While Jim took a minute to introduce the group, they were able to get the issue fixed before the second song started, but God definitely used that time just as a reminder of what the night should really be about.

    Here's a look at the songs the rest of the night -

    • "He Saved Me" - They did the chorus a cappella, absolutely beautiful!
    • "Stepping Out in Faith"
    • "The Love of God" - Love their version of this song. 
    • "What a Day That Will Be" - They featured Layke on this one with just Melissa at piano to accompany him. 
    • "Keep on the Firing Line" - Always a fun one to hear live. 
    • "Wherever I Am" - This was my first time seeing them stage this song. I was glad they included this one from their Promises CD. 
    • "Greatest of All Miracles" - I love hearing Melissa sing this song!!
    • "Tell Me" - They had Chase Davis traveling with them this summer. He goes to Bethel University and sings in a group there. He sang on this one with them and the next one. 
    • "Because He Lives" - The three guys sang this one with Melissa on the piano. Chase has a great voice!
    • "That Sounds Like Home to Me"
    • "All Over the World"
    • "Every Cry Is Heard" - One of my favorite Jim Brady songs! He talked a little bit about all their family had been through in the last few years with the death of his dad, sister, Melissa's mother and then Jim's brother. It had been a rough season, but what an encouragement the song was. None of the moments they were prepared for, but God was evident in those trials -- those interruptions of life. Through the heartbreak, Jim said he could thank the Lord for the promise of Heaven and His faithfulness through it all. 
    It was a great night with this group. The night was a powerful reminder of how God is faithful to walk with us through everything we face. 

    Monday, July 31, 2017

    Be Brave - McKameys - CD Review

    The McKameys are one of the most loved groups in gospel music. They have a distinct sound that no other group can touch. The McKameys' latest project Be Brave has that same consistent sound that fans love.

    The 10 song project is a quick listen. The songs all hover around the 3-minute mark. The longest song, "It's Mine," is only 3:39.

    The title track is THE highlight of the project for me. It's both written and sung by Sheryl and in fact one of six songs that she wrote for the project. It is full of honest and encouraging lyrics that every Christian can identify with.

    The project starts with "So Good to Me" that is more convention style. It features the entire group with Ruben getting a few solo feature lines on the chorus.

    Matriarch Peg has a feature "Come Forth as Gold," not to be confused with "Come Forth Like Gold," which was on their Sheltered project and also a song about Job. She's also featured on "One Thing I Know," which is my favorite of her two features. Both are the features you would expect from her with the same energy and heartfelt delivery.

    "It's Mine" starts with a great mandolin, Appalachian intro with Ruben taking the first verse. The second verse features Connie. The song talks about claiming the power of our salvation. Connie also featured on "On and On" talking about how we can keep going on and on with thankfulness and gratitude about all the Lord has done for us.

    Roger sings "For the Record," which is already been sent to radio. Roger has that smooth voice that seems to really do well on radio. The song is a midtempo song that simply says to let the record show an allegiance to Christ and dedicating life to Him.

    Be Brave closes with "Since When." It's a great reminder of God's faithfulness. Since when has he ever been un true or unfaithful? This is my favorite of Connie's feature songs.

    McKameys fans will find the same consistent sound they have had for years with this release.

    Song to hit repeat on - "Be Brave"
    Song to turn up - "So Good to Me"

    Song List -
    1. "So Good to Me"
    2. "Living for Eternity"
    3. "Come Forth as Gold"
    4. "It's Mine"
    5. "Be Brave"
    6. "On and On"
    7. "For the Record"
    8. "One Thing I Know"
    9. "Jesus Passed By"
    10. "Since When"

    Saturday, July 29, 2017

    In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - July 29

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

    • Keith Erwin posted pictures of their bus on Twitter last night. They had a blown tire that caused them to run off the road, but thankfully everyone is ok. They did have to cancel their weekend dates, and there is damage to the bus. If you would like to help with their expenses, this fund has been set up. 
    • The Taylors announced a booking agreement with Michael Davis and the Dominion Agency. They also announced Mike Wheeler will be the general manager for the group.
    • The Music City Show held its live tapings in Nashville this week. The next season of the show will feature the Nelons, Perrys, Tribute Quartet, Mark Lowry, Michael English and more. 
    • Congratulations to the Singing News Ultimate Talent Contest winner Exodus from Gadsden, Alabama. The runner-up was Matt Linton and third place was Then Came Sunday.
    • Prayers go out to the family of Bob Cameron who passed away on July 17. He sang bass for the Crusaders and Bob Wills & The Inspirationals. 
    • The Florida-based group the Walkers signed an agreement with Mansion Entertainment.
    Anything I missed?

    Friday, July 28, 2017

    Fun Clip Friday - Bowling Sisters

    These sisters made a splash with their debut album, The Beginning. The Bowling sisters, Hope, Katelanne and Gracie, are one of the best up and coming groups in the industry. With a rich family heritage, it's in their blood, but now these girls are making this music and calling their own.

    Enjoy this clip of their take of "He'll Do It Again" for today's Fun Clip Friday!

    Wednesday, July 26, 2017

    Everyday Miracle - Spoken 4 Quartet - CD Review

    Spoken 4 is a quartet based out of Branson, Missouri. The group is anchored by founding members lead Jon Charles Taggart and bass Cecil Stringer to help them produce the same consistent, quality sound since the group's inception.

    Their latest project is Everyday Miracle. It has 12 songs that includes a little bit for everyone. From modern worship songs to hymns to progressive to country, this quartet proves their versatility.

    The project starts with "The One Thing." The song has a great, progressive sound. It's got a great guitar in the mix. It's refreshing that the one thing that doesn't change and we can always count on is God in our lives.

    "Can't Keep a Good Man Down" is one of my favorites on this project. It's got a great country sound that again is more out of the box for Southern Gospel. You can't help but tap your foot along. I love that they are bringing all these songs to gospel fans.

    Bass singer Cecil Stringer sings the Larry Gatlin song "Light at the End of the Darkness." Cecil shows that he's one of those guys who is not just a great bass singer but a great singer. It's good to see them bring this song back.

    The title track was actually penned by tenor singer Brandon Britton. Jon Charles takes the feature on this song. Sometimes we don't need the Red Sea parting-moments, we just need an everyday miracle, a smile or a prayer. We forget how those simple things that we are all called to do can affect people. I love how the song makes you think about those things. Jon Charles does a great job of communicating these convicting lyrics.

    Some fans might recognize songwriter Brian Arnold from the group Chosen Few (another Branson-based quartet). Spoken 4 covers a song that the group previously recorded, "What Would Jesus Do." Brian also wrote "Lay It Down." It's so comforting that God encourages us to take our burdens to Him and just lay it down. My favorite cut of his on the project is "Jesus Cried," which tells the story of Lazarus. The song features Brandon who shows a great tender side to his voice. It really offers a unique perspective on what Jesus' tears were really for that day.

    The project includes two more contemporary worship songs, "Come Now Is the Time to Worship" and "Our God Saves." The first features baritone Steven Hickinbotham and doesn't stray much from what you would be used to hearing in church except the bass notes. Jon Charles is featured on the latter.

    The album closes with the beloved hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul." It's just the guys and a piano. Traditional quartet and gospel fans will find themselves hitting repeat over and over on this one.

    Seriously, this project has something for everyone. If you're not familiar with this group, let this be the first project you pick up of theirs. You're guaranteed to find something you'll love. I think it's their strongest project to date!

    Song List -
    1. "The One Thing"
    2. "Lay It Down"
    3. "Come Now Is the Time to Worship"
    4. "Jesus Cried"
    5. "Our God Saves"
    6. "Can't Keep a Good Man Down"
    7. "Light at the End of the Darkness"
    8. "Everyday Miracle"
    9. "Can't Shake Jesus"
    10. "More Than Enough"
    11. "What Would Jesus Do"
    12. "It Is Well With My Soul"

    Monday, July 24, 2017

    Worshipping with Karen Peck & New River - Concert Recap

    Several weeks ago, I got the chance to see Karen Peck and New River on a Sunday night in Poyen, Arkansas. I love how each time I see this group, it's such an anointed service. The service was just after Hope for all Nations was released, so we got to hear several from that project.

    It had been a while since I had seen this group in a full concert setting. It's great to see Kari come on and have more of a role in the group. I loved getting to hear so many new songs. I also loved watching how Karen let the Spirit lead her through the night in what they sang.

    The night was such a sweet worship service. Here's a look at what they sang -

    • "I Stand Amazed in the Presence"
    • "I Wanna Know How It Feels" - They sang this one and then Karen shared a little bit about how the song was written before starting the chorus again. Love that they have staged this older song again. 
    • "I Am Blessed"
    • "Calling"
    • "I Choose Christ" - Karen talked about Rickey's battle with cancer in the last few years. They were a bit blindsided when it happened. It wasn't something they would have chosen for themselves, but this was God's plan. And at the end of the day, she said that she can still say, "I choose Christ."
    • "I Keep on Praying" - This is a duet with Ricky and Kari on their latest project. They do such a great job on this song.
    • "Victory Is Mine" - One of my favorites from their new project!
    • "We Shall Wear a Robe and Crown" - This song had the audience on its feet clapping along. K
    • "Everybody's Going Through Something" - Love hearing this one live. 
    • "Four Days Late" - I never get tired of this song! I know they have to sing this every night, but I love seeing the conviction and how they convey this song each time. Karen puts everything she has into it. 
    • "Ephesians 1"
    • "Revival"
    • "Were You There" - Great a cappella song from Ricky. 
    • "Gotta Be Saved" - This is such a fun song from Hope for All Nations. 
    • "My God Will Always Be Enough" - Another favorite song that never fails to speak to me. 
    • "Hope for All Nations" - They ended the service with everyone moved toward the front of the sanctuary at the altar praying. It was a great moment and a great song to end with. He is Hope for all nations and hope for every need. 

    Saturday, July 22, 2017

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

    Here are some news items from this week in Southern Gospel -
    • Dennis Erwin, father of The Erwins, was honored with a Doctorate of Divinity from the Therapon Theological Seminary & Bible College during this week’s 20th Anniversary of the East Texas Baptist Camp Meeting in Canton, Texas.
    • MARK209 announced the addition of Josh Pope of Fort Payne, Alabama, as its bandleader. He will also be playing keyboards and guitar for the band.
    • The Walkers have signed a recording and distribution agreement with Mansion Entertainment.
    • Congratulations to Matthew Gooch and Preslee Mortenson who got engaged this week in Israel. 
    • Congratulations to grandparents Mike and Kathy LeFevre and parents Justin and Keely LeFevre Reynolds on the birth of Luka Drew Reynolds on Thursday. Both mother and baby are doing well. 
    Anything I've missed?

    Monday, July 17, 2017

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

    Here are a few recent news items in Southern Gospel -
    • Silver Lining Entertainment presented their faith-based film, “A Question of Faith,” as the closing film at MegaFest 2017. Amber Nelon Thompson is one of the main cast members of the film. With more than 1,000 MegaFest attendees coming out to see the film, the turnout far exceeded expectations. The film is scheduled to release on September 29, 2017 via Pure Flix Entertainment.
    • The Mark Trammell Quartet announced the addition of Trevor Conkle as pianst. Trevor is only 19 and has been traveling with the Hoppers most recently. He is from Arab, Alabama. His first date with the group will be July 20. 
    • Mark and Carolyn Bishop became grandparents on Saturday July 8 at 1:38 p.m. Lochlan Rhys was born to Mark’s oldest daughter Courtney and son-in-law John Isaacs. Lochlan weighed 7 lbs., 11 oz. and measured 20 inches long.
    • Song Garden Music Group welcomed Mercy’s Reign. They were organized in the summer of 2011 and have appeared on The 700 Club and at the National Quartet Convention.
    Anything I've missed?

    Friday, July 14, 2017

    Fun Clip Friday - Sam Cam

    The Nelons' canine star returned to Facebook this week. Check out the most recent Sam Cam video for today's Fun Clip Friday!

    Tuesday, July 11, 2017

    Songs and Testimonies - The Talleys - Concert Recap

    You know when a pastor starts a service by telling the group to "sic 'em" you're going to be in for a good night. The Talleys were special guests at Hilltop Assembly of God in Malvern a few weeks ago.

    The Talleys - Roger, Lauren and Debra Talley
    I love hearing the music and certain songs, but I love hearing the artists' hearts. That's what I loved about this night. They each shared about certain songs, testimonies or memories throughout the night. We got to see their hearts in not only what they sang but what they said and shared.

    Here's a look at how the night went -

    • "After All This Time"
    • "The Promise"
    • "What Is This Thing Called Grace" - This is a song that really didn't stand out to me until that night. And wow, what a moment it was. Debra talked about grace being too much for us to comprehend. It's what our lives as Christians are based on, but it's so hard for us to understand. It's such a beautiful song about the power of grace in our lives. 
    • Piano Medley - They let the audience call out songs for Roger to put together for a medley. The first song shouted out was "Keep on the Firing Line." Roger protested a little at first but Debra and Lauren insisted that it was in the hymnal so it should be included. The other two called out were "He Set Me Free and "Amazing Grace." He managed to put those three together!
    • "Hidden Heroes" - There were a few families in the audience that night that Lauren dedicated this song to because of how it represented their family life. This is always a touching one to hear live. 
    • "My Hope Is in the Lord"
    • "When He Calls Me I'll Fly Away"
    • "He's Alive"
    • "Namaan" - Always love hearing this song live!
    • "Thinking About Home" - Debra talked a little bit about her dad's homegoing before she sang this one because the day before was the one year anniversary. She said she could imagine when her dad walked through the gates of how he was completely healed at that point. Heaven will be more than we can ever imagine; we have something to be excited about. 
    • "People in the Line" - This song is convicting every time I hear it! It's so easy to go by people every day, get frustrated with them and not thinking about what they might be going through. 
    • "The Broken Ones" - This is such a beautiful song. Lauren talked about how Jesus talked more about how we treat other people than anything else. How we treat people matters. She said sometimes the best thing we can do for a hurting person is just to be kind. We've all been where we feel broken and have needed that kind word or a smile. We all need to be reminded that Someone cares. 
    • "Hallelujah Praise the Lamb" - So glad that they closed with this song!

    Monday, July 10, 2017

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

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

    • Wilburn and Wilburn announced the change that Jordan will be stepping back from touring to focus on his family. Jonathan Wilburn will be touring as a solo artist and fulfilling all dates. 
    • Liberty Quartet announced the return of Philip Batton to tenor. He will start traveling with them on Aug. 1. 
    • Pray for Ernie Phillips who was hospitalized earlier this week. Ernie is a 10+ year survivor of stage 4 colon and liver cancer. About a year ago, doctors found a spot of cancer that had come back in his colon and he’s been undergoing various treatments for it. His current dilemma is due to the side affects of the latest chemo drug he was taking. He went into the hospital running a high fever this past weekend. His white blood count was really low and he had pneumonia in both lungs. Please keep him in your prayers. 
    • Pat Barker announced a one-night only event with an all-star quartet with Joseph Habedank on lead, Steve Ladd on tenor, Mark Lanier on baritone and Pat Barker singing bass. The band will feature Corey Pearson, Jordan Hamby, Scoot Shelnut and Josh Singletary. This will be in Oxford, Alabama on Nov. 9.  
    Anything I've missed?

    Friday, July 7, 2017

    Fun Clip Friday - On the Couch With Fouch

    I've been on vacation this week, so I haven't had a chance for regular posting. I have several concert recaps coming up next week! For now, here's a Fun Clip Friday post that's Matt Fouch's latest On the Couch With Fouch interview with Josh Feemster. Check it out below!

    Saturday, July 1, 2017

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

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

    • Singing News Radio announced this week that Troy Peach will be joining the team as a DJ for "Southern Nights."
    • Several Southern Gospel artists have been sharing a petition to help relieve some of the DOT regulations they are under now. Read more about it. 
    • Eli Fortner of the McKameys is now home and continues to recover from his kidney transplant. 
    Anything I've missed?

    Friday, June 30, 2017

    Fun Clip Friday - Karen Peck & New River

    Happy Friday! I had the chance to see Karen Peck & New River in concert on Sunday night. They sang several songs from their Hope for all Nations release and talked about their trip to Honduras. Here's a concept video they shot while they were there. Enjoy for today's Fun Clip Friday!

    Wednesday, June 28, 2017

    Enjoying Testament with the Perrys - Concert Recap

    I love seeing groups around the time of a new project release. As many times as you can listen to songs on a CD, there's just something about hearing them live. There's something about seeing the power of a lyric communicated during a live setting. The song can take on a new meaning and can speak to you differently. I was glad to see that the Perrys were in my area just a few weeks ago after their release of Testament on June 9. Of course, they sang many of their most requested songs, but it was so good to hear them stage and sing a lot of their brand new songs.

    They started out with a few familiar ones like "His Love Lights the Way," "It Was the Blood" and "I Rest My Case at the Cross." Then, they started singing a lot of their newer songs like

    • "The Harder the Battle, The Sweeter the Victory" - Of course, this isn't exactly a new song, but it is a newly recorded song by the Perrys. 
    • "Sing in the Valley" - Troy does such an incredible job on this song. I feel like this could become one of my new favorite Perrys songs period.
    • "It's Not Here to Stay"
    • "Moses and Elijah" - This is a fun uptempo song to see live!
    • "Lord, Send Me" - It was good to see Tracy featured on this one in person. 
    •  "Who I Could Have Been" - It's great to hear more from Jared in concert with him stepping up to sing this one. 
    • "It Carried Him" - I love this song and especially how Andrew communicates this song live!
    • "Find Me Faithful" - The moment of the night for me was this song! Before the song, Libbi told the story of how the group got started and how God used a tragic situation to start a ministry that has affected so many people. 
    • "My Hope Is in the Blood"
    If you're counting, that's only two songs they didn't sing from Testament. I feel like one of the ways you can judge the stretch of the project is by how many songs group stage after a release. It's evident that Testament is full of incredible songs the Perrys can't wait to share with the audience. 

    They did sing a couple more songs not from Testament like "Cry No More," "Until I Start Looking Ahead" and they had a request at the end for "Celebrate Me Home." I was not familiar at all with "Until I Start Looking Ahead," but this is such a powerful song that Libbi sings. They ended the night with "Whosoever Will" as an invitation. 

    It was good to hear so many songs live from the new project! I love how powerful these songs are. If you get a chance to see the Perrys near you, don't miss them!

    Saturday, June 24, 2017

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

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

    • Eli Fortner of the McKameys had a successful kidney transplant this week. He had to have a second surgery because of some blockage. He is still at the hospital recovering. Please be in prayer for him as well as his donor CJ Shetley as they both recover.
    • Prayers for Landon Beene and his family. Landon's father, Kenneth Wayne Beene, passed away yesterday morning.
    • The final round of voting for the Singing News Fan Awards is now open. Subscribers can go vote at
    • The National Quartet Convention and Southern Gospel Music Association have announced a new partnership to present the inaugural SGMA Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Benefit Concert to be held on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 during the afternoon at the LeConte Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The program will honor the 2017 SGMA Hall of Fame class of inductees - Troy Burns, LaBreeska, Hemphill, Randy Shelnut and Tony Greene.
    • Kody Erwin gave an update on his health this week that he is 100% back to normal and thanked everyone for the prayers.
    • The BMI Christian Music Awards were held this week in Nashville. Joseph Habedank performed and the following Southern Gospel songs and writers were honored - 
      • "Battle Cry" - Lee Black, Joel Lindsey and Sue Smith
      • "I Am Blessed" - Karen Peck Gooch and Kenna West
      • "Put Out the Fire" - Rodney Griffin
      • "The Beauty of the Blood" - Joseph Habedank
      • "Worry Ends Where Faith Begins" - Sandy Blythe
    Anything I've missed?

    Friday, June 23, 2017

    Fun Clip Friday - Memphis Quartet Show

    I shared some clips from the Memphis Quartet Show last week. I was able to be there on Saturday night and what a great night it was! Steve Ladd shared this video on Facebook of the second half with all the groups. Check it out below for today's Fun Clip Friday!

    Wednesday, June 21, 2017

    11th Hour - Concert Recap

    June has been a busy concert-going month so far! The first group I got to see this month was the popular trio 11th Hour. Their last album What a Moment was one of my favorite projects of last year. It was good to hear them sing several from that project as well a few older favorites.

    11th Hour - Grant Gibson, Jaquita Lindsey
    and Amber Eppinnette
    Here are a few highlights of the night -

    • "How Will You Plead"
    • "Room With a View" - I've always been a fan of this song, but I loved how Amber then led the congregation in "How Beautiful Heaven Must Be" after. It was a sweet moment of the night.
    • "He Welcomes the Beggar" - This is my favorite song from What a Moment, so glad they staged it! Such a powerful song!
    • "I Trust" - I don't remember getting to hear this song live before. The song features Jaquita, and it's one she wrote. She shared a little bit of her heart before the song talking about how it's hard to trust what God's doing in our lives sometimes. When we can't trace His hand, we can trust His heart - love that line! 
    • "Bloodline"
    • "Adam's Fall"
    • Worship set - Grant was not feeling well that night. He had driven most of the night. In fact, he was losing his voice and told Amber and Jaquita to take over. It's interesting how God really used that because Amber went to the keyboard, and she and Jaquita just led in a few worship songs. It was the sweetest spirit in the room. I know the situation wasn't ideal for the group, but God used that and the trio followed God's leading of how to guide their set.

    If you've somehow missed this group, be sure to check out the next time they are near you!

    Saturday, June 17, 2017

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

    Here are news items from this week in Southern Gospel -

    • Ed O’ Neal announced the addition of Jerry Skaggs to his legendary Dixie Melody Boys as tenor. Skaggs joins the quartet after an extensive search and will make his official debut at the Memphis Quartet Show. He most recently sang with the Skyline Boys Quartet.
    • The 2017 Singing News Songwriters Search is now open. Find out more here
    • Ivan Parker was a featured performer this week at “Sunday Mornin’ Country,” held at the Grand Ole Opry House on the final day of CMA Music Fest. It was hosted by Brenda Lee, and the event also featured appearances by Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, LuLu Roman, Joanne Cash Yates and more.
    • Mark Trammell received his medallion for the Gospel Music Hall of Fame at the Memphis Quartet Show on Thursday night. He was unable to be present at the ceremony where Gold City was honored earlier this year. Nick Trammell was the one who got to present his dad with the medal.
    Did I miss anything?

    Friday, June 16, 2017

    Memphis Quartet Show - Fun Clip Friday

    The Memphis Quartet Show is going on this week. That's where I plan on wrapping up my week. It's always a great event!

    The Memphis Quartet Show has been sharing a few clips this week on Facebook of concerts, news announcements and even one special moment you don't want to miss! Check them out below for today's Fun Clip Friday!

    Wednesday, June 14, 2017

    Testament - The Perrys - CD Review

    The Perrys' newest project Testament is just that. Any one familiar wth the Perrys know they have been through a lot in the past few years. This project is full of songs of testimony that speak to where they have been and what they desire in their relationship with God. This is the second album with its current lineup.

    The project starts with "Let's Stop for a Moment," which reminds us all just to slow down, stop and mediate on what God has done and praise Him. The song is a slower style that features the group, but also has step out lines for Libbi and then Andrew on a verse.

    Libbi has one of the most loved and most recognized voices in Southern Gospel. She has several features on this project including "I Will Pray, "Find Me Faithful" and "My Hope Is in the Blood."  "Find Me Faithful" is the highlight of the project for me. This song features Libbi and was written by Jeff Bumgardner, Karen Peck Gooch and Joel Lindsey. Jeff Bumgardner lost his young daughter unexpectedly earlier this year. This is one of the first songs after that tragic event in his life. Libbi does an incredible job conveying the strong lyrics of this song because she's lived that the past few years as well.

    Another highlight is "Sing in the Valley," which has a country sound with a lot of steel guitar. Troy is featured on this song and does a great job. Don't miss the incredible message of this song - sing in the valley, like you're on the mountaintop. Praise Him no matter where He leads, whether that's the mountain or the valley.

    "It's Not Here to Stay" is a great toe-tapper song for the Perrys. It features Andrew. This is one of my favorites. "Lord Send Me" is another great uptempo song. It's good to hear Tracy on a few step out lines. My favorite uptempo song is probably "Moses and Elijah," which also features Andrew.

    Jared is featured on "Who I Could Have Been." It's nice to hear him on this song. It really shows how he's grown over the past few years. The song has a nice hook and challenges us to think about who we could have been without Jesus and if things had gone differently in our lives.

    I love story songs. "It Carried Him" is another highlight and my favorite feature of Andrew's on this project. Andrew does an incredible job on this country-flavored song. It's hinted at what the "it" is throughout the song, but it's clearly revealed toward the very end of the song.

    The Perrys shows again why they are consistently one of the top mixed groups in the industry. Testament is the strongest release from the Perrys in several years. From strong ballads to energetic fast-paced songs, the project has a nice variety of songs. The message of each song builds on the theme of Testament and leaves listeners hitting repeat on this project!

    Songs to turn up - "It's Not Here to Stay" and "Moses and Elijah"
    Song to put on repeat - "Find Me Faithful"
    Song to give a second listen - "Sing in the Valley"

    Song List -

    1. "Let's Stop for a Moment"
    2. "I Will Pray"
    3. "It's Not Here to Stay"
    4. "Find Me Faithful"
    5. "Lord Send Me"
    6. "Who I Could Have Been"
    7. "Sing in the Valley"
    8. "Moses and Elijah"
    9. "It Carried Him"
    10. "My Hope Is in the Blood"
    11. "The Harder the Battle the Sweeter the Victory"

    Saturday, June 10, 2017

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

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

    • Wilburn & Wilburn were honored with a 2017 Telly Award for the "Gospel Music Southern Style” 2016 Christmas show. The duo was the featured artist on the program, which was recorded at the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Alabama last year.
    • Congratulations to Parker and Melodi Webb on the birth of their first child. Parker Bryce Webb Jr. was born on Friday May 26, 2017 at 10:43 p.m. Bryce weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces and measured 18 inches long. 
    • Karen Peck & New River are currently in Honduras for a special trip. They will perform our new album title song “Hope for All Nations” with a choir comprised of the island churches. 
    • Ian Owens of Soul'd Out Quartet was hospitalized this week with appendicitis. He had surgery to remove his appendix and physicians discovered a twisted bowel and scar tissue that was likely the result of an undetected birth defect. Pray for him as he recovers from surgery.
    Anything I've missed?

    Friday, June 9, 2017

    Fun Clip Friday - Triumphant Quartet and Guests

    Happy Friday to all! Here's a cute clip from a recent Triumphant Quartet concert. The guys were singing "Bottom of the Barrel" from their latest project and got a little help from Eric Bennett's granddaughters. Watch and enjoy!

    Thursday, June 8, 2017

    No Excuses, No Regrets - Steve Ladd - CD Review

    Steve Ladd's solo project No Excuses, No Regrets releases tomorrow. Of course, gospel music fans will remember Steve from his days with Gold City and the Anchormen. He was also announced earlier this year as the new tenor for The Old Paths quartet. This is his first album with Crossroads Sonlite Records. It's his first solo album in a few years.

    The EP of six songs starts with "All Things Are Possible God." This country-flavored uptempo song is a great opener. It's a great reminder of the many attributes of God.

    "Chain Breaker" is the Zach Williams song that has also been recently recorded by Triumphant Quartet. This song is getting a lot of play, but don't miss Steve's version!

    The highlight of the recording for me is "What You've Already Done." The song really shows off the tender side of Steve's voice. The only accompaniment is the piano to really showcase Steve's voice. The song talks about remembering God's faithfulness in our past while we are in a waiting period.

    The title track "No Excuses, No Regrets" brings the tempo back up with a great statement of faith song with a message of stepping out and living fully for Christ.

    Steve lets his soulful side show with the familiar "Since I Laid My Burden Down." He gets some nice background vocal help on this song that really adds to the old time gospel feel. I liked the pause toward the end for it only to kick off again at a faster tempo, and then it has the big finish. Traditional gospel fans will love this track!

    The project ends with the worshipful song "Living Water." It's a great powerful song that invites Christ to come fill our lives. He really show off his upper range and the power behind his voice.

    The six-song EP will only leave fans wanting more! I love all the different styles he included in just six songs. It really shows the variety that he's able to sing. This is definitely a project that you'll want to buy this year!

    Songs to Turn Up - "All Things Are Possible God" and "Since I Laid My Burden Down"
    Song to Put on Repeat - "What You've Already Done"
    Song That Will Take You to Church - "Living Water"

    Song List -
    1. "All Things Are Possible God"
    2. "Chain Breaker"
    3. "What You've Already Done"
    4. "No Excuses, No Regrets"
    5. "Since I Laid My Burden Down"
    6. "Living Water"