Voting Rounds – New Artist/Musician

Back to voting for the best of 2014 in Southern Gospel music.  Today you will be able to vote for new artist and musician that best represented Southern Gospel music in 2014.  Today you will get YouTube clips of each nominee.


1.  Canton Junction

2.  Erwins

3.  High Road III

4.  Horn Family

5.  Mylon Hayes Family


1.  Eli Akin (Akins) – Lead/Acoustic Guitar; Mandolin; Banjo

2.  Ben Isaacs (Isaacs) – Bass

3.  Anna Grace Kimbrough (High Road III) – Fiddle

4.  Michael Rowsey (Jason Crabb Band) – Percussion

5.  Mike Salley (Dove Brothers Band) – Steel Guitar

Enter To Win: Friday Fun Give Away

cjrevivers1993letshavechurchmaxI thought I would break away from the voting rounds today (I don’t want to cause voter fatigue) and give away another classic Southern Gospel CD.  With the passing of Gospel music legend Charles Johnson, I thought I would give away the group’s landmark 1993 album, Let’s Have Church.

The song’s found on Let’s Have Church included “A Place Prepared For Me”, “I Believe He Died For Me”, “I Know What Lies Ahead”, “I’m Going To A Meeting”, “Let’s Have Church”, “Love Of Jesus”, “Until Then” and “Winds Of This World”.  Remember all CDs are used (but I have been the only owner).

This was released during an era in Southern Gospel music I label the ‘high energy’ era.  The charismatic stage performances of many of the groups of this time defined ‘high energy’.  The first person to email me ( the answer to the question will win Let’s Have Church by Charles Johnson & Revivers.

Name the five ‘high energy’ artists included in this musical mash-up.


I want to congratulate Jeremy for providing the winning entry in this week’s Friday fun give away.  He wins Let’s Have Church by Charles Johnson & Revivers.  Keep on the lookout because I will be giving away the majority of my personal Southern Gospel CD collection as part of the Friday fun give away.  The answers were:

  1. McGruders (“I’m Going Home With Jesus”)
  2. Reinhardts (“If You Think I’m Shouting Now”)
  3. Wilburns (“The Old Story Will Never Grow Old”)
  4. Cedar Ridge (“I’ve Got Something To Praise God For”)
  5. Greenes (“There’s A Miracle In Me”)

Voting Rounds – Cutting Edge/Underrated Artist

1stThe 1st annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors continues today with best cutting edge and most underrated artist of 2014.  Cutting edge artists are those who think outside the box; who create their own brand/style of Southern Gospel.  Most underrated are artists who had a strong album release or hit single that gets little recognition from fans/industry.  There is a musical mash-up of each category to showcase why they were chosen to represent the best of 2014.


  1. Akins
  2. Brian Free & Assurance
  3. Ball Brothers
  4. Jason Crabb
  5. Taranda Greene


  1. Ball Brothers
  2. Down East Boys
  3. Dunaways
  4. Freemans
  5. High Road III

Voting Rounds – Tenor/Bass Vocalists

1stWhile some of us may not be happy that it is already Monday and another weekend over, we have the chance to take a little time away from work and vote for best tenor and bass vocalists in Southern Gospel music for 2014.  This will close out the six vocal spots that make up Southern Gospel music.  Voting polls will be open one week.  A music mash-up is provided for each category to showcase why the nominees were chosen to represent 2014.


  1. Chris Allman (Greater Vision)
  2. Riley Harrison Clark (Tribute Quartet)
  3. Gus Gaches (Legacy Five)
  4. Thomas Nalley (LeFevre Quartet)
  5. Jeremy Peace (Old Paths)


  1. Daniel Ashmore (Old Paths)
  2. Jeff Chapman (Kingdom Heirs)
  3. Anthony Davis (Tribute Quartet)
  4. Matt Fouch (Legacy Five)
  5. Paul Harkey (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)

Voting Rounds – Soprano/Lead Vocalist

1stToday we continue with our voting rounds for the 1st annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.  Things started strong yesterday with alto and baritone vocalist.  If you haven’t voted yet, bet sure to do so.  Today we take a look at the nominees for the best soprano and lead vocalist of 2014.  Voting polls will be open for one week.  I have provided a music mash-up of the five nominees in each category that showcases why they were chosen to represent 2014.


  1. Angie Aldridge (Hoskins Family)
  2. Kelly Bowling (Bowling Family)
  3. Amber Eppinette (11th Hour)
  4. Karen Peck Gooch (Karen Peck & New River)
  5. Amber Thompson (Nelons)


  1. Mike Bowling (Bowling Family)
  2. Devin McGlamery (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)
  3. Tim Rackley (Old Paths)
  4. Arthur Rice (Kingdom Heirs)
  5. Bill Shivers (Brian Free & Assurance)

Voting Rounds – Alto/Baritone Vocalist

1stThe voting rounds have now begun for the 1st annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.  I released the nominees last week.  Now it is up to you (the reader) to decide the victor in each category.  Today we start with best alto and baritone vocalist of 2014.  All readers of this blog can vote and the polls will be open for one week.  Nominees will be listed along with a music mash-up for each category that showcases why the specific nominees were chosen to represent 2014.


  1. Becky Bowman (Isaacs)
  2. Kelly Nelon Clark (Nelons)
  3. Sheryl Faris (McKameys)
  4. Libbi Stuffle (Perrys)
  5. Suzanne Taylor (Taylors)


  1. Doug Anderson (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)
  2. Aaron Dishman (Dixie Melody Boys)
  3. Mike Rogers (Brian Free & Assurance)
  4. Mark Trammell (Mark Trammell Quartet)
  5. Brian Walker (Perrys)

In Honor: Norman Wilson (Primitive Quartet)

It was announced yesterday evening that founding member, Norman Wilson, of the bluegrass Southern Gospel group the Primitive Quartet had passed away.  Along with Norman, brother Furman Wilson and the Riddle brothers (Larry and Reagan) the group started singing in 1973.

Norman had held down the tenor singing and playing the mandolin for the past 41 years.  Even with the group’s bluegrass/acoustical style, the Primitive Quartet always had a home in Southern Gospel music and among Southern Gospel listeners.

They rose to prominence in the 1980’s with songs such as “Because He Loved Me”, “Drifting Away”, “Flowers We Love”, “Gloryland”, “I’ll Never Walk In The Valley Again”, “Just A Pilgrim”, “Only Fire I’ll Ever Feel” and “When I Get Home”.  Here are a couple of YouTube clips honoring the legacy of Norman Wilson.

1.  “Gloryland” (published by Bluegrass Country Gospel)

2.  “Gloryland” – original album cut (published by sloopjohnb324)

3.  “My Hope Is In The Blood” (published by Gary King)

Battle Cry – Kingsmen

kingsmen2014battlecryGRADE:  A-

  • Album – Battle Cry
  • Artist – Kingsmen
  • Label – Horizon Records
  • Style – Traditional, Progressive
  • Release Date – 10/14/14
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes/Spotify)


Yesterday (10/14/14) saw the release of another new Southern Gospel album; the Kingsmen’s Battle Cry.  This is the first album of new music for the Kingsmen since 2011’s Grace Says.

This is also the second album from the Kingsmen to feature the current vocal line-up; Chris Jenkins (tenor), Bob Sellers (lead), Randy Crawford (baritone) and Ray Dean Reese (bass).  I have been anticipating the release of this album since hearing several of the songs performed during NQC 2014.

Battle Cry has a lot for traditional Southern Gospel quartet listeners and longtime fans of the Kingsmen will absolutely love the classic Kingsmen moments captured on this new effort.


  • Speaking of classic Kingsmen sounds, no other song captures that more than “Oh Yes I Am”.  The current radio single features tenor Chris Jenkins and he performs in true Kingsmen tenor fashion on this song.  From beginning to end this song is one of my favorite recorded this year.  A must listen!
  • An elder statesmen in Southern Gospel music, Ray Dean Reese proves he still has the vocal talent to perform another of the album’s stand out tracks; “I Know”.  This Ila Knight composition is classic Southern Gospel at its finest.  Another song that reminded me of the Kingsmen of the 1980’s.  This has to be a single.
  • The up-tempo songs on Battle Cry are right out of the Kingsmen playbook of yesteryear.  The album kicks of with the title track (classic Kingsmen) and if that is not enough you get the same up-tempo treatment on “Beautiful City” and “Come And Dine”.
  • If you’re a fan of the progressive Southern Gospel ballad, you will enjoy the Randy Crawford feature, “It Should Have Rained”.  It is nice to hear the Kingsmen tackle a song that would fit in to Brian Free & Assurance’s repertoire.  They do a great job.
  • Lead vocalist Bob Sellers gets his chance to shine on the song, “Faith”.  Another progressive style ballad that may have you hitting repeat before moving on to the rest of the album.
  • When you choose songs from the list of songwriters found on Battle Cry, an artist is almost guaranteed a power house recording.  The Kingsmen make the most of the songs they chose.  This may be the best selection of songs the Kingsmen have chosen for an album in over a decade.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Oh Yes I Am”, “I Know”, “Battle Cry”, “It Should Have Rained”, “Come And Dine”, “I’ve Never Seen The Righteous Forsaken” and “Faith”.
  • I tried to come up with one critique of this album but couldn’t find one.  There really is no filler song on this entire album.  A rarity for sure.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “He Took Away My Burden”.  This song really isn’t weak it just so happens to be the lowest ranked of the eleven songs on the recording.


I believe the Kingsmen may have just released the best Southern Gospel quartet album of 2014.  I don’t see any other quartet album coming out before the end of the year to change that.  If you have been a long time listener of the Kingsmen you will absolutely love Battle Cry.  If you are a casual listener of the Kingsmen, this is the one album (of the last several years) in the group’s discography you will want to own.  What I enjoyed most about Battle Cry was the classic Kingsmen treatment given to most of the album.  I will be listening to this album for many months to come!

SONG/Featured Vocalist - Songwriter:  1. “Battle Cry”/Ensemble; Bob - Lee Black, Joel Lindsey, Sue C Smith  2. “I’ve Never Seen The Righteous Forsaken“/Bob; Chris - Rebecca J Peck  3. “He Took Away My Burden”/Ensemble; Ray - Scott Inman, Daryl Williams  4. “Oh Yes I Am”/Chris - Regina Walden  5. “Cross Of Grace”/Randy - Rebecca J Peck  6. “Beautiful City”/Ensemble; Ray - Ashley Franks  7. “I Know”/Ray; Bob - Ila C Knight  8. “It Should Have Rained”/Randy - Rusty Golden, Dianne Wilkinson  9. “Faith”/Bob - Belinda Smith, Kenna Turner West  10. “Come And Dine”/Ensemble; Randy – Dianne Wilkinson, Daryl Williams  11. “Here I Stand Amazed”/Bob – J Randall Crawford


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