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?