Kicking off March 2012 with five more current radio songs that have piqued my interest over the course of the last month. Some of the best you’ll find at radio right now includes another chart topper for the Isaacs, Chris Hester & Sheri LaFontaine combining for a great duet, Mark Bishop with a fun song that is hard to get out of your head, Legacy Five with one of their best radio songs in several years and the Old Paths turning in one of their best performances. Enjoy!
The best of 2011 is hitting its stride as we take a look at the album and song that ranks 15th among the best of 2011. The question floats around periodically; if you were to introduce someone not familiar with Southern Gospel to Southern Gospel, what artist’s music would you present? For me, that answer would be Jason Crabb.
If there is any doubt to that question, pick up the album that lands at #15 among the best albums released in 2011; The Song Lives On. Sure, there are no new songs found on this recording and even a few of the songs have been recorded more times than should but Jason has a way of taking a song and conveying that message to the audience in a way few artists can. One of the top concert performers currently touring the circuit.
With a Grammy award, a #1 hit record and a Dove award-winning song of the year performance on “Sometimes I Cry”, Jason has had a great start to his solo career.
Personal favorite songs from this recording include: ”When He Was On The Cross”, “Sometimes I Cry”, “I’ll Take Jesus”, “Why Me”, “Until Then”, “I’d Rather Have Jesus”, “I Saw The Light” and “I’ve Never Been This Homesick Before”.
Chris Hester released his fourth solo album in 2011 with Reach. Chris began his recording career in 2008 with the release of It’s A Good Life. Chris is still new to many in the Southern Gospel industry but his songs have already made an impact at Southern Gospel radio.
The song that lands at #15 among the top recorded songs of 2011 is Chris’ current radio single “Child, I Know The Plans”. Penned by Patsy Hawkins, Chris gets some help from singer/songwriter Sheri LaFontaine on this duet. As is evidenced by the song clip provided, Chris Hester has a strong country vocal reminiscent to that of Mike Bowling.
Synopsis: The Bowling Family had the #1 album of 2010 with Shine. The group’s 2011 release is a collection of favorites titled Feels Like Sunday. The production quality is strong enough to make these previously recorded tunes sound good with the Bowling Family adding their special vocal touch.
OVERALL RATING: 7.809
SONG LIST: 1. “I Thank You Lord”** 2. “Mercy And Grace”** 3. “Winds Of This World” 4. “Church Medley”** 5. “Jesus Messiah” 6. “Unclouded Day” 7. “Thou Art Worthy” 8. “Blood Medley” 9. “I’m On The Battlefield” 10. “We’ve Come This Far By Faith”** 11. “Farther Along”
Synopsis: The Collingsworth Family have climbed the ranks in Southern Gospel music over the course of last several years. As the kids get older and their voices grow stronger, each new album release seems to top the last. Part Of The Family is filled with Collingsworth style power ballads that make this recording one of the best of the year. The only downside is the lack of up tempo features.
OVERALL RATING: 8.233
SONG LIST: 1. “God’s Family” 2. “Tell The Mountain”** 3. “Joy Unspeakable” 4. “Jesus Is All I Need” 5. “Nothing’s Worrying Me”** 6. “I Pray (Because He Loves Me)” 7. “At Calvary”** 8. “I Found It All” 9. “Just Another Rainy Day” 10. “Praise You”** 11. “That’s The Place I’m Longing To Go”** 12. “The Resurrection Morn”**
Synopsis: Chris Hester had one of my favorite radio singles of the entire year with “Evidence Of Love”. His country vocal is distinctive and is reminiscent of Mike Bowling. The strongest song on Chris’ newest effort, Reach, is a duet with singer/songwriter Sheri LaFontaine; “Child, I Know The Plans”. The slower paced recording could have used several more up tempo numbers to pace the album better.
OVERALL RATING: 7.600
SONG LIST: 1. “House Of Change”** 2. “It’s Not Worth it” 3. “Miracle In Reach”** 4. “Walk Like It” 5. “Smile Through My Tears”** 6. “The Life You Gave” 7. “That Memory”** 8. “That’s Good Enough” 9. “I Fell For You” 10. “Child, I Know The Plans”**
Synopsis: The Waiting Is Over was the fifth album release for Tribute Quartet. The quartet continues to release classic quartet arrangements with several progressive ballads. The group is still waiting for that big hit song to move them to the next level. A solid effort.
OVERALL RATING: 7.891
SONG LIST: 1. “Songs Of Zion” 2. “Makes Me Want To Go”** 3. “Jesus Is Alive”** 4. “Homecoming Day”** 5. “More Than Able” 6. “The I Am”** 7. “There Is A City”** 8. “The Climb” 9. “He Is Leading The Way” 10. “Save My Family, Save My Friends” 11. “Bring On The Joy”**
I had an individual ask me how much music I listen to in a week. They knew of my extensive music collection and couldn’t understand how I could ever get around to listening to it all. My only response was; I love music. I listen to quite an eclectic mix but most of my music listening is taken up by Southern Gospel (current, classic and every time period in between).
I also listen to a lot of Southern Gospel radio (good and bad). I listen to XM’s Enlighten in the car going to and from work. At work I have streaming internet radio going all day while there. When I work at the home office, I always have music on in the background. So with that comes another new feature. Each month I will present five current radio songs that have piqued my interest. Here is the list of (5) for April 2011. What current radio songs can you not get enough of?
Traditional Southern Gospel radio, for the most part, has become a thing of the past. At least when it comes to producing mega songs. Today’s generation has become their own radio station, programming/playing their iPods/MP3 players with what they want, when they want. Each week I want to provide a recommendation in what I call the iPod track of the week. These are songs that I am playing frequently in my iPod song rotation.
The first selection comes from a new artist based in northeast Oklahoma. To be honest I never thought about giving this artist a listen until I heard the song, “Empty Handed”. Chris Hester began singing full-time in late 2003 and currently has two albums to his credit. His strong country vocal could easily find him on mainstream Country radio. “Empty Handed” happens to be track #2 on his latest album, Steps I’ve Taken. The song, I also found, happens to be his current radio single.
Give it a look and listen and let me know if given the chance, would you add it to your iPod playlist?