DID YOU KNOW?: The Freemans were birthed out of the family of group member Darrell Freeman. Darrell’s parents and siblings traveled as the Pathways during the 1970s.
After Darrell married Chris, she left the Hinsons and traveled with the Pathways for a couple of years before the group decided to change their name to the Freemans. The first Freemans album (1983) included Darrell’s parents and brother.
This week we take a look at the new album from the McKameys, Be Brave. The album hit retail on Friday June 9th, 2017.
One thing McKamey fans can be sure of is an annual new recording from the group. Be Brave marks the 53rd album in the group’s career discography. That is impressive.
At this point in their career, the McKameys is not going to cover any new musical ground. McKamey fans can expect the same traditional, Appalachian musical style the group has been providing since the start.
Sheryl shines on Be Brave. Not only with her rich alto vocal but also with the songwriting she provided the recording.
The stand out track is a song Sheryl wrote and is featured; “Living For Eternity”. A nice mid-tempo number that should be considered for radio single.
Sheryl backs that up with a nice ballad feature, the album’s title track; “Be Brave”.
The McKameys give listener’s a convention style song to open the album, “So Good To Me”. This would make for a great concert opener in the live setting.
The album closes on a strong note with the Connie feature, “Since When”.
The album’s first single is a Roger Fortner feature, “For The Record”. He has been a go to recently as far as radio singles are concerned.
With a running time of 29 minutes, you can listen to Be Brave twice in the time it takes to listen to most Southern Gospel albums once.
Strongest songs included in order: “Living For Eternity”, “Be Brave”, “So Good To Me”, “Since When”, “For The Record” and “Jesus Passed By”.
Of all songs to cover, why “Come Forth As Gold”? This song was first recorded on Sheltered (1995).
Weakest songs included in order: “Come Forth As Gold” and “One Thing I Know”.
The McKameys remain consistent to their style, heritage and their loyal fan base. No need to ever paint outside that box.
SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:1. “So Good To Me”/Ensemble – Tracy Jones 2. “Living For Eternity“/Sheryl – Sheryl Farris3. “Come Forth As Gold“/Peg – Sandy Blythe 4. “It’s Mine”/Ruben; Connie – Rebecca Peck; Dianne Wilkinson 5. “Be Brave”/Sheryl – Sheryl Farris 6. “On And On”/Connie – Sheryl Farris 7. “For The Record”/Roger – Sheryl Farris 8. “One Thing I Know“/Peg – Sheryl Farris9. “Jesus Passed By”/Sheryl – Sheryl Farris 10. “Since When”/Connie – Kristi Fitzwater, Tim Parton
DID YOU KNOW?: John Stemberg sang baritone with the Anchormen for a couple of years between 1998 and 2000. I believe the only album John recorded with the Anchormen was Reflections Of Life (1999).
John left the Anchormen to try his hand at acting. He wrote the screenplay and acted in a 2006 crime drama film, Legit. John also did some theater, acting in a stage production of The Beverly Hillbillies.
This week we take a look at the new album from the Perrys, Testament. The album hit retail on Friday June 9th, 2017.
The Perrys are celebrating 47 years in Southern Gospel music. Testament marks the third album released by Stow Town Records. The Perrys use Wayne Haun once again to produce Testament.
The 2017 edition of the Perrys are composed of Libbi Stuffle (alto/lead), Andrew Goldman (tenor/lead), Troy Peach (lead/baritone), Jared Stuffle (baritone) and Tracy Stuffle (bass).
Libbi’s rich alto vocal has been the centerpiece of the Perrys sound for nearly 30 years. She has the top three stand out tracks on Testament.
The best song on the album is the powerful, “I Will Pray”. Libbi conveys the message with conviction on this soon to be Wayne Haun/Joel Lindsey classic.
The Perrys go back and cover the Primitive Quartet’s classic, “My Hope Is In The Blood”. Libbi takes the song to new heights.
Libbi’s third masterpiece on the recording is another ballad, “Find Me Faithful”. This would make a strong radio single choice.
Speaking of radio singles, the first from Testament is the stand out up-tempo song, “Moses And Elijah”. This song of rapture, penned by Rebecca Peck and Dianne Wilkinson will have you hitting repeat.
The Perrys remind listeners of their convention style singing on the classic, “The Harder The Battle The Sweeter The Victory”.
It was great hearing Tracy performing on the barn burner, “Lord Send Me”. While Jared turns in his finest performance to date on “Who I Could Have Been”.
Kudos for including some crying steel guitar, heard on the Troy Peach feature, “Sing In The Valley”.
Strongest songs included in order: “I Will Pray”, “My Hope Is In The Blood”, “Find Me Faithful”, “Moses And Elijah”, “Let’s Stop For A Moment”, “The Harder The Battle The Sweeter The Victory”, “Lord Send Me” and “Sing In The Valley”.
The country-style, “It Carried Him” seemed out-of-place with the rest of the album.
Weakest songs included in order: “It Carried Him”.
The Perrys have a winner with Testament. Could easily be one of the top album releases of 2017. It is the best album the Perrys have released with Stow Town Records.
SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:1. “Let’s Stop For A Moment”/Ensemble; Andrew – Kyla Rowland 2. “I Will Pray“/Libbi – Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey3. “It’s Not Here To Stay“/Troy – ?? 4. “Find Me Faithful”/Libbi – Jeffrey Bumgardner, Joel Lindsey, Karen Peck Gooch 5. “Lord, Send Me”/Ensemble – Ronny Hinson 6. “Who I Could Have Been”/Jared – ?? 7. “Sing In The Valley”/Troy – ?? 8. “Moses And Elijah“/Andrew – Rebecca Peck, Dianne Wilkinson9. “It Carried Him”/Andrew – Wayne Haun, Kirk Talley 10. “My Hope Is In The Blood”/Ensemble; Libbi – Reagan Riddle 11. “The Harder The Battle, The Sweeter The Victory”/Ensemble – Traditional
In the ‘ask me anything’ feature, a reader asked me about the last Southern Gospel album I was really excited about. It got me to thinking about the last decade in Southern Gospel music and the definitive albums released over the last ten years.
During the summer of 2017, I will be giving you my list of the (20) best albums in Southern Gospel music over the last decade. I will just be printing track listings. Click on the links to read the original reviews and hear the songs from the recording.
DID YOU KNOW?: Squire Parsons is one of Southern Gospel’s greatest songwriters, as well as one of the greatest baritone singers to ever grace a Southern Gospel stage.
After his exit from the Kingsmen in the late ’70s, Squire ventured out as a solo artist. During the 1980’s, Squire released about a half-dozen trio recordings as Squire Parsons and Redeemed. Then in the late ’90s, Squire had the Squire Parsons Trio.
Did you know, that in 1992, Squire released one quartet album as the Squire Parsons Quartet. Other Kingsmen greats, Ernie Phillips (tenor) and Arthur Rice (lead) were a part of this one of a kind album.