Best Of 2014 – #7

PerrysThe Christmas holiday is here as most of us begin our travels to family somewhere across this country or prepare our homes to host family.  Remember to cherish those most important to you this Christmas season.  Today, we continue the annual countdown with the album and recorded song ranked 7th.

Even in the most trying of years for the Perrys, they still provided Southern Gospel listeners with a new album; the group’s first with Stow Town Records.  While the album didn’t rank as high as some of their biggest recordings (see Almost Morning), Into His Presence still provided listeners with the Perrys traditional/progressive mix of quality Southern Gospel music.

Even though the Perrys have since lost two vocal members from this recording, several songs contained on the album will remain in the Perrys repertoire for years to come.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “I Can Trust Him”; “Lord, I’m Thankful”; “How Long”; “Into His Presence”; “I Owe Him Everything”; “Privilege Of Prayer” and “Just Stand Still”.

High RoadFemale trio, High Road III had another great year with the release of their sophomore album; Angel At The Crossroads.  The album ranked 13th among the best released this year.

The title track (“Angel At The Crossroads”) also happened to be the stand out track from the recording and now lands among the best recorded songs of 2014 at #7.  High Road III’s acoustical style lends to these haunting melodies that capture the listener and “Angel At The Crossroads” fits this mold perfectly.

High Road III picked up quite a few nominations at the 1st annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors as Angel At The Crossroads garnered nominations for Album and Concept Video of the year.

Here is a YouTube clip (published by HighRoadMusic) of that concept video for the recorded song ranked 7th among the best of 2014.  Enjoy!

Best Of 2014 – #8

MTQThe countdown is moving at warp speed as today we take a look at the album and recorded song ranked 8th among the best of 2014.  Getting ever closer to crowing the #1 album and recorded song of the year.

The Mark Trammell Quartet proved in 2014 that you don’t need the aid of a major record label to record and release the best quartet album of your career; Your Walk Talks.  The group got away from the big, over the top productions to record a no frills, traditional Southern Gospel quartet album.

This was the group’s final album with bass vocalist Pat Barker and they allowed him to shine on several cuts.  Lead vocalist Nick Trammell is coming along as a songwriter as he (co)wrote a couple of songs on the album.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “When The King Comes To Claim His Throne”; “God’s Been Faithful”; “Your Walk Talks”; “I’ll Take It To The Grave”; “Don’t Stop Running”; “Man Of Sorrows” and “I’ll Go Over Jordan Someday”.

TaylorsThe Taylors are batting two for two in terms of top ten lists.  Their 2014 album, Measure Of Grace, was already named the 10th best album released in Southern Gospel music this year.

Now, the title track from that album (“Measure Of Grace”) finds a home at #8 among the best recorded songs for 2014.  Sometimes you don’t need the big, over-produced songs to create a great musical moment.

“Measure Of Grace” proves you can take a simpler arrangement and let the vocals shine to create a great listening experience.  Also, this song has bass vocalist Christopher Taylor step out to sing lead.

Here is a YouTube clip (published by Various Artists – Topic) of the audio version of this Caleb Collins/Sue C Smith masterpiece.  Enjoy!

Best Of 2014 – #9

gvb2014mountainmax (300x300)The best of 2014 rolls on today with the album and recorded song ranked 9th among the best of the year.

The Gaither Vocal Band’s newest album, Sometimes It Takes A Mountain, didn’t get the greatest of reviews when it was released.  While I agreed with some of those sentiments, when stacked up against the rest of what Southern Gospel had to offer in 2014, it is still one of the ten best albums released this year.

This is the first Vocal Band album with newest members Adam Crabb and Todd Suttles.  This fourteen song collection is filled with mainly covers and several newer songs.  The album also offered a new dynamic for listeners as Bill took a back seat in the vocal department and allowed Todd to pick up the bass singing on the recording.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “You Brought Us Out”; “We Are Coming Home At Last”; “Jesus Gave Me Water”; “Let It Start In Me”; “Sometimes It Takes A Mountain”; “Written In Red”; “Happy Rhythm” and “The Night Before Easter”.

PerrysThe Perrys already landed one song on this years countdown with “Lord, I’m Thankful”.  The second to make the list was the group’s hit radio single from this year; “I Can Trust Him”.

We have already seen Wayne Haun and Joel Lindsey among the songwriters for the recorded songs that have made the countdown.  This is the first song on the countdown that they collaborated on.  This songwriting duo have penned many a hit song through the years and “I Can Trust Him” was no exception.

This seemed to be the testimony of Libbi and the group in 2014 and you could hear that conveyed every time Libbi performed the song.

Here is a YouTube clip (published by Nick Newman) of the powerful NQC performance of the Perrys (Libbi) singing the song ranked 9th among the best of 2014; “I Can Trust Him”.  Enjoy!

Best Of 2014 – #10

TaylorsWe are half way through the countdown and today kicks off the top ten.  What are the ten best albums and recorded songs in Southern Gospel music this year?  Lets find out.

The Taylors continue to make strides in Southern Gospel music and I would say 2014 has been one of the best so far for the group.  The group signed a recording agreement with Stow Town Records and released their first album with the label in 2014.  That album, Measure Of Grace, lands at #10 among the best Southern Gospel albums released this year.

The Taylors are able to meld traditional mixed quartet Southern Gospel music with progressive arrangements.  I sometimes tend to label them the Downings of this generation and that assessment is not too far off.  Measure Of Grace is a strong eleven song collection that I would classify as the group’s best album to date.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “Measure Of Grace”; “I Tremble”; “Heaven Is Ready (And Waiting For Me)”; “I’m Committed To You Lord”; “That Will Be Heaven To Me”; “He’s My Guide” and “The Greatest Wonder”.

Three BridgesThree Bridges already found a home in the annual countdown when I ranked Jesus Saves the 17th best album of 2014.  There was one song in particular from this recording that ranks as one of the ten best recorded songs in Southern Gospel music this year.

When you put the songwriting talents of Lee Black, Jason Cox and Kenna West together you are guaranteed the final product is going to be nothing less than stellar.  Such is the case with the song ranked 10th among the best recorded this year; “Satisfied”.

This is another of those songs that sounds like a classic song cover until you read the songwriter credits.  There have been plenty of songs in the history of this genre with the title, “Satisfied”, but this newest is destined to become a song that will be sung years from now.

Here is a YouTube clip (published by Three Bridges – Topic) of the audio version of “Satisfied”.  Enjoy!

Best Of 2014 – #11

BFAToday, we wrap up the first half of our annual countdown of the best albums and recorded songs of 2014.

Ranked 11th among Southern Gospel’s best albums this year is Brian Free & Assurance; Unashamed.  It is hard pressed for Brian Free & Assurance not to have an album listed among the twenty best in any given year a new album is released.

Unashamed follows the same formula that has made the group, leaders in progressive Southern Gospel music.  The hit single, “Say Amen” picked up three wins at the 1st annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors (best recorded song; concept video; songwriting collab).  The group also picked up cutting edge artist of the year.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “Say Amen”; “Evidence In You”; “He Still Saves”; “God Of Possibilities”; “Unashamed” and “Where There’s A Will”.

Taranda GreeneSouthern Gospel music’s female voices are proving that 2014 is their year.  In an industry dominated by all male quartets, it is often hard for female voices to break through to garner any type of recognition among listeners.

This listener doesn’t discriminate when it comes to great music and Taranda Greene wowed me with her newest solo recording; Stronger.  The album is filled with a half-dozen songs that could have easily made this list, but their was one that seemed to rise above the rest.

The Randy Phillips (Phillips, Craig & Dean) penned, “Awake My Soul” was written for a voice like Taranda’s to totally show out.  This song epitomizes why Taranda Greene’s vocal talents could find her success in any mainstream genre outside Gospel music.

Here is a YouTube clip (published by Various Artists – Topic) of the audio version of the song ranked 11th among the best recorded in 2014.  Enjoy!

Best Of 2014 – #12

MartinsThe best of 2014 continues today with the album and recorded song ranked 12th among the best of the year.

The song, “When I Go Away”, found a place among the best recorded songs of 2014 (17th).  The Martins decided to record their first all A Cappella album since their original a cappella release in 1996.  One thing they proved to listeners on this 2014 release is they have still got the vocal talent to pull off what was required for the album.

The intricate arrangements found on A Cappella are mind-blowing.  It is a rarity for an all a cappella recording to hold my interest, but the Martins were able to do that.  It just so happens that A Cappella was just nominated for a Grammy for Best Roots Gospel Album.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “When I Go Away”; “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”; “He’s Everything To Me”; “Shut De Door”; “Fairest Lord Jesus” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.

Amber-ThompsonOne young lady in Southern Gospel music has had a great 2014.  Readers of Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row voted her best soprano vocalist of 2014 in the 1st annual Southern Gospel View from the Back Row honors about a month ago.

Amber Nelon Thompson has proven to Southern Gospel listeners she is one of the best female vocalists in the industry.  She released her first solo (EP) recording this year with four outstanding songs.  Two of those songs find a home in the twenty best recorded for the year.

Written by group member Jason Clark, “What Do You Say” showcases Amber’s modern country side on a song that the listener could hear mainstream country artist Martina McBride tackle.

Here is a YouTube clip (published by Various Artists – Topic) of the audio version of the song ranked 12th among the best recorded songs of 2014.  Enjoy!

Best Of 2014 – #13

High RoadHappy Friday!  Our annual countdown continues today with the album and recorded song ranked 13th among the best of 2014.

High Road III released their debut album, The Road Less Traveled, in 2013.  I ended up naming it one of the top five albums released last year.  High Road III brought us their sophomore release in 2014 with Angel At The Crossroads.

While this album doesn’t rank as high as their debut effort, High Road III is one of the most original artists in Southern Gospel music.  Their acoustical style reaches not only the Southern Gospel marketplace, but bluegrass and country as well.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “Angel At The Crossroads”; “Don’t You Weep For Me”; “Worry”; “Walk Beside Me”; “My Savior’s Love” and “Jesus Built A Bridge”.

GVBThe Gaither Vocal Band and the songwriting talents of Bill and Gloria Gaither finally make their way in to the annual countdown, with the recorded song ranked 13th among the best of 2014.

Bill and Gloria along with Dony and Reba Rambo McGuire penned the strongest song on the Gaither Vocal Band’s 2014 album, Sometimes It Takes A Mountain. The infectious, up-beat “You Brought Us Out” has a melody eerily similar to something you would hear from pop duo Fun.

This song found instant repeat upon first listen and has been one of the most listened to songs in my iPod since the release of the album.

Here is a YouTube clip (published by Jenyffer Previtalli) of the audio version of “You Brought Us Out”.  Enjoy!

Best Of 2014 – #14

Down East BoysA full week of counting down the best Southern Gospel albums and recorded songs of 2014 continues on this Thursday with the album and song ranked 14th among the best.

The Down East Boys become the second quartet album to find a place in the top twenty.  The group brought Southern Gospel listeners, Beyond The Blue in August of this year.  The Down East Boys seem to always be listed when talking about Southern Gospel’s most underrated artists.

I wonder why that is?  The group consistently churns out quality quartet music and tend to have little turnover compared to other groups.  I guess that is a question that will never be answered.  Beyond The Blue was listeners last chance to hear tenor Tony Jarman, who announced his departure after the release, and a first glimpse at newest bass singer Joe Brinkley.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “I Left My Past In The Past”; “Holy All Over Again”; “If I Know Him”; “The First Day For Me”; “I Want To Be Like My Lord” and “Yes, I Remember You”.

perrys (300x300)I knew it wouldn’t be long until we saw songwriter Joel Lindsey named with one of his compositions, among the best recorded songs of the year.

The Perrys had a trying year in 2014 with several personnel shifts including the departures of David Ragan and long time baritone Brian Walker.  All of this coinciding with the triumphant return of Tracy Stuffle to the NQC stage after his massive stroke just one year earlier.

In the midst of all of this the Perrys release their first album with Stown Town Records, titled Into His Presence.  The album had two songs that stood out above the rest and made their way on to the top twenty list.  The first is the Joel Lindsey penned, “Lord I’m Thankful”.  A song the defines the Perrys 2014, ranked 14th among the best recorded songs of the year.

Here is a YouTube clip (published by Various Artists – Topic) of the audio version of “Lord I’m Thankful”.  Enjoy!

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