Buzz Worthy 2017: “Never Gonna Give Up On You”

buzzworthyThis week’s buzz worthy clip comes from the Dunaways.  I decided to go back to their acclaimed 2014 album, Church In The Kitchen.

The fifth single from the album, “Never Gonna Give Up On You”, is a powerful message in song, featuring Tammy Dunaway.  This album is one every Southern Gospel listener should have in their collection.  I would easily rank it as one of the ten best albums released over the last five years.

“Never Gonna Give Up On You” was penned by Julie Anne Miller.

Resurrection: Joseph Habedank

GRADE:  B+

  • Album – Resurrection
  • Artist – Joseph Habedank
  • Label – Daywind
  • Style – Progressive
  • Release Date – 03/10/17
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music)

SYNOPSIS:

Joseph Habedank is working on four years since becoming a solo recording/touring artist.  His years spent with the Perrys built a nice fan base for his solo career.

2017 marks the fourth album released from Joseph Habedank on the Daywind Records label.  Resurrection is the first album of new music from Habedank since 2014 (Welcome Home).

This newest effort is 100% progressive Southern Gospel music.  Habedank also contributed to all ten songs found on Resurrection.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Joseph Habedank has a depth to his voice that is rarely seen among Southern Gospel solo artists.  His power and the brightness in his vocals capture your attention from the first note.
  • Right out of the gate, “Here He Comes” sets the tone for the entire album.  A nice mid to up tempo song that Daywind chose as the first single.  The nearly one minute theatrical musical score felt out-of-place at the beginning.
  • To counter, I thought the ‘James Bond-esque’ musical score to open “Jailbreak” was awesome.  It also highlights one of the best songs on the entire album.
  • The most Southern Gospel friendly song on Resurrection is the up-tempo, crowd pleaser, “Devil Can’t Dance”.  I was not surprised to see Jimmy Yeary as co-writer of this particular number.
  • The big theatrical score should have been at the beginning of the album’s final song, “Long Live The King”.  It fits the song better than “Here He Comes”.  This is also a strong choice for radio single possibilities.
  • A nice retrospective ballad, “I Love You (From An Old Rugged Cross)” is a song that should not be overlooked.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Jailbreak”, “Here He Comes”, “Long Live The King”, “Devil Can’t Dance”, “I Love You (From An Old Rugged Cross)”, “Dead Things” and “I Believe In The Resurrection”.
CRITIQUE:
  • The only thing that may have added to the appeal of Resurrection is doing a vocal collaboration on a song or two.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Say The Name”.

WRAP UP:

There is no doubt Resurrection by Joseph Habedank will be among the best Southern Gospel albums released in 2017.  In fact, it is one of the best Southern Gospel albums by a solo artist I’ve heard in quite a while.

SONG (Style – All Songs Classify as Progressive Southern Gospel) – Songwriter:  1. “Here He Comes” – Chris Cron, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood  2. “Jailbreak” – Gerald Crabb, Joseph Habedank  3. “Just When You Thought” – Michael Farren, Joseph Habedank, Wayne Haun  4. “I Believe In The Resurrection” – Lee Black, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood  5. “Middle Man” – Lee Black, Joseph Habedank, Megan Sorrelle Mulnix  6. “Devil Can’t Dance” – Joseph Habedank, Jimmy Yeary  7. “I Love You (From An Old Rugged Cross)” – Joseph Habedank, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey  8. “Dead Things” – Benji Cowart, Joseph Habedank, Kenna West  9. “Say The Name” – Michael Farren, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood  10. “Long Live The King” – Joseph Habedank, Krissy Nordhoff, Tony Wood

Song Hall Of Fame: “It Sure Sounds Like Angels To Me”

Hall of Fame (350x202)Happy Monday!  It is time to honor another of Southern Gospel’s greatest compositions by placing it into the Southern Gospel song hall of fame.

Today’s inductee goes back to 1984; “It Sure Sounds Like Angels To Me”.  It is the first song to land in the song hall of fame from both the Greenes, who recorded the song and Jean Canter, the songwriter..

The song was found on the group’s 1984 album, Greenhouse.  It was also the first top five radio hit from the Greenes.

Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  2017 marks thirty years since the release of the Martins first recording.  Joyce, Jonathan and Judy released, On The Rise in 1987.

A decade later, the Martins had become one of the biggest Southern Gospel trios to ever be a part of the Southern Gospel music industry.

Thirty years after that first album release, the Martins are still doing selected touring dates performing their biggest career hit songs.

And New Artist Of The Year Goes To…

If you have been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you are probably aware there are times I will start what seems to be a feature and then never continue.  A direct result of too many ideas always floating around in my brain.

In April of 2016, I had a POST where I decided to go back through Southern Gospel awards history to determine how many new artist of the year award winners went on to have lengthy careers.  I wanted to use both early Dove Award and Singing News Fan Award winners in this feature.  The post only featured early Dove Award winners.  I thought I would finally pick up this feature and continue with Singing News fan award winners for horizon group.

Singing News awarded the first horizon group in 1988.  Interesting enough, the Dixie Melody Boys won.  After a lengthy career leading up to 1988, the Dixie Melody Boys diverted to Christian country music in the mid 80s and eventually became the DMB Band.  Fans reacted when Ed put the traditional quartet back together and awarded him with horizon group in ’88.

Another quartet, which is now a staple among Southern Gospel listeners, the Kingdom Heirs, were handed horizon group in ’89.  Rick Strickland (tenor), David McGill (lead), Steve French (baritone) and Bob Caldwell (bass) was the vocal line-up at this time.

We’ll close today’s segment with yet another quartet win for horizon group.  1990 saw the award go to the Down East Boys.  After a string of strong recordings in the late 80’s, this win was no surprise.  Speaking of lengthy careers, all three award winners highlighted are still touring today!

The News For Today: Sneed Family

sneed-familyGRADE:  B-

  • Album – The News For Today
  • Artist – Sneed Family
  • Label – Custom
  • Style – Country
  • Release Date – 02/17/17
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music)

SYNOPSIS:

This week we take a look at the new album from the Sneed Family, The News For Today.  The Sneed Family has been rising in the ranks as a regional artist out of Kentucky.

The News For Today is the first album from the Sneed Family to be released to the retail marketplace.  The Sneed Family is composed of Caleb Cowan (lead vocalist), Amanda Cowan (soprano), Seth Sneed (harmony vocals), Jeff Sneed (baritone), Pam Sneed (alto) and Jacob Sneed (percussion).

The Sneed Family are traditional country (think Hinsons) in terms of style adding some Appalachian sounds that are reminiscent of groups like the Singing Cookes.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The songwriting talents of Ronny Hinson combined with the country-style of the Sneed Family is a perfect fit.  The stand out track is the up-tempo, “I’ve Never Seen A Promise”.  I can already hear this song in the live concert setting.
  • I miss hearing a crying steel guitar in Southern Gospel music.  The News For Today is filled with the sounds of the steel guitar.  The opening song on the album is as country as you’ll get.  “Here Today, Gone tomorrow (Home Forever)” is a must listen.
  • Seth takes the lead on another traditional country song; Kyla Rowland’s, “This Side Of The Grave”.  More steel guitar riffs throughout.
  • The Sneed Family decide to take on one of the best ‘high energy’ groups to ever grace a Southern Gospel stage; the McGruders.  Originally recorded in 1987, the Sneed Family cover, “Finish Line”.  While not as much power as the original, a good cover nonetheless.
  • Amanda Cowan is featured on a song that would make a strong choice for radio single; “This Ship Was Built With Storms In Mind”.
  • Pam Sneed brings a little Jeanette Cooke style to the listener on the Appalachian sounding, “The Blood Is Still Strong Enough”.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “I’ve Never Seen A Promise”, “This Side Of The Grave”, “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow (Home Forever)”, “This Ship Was Built With Storms In Mind”, “Finish Line” and “The Blood Is Still Strong Enough”.
CRITIQUE:
  • I don’t understand the false narrative songwriters and then artists push about Christianity being against the law.  Thus is the case with the song, “God Against The Law”.  Same kind of clunky songwriting we got last year with “You Asked Him To Leave” (Wilburn & Wilburn).
  • Do I believe that less Americans identify as a conservative Christian; absolutely.  Do I believe that as a result conservative Christianity has less societal influence than it used to; absolutely.  Do I equate that with Christianity being against the law in the US; absolutely not.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “God Against The Law” and “I Went To Riches From Rags”.

WRAP UP:

If you were a fan of the great mixed groups of the late 80s/early 90s, you will enjoy The News For Today from the Sneed Family.  A strong first effort to send to major retail outlets.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow (Home Forever)”/Ensemble; Jeff – Cliff Adkins  2. “I’ve Never Seen A Promise“/Caleb – Ronny Hinson  3. “The Blood Is Still Strong Enough“/Pam – William Pippin  4. “This Ship Was Built With Storms In Mind”/Amanda – Kristi Fitzwater, Belinda Smith  5. “This Side Of The Grave”/Seth; Jeff – Kyla Rowland  6. “Stronger Back”/Caleb – Doug Gill  7. “I Went To Riches From Rags”/Jacob – Thomas Pelphrey  8. “God Against The Law“/Seth – Jerry Lee Lackey, Ryan Robertson  9. “The News For Today”/Amanda – Aaron Wilburn  10. “Don’t That Sound Like Heaven”/Amanda – Terry Evans  11. “Finish Line”/Ensemble – Carroll McGruder

Overrated?? – 11th Hour

11th HourToday continues a new series titled overrated.  It looks at a current artist’s popularity (rated out of 100) vs current chart success/album releases (rated out of 100).  The difference between their popularity score and chart success/album release score is where they fall on the overrated meter.

I am going to flip the script today and actually look at the opposite.  An artist who would be considered underrated.  The artist covered today is 11th Hour.

CURRENT POPULARITY = 78

  • 11th Hour already has an up hill battle in gaining a larger listening audience by being a mixed vocal trio instead of an all male trio/group.
  • With a reputable record label behind them and the access to huge chart hits, its allowing the group to win over new listeners.
  • In an industry where a sea of artists is refurbishing 80s/90s CCM as today’s Southern Gospel, there is no doubt that 11th Hour is releasing Southern Gospel music.

CURRENT CHART SUCCESS/ALBUM RELEASES = 90

  • In pondering the music 11th Hour is currently giving listeners, I score that 90 out of 100.
  • 11th Hour currently has (5) #1 hits under their belt during their short recording career.
  • I named What A Moment the #1 album released in Southern Gospel in 2016.
  • With only four albums in their discography, 11th Hour has a long career ahead to become on of Southern Gospel’s greatest trios.

SCORE ON THE OVERRATED METER = (-12)

  • This score represents that 11th Hour is currently underrated by a net negative (-12).