We have turned the page on another month. It is April 2013 and time to look at five current radio songs. These are the five current radio songs that received the most listens in my iPod over the course of the preceding month. Weston and Christy Hinson gives the listener a classic Hinson style song while the Talleys and Dunaways give us two great family harmony songs. The LeFevre Quartet and Old Paths round out the top five, both singing a Rodney Birch song. Enjoy!
I trust everyone had a wonderful Christmas day. As we get close to turning the page on 2012 and starting 2013, it is time to take a final look at the best Southern Gospel album and recorded song of the year. Today we take a look at the runner-up (#2).
Runner up for the best Southern Gospel album of 2012 is Count Me In by the Hoppers. Released in October, Count Me In is a different album for the Hoppers, in comparison to their last half-dozen. This time the group called on Michael Sykes to produce and the end result is an album that hearkens the listener back to the Hoppers of the early 1990′s.
I had the opportunity to see the Hoppers in concert at the beginning of December and Taranda Greene happened to be with them that weekend. If this revamped Hoppers 2.0, with Taranda, is going to be a regular part of the group’s tour in 2013 prepare yourself now for one power house performance.
Personal favorites from this recording include: ”I’ll Take You Home”, “I’ll Worship Only At The Feet Of Jesus”, “He Didn’t Just Carry The Cross”, “Count Me In”, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready”, “That’s What I Love About Him” and “I Am Whatever You Need”.
Roger and Debra Talley were both members of the Hoppers back in the late 1970′s/early 1980′s. Here we are, 30+ years later and both groups are still at the top of their field releasing the best Southern Gospel music of 2012.
I named the Talleys 2012 album Love Won #4 among the best albums released this year. There were several strong songs on that album, but there was one in particular that stood out above the rest. ”Broken World” sounded like a follow-up to another Talleys mega-song, “Broken Ones”.
Bev Herrema, Sean Smith and Terry Wilkins penned this power house tune that found a home in my iPod all year. Lauren Talley’s vocal work coupled with the strong lyric made this one of the best songs recorded in Southern Gospel music is 2012. Listen to a clip of “Broken World”.
Tomorrow will crown the #1 album and recorded song of 2012!
We are ever closer to finding out the #1 album and recorded song of 2012 in Southern Gospel music. Today lets look at the album and recorded song that ranks #4 among the best of the year.
The Talleys experienced some vocal changes in 2012 by adding vocalist Brian Alvey to the mix. This is the first time in the group’s career they are not a mixed trio. 2012 also saw the release of the Talleys first album under this new vocal configuration; Love Won.
The group didn’t hold back providing the listener with near flawless harmonies and powerful lyrical content. The group recorded another mega-song on Love Won with “Broken World”.
Personal favorites from this recording include: ”Broken World”, “Make Way For The Master”, “Love Won”, “Great Love He Gave”, “That’s Why I Love Him So”, “Up Above” and “Love Covers All”.
The Perrys is the only artist in 2012 to have two songs in the top ten among the best recorded songs of the year. Both songs come from the group’s 2012 album, Through The Night.
The Perrys are known for recording and releasing as a single one big power ballad from each album (see “Calvary Answers For Me”, “He Will Hide Me”, “Holy Shore”, “I Rest My Case At The Cross” and “If You Knew Him”). The stand out track on Through The Night is not that type of song.
“Whosoever Will” (penned by Joseph Habedank, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey) is simply a powerful lyric, not over sung/over produced but sung with precision by Habedank. It was this kind of song selection choice by the Perrys on Through The Night that made that album stand out to me. Listen to a clip of the #4 recorded song of 2012; “Whosoever Will”.
The first half of the best of 2012 countdown caps off today with the album and recorded song sitting at #11.
The Crabb Family reunited to record an album titled Together Again. Released in February, Together Again brought all the elements Crabb Family listeners would expect from a Crabb Family album. Modern country sounds mixed with progressive Southern Gospel overtones.
While Together Again is not the best album in the Crabb Family discography, it was a strong enough recording to be considered one of the best Southern Gospel album releases of 2012; landing at #11.
Personal favorites from this recording include: ”If There Ever Was A Time”, “Come Home”, “God Has A Plan”, “Life Meets Grace”, “Say A Prayer” and “This Is You And Me”.
The recorded song to find a home at #11 among the best of 2012 is the first of two to land in the countdown from the Talleys.
The Talleys released their album, Love Won, back in May. This was the first Talleys recording to feature Brian Alvey. Not only did Brian lend his vocal work, but he also lent his songwriting talent to Love Won.
It was Alvey’s composition, “Make Way For The Master” that ranks #11 among the best Southern Gospel recorded songs of 2012. A song that has the feel of one of the Talley’s biggest songs, “The Healer” and features Brian on the lead. Listen to a clip of “Make Way For The Master”.
September 2012 is here and it is time to highlight five current radio songs that piqued my interest over the course of the preceding month. This month’s radio songs find the Old Paths with a great up tempo quartet number, the Talleys with another career defining song, a Gold City power ballad, a fun sing along song by Marshall Hall and a country crooner style tune from the Dove Brothers Band. Enjoy!
I decided to attend the last night of the 2012 Singing In The Foothills in Wilkesboro NC on Saturday (06/23/12). Six artists capped off this event to a large crowd of Southern Gospel enthusiasts. On this particular night Jonathan Martin was recording some social cam videos. I will also be providing some audio sound bytes of each set to give my readers a small taste of the event. Here are highlights in order of appearance.
Kingsmen – The Kingsmen kicked off the event to a crowd ready to hear some great music. This was my first opportunity to see the group with Chris Jenkins (tenor) and Bob Sellers (lead). They sounded great. Chris was a great addition to the group. He is reminiscent of the classic high tenors the Kingsmen were known for in the past. Here is a social cam clip from Jonathan Martin and some sound bytes for you to enjoy.
Nelons – This was the third time in a two month time span that I’ve seen the Nelons. Similar set, but I am still in awe at the vocal talent that Amber possesses. Enjoy these audio sound bytes of their set.
Talleys – It was great seeing the Talleys in a four-part harmony mixed group. They did quite a bit of material from the new album (Love Won), most notably “Make Way For The Master” and “Broken World”. But the song that caused that crowd to come unglued was their closing number, “He’s Alive”. Wow! Here are some sound bytes of their set.
Karen Peck & New River – New River is a favorite among the Singing In The Foothills crowd. It was evident from the first song. It was great hearing “On The Banks Of The Promised Land”, but the crowd would not let them leaven the stage after performing “Four Days Late”. Jonathan Martin picked up a social cam video here. Enjoy sound bytes from New River’s set.
Primitives – Bluegrass Southern Gospel artist the Primitives delighted the crowd with their brand of mountain flavored music. A favorite of folks in North Carolina, the Primitives highlights included “I Don’t Have To See The Tomb” and “Walking In The Highway”. Another social cam video of the Primitives picking here. Also, sound audio sound bytes of their set.
Martins – I can’t tell you how great it was to see the Martins again. It has been several years since I had the chance to catch up with these folks. They have never sounded better. ”The Promise” and “Unredeemed” knocked my socks off. Jonathan even got a social cam video of the group on stage, here. Enjoy sound bytes from the Martins set.
As a result of the great time I had at Singing In The Foothills, there is some free music to give away. I have two brand new, unopened copies of the Talleys newest album Love Won. Easily one of the best Southern Gospel albums released so far in 2012. The first two individuals to email me (email@example.com) the answer to the following trivia question will win.
***Question: Name the group Debra Talley was a member before marrying Roger and joining the Hoppers.***
UPDATE: Congratulations to Charles and Justin for being the first two to answer the Songmasters correctly. They won a copy of the Talleys new recording Love Won. Thanks for the continued readership and more free music to continue through the summer.
Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row (Steve Eaton) and Musicscribe (David Bruce Murray) join forces once again to present the ‘must buy or not’ feature. Highlights and dislikes will be offered along with a definitive yes or no on whether the album is a ‘must buy’.
In this edition of the ‘must buy or not’ feature, we consider the new album by the Talleys (formerly the Talley Trio). This is the first recording to feature the new vocal configuration with Brian Alvey added to the mix with Roger, Debra and Lauren. Love Won landed at retail on Tuesday (05/15/12). The Talleys have built a progressive Southern Gospel sound over the last 15 years that continues with Love Won.
Song list: (1) “We Want To Thank You” – Brian Alvey (2) “Love Won” – Belinda Cox, Jason Cox, Kenna Turner West (3) “Make Way For The Master” – Brian Alvey (4) “Broken World” – Bev Herrema, Sean Smith, Terry Wilkins (5) “Every Scar” – Lee Black, Gina Boe, Jerry Salley (6) “Talk To The Lord About It” – Rebecca Peck, Kenna Turner West (7) “Up Above” – Rebecca Peck (8) “Surely” – Daryl Williams (9) “Great Love He Gave” – Paula Stefanovich (10) “The Church Will Overcome” – Dianne Wilkinson (11) “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us” – Stuart Townend (12) “That’s Why I Love Him So” – Brian Alvey, Gary Casto (13) “Love Covers All” – Marty Funderburk, John Lemonis, Kenna Turner West
SOUTHERN GOSPEL VIEWS FROM THE BACK ROW
While Love Won starts on a reflective note, the power block of songs #2, #3 and #4 highlight the best of the recording. “Love Won”, “Make Way For The Master” and “Broken World” would all make great single choices.
“Make Way For The Master” has the feel of one of the Talley’s biggest songs; “The Healer”. “Broken World” seems to be a follow-up to another of the Talley’s biggest songs, “The Broken Ones”. Both have the potential to be #1 songs for the group.
The vocal blend created with Brian Alvey, Lauren Alvey and Debra Talley create some special moments on Love Won. “Up Above” showcases this blend with Brian and Lauren while “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us” showcases the three of them.
The one up tempo bright spot on Love Won is the traditional/spiritual gospel feel of “The Church Will Overcome”. This song will translate well in the live setting. The Talleys cut of “That’s Why I Love Him So” sounds different from the original cut by Tribute Quartet that I had to do a double take to make sure it was the same song.
The Talleys’ vocals sound better than before with the addition of Brian Alvey. Of course, they weren’t shabby before, but it’s clear that the blend is improved.
Alvey absolutely nails his solo on “Make Way For The Master.”
I like the two-part Bach invention snippet on piano at the beginning of “Love Won.”
“Broken World” is a great song, and so is “Every Scar.” In both cases, it’s the lyric that makes the song great.
“Surely” could add to Lauren Talley’s string of up-tempo hits if the label chooses to send it out as a single. The thick 4-part harmony at the bridge is an unexpected bonus.
Debra Talley’s vocals + a Paula Stefanovich lyric = CLASSY!
Brian Alvey lets his soul flag fly on “The Church Will Overcome.”
SOUTHERN GOSPEL VIEWS FROM THE BACK ROW
I was anticipating the four-part mixed group sound this new version of the Talleys was going to create but at the end of the day it is still only a trio vocal recording. Roger Talley’s vocal presence on this recording is only really felt when he takes the lead on a song. The rest of time it is the trio of Lauren, Debra and Brian holding down the vocals/harmony.
Another cut of “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us”. While there are some great harmony moments on this song, this song has been overdone in the Southern Gospel market over the last several years.
The lack of up tempo numbers. It seems the majority of albums I have listened to/reviewed in 2012 is relying heavily on slower to mid tempo numbers than creating a nice pace with a mixture of up tempo/mid tempo/slower songs. For this listener, that kind of pacing begins to wear on you to the point of losing interest/focus. A few more up tempo numbers please.
No dislikes from me. I enjoyed the entire CD. Like Steve, I do think “How Great The Father’s Love” has been overdone lately. I can’t dislike this version, though, because it’s the best version of the song I’ve heard. The Talleys layered some cool vocal “ooos” over an epic, cinematic score. If I were producing, I’d have swapped Lauren and Roger for the solo features on “Broken World” and “Every Scar,” but again, that’s not really a dislike. I enjoyed both songs in their current form due to the quality of the songwriting.
SOUTHERN GOSPEL VIEWS FROM THE BACK ROW
YES – While there are only three up tempo numbers on a thirteen song collection, Love Won has some really strong moments for me to say it is a ‘must buy’. If this was a ten song collection of the best songs on Love Won, it would have been the best album I have listened to/reviewed so far in 2012.
YES – This CD is a must buy for two reasons. First, the songwriting is absolutely top notch. It’s so consistently good that this collection would be well received even if the singers were somewhat less skilled than the Talleys. Second, the addition of Brian Alvey gives the Talleys their best sound ever. Love Won features him enough to show both his vocal range and the range of styles he can sing comfortably, but Alvey’s most significant contribution is the quality of tone he adds to the harmony parts.
This week’s ten on ten feature highlights the recording career of the Talleys. From their debut in 1983 as the Talleys through their modern era recordings under the Talley Trio; the attempt will be made to rank the group’s ten best recordings. With the experience gained by each member of the Talleys prior to the group’s start, made them an instant hit with audiences. Their progressive arrangements in the 1980′s were considered ground breaking and the Talleys were also one of the first artists in the Southern Gospel industry to incorporate tracks into their live performances.
The Talleys top ten recordings are:
Hope For Tomorrow (2002)
Love Will (1990)
The Message (2003)
Rise Above (2006)
Typical Day (1989)
For Every Generation (1988)
Work Of Heart (1985)
Wherever I Am (1984)
The Talleys recording career started strong. The group’s first four major label releases all made the top ten list and nearly all the albums released as the Talleys were also among the top ten.
United from 1986 is the group’s landmark album, sitting a top the list as the group’s best recording. Not only did this recording feature one of the group’s all time biggest songs “Triumphantly The Church Will Rise”, but also included strong cuts in “I Can Touch Him”, “Worship The Name Of The Lord”, “There’s Still Power In The Blood” and “Yes Lord Yes”.
The landmark album from the modern era Talley Trio group is the 2002 recording Hope For Tomorrow. The group landed three #1 songs from this recording including “The Healer”, “The Answer Is Christ” and “I Love The Lord”.
The follow-up 2003 album The Message ranks #4 among the group’s ten best. This period was probably the strongest of the group’s entire career. This album also had major hits with “His Life For Mine” and “Jesus Saves”.
Love Will from 1990 ranks #3 among the best recordings. This recording contained the original cut of what is now a classic, “He Is Here”. In terms of overall song selection, this may be the best in the Talleys discography.
It is hard to dispute the caliber of songs that have come through the Talleys catalog. Their biggest recordings contain songs such as “Thinking About Home”, “Sweeter As The Days Go By”, “Hallelujah Praise The Lamb”, “The Broken Ones” and “The Debt” to name a few.
The Talleys have been able to create their unmistakable sound around very few individuals. Roger, Debra, Kirk and Lauren have been the only members of this group over the course of the group’s career. The group moves in a new direction now with the addition of Brian Alvey to the group.
The forgotten gem in the group’s discography is their 1989 recording Typical Day. For collectors, copies of this recording are still floating around online auction sites.
From forgotten gem to the album that should be forgotten. The group’s recent effort Stories And Songs doesn’t equal the prior successes of the group’s discography. This could be one of the few album’s by the Talleys that doesn’t contain one stand out track; a song that will go down as a Talleys classic.
With the group now taking a mixed group approach, it will be interesting to hear the music released by this new configuration and see how it ranks among what has already come from the Talleys.