Friday, March 31, 2017

Fun Clip Friday - Isaacs at Spring Break NQC

The National Quartet Convention Spring Break events started last weekend in Louisville and is going on again this weekend in Sevierville. Here's a clip from the Isaacs last weekend. With Sonya Isaacs Yeary's due date so soon, Judy Martin Hess was filling in for Sonya. Check out the clip below for today's Fun Clip Friday.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Sweet, Sweet Spirit - Diapers 2 Depends - Mark Lowry and Cana's Voice

A few months ago, I saw an announcement about the Diapers 2 Depends tour coming to my home church. Needless to say, I was excited. I was looking forward to get to see Mark Lowry before he "retreaded" and hear Cana's Voice in concert. To top it off, it would be at my home church, which doesn't host many gospel concerts. The evening did not disappoint! From the first notes of the piano  to the last words of "Mary, Did You Know?" the entire night was just incredible.

Pianist Stan Whitmire opened the night with several songs on the piano. Then, Cana's Voice (Doug Anderson, TaRanda Greene Beene and Jody McBrayer) took the stage with "Heavenly Father" featuring TaRanda. I saw this trio at a hymn sing before they were officially Cana's Voice, but this was my first time to hear their songs from This Changes Everything (which if you don't have a copy, you should). Then, Doug was featured on "Love Anyway" and Jody on "All My Reasons Are You." Then, they sang "Great Is Thy Faithfulness," which is guaranteed to give you chills. Each of these artists are so amazing individually, but when they come together it's just incredible. Their harmonies and blend are unmatched. They ended their first set with "Jesus Never Fails" (my favorite) and "I Give It To You."

The video introduced Mark Lowry and then he came out from the back of the auditorium singing "What a Wonderful World." And in true Mark fashion, he danced with a few of the audience members during the song -- in a Baptist church, gasp! Of course then he joked about the different denominations and getting old. He also told the story of his motorcycle wreck, which I hadn't heard him ever tell in person. Only Mark Lowry could make a story about breaking your leg from a motorcycle accident so funny! Mark ended the first half with "How We Love." I think sometimes we forget what a great singer he is along with comedian.

For the second half, both Mark and Cana's Voice were on stage the full time. It was good to hear them all together. Mark put together the male quartet of him, Stan, Jody and Doug singing "He Touched Me." It was a great moment of the night!

Then, at one point Mark wandered again out into the audience. "They have hymnals!" he exclaimed. Then he encouraged everyone to pull out a hymnal, and he called out a number. The hymn was "Wonderful Grace of Jesus." We had a good congregational hymn sing with "Victory in Jesus" after that and then "I Know Whom I Have Believed." You could tell it was completely unplanned but the audience was loving the chance to sing these familiar songs along with the artists. Then, an audience member asked for "Sweet Sweet Spirit." And you could feel the sweet presence of the Holy Spirit in the church. It was such a beautiful moment.

Jody shared a little bit about what that hymn meant to him and how it reminded him of the church he grew up in. He talked about his dad who was a Baptist minister and the influence he had on his life. He said that they wanted the audience to be reminded that God loves you no matter what is going on in your life or what you are facing. Cana's Voice sang "Big Enough" and then the night closed with them joining Mark Lowry on "Mary, Did You Know."

There are still a couple of dates left with this tour. If it's in your area, don't miss it! It was a night I had been looking forward to for a while, and it did not disappoint!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

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

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

  • The Top 10 Singing News Fan Awards nominations were announced this week. See the full list here
  • Eli Fortner has been hospitalized after having issues with his kidney. He had a kidney transplant with his father's donated kidney almost 10 years ago. He is now in need of a new kidney. Please keep him and the family in your prayers as they look for a new donor.
  • Keep the family of Hovie Walker in your prayers. He suffered a massive heart attack on Sunday and passed away on March 24. Walker sang bass with The Singing Americans, The Thrasher Brothers and others.
  • The Adoration Agency announced the signing of Gaither Homecoming artist Gene McDonald.
  • Prayers go out to Sue Dodge and her family with the passing of her mother this week. Ethelene Chenault passed away on March 20 and services were held on March 23.
  • Michael Combs is returning to full-time ministry in April after undergoing a successful kidney transplant earlier this year.
Anything I've missed?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fun Clip Friday - Gold City Quartet with Tim Riley

Happy Friday to all! Here's a great video from a recent Gold City Reunion concert featuring the one and only Tim Riley.  Enjoy this clip (courtesy of Gold City's Facebook page) as today's Fun Clip Friday.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Resurrection - Joseph Habedank - CD Review

Joseph Habedank's latest solo CD released from Daywind Records last Friday. Resurrection is a collection of 10 songs all co-written by Joseph. Joseph's first solo release Welcome Home was one of the best projects of 2014, so it set the bar high for his second release.

The project starts out with a dramatic intro that sounds like it came straight out of a movie with the song "Here He Comes." The song goes through Jesus' life and then ultimately His coming again. This is actually his first single. 

"Jailbreak" takes a different style with a heavy guitar sound. It's a fun uptempo take on the story of Paul and Silas in jail when an earthquake occurs.

One of my favorite songs on the project is "Just When You Thought." This great ballad shows the tender side of Joesph's vocals. You can hear the vulnerability in his voice. Another great ballad is "I Love You (From an Old Rugged Cross)." It offers a unique perspective on Christ's death from his point of view.

"I Believe in the Resurrection" has that soulful, gospel feel. The background singers give it a bit of a choir feel. "Say the Name" is a great ballad that features the background singing of Joseph's wife Lindsay. It reminds you of how precious and powerful the name of Jesus is.

You can't help but tap your foot along to "Devil Can't Dance." It's a great uptempo song co-written by Jimmy Yeary. It's a fun song but also a reminder that ultimately the devil will be powerless against us as children of God.

The project ends with "Long Live the King" reemphasizing the theme of the album.

It's already been a strong year for solo releases, and Joseph's project just adds to that. Welcome Home set the bar high, but Joseph has raised the bar once again with Resurrection. I predict it's going to be one of the best of 2017. He shows that a solo album can still have a lot of diversity and really something for everyone. Every song really fits the theme of the album, but everyone offers a different musical journey to get there.

It's a must buy album for any gospel music fan!

Song to put on repeat: "Just When You Thought"

Songs to turn up: "Jailbreak," "Devil Can't Dance," "Dead Things"

Songs to give a second listen (those songs that don't necessarily stand out on a first listen-through but then become a "repeat" song): "I Love You (From an Old Rugged Cross)" and "Say the Name"

Song List -
1. "Here He Comes"
2. "Jailbreak"
3. "Just When You Thought"
4. "I Believe in the Resurrection"
5. "Middle Man"
6. "Devil Can't Dance"
7. "I Love You (From an Old Rugged Cross)"
8. "Dead Things"
9. "Say the Name"
10. "Long Live the King"

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - March 21

Since I was gone all weekend and the Singing News Fan awards nominees were announced yesterday, I decided to push back the news post a little bit. So here are a few news items from last week and first part of this week for you -

  • Michael Helwig and the Blackwood Brothers announced that Michael will come off the road full-time with the group. Due to his health, he doesn't feel like he can travel full-time, but still plans to make appearances with the group from time to time.
  • The Loretta Lynn Ranch will once again be the home of the 2017 Gospel Music Festival in September. Watch the website for more details.
  • Pray for Eli Fortner with the McKameys who has been admitted to the hospital because of kidney-related health issues. 
  • Steve Sam, owner of Praise Incorporated, announced Jeremy Partlow as the group's new tenor.
  • The Singing News Fan Awards Top 10 Nominees were announced yesterday on Singing News Radio. See the full list of nominees below (with a little bit of commentary) - 
New Artist
Cana’s Voice
Franks, Josh & Ashley
High Road
Master’s Promise
Sheldon Family
Sherry Anne
Logan Smith

Young Artist
Hope Bowling — Bowling Family
Autumn Nelon Clark — Nelons
Trevor Conkle — Hoppers
Morgan Easter — Jeff & Sheri Easter
Katie Erwin — Erwins
Kari Gooch — Karen Peck & New River
Kennedy Hayes — Mylon Hayes Family
Karlye Hopper — Hoppers
Logan Smith — Soloist
Josh Townsend — LeFevre Quartet
** Good to see so many second generation singers on here. Missing Austin Whisnant here.

Mark Bishop
Jim Brady
Gerald Crabb
Karen Peck Gooch
Rodney Griffin
Joseph Habedank
Ronny Hinson
Scott Inman
Kyla Rowland
Dianne Wilkinson
** Would like to have seen Kenna Turner West with a nomination here.

Radio Station
KJIC—Houston, TX
KTTK—Lebanon, MO
KWFC—Springfield, MO
WCON—Cornelia, GA
WEMM—Huntington, WV
WGUS—Augusta, GA
WHQA—Greenville, SC
WJBZ—Knoxville, TN
WXRI—Winston Salem, NC

Kim Collingsworth — Collingsworth Family
Bryan Elliott — Gold City
Mike Hopper — Hoppers
Trey Ivey — Legacy Five
Gordon Mote — Soloist
Josh Singletary — Tribute Qt
Jeff Stice — Soloist
Andy Stringfield — Kingdom Heirs
Kevin Williams — Gaither Vocal Band
Gerald Wolfe — Greater Vision

Peg McKamey Bean —McKameys
Sonya Browder — Browders
Kelly Nelon Clark — Nelons
Sheri Easter — Jeff & Sheri Easter
Connie Hopper — Hoppers
Susan Peck Jackson — Karen Peck & New River
Courtney Metz — Collingsworth Family
Libbi Stuffle — Perrys
Debra Talley — Talleys
Susan Whisnant — Whisnants
**Missing Becky Isaacs Bowman here in my opinion.

Brooklyn Blair — Collingsworth Family
Melissa Brady — Jim Brady Trio
Katie Erwin — Erwins
Connie Fortner —McKameys
Karen Peck Gooch —Karen Peck & New River
TaRanda Greene — Cana’s Voice
Kim Hopper — Hoppers
Lauren Talley — Talleys
Amber Nelon Thompson — Nelons
Sonya Isaacs Yeary — Isaacs
**Would like to have seen Kelly Bowling here.

Chris Allman — Greater Vision
Michael Booth — Booth Brothers
Riley Clark — Tribute Quartet
Josh Feemster — Legacy Five
Brian Free — Brian Free & Assurance
Ernie Haase — Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Jerry Martin — Kingdom Heirs
Jeremy Peace — LeFevre Quartet
David Phelps — Gaither Vocal Band
David Sutton — Triumphant Quartet

Ronnie Booth — Booth Brothers
Jim Brady — Jim Brady Trio
Gary Casto —Tribute Quartet
Scott Fowler — Legacy Five
Michael Helwig —Blackwood Brothers
Dean Hopper —Hoppers
Clayton Inman —Triumphant Quartet
Arthur Rice — Kingdom Heirs
Bill Shivers —Brian Free & Assurance
Gerald Wolfe — Greater Vision
**Would like to have seen Mike Bowling's and Nick Trammel's names here.

Rodney Griffin — Greater Vision
Loren Harris —Kingdom Heirs
Scott Howard —Legacy Five
Scott Inman —Triumphant Quartet
Paul Lancaster — Booth Brothers
Mike LeFevre — LeFevre Quartet
Daniel Riley —Gold City
Mike Rogers —Brian Free & Assurance
Josh Singletary —Tribute Quaret
Mark Trammell —Mark Trammell Quartet

Eric Bennett —Triumphant Quartet
Randy Byrd —Mark Trammell Quartet
Jeff Chapman —Kingdom Heirs
Tim Duncan —Canton Junction
Anthony Davis —Tribute Quartet
Matt Fouch — Legacy Five
Paul Harkey —Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Butch Owens — Blackwood Brothers
Ray Dean Reese — Kingsmen
Chris West — Gold City

Dixie Echoes Band
Hoppers Band
Inspirations Band
Isaacs Band
Jason Crabb Band
Jeff & Sheri Easter Band
Kingdom Heirs Band
McKameys Band
Primitive Quartet Band
Southern Raised Band 

Pat Barker
Mark Bishop
Jason Crabb
Michael English
Joseph Habedank
Steve Ladd
Gordon Mote
Ivan Parker
Squire Parsons
Guy Penrod

11th Hour
Booth Brothers
Brian Free & Assurance
Bowling Family
Greater Vision
Jim Brady Trio
**Can't believe Jeff and Sheri Easter didn't make this list!

Mixed Group 
Collingsworth Family
Karen Peck & New River
Mylon Hayes Family

Traditional Quartet 
Blackwood Brothers
Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
Gold City
Kingdom Heirs
LeFevre Quartet
Legacy Five
Mark Trammell Quartet
Tribute Quartet
Triumphant Quartet 

Between Here & Heaven — Booth Brothers
Faith & Family — Hyssongs
Full Sail — Mark Trammell Quartet
Here For You — Tribute Quartet
In The Hands Of A Carpenter — Legacy Five
Life Is Good — Hoppers
Live From The Smokies — Wilburn & Wilburn
Live Like We’re Redeemed — Brian Free & Assurance
Nature's Symphony In 432 — Isaacs
Promises — Jim Brady Trio
**Refreshing from Second Half Quartet and This Changes Everything by Cana's Voice were in my top albums for the year, but since neither are full-time touring groups, I can't remember if they were eligible.

"Calling" —Karen Peck & New River
"He Does" — Greater Vision
"I Love You This Much" — Whisnants
"If We Ever Gotta Look" — Hoppers
"It’s What He’s Done" —Wilburn & Wilburn
"Living In The Promised Land" —Triumphant Quartet
"My Father’s House" —Nelons
"Never Forsaken" —Tribute Quartet
"Somebody’s Miracle" —Brian Free & Assurance
"Still" — Legacy Five
**I would have added "Jesus Never Fails" here by Cana's Voice and "Small Town Someone" by Jeff and Sheri Easter.

Favorite Artist 
Booth Brothers
Collingsworth Family
Greater Vision
Karen Peck & New River
Kingdom Heirs
Legacy Five
Mark Trammell Quartet
Tribute Quartet
Triumphant Quartet

Friday, March 17, 2017

Fun Clip Friday - Praisefest Branson

I'm in Branson this weekend for Praisefest 2017. This is my first time to attend this event, and last night was a great start to the weekend!

If you're anywhere close to Branson this weekend, there are still some seats available! Here's a short clip from last night from the Jim Brady Trio. Enjoy for today's Fun Clip Friday!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - March 11

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

  • Prayers go out to the family of Jeff Stice who lost his dad last week. The service was held on Saturday, March 11.
  • The Best of Ivan Parker from "The Homecoming Series," a Gaither Music Group collection returned to the Top 5 of Billboard’s Music Video Sales chart. The best-selling DVD is #4 on the publication’s March 11 chart. It was originally released in 2007.
  • Roger McDuff passed away after and extended illness. He was featured on several Gaither Homecoming Videos and sang with The Stamps Quartet and with his brothers Coleman and John in the McDuff Brothers. Please keep his family in your prayers.
  • The Absolutely Gospel staff announced that their awards show on April 11 will be hosted by Lauren Talley and Riley Harrison Clark. Tickets are now on sale for program. For more information on that, visit or email
Anything I've missed?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Fun Clip Friday - Inside the Studio

It's been a busy week for me and it looks like for a lot of gospel artists who have been in the studio working on new projects.

Thanks to Facebook for giving us a preview of artists albums before they are even released! Enjoy two clips these week from Karen Peck and New River and The Old Paths.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

In Case You Missed It - News and Tidbits - March 4

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

  • The Gaither Vocal Band announced this week that David Phelps will be resigning to focus on his solo career. Reggie Smith will be taking his place.
  • The Inspirations has undergone an ownership and management change. Tenor Archie Watkins is now the owner and manager of the group. Martin Cook (pianist and co-owner since 1964) has retired from all of his roles.
  • Jeremy Ballinger, Chris Bennett and Mike Franklin have started a new group - United Voice. Jeremy sang lead with Under Grace for 17 years. Chris was the fbaritone for Southern Heritage Quartet for eight years and N’Him for 15 years. Mike sang tenor for the Melody Boys Quartet for 21 years.
  • The Freemans announced the engagement of their son Caylon to Valerie Crist this week. The couple actually got engaged this past September and are planning a May wedding. 
Anything I've missed?

Friday, March 3, 2017

Fun Clip Friday - Bowling Sisters

On Wednesday of this week, a new trio emerged. These girls have been on stage as long as they can remember, but Hope, Katelanne and Gracie Bowling made their debut without their parents as The Bowling Sisters for their album release party in Nashville. Their youthful voices are incredible and you can't beat their harmonies!

Part of the release concert was captured via Facebook Live. Thanks to Global Promotions for the clip below! Watch and enjoy these three talented sisters.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Changes for the Gaither Vocal Band

The Gaither Vocal Band announced a change today. Long-time member David Phelps will be stepping down to pursue his solo career full-time. Stepping into the role will be none other than Reggie Smith effective April 1. Reggie, along with his wife Ladye Love, has been a featured artist on the Gaither Homecoming stage for more than 15 years. Reggie has performed in more than 25 countries and in such prestigious venues as the Super Bowl, Carnegie Hall and the Kremlin in Moscow.

Check out this video below -

Here are more comments and quotes from David, Reggie and Bill from the press release -

David reflects, “It has literally been a dream-come-true to be a part of the GVB. I remember the first time I was standing behind Bill in the group as he began ‘There’s a line that’s been drawn though the ages…’ I knew I’d finally made it. Now the journey that’s been filled with deep-conversations-over-morning-coffee, not-always-appropriate-belly-laughs, sad tears, happy tears, and always-great music has led us to a fork in the road. I’ve been in school for 20 years. It still shocks (and scares) Bill a little bit when I quote, word for word, something he said years ago. I’ve been soaking it all in. He is my teacher, mentor, friend, and a welcome critic. We are family. As things change and evolve over this transition, that will remain the same. Lori and I are excited about the wonderful future that God has in store for all of us as we embark on this new chapter. We are so grateful for the invaluable love and support of all our fans, friends and family!’

 “David is a rare talent and we are so grateful for his presence in the Gaither Vocal Band for all these years,” Bill Gaither states. “We will continue to include him on the program for our special weekend events as he is available.”

“I consider this a great honor," Reggie said. "Bill has been a great coach to me for many years, and I am thrilled to be able to work with these talented men who are already dear friends.”

 Bill Gaither is ecstatic about the future, stating, “I love working with so many great singers, and I am thrilled about all that Reggie Smith brings to the Gaither Vocal Band. His voice folds in beautifully with the other group members, as does his genuinely sweet spirit. Great days are ahead!”

Seasons - Mark Bishop - CD Review

Mark Bishop released Seasons in January. Most songs are previously recorded songs that have been #1s or some of his most requested. For Mark Bishop fans, you'll love all of these on one CD. Seasons also contains two brand new songs.

When you look back at Mark's career, he truly is a singer-songwriter. From the beginning, the majority of songs he sang were songs he wrote, and all of these songs are written by him. The thing that really sets it apart is that they were written only by him, no cowrites.

The first of the two new songs is "That's When It's Time to Pray." The mid-tempo song is a great reminder of how powerful prayer can be. When we don't know what to do or say, we can always pray and reach Heaven.

"The Other Room" is another new song that's more of a ballad. The song can't help but bring a tear to your eye as it will cause you to reflect on the loss of loved ones. It's has the sweet message that Heaven is not really that far away.

Fans of Mark will be sure to find their favorites throughout the CD from "Can I Pray for You?" to "I Can Rejoice" to "You Can't Ask Too Much of My God." I was personally glad that "My Name Is Jesus" was on there that features Mark with guests Lauren Talley, Mitchell Jon and Ivan Parker.

The only other song I might have included would have been "Pray on the Little Days," but that is a more recent hit while some of these are a bit older and more established hits for Mark. Most of the previously released songs are from 2001 - 2012, which is another testament to Mark's career and impact on gospel music.

Fans of Mark Bishop don't want to picking up Seasons. And if you are new to Mark's music, this is a great way to see some of his top hits all in one project.

Song List -
1. "That's When It's Time to Pray"
2. "I Can Rejoice"
3. "You Can't Ask Too Much of My God"
4. "Can I Pray for You?"
5. "I'm Listening for the Call"
6. "With Me Always"
7. "Remember Who He Is, Remember What He Does"
8. "I Got Here As Fast As I Could"
9. "Cloud Nine, Headed for Ten"
10. "The Other Room"
11. "Perfectly Honest"
12. "My Name Is Jesus"