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"

Monday, June 5, 2017

It Is Time - Barry Rowland & Deliverance - CD Review

Barry Rowland & Deliverance's It Is Time was released in April of this year. This is the first album with Matthew Burgess as the group's lead vocalist. The group consistently produces the same quality gospel sound that you've come to love from them. And with the resident family writer, Kyla Rowland, penning seven of the 10 songs, you know the project will be full of strong material.

With this project you'll find some familiar songs like "Redemption Draweth Night" and "There Rose a Lamb." "How Long" is another song that's been previously recorded by groups like the Speer Family, Perrys and the Kingsmen. "Redemption Draweth Nigh" is a little bit different arrangement that what you're used to hearing.

Tammy is featured on "He Can't Follow Me Home," "Help Me Make It" and "God Will Take Care of It All." The first has a country, bluegrass feel, while the latter two are ballads. "Help Me Make It" is a song that you need to put on after a rough day as a reminder of God's strength during trials. "God Will Take Care of It All" is one of those songs that really encourages believers.

You really get to hear from Matthew on the opening track "Delivered Again." You get to hear a soulful side of his voice. He does a really nice job on the classic "There Rose a Lamb." This is probably my favorite feature of his.

"Hold Your Ground" tells the story of the Israelites conquering Jericho and then again Elijah praying fire down from Heaven. This song features Matthew on the verses, but also shows off the group blend on the verses nicely.

"The Ark" is a nice uptempo song that will have your toe tapping along. I can see this song going over really well in a live setting.

If you are a fan of pure, straight Southern Gospel music, you'll want to check out this latest release from Barry Rowland & Deliverance.

Songs to turn up - "The Ark"
Songs to put on repeat - "God Will Take Care of It All"
Songs to give a second listen - "Hold Your Ground"

Song List -

  1. "Delivered Again"
  2. "He Can't Follow Me Home"
  3. "Hold Your Ground"
  4. "The Ark"
  5. "God Will Take Care of It All"
  6. "It Is Time"
  7. "Redemption Draweth Nigh"
  8. "How Long"
  9. "Help Me Make It"
  10. "There Rose a Lamb"

Saturday, June 3, 2017

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

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

  • The Southern Gospel Music Association Board of Directors announced the Hall of Fame inductees for 2017 for individuals who have shown a lifetime commitment to Southern Gospel music  - Tony Greene, LaBreeska Hemphill, Troy Burns and Randy Shelnut, Sr. SGMA President Arthur Rice said, "All of these individuals are well-deserving, and we thank our membership for their participation in making the selection." 
  • Congratulations to newlyweds Adam and Kaitlyn Crabb who got married this week in Florida!
  • The top 10 semi-finalists for the 2017 Singing News Ultimate Talent Search were announced this week - 
    • Exodus – Gadsden, AL – Mixed Quartet 
    • Blake and Jenna Bolerjack – Yukon, OK - Duet 
    • Then Came Sunday – Texarkana, AR - Male Trio
    • Matt Linton – Katy, TX – Male Soloist 
    • Hinshaw Trio – Bahama, NC – Female Trio 
    • Donna Kilmurray – Ada, OK – Female Soloist 
    • Ben Chapman – Mocksville, NC – Male Soloist 
    • Sojourner Quartet – Findlay, OH – Male Quartet 
    • Heather Van Deren – Millsap, TX – Female Soloist 
    • Harrell Family – Teachey, NC – Mixed Trio
Anything I've missed?

Friday, June 2, 2017

Fun Clip Friday - On the Couch With Fouch - Dean Hopper

Happy Friday! Matt Fouch released his latest video interview for his "On the Couch With Fouch" series. This interview is with Dean Hopper. Hear him talk about what it's like on the road with his family, tips for communicating song lyrics and what he might be doing if he weren't singing gospel music. Enjoy this for today's Fun Clip Friday!