Voting Rounds – Recorded Song/Album

1stThe end has come for the 1st annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.  Today you get to vote on the final two categories; the best recorded song and album of 2014.  Recorded song is any song found on a 2014 album release (doesn’t have to be a radio single).  The only criteria for album is that it has to be released in 2014.  I want to thank everyone who participated in helping determine the best Southern Gospel had to offer in 2014.  Once this final poll has closed (one week), I will have a wrap up where I will re-list all winners.

RECORDED SONG

  1. “Falling” – Gina Boe/Ronnie Freeman/Tony Wood; recorded by Amber Nelon Thompson (Without Your Love)
  2. “He Heals” – Don Poythress; recorded by Legacy Five (Great Day)
  3. “How Will You Plead” – Amber Eppinette/Dianne Wilkinson; recorded by 11th Hour (Picture This)
  4. “Reassure Me” – Ronny Stoots; recorded by the Dunaways (Church In The Kitchen)
  5. “Say Amen” – Jason Cox/Michael Farren/Kenna Turner West; recorded by Brian Free & Assurance (Unashamed)

ALBUM

  1. highroad2014crossroadsmaxAngel At The Crossroads – High Road III (Custom) 
  2. dunaways2014kitchenmaxChurch In The Kitchen – Dunaways (Custom) 
  3. perrys2014intohispresencemaxInto His Presence – Perrys (Stow Town Records) 
  4. 11thhour2014picturethismaxPicture This – 11th Hour (Skyland Records) 
  5. mtq2014yourwalktalksmaxYour Walk Talks – Mark Trammell Quartet (Crimson Road Records) 

Voting Rounds – Quartet/Mixed Group

We are close to wrapping up the 1st annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.  Today you get to vote for best quartet and mixed group of 2014.  Quartet has to be at least (4) male vocalists while mixed group of the year has to be at least (4) vocalists.  YouTube clips of each nominee is included.

QUARTET

1.  Brian Free & Assurance (published by Lisa Marie)

2.  Kingdom Heirs (published by Gospel Harmony Channel)

3.  Mark Trammell Quartet (published by Nathan Shaw)

4.  Old Paths (published by epworthconcerts)

5.  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (published by EHSSVEVO)

MIXED GROUP

1.  Bowling Family (published by Nick Newman)

2.  Browders (also published by Nick Newman)

3.  Isaacs (published by Lauren SGBlog)

4.  Nelons (published by Marie Beddow)

5.  Taylors (published by Diana Brantley)

Stronger – Taranda Greene

TarandaGRADE:  A

  • Album – Stronger
  • Artist – Taranda Greene
  • Label – Stow Town Records
  • Style – Progressive, Inspirational, Traditional (choir) Gospel
  • Release Date – 11/11/14
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes/Spotify)

SYNOPSIS:

One of the last major album releases of 2014 is Taranda Greene’s new solo recording, Stronger.  An album that had already started production and anticipating release in August.  Before the original release, Stow Town Records signed Taranda and decided to release and distribute Stronger.

The wait was well worth it as Taranda provides Gospel music listeners with one of the top album releases of 2014.  Southern Gospel listeners are already aware of Taranda’s power vocal that was prevalent in her time spent with the Greenes.  She showcases that power vocal on Stronger, unlike any other female voice in Southern Gospel music.

The songs chosen for Stronger and the arrangements chosen by producer Geron Davis makes for an absolute enjoyable listen.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The power house “Awake My Soul” soars above the other songs on Stronger to stand out as the top song on the recording.  Taranda takes this Randy Phillips penned song and makes for one of the best recorded songs of 2014.  A must listen.
  • In honor of late husband Tony Greene, Taranda records the Fred Rose country classic; “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”.  Originally recorded by Roy Acuff and then later by Willie Nelson (most remembered version), Taranda tackles this country ballad with a simple piano arrangement and somber style that makes it another must listen track on Stronger.
  • Without getting caught up in the modern praise and worship style, Taranda sings the praise song “Healer” to perfection.  She really turns it in to a progressive Southern Gospel power ballad.
  • The album’s opening/title track and first single was “Stronger”.  This song not only defines the strength of the album but conveys Taranda’s life experiences over the last several years.  By conveying the simple message of getting back up after falling, it is a message that we all need to hear at times in our lives.  Sometimes that simple message is the strongest message!
  • With all the work Taranda does with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, it is no surprise Stronger is filled with several traditional (choir) Gospel songs.  The choir is utilized on the Mary Mary cover, “Shackles”.  Taranda takes the listener to church on this particular number.  The same treatment can be heard in “A Little More Jesus” and the album’s closing track, “The Sound”.
  • Geron Davis’ production work needs to be commended.  He takes Taranda and the listener on a musical ride that leaves you wanting more.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Awake My Soul”, “Healer”, “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain”, “Stronger”, “A Little More Jesus”, “Shackles” and “Where Amazing Happens”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Some of the lighter inspirational style songs did get lost on this listener.  The song “Promise” probably stood out as the most forgettable of all the songs on Stronger.
  • I also got lost on the progressive Southern Gospel/praise style song, “All I Need”.  While the vocal work from Taranda is amazing, the song itself fell flat.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Promise” and “All I Need”.

WRAP UP:

Some consider the word Diva derogatory.  If we looked at the simple definition of Diva, it is a highly distinguished female singer.  Of all the female voices in Southern Gospel music I would consider Taranda Greene Southern Gospel’s Diva.  Her voice is one of the greatest you’ll find in any genre of music.  Stronger is a must have for any lover of musical excellence!

SONG (Style) - Songwriter:  1. “Stronger” (Progressive SG) - Joel Lindsey, Barry Weeks, Tony Wood  2. “Where Amazing Happens” (Progressive SG) - William Daniel Dean  3. “Shackles” (Traditional/Choir Gospel) - Erica Atkins Campbell, Tina Atkins Campbell, Warryn Campbell  4. “Awake My Soul” (Progressive SG/Praise) - Randy Phillips  5. “Deepest Place” (Inspirational) - Meredith Andrews, Ronnie Freeman, Tony Wood  6. “Healer” (Praise) - Michael John Guglielmucci  7. “Promise” (Soft Pop) - Geron Davis, Evan Milby  8. “A Little More Jesus” (Traditional/Choir Gospel) - Erica Atkins Campbell, Tina Atkins Campbell, Warryn Campbell   9. “If I Could” (Easy Listening) - Kenny Hirsch, Ronald Miller, Martha Sharron  10. “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain” (Country) - Fred Rose  11. “All I Need” (Progressive SG) - David Clark, Geron Davis  12. “The Sound” (Traditional/Choir Gospel) - Chip Dixson, William Murphy

Adopted – Butler, Hughes & Hayes

butlerhugheshayes2014adoptedGRADE:  B-

  • Album – Adopted
  • Artist - Butler, Hughes & Hayes
  • Label - Custom
  • Style – Traditional, Progressive
  • Release Date – 09/23/14
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes/Spotify)

SYNOPSIS:

Based in Salemburg NC, Butler, Hughes & Hayes is a new group to me.  Receiving this new CD from the group gave me my first introduction to their music.

Since the group is new to me, I am going to guess they are also new to my readers.  Let me introduce the group to you.  Michael Hayes sings tenor and at one time performed as tenor for both Heaven Bound and the Anchormen.  Lamar Butler sings lead as Darren Hughes (also pens most of the group’s material) holds down the baritone spot.  Bass vocalist Matt Parker rounds out this new quartet.

The group mixes traditional and progressive Southern Gospel music.  Adopted consists of seven original songs (penned by either Darren Hughes or Michael Hayes) and five covers.  The group also got the talent of Wesley Pritchard to produce this new album.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • For a regional artist, Butler Hughes & Hayes already has a strong group dynamic and harmony that some more well-known artists would envy.
  • The first song that stood out to me is the traditional Southern Gospel song; “He Came As A Child”.  The song was written and features tenor vocalist Michael Hayes.  This is the strongest song on the album in terms of Southern Gospel radio single possibilities.
  • Another strong traditional Southern Gospel number is the song, “Jesus Is Better”.  This song utilizes all members to create a song that will have you singing along before the song is over.  You may even have to hit repeat before moving on to the rest of the album.
  • Butler, Huges &  Hayes also has the Southern Gospel up tempo crowd pleasing type song in “Marriage Supper”.  Another Michael Hayes penned song, this song would translate well to the live concert setting.
  • Of the five song covers found on Adopted, the strongest is the group’s cover of the Gordon Jensen classic, “Jesus Will Outshine Them All”.  The harmony on this song is the strongest of any song on the album. Great!
  • The harmonies are also really strong on the album’s opening track, “The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed)”.  This soothing mid tempo style tune is reminiscent of what the Booth Brothers might provide listeners.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “He Came As A Child”, “Jesus Will Outshine Them All”, “The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed)”, “Marriage Supper”, “Jesus Is Better”, “Around The Cross” and “Jesus Is Lord”.
CRITIQUE:
  • There were several songs that didn’t measure up to the stronger songs on the recording.
  • “I Love You” was probably the weakest song on the album in terms of performance.  Also of the song covers, I thought they could have done without “Carry The Glorious Gospel”.  This cover didn’t add anything that separated it from other versions.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “I Love You” and “Carry The Glorious Gospel”.

WRAP UP:

If Butler, Hughes & Hayes intent was to get Southern Gospel listeners to recognize them outside of their regional artist status, they accomplished that with Adopted.  I always enjoy being introduced to quality new artists.  While there is still growth heard in Adopted, the group is already ahead of some of the more well-known artists I have heard.  Now that Butler, Hughes & Hayes in on my radar I will definitely keep up with what this group has to offer Southern Gospel listeners in the future.

SONG/Featured Vocalist - Songwriter:  1. “The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed)”/Ensemble - Darren Hughes  2. “Jesus Is Lord“/Ensemble - Andrae Crouch, Patrick Henderson  3. “He Came As A Child”/Michael - Michael Hayes  4. “The Dearest Friend I Ever Had”/Ensemble; Matt - George Speer  5. “Adopted”/Darren - Darren Hughes  6. “Marriage Supper”/Lamar - Michael Hayes  7. “Jesus Will Outshine Them All”/Lamar - Gordon Jensen  8. “Carry The Glorious Gospel”/Matt - Daryl Williams   9. “Jesus Is Better”/Darren; Lamar; Michael - Darren Hughes  10. “I Love You”/Darren - Darren Hughes  11. “He Washed My Eyes With Tears”/Darren - Ira Stanphill  12. “Around The Cross”/Michael; Lamar - Michael Hayes

Voting Rounds – Duo/Trio and Performing Artist

Happy Monday!  Today you get to vote on two more categories for the 1st annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.  That will leave us with four remaining categories that will wrap up this week.  What is the best duo/trio and performing artist of 2014?

Duo/Trio of the year is any artist with no more than three vocalists.  Performing artist (or touring artist) are those artists who are still selling out concert venues for 2014.  While they may have not had new albums or hit singles this year, these five nominees were still among the most sought after in terms of purchasing concert tickets.  There will be YouTube clips provided showcasing the five nominees in each category.

DUO/TRIO

1.  11th hour (published by Diana Brantley)

2.  Akins (published by TheAkinsVideos)

3.  Greater Vision (published by psalmofpraise)

4.  Master’s Voice (published by dasahuikko)

5.  Karen Peck & New River (published by myong cha)

PERFORMING (TOURING) ARTIST

1.  Booth Brothers (published by Lauren SGBlog)

2.  Collingsworth Family (published by Joy Miller)

3.  Jason Crabb (published by Allyson Praytor)

4.  Gaither Vocal Band (published by Silas Henrique Santana Mendes)

5.  Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (published by EHSSVEVO)

Enter To Win: Friday Fun Give Away

bishops1993morethanmyvoicemaxHappy Friday everyone!  How about we give away some more classic Southern Gospel music.  Up for grabs today is the Bishops 1993 album, More Than My Voice.  This recording is fairly hard to find nowadays, so today’s trivia is going to be a bit harder than normal.

The songs found on More Than My Voice include “Greatest Love”, “If That Isn’t Love”, “Lord I Need Your Touch”, “Lord I’d Be Lost Without You”, “Praising The Risen Lamb”, “Shadow Of Thy Wings”, “Sun Didn’t Shine”, “That Sounds Like Someone I’d Like To Know”, “This Side Of The Cross” and “You’ll Be Back On The Mountain Again”.

Remember all classic CDs being given away are used, from my personal collection (I’ve been the only owner).  The first person to email me (swea215@yahoo.com) the correct answers to the following trivia questions will win this classic Southern Gospel CD by the Bishops; More Than My Voice.

  1. Can you find the oddity or artist out of place? (McDuffs, McFalls, McGruders, McRaes, McKameys)
  2.  Which one of these is not the title of a Bishops album? (Blessed, Great Things, Marching On, Once In A Dream, Stories)
  3. Finally, name the seven male trios contained in this music mash up.

***THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED***

Congratulations to Brian for coming closest to the correct answers and winning the Bishops, More Than My Voice CD.  The correct answers are as follows.

  1. It should have read McDuffs, McFalls, McGruders, McKameys, McRaes.  All you needed to do was list them alphabetically.
  2. Once In A Dream was not a title of a Bishops album,
  3. The seven male trios in the mash were Heaven Bound (“I Feel His Promise”), Galileans (“Light On The Shore”), Three Bridges (“Waitin’ On Jesus”), Tony Gore & Majesty (“What A Hallelujah Morning”), Greater Vision (“I’ve Got A Love”), Goss Brothers (“He Really Gotta Hold Of My Heart”) and Booth Brothers (“Mercy Was Found”).

Voting Rounds – Radio Single/Song Cover

1stToday you get to decide the best radio single and song cover of 2014.  Eligibility for radio single was any song that was a Southern Gospel chart hit between January 2014 and present.  Song cover for 2014 had to be a previously recorded song covered by an artist on a 2014 album release.  A musical mash up of each category highlights the nominees.

RADIO SINGLE

  1. “I’ll Know I’m Home” – Jeff Crews/Dianne Wilkinson; recorded by the Kingdom Heirs (Redeeming The Time)
  2. “Lead Me Home” – Randy Houser/Craig Monday; recorded by the Freemans (Voice In The Desert)
  3. “Long Live The King” – Chris Binion/Dianne Wilkinson; recorded by Old Paths (These Truths)
  4. “That’s Why” – Ernie Haase/Wayne Haun/Joel Lindsey; recorded by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (Glorious Day)
  5. “Whenever I Hear His Name” – Joseph Habedank/Marty Funderburk; recorded by the Hoskins Family (A Gathering)

SONG COVER

  1. “I Want To Be Like My Lord” – Down East Boys (Beyond The Blue); Jimmy Jones
  2. “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee” – Akins (Vintage); Henry Van Dyke
  3. “Mercy Built A Bridge” – Dunaways (Church In The Kitchen); Ronny Hinson
  4. “The Saving Kind” – Master’s Voice (Rescued From Religion); Linda Bolton
  5. “When He Calls, I’ll Fly Away” – Talleys (The Test Of Time); Vep Ellis

Voting Rounds – Emcee/Fan Event

1stThe 1st annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors continue today with best emcee and fan event of 2014.  Being a group emcee is not an easy task.  You are responsible for pacing the group’s program by knowing when to add dialogue to the program, sharing funny or touching stories at just the right time and doing all of this while making sure you don’t over do it.  Some of the best emcees in the history of this genre included Jim Hamill, Hovie Lister, JD Sumner and George Younce to name a few.

Also, with all the traveling Southern Gospel listeners do to the many events throughout the year, now is your chance to choose the best Southern Gospel fan event of 2014.

EMCEE

  1. Michael Booth (Booth Brothers)
  2. Karen Peck Gooch (Karen Peck & New River)
  3. Douglas Roark (Old Paths)
  4. Mark Trammell (Mark Trammell Quartet)
  5. Gerald Wolfe (Greater Vision)

FAN EVENT

  1. Brumley Gospel Sing (Lebanon, MO)
  2. Gatlinburg Gathering (Gatlinburg, TN)
  3. National Quartet Convention (Pigeon Forge, TN)
  4. Singing At Sea (Crusie)
  5. Singing In The Sun (Myrtle Beach, SC)
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