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.