Ask Me Anything…

Have you ever wondered what my thoughts were on a specific subject as it relates to Southern Gospel music.

Now is your chance to find out.  In the comments section, leave any question as it relates to all things Southern Gospel music and I will give you my unequivocal, unfiltered response.

**No question is off-limits**

My Best Friend: Redeemed Quartet

GRADE:  C

  • Album:  My Best Friend
  • Artist:  Redeemed Quartet
  • Label:  Custom
  • Style:  Traditional
  • Release Date:  01/06/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  29 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

This week we take a look at a new group by the name of Redeemed Quartet.  The group released a new album at the beginning of the year, My Best Friend.

Several weeks ago I had someone reach out to me and ask me to give a listen to Redeemed Quartet’s music and provide my thoughts.  I thought the best way to do that is give their latest album a review.

The quartet is made up of two sets of brothers.  Nate Duncan (age 20) sings tenor, brother Ben Duncan (22) sings lead, Caleb Koble (21) sings baritone and his brother Josh Koble (19) sings bass.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • One don’t need to listen long to know these young men have been influenced by the Inspirations.  Seven of the ten songs are former Inspiration songs.
  • The quartet is at their strongest when singing as an ensemble and that is no more evident than on their cover of the Inspirations classic, “Is That Footsteps That I Hear”.  The group released this song to radio as their first single.
  • The youngest member of the group, Josh, sings bass and does it quite well at his age.  His performance of another Inspirations cover, “It’s In The Savior’s Hands” deserves a listen.
  • Tenor, Nate and bass, Josh trade verses on “Eye Of The Storm”.  Another song originally recorded by the Inspirations.  The harmony work on the chorus is nice.
  • Caleb does a good job on yet another Inspirations cover, “I Will Praise Him”.
  • Redeemed Quartet reminds me of the Kingsboys when they were gaining national attention.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Is That Footsteps”, “It’s In The Savior’s Hands”, “Eye Of The Storm”, “I Will Praise Him”, “Hide Me Rock Of Ages” and “Meet Me At The Table”.
CRITIQUE:
  • One can listen to this recording and pick up on things that need some fine tuning.  These young men just need to continue singing and perfecting their vocal craft.  A listener can also hear the potential Redeemed Quartet has.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “My Best Friend” and “I’ve Found A Faithful Friend”.

WRAP UP:

I am always happy to be introduced to new artists in Southern Gospel music.  This young quartet is keeping traditional Southern Gospel quartet music alive.  Here’s wishing Redeemed Quartet a bright future.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Is That Footsteps”/Ensemble – Colber Croft, Joyce Croft  2. “My Best Friend“/Ben – Wayland Holyfield  3. “Eye Of The Storm“/Nate; Josh – Regina Stockdale  4. “I Will Praise Him”/Caleb – Tobey Schwartz  5. “Hide Me Rock Of Ages”/Ensemble; Josh – Brantley George  6. “I Want To Stroll Over Heaven With You”/Ben – JB Lemley  7. “Land Of Living”/Nate – Ann Ballard  8. “Meet Me At The Table“/Ensemble – Ronny Hinson, Mike Payne  9. “I’ve Found A Faithful Friend”/Caleb – Leonard Fletcher  10. “It’s In The Savior’s Hands”/Josh – Squire Parsons

Southern Gospel Clones

In the case of today’s post, a clone is an artist that duplicates, imitates or closely resembles another artist in appearance, performance or style.

Today’s post is not meant to be a bad thing (as in the myriad of carbon copy artists in the industry), but one that will take a Southern Gospel artist from the past and match them to an artist of today that best resembles/carries on the sound of the great artist of the past.  I will continue this feature with several more posts.

  • Downings match is the Taylors
  • Florida Boys match is Freedom Quartet
  • Happy Goodmans match is the Perrys
  • Hinsons match is the Hinson Family
  • Mid South Boys match is Akins
  • Oak Ridge Boys match is Triumphant

So with the artists in today’s grouping, do you agree with my choices or do you feel other artists match closer to the great artists of the past?

Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  Roger Fortner, currently with the McKameys, has had a long career dating back to the early 1970’s with the Inspirations.  Roger also spent time with the Singing Americans, Hoppers and the Greenes at one time in his career.  Roger has only showed his singing prowess over the course of the last decade with the McKameys.

The Obligatory Standing Ovation

Been listening to quite a bit of Enlighten on Sirius/XM, on my daily drive back and forth to work.  I’m still amazed at how often the Cathedral’s version of “Oh What A Savior” is played.

It got me to thinking about all the times I’ve heard this song performed in concert.  Most quartets, from regional to top-tier, like to showcase their tenor with this particular song.

I also recalled that I don’t believe there was a single instance of me hearing this song in concert where it didn’t receive a standing ovation from the crowd.

It didn’t matter how great, or poor, the performance was, the crowd stood in thunderous applause.  So, does the song alone warrant a standing ovation, no matter the performance?

Is the crowd so trained to stand on the song, it is an auto response at this point?  Like Pavlov’s theory; you do something long enough out of repetition, it becomes a natural response.

I know there is one “Standing Ovation” I like; this song.

Turn The Page (EP): Misty Freeman

GRADE:  B+

  • Album:  Turn The Page (EP)
  • Artist:  Misty Freeman
  • Label:  Daywind Roots
  • Style:  Country
  • Release Date:  04/14/17
  • Digital Download?:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  22 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take at a look at the new album (EP) from Misty Freeman; Turn The Page.  It has been ten years since Misty gave listeners a solo recording; What If I’m Right (2007).

This go around, Misty teamed with the Daywind, Roots record label to release Turn The Page.  Instead of releasing the traditional ten song album, Misty is giving listeners six songs.

Misty Freeman keeps Turn The Page country, a style that lends to her vocal and the years spent with her family group (Freemans).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Misty’s vocal can be best compared to Bluegrass legend, Alison Krauss.  The stand out track on Turn The Page is the latest radio single, “A Day In The Life Of Jesus”.  A song that deserves a listen, no matter your musical taste.
  • The most thought-provoking, story in song is “The Sermon”.  It tells the story of a father’s passing and all the lives he touched through the life he lived.  Another must listen!
  • Misty shows the listener she can also tackle some up-tempo songs, the best being the bluegrass tinged “Garden Of Grace”.
  • The EP closes with another strong up-tempo number, “When God Speaks”.  When three of Southern Gospel’s greatest writers (Lee Black/Jason Cox/Kenna Turner West) come together, you know the song is gonna be good!
  • Kudos to Scott Godsey and Trey Ivey on making the production of Turn The Page meld perfectly with Misty’s vocal interpretations.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “A Day In The Life Of Jesus”, “The Sermon”, “Garden Of Grace”, “When God Speaks” and “New Beginnings”.
CRITIQUE:
  • After listening to the strength of song selection on Turn The Page, Misty could have given listeners a full ten song recording.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Too Fast”.

WRAP UP:

Misty Freeman provides listeners one of the strongest recordings of 2017, among albums released to date.  The strength is choosing six superior songs and leaving off the fillers that bring down most recordings.

SONG (Style – All Songs Classify as County) – Songwriter:  1. “New Beginnings” – Don Poythress, Sue C Smith, Kenna Turner West  2. “A Day In The Life Of Jesus” – Lee Black, Jason Cox, Dustin Guarnere  3. “The Sermon”  4. “Garden Of Grace” – Jason Cox, Kenna Turner West  5. “Too Fast” – Mark Narmore, Kenna Turner West  6. “When God Speaks” – Lee Black, Jason Cox, Kenna Turner West

Best Album Openers: “He’s Still Working On Me”

Lets start a new week by taking a look at another of Southern Gospel’s best album openers.

That opening song on an album sets the tone for the entire recording.  There are times when that opening song turns into a career record for an artist.

That is the case with this week’s best album opener.  “He’s Still Working On Me” comes from the Hemphills 1980 recording, Workin’.  Not only did the song spend a ton of time at #1 on the Southern Gospel radio singles chart, but it would go on to be the Hemphills biggest song with listeners.

As was the case with nearly every song the Hemphills recorded in their career, “He’s Still Working On Me” was penned by Joel Hemphill.

Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  The Paynes are credited with releasing the first concept video in Southern Gospel music, with their hit single, “I’m A Jesus Fan”.

Other artists followed giving Southern Gospel several concept videos in the 1980’s.  Do you remember these?