New Mega Blog Is Official

Posted: April 10, 2013 by Steve Eaton in Commentary

Folks, this is the last post you will ever see on the site known as Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row.  The new mega-blog is now official and operating.  Please go to the following link and be sure to bookmark it and find everything you loved about this site.  I, along with David Bruce Murray, Kyle Boreing, Diana Brantley and Phil Boles look forward to bringing you all the features you have come to enjoy over the last several years and more!  The new site also has Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row entire library of posts, so you can go and search for anything you could have found here.

Most Influential – #27 – Martins

Posted: April 10, 2013 by Steve Eaton in Most Influential

martinsThis week finds the artist ranked 27th among the most influential in Southern Gospel history; the Martins.

The Martins rose to prominence in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s.  This mixed trio of siblings wowed audiences night after night with their tight harmonies and excellent a cappella singing.

The group found even greater success in the late ’90’s when Gaither introduced them to a whole new audience.


  • martins1996The Martins progressive style of the 1990’s is the Martins most Southern Gospel listeners are familiar with.  Their influence was felt and seen in other groups that came after.
  • Groups with the Martins influence in their music included:  Ball Brothers, Beyond The Ashes, First Love, Hope’s Call, LordSong, Sisters, Sweeter Rain and 11th Hour.
  • Hit Songs:  “Count Your Blessings”, “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”, “Effectual Fervent Prayer”, “Except For Grace”, “Grace”, “He Leadeth Me”, “It Came To Pass”, “Marks Of The Trade”, “Only God Knows”, “Out Of His Great Love”, “Prepare The Dwelling Place”, “The Promise”, “Settle On My Soul”, “So High”, “Tell Them That I Love Them” and “Unredeemed”.
  • Best Album:  Wherever You Are (1996)

Here is a YouTube clip, published by GaitherVEVO, of the Matins performing their biggest song; “The Promise”.  Enjoy!

Concert Review: The Mylon Hayes Family

Posted: April 9, 2013 by Diana Brantley in Mylon Hayes Family

I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing one of the nicest families in the southern gospel industry – the Mylon Hayes Family.  Mylon, of course, is a member of the Hayes Family, which has been touring less in the last year or so since Howard’s death.  That has allowed for some opportunities for Mylon and his wife and children to be able to do some singing of their own.   The children in the family are twins Conner and Bailey who are 14 years old and Kennedy who is 10.  The kids have been singing a song or two as a part of the older Hayes Family’s concerts for the last several years, so they are no strangers to the stage.   Clarkdale First Baptist Church in Austell, Georgia, has hosted concerts for the original Hayes Family for a number of years and now they have hosted this group as well.


I think I heard three part harmony on most of the songs – with Wendy and Kennedy on the same part, Conner and Bailey on their part, and Mylon who sings whatever other part is needed.  I think I even heard Mylon singing some bass notes on one or two songs!   It was harder than usual to just pick a few videos from this concert and had to stop myself at five!  Here’s what they sang:

  • I’m Happy in the Lord Anyway — Kennedy had the most features during this concert.  It’s a good thing she’s not shy!
  • The Gloryland Way – They even had the congregation singing along on this one.
  • How Great It Is – Conner and then Bailey were featured on this song.   They did a great job on it.  What a strong family resemblance these boys have to their dad and grandfather!  And it looks like they’re going to be pretty tall, too.
  • He Is God – Kennedy was featured on this song.
  • The children have been home schooled and they are learning a lot of scripture.  At the previous two concerts I’ve seen them, they quoted some pretty long scripture passages for us and they did again during this concert.  All of them spoke clearly and with understanding of what they were saying.    The children have also been taking piano lessons and we were treated to Kennedy’s rendition of Amazing Grace.  I would’ve loved to have gotten a good video, but from where the piano was placed, I couldn’t even see the top of her little head!
  • I Love to Sing – This was sung from the hymnal with just a piano track and they sang the shape note syllables on the second verse!  I think the kids did better than the adults!
  • The Finished Tapestry – This Rebecca Peck song had such a beautiful message and Wendy did a great job on it.
  • Bigger Than Any Mountain – I just fell in love with this song when I heard it on the radio last summer and so I was delighted to see the family perform it in a showcase at NQC.  Unlike at NQC, this time I caught the whole song on video!  I loved watching them so obviously enjoying singing this song together!
  • The Voice of Truth – I understand that this song is from the movie, Facing the Giants.   Conner started the song off and was joined first by Bailey and then Mylon.  The ladies joined in on the choruses.
  • Little Is Much – Kennedy was featured on the first verse  and Mylon and Wendy sang a duet on the 2nd.
  • God Makes No Mistakes – Yes, this is the song that was released in the last year (or has it been two?) by the Inspirations.  Kennedy was featured on it.
  • He Loves Me – Mylon started this a capella song and then the family joined on the chorus.  Sweet, sweet song!
  • Bless the Lord, Oh My Soul  – I’m guessing the title of this song, but it was also performed a capella and this time Kennedy started it.   Very well done!

Also in attendance were legends Lamar Newton and Sandy Payton and Minister of Music Charlie Sexton convinced them to play a piano/organ duet for us during the love offering at the end of the service, with Mylon joining them on the bass guitar.  But then since the offering didn’t actually get taken up, they played another one!  I’m not too sure that Charlie didn’t let that happen on purpose!

Personal Vault – ‘Cross Country’

Posted: April 8, 2013 by Steve Eaton in Personal Vault

riversowens1992It has been over six months since I went in to the personal vault and pulled out a unique, one of a kind recording.  This personal vault selection came about as a result of a request by a reader a couple of months ago.

With the success of the Mid South Boys, Jeff & Sheri Easter and later White River, in the Southern Gospel market, the early 1990’s saw an influx of Christian country-style artists.  One such artist was a group by the name of Rivers & Owens.

The group was made up of Ken Rivers, Jimmy Owens and Mike Presnell (not the same guy that was with Perfect Heart).  To my recollection, the group only ever released two albums.  The one featured in this personal vault selection is the 1992 recording, Cross Country.

Enjoy sound bytes from River & Owens, Cross Country.

ehssWelcome to another week of the ‘Live’ Southern Gospel music connection.  This is your one stop to get concert information for artists that use ‘live’ music in the concert setting.

Concert Spotlight This Week:

  • Akins – Sunday April 14th, 2013 – Harp’s Crossing Hollonville Campus in Williamson, GA.  Concert time 6pm.
  • Chuck Wagon Gang – Thursday April 11th, 2013 – Tony Gore’s BBG & Grill in Sevierville, TN.  Concert time 7:30pm.
  • Dixie Echoes – Saturday April 13th, 2013 – Central Baptist in Crestview, FL.  Concert time 6pm.
  • Dove Brothers Band – Friday April 12th, 2013 – Bible Baptist Church in Jacksboro, TX.  Concert time 7pm.
  • Inspirations – Thursday April 11th, 2013 – Hardin County High School in Savannah, TN.  Concert time 6pm.  Concert also includes the McKameys and Josh & Ashley Franks.
  • Ernie Haase & Signature Sound – Sunday April 14th, 2013 – First Baptist Church in Kenton, TN.  Concert time 6pm.

Live’ Music Moment Of The Week:

  • This week’s live music moment is a YouTube clip from our very own DinanaSN, of Akins performing their current radio single “Big God”.  Enjoy!

Some People Change – Michael English

Posted: April 6, 2013 by Steve Eaton in Album Reviews

michaelenglish2013change250GRADE:  A-

  • Album – Some People Change
  • Artist – Michael English
  • Label – Curb Records
  • Style – Progressive, Modern Country, Blues
  • Release Date – 03/26/13
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody)


Michael English, Some People Change, made its way to retail on 03/26/13.  This is the first English solo recording since the 2008 album, The Prodigal Comes Home.

Michael English creates an album that Southern Gospel listeners will enjoy.  The styles covered on Some People Change run from progressive Southern Gospel to modern country to blues to pop.

Russ Taff, Crystal Lewis, Wes Hampton, Mark Lowry, David Phelps and the Martins lend their background vocals on several selections.


  • Michael English continues his recording career with Curb Records with the release of Some People Change.  Edit:  Jay DeMarcus along with Benjy and Bill Gaither (“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”) produced this new effort for English.
  • The stand out track is a song sung with conviction, “Stubborn”.  This song conveys a feeling that I believe every one of us has felt at some point in our lives.  By the time the song is finished you believe, as a listener, that Michael has also lived the song.
  • The pop infused “Waking Up The Dawn” was another stand out.  The varying styles found on Some People Change make this one of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time in regards to pacing.  When I got through listening I was surprised that I just listened to a solo artist recording.
  • Blues artist Jonny Lang lent his songwriting talents on the song, “On That Great Day”.  Michael’s voice fit these blues style songs to perfection.  Another blues style song, “Come To The River” also deserves a listen.
  • While many listeners will feel a disconnect with English recording the Hank Williams classic, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” on a Gospel album, I think it was a perfect placement to come after the song “Stubborn”.  Whether that was intended or not, it fit.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Stubborn”, “Waking Up The Dawn”, “Come To The River”, “On That Great Day”, “Some People Change” and “I Ain’t Givin Up On Jesus”.
  • I think the bigger disconnect may come with the recording of the pop song, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”.  This was a pop hit for Aretha Franklin and George Michael back in the ’80’s.
  • Another English cover of “In Christ Alone” was not needed.  There was no new treatment given to this particular version.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”, “In Christ Alone” and “I’d Rather Have Jesus”.


Some People Change was a surprise for this listener.  I was expecting the normal CCM style solo recordings we got from Michael in the past.  Instead the listener is given a more country flavor, with blues, pop and some progressive Southern Gospel thrown in.  English’s fans should love this recording and there is enough on this album to give the Southern Gospel listener a reason to make a place for this album in their iPod.  I am happy with the caliber of albums I have had a chance to listen/review so far in 2013.  It is shaping up to be a great year for album releases!

SONG (style) – SONGWRITER:  1. “I Ain’t Givin Up On Jesus” (country) - Benjamin Hayslip, Troy Olsen, Jimmy Yeary  2. “Come To The River” w/Russ Taff (blues) - John Lowry, Doug McKelvey  3. “I’d Rather Have Jesus” (progressive SG) - Rhea Miller, George Beverly Shea  4. “Some People Change” (country) - Michael Dulaney, Jason Sellers, Neil Thrasher  5. “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” w/Crystal Lewis (pop) - Simon Climie, Dennis Morgan  6. “On That Great Day” w/Martins (blues) – Jonny Lang, Drew Ramsey  7. “In Christ Alone” (progressive SG) - Shawn Craig, Don Koch  8. “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now” w/Hampton, Lowry, Phelps (blues) - Jimmie Davis, Charles Goodman  9. “Waking Up The Dawn” (pop) - Michael Farren, Jennie Lee Riddle  10. “Stubborn” (progressive SG) - Don Schlitz  11. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (country) - Hank Williams

stamps1972Now that the new mega-blog name has been determined and we are all in the process of transitioning, I wanted to begin bringing back some regular features.  This week I wanted to offer a retro spotlight.

This retro spotlight takes a look at JD Sumner and the Stamps 1972 Heart Warming album, Something Special.  The two-year time period of 1971/1972 with the Stamps vocal line-up of Bill Baize (tenor), Donnie Sumner (lead), Ed Enoch (baritone), Richard Sterban (bass) and JD Sumner was one of the best in Southern Gospel quartet history.

This particular vocal line-up released five albums during that two-year period.  Something Special was the final album to be released by this line-up.  Listen to sound bytes from JD Sumner and the Stamps 1972 album, Something Special.  Enjoy!

Smack Down!! – Oak Ridge Boys – Round 1

Posted: April 4, 2013 by Steve Eaton in Smack Down

This week’s artist album smack down is the first match up for legendary quartet, the Oak Ridge Boys.  Listen to sound bytes of each recording and then vote for the album you think should win.

  • oaks1972Album – Light
  • Release Year – 1972
  • Vocal Line Up – Willie Wynn (tenor), Duane Allen (lead), William Lee Golden (baritone), Noel Fox (bass)
  • Song List – (1) “I Don’t Know Why Jesus Loved Me” (2) “Mama’s Last Amen” (3) “I Should Have Been Crucified” (4) “Through It All” (5) “Jesus Is The Man For The Hour” (6) “These Hands Of Mine” (7) “After Calvary” (8) “It’s Jesus That They Need” (9) “It Won’t Be Long” (10) “The Flowers Kissed The Shoes (Jesus Wore)”


  • oaks1969Album – It’s Happening
  • Release Year – 1969
  • Vocal Line Up – Willie Wynn (tenor), Duane Allen (lead), William Lee Golden (baritone), Noel Fox (bass)
  • Song List – (1) “Jesus Is Coming Soon” (2) “He Really Cares About You” (3) “Had It Not Been” (4) “Nearer To Thee” (5) “It’s In Your Hands” (6) “I’m Almost Home” (7) “Daddy Sang Bass” (8) “It Won’t Be Long” (9) “Mama’s Teaching Angels How To Sing” (10) “Amazing Love” (11) “Without Jesus, You Won’t Make Heaven” (12) “The Road That Leads To Heaven”