Restore: Aaron & Amanda Crabb

aacrabbGRADE:  B

  • Album – Restore
  • Artist – Aaron & Amanda Crabb
  • Label – Difference Media Group
  • Style – Modern Country
  • Release Date – 08/26/16
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music)


Today we take a look at the latest album from Aaron & Amanda Crabb; Restore.  The album hit retail on August 26th, 2016.

Aaron & Amanda Crabb release their fourth mainline release with Restore and their second with Difference Media Group.

The husband/wife duo continue their modern country sound with some praise/worship; a sound that has been a mainstay since the duo’s origination.


  • I will highlight the best songs from each vocalist in this review.  Lets start with Amanda.
  • The stand out track on Restore has Amanda take the first verse and Aaron the second; “Restore Me”.  Amanda penned this power house song that should be considered for Southern Gospel radio.
  • Amanda is featured on the album’s opening track, “Time Flies”.  This mainstream country-style tune could do well on mainstream country radio.  Enjoy every moment in life because it moves along too quickly.
  • Amanda and daughter Eva penned another Amanda feature, “Kingdom Come”.  Another mid-tempo modern country-style song that fits the album’s theme.
  • Aaron’s strongest feature is the eight minute, “Your Blood”.  This praise/worship standard is given a nice modern country treatment to make for an enjoyable listen.
  • Aaron is featured on the modern country, “The Water”.  First verse talks of playing in the water as a kid to the second verse covering the surrendering to the water of baptism.
  • Another must listen is the Aaron feature, “Mercy On Me”.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Restore Me”, “Your Blood”, “The Water”, “Miracle”, “Mercy On Me”, “Time Flies”, “Kingdom Come” and “Back Together”.
  • Aaron & Amanda Crabb gave listeners 50 minutes of music on Restore.  That is a tough feat when attention spans are so short.
  • The group decides to record another version of the Dottie Rambo classic, “He Looked Beyond My Fault”.  Not needed.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “He Looked Beyond My Fault” and “I’ve Seen What He Can Do”.


Aaron Crabb carries on the Crabb Family tradition with wife Amanda.  Restore is the most enjoyable listen of the duo’s discography thus far.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Time Flies”/Amanda – Jason Cox, Belinda Smith, Kenna Turner West  2. “The Water“/Aaron – T Brad Crisler, Doug Stokes  3. “Two Coats“/Aaron – Emory Gordy, Patty Loveless, Ralph Stanley  4. “Restore Me”/Amanda; Aaron – Amanda Crabb  5. “Washed Away”/Aaron – Aaron Crabb, Amanda Crabb, Sue C Smith  6. “Your Blood”/Aaron – CJ England  7. “I’ve Seen What He Can Do”/Aaron – Lee Black, Sue C Smith, Kenna Turner West  8. “Kingdom Come“/Amanda – Amanda Crabb, Eva Crabb  9. “Back Together”/Aaron – Joseph Habedank, Don Poythress, Kenna Turner West  10. “Mercy On Me”/Aaron – Michael Farren, Joseph Habedank, Kenna Turner West  11. “He Looked Beyond My Fault”/Aaron – Dottie Rambo  12. “I’ve Got The Victory”/Amanda – Marcia Henry, Kenna Turner West, Tony Wood  13. “Miracle”/Aaron – Aaron Crabb, Amanda Crabb

Smack Down!! – “We Are Not Ashamed”

hissong2006watchingandwaiting150One of the most popular features on Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row in the early days of the blog was a feature, song covers Smack Down.  It has been over a year since the last Smack Down.

Today we look at the current single from the Taylors, “We Are Not Ashamed”.  The song was first recorded by HisSong in 2006.  Geron Davis wrote the song.  Which version comes out on top.  You decide.

  • Artist – HisSong
  • Album – Watching And Waiting
  • Release Year – 2006
  • Featured Vocalists – Ensemble


  • TaylorsArtist – Taylors
  • Album – Hope And Healing
  • Release Year – 2016
  • Featured Vocalist – Ensemble

Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  The Nelons recorded a song on their 2016 recording, Stronger Together, titled “You Can’t Make Old Friends”. Kelly Nelon Clark was joined by Karen Peck Gooch on the song for a poignant duet about lifelong friends.  They performed the song at NQC back in September.

Did you know, the song was originally recorded by mainstream country artists Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton in 2013.  The song was penned by Ryan King, Don Schlitz and Caitlyn Smith.

*Video Credit (warnermusicnashville)

Ten On Ten (Redux): Poet Voices

pvThis week the ten on ten (redux) will re-visit the Poet Voices.  On May 7, 2012, I presented the original ten on ten feature for the Poet Voices highlighting the group’s ten best albums.  This redux feature will now shine the spotlight on the three lowest ranking albums of the group’s career.  First, the original list highlighting the Poet Voices ten best recordings.

  1. Trust The Truth (1997)
  2. Timeless 1 (2001)
  3. Let It Be (2005)
  4. Our God Is Marching On (1993)
  5. Common Ground (1995)
  6. This Changes Everything (2001)
  7. Pilgrim Song (1999)
  8. Men Of His Word (2004)
  9. Steppin’ Stones (2006)
  10. Turn To The One (2002)

The lowest ranked albums in the Poet Voices discography are as follows:

  1. Worship Focus One (2007)
  2. Second Verse (2004)
  3. Hymns For The Journey  (2000)

Somewhere I’m Going: High Road

24inch silverstep tabletopGRADE:  B

  • Album – Somewhere I’m Going
  • Artist – High Road
  • Label – Custom
  • Style – Country, Acoustic
  • Release Date – 09/16/16
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music)


Today we take a look at the latest album from High Road; Somewhere I’m Going.  The album hit retail on September 16th, 2016.

High Road is a female group that relies solely on their vocals and the instruments each member play.  Somewhere I’m Going is the group’s third album that features acoustical country and bluegrass sounds.

The 2016 edition of High Road is composed of Sarah Davison (lead/alto vocals; piano), Kristen Bearfield (lead/harmony vocals; mandolin/banjo), Kinsey Kapfhammer (soprano/harmony vocals; acoustic guitar) and Lauren Conklin (fiddle).


  • High Road is one of the few trackless groups in Southern Gospel music.  Their acoustical country/bluegrass sound will quickly endear itself to listeners.
  • The stand out track on Somewhere I’m Going is the country vocal, “Love”. Kristen Bearfield takes the lead on a song that would do well at Southern Gospel radio.
  • Group member Sarah Davison along with Kenna Turner West penned a hymn for the modern-day in “Christ My Hope, My Glory”.  Sarah along with Jason Crabb sing this power house number.  A must listen!
  • The album’s title track is a song that could do well on mainstream country radio but the Gospel message in the song is evident.  I love the line in the song that says, ‘home is not just somewhere I am but somewhere I’m going’.
  • Listeners are treated to very little in the way of up-tempo numbers.  The strongest is the bluegrass flavored, “Don’t It Feel Good”.
  • Member Kristen Bearfield wrote and performs another stand out song, “His Hand On Me”.  This would be another strong contender for Southern Gospel radio single possibilities.
  • Ben Isaacs can be commended for producing Somewhere I’m Going.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Love”, “His Hand On Me”, “Christ My Hope, My Glory”, “Somewhere I’m Going”, “Don’t It Feel Good”, “Then On Sunday”, “Squirrel Hunter” and “We Are Broken”.
  • The album contain three song covers that tend to weigh the album down.  The weakest of the three is “I’d Rather Have Jesus”.  One of those that have been recorded more times than needed.
  • I wish the pacing of the album gave listeners a couple more up-tempo numbers in place of the song covers.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “I’d Rather Have Jesus” and “Give Me Jesus”.


High Road stands above the crowded field of mediocre talent in Southern Gospel music.  Not only are they quality vocalists, but each play an instrument to produce a non-track performance for listeners.  In a year where women are dominating a man’s world, High Road is doing just that in a music industry dominated by men.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Sweet By And By”/Sarah; Ensemble – Sanford Bennett, Joseph Webster  2. “Somewhere I’m Going“/Kinsey – Lee Black, Jerry Salley, Sue C Smith  3. “Love“/Kristen – Sarah Davison; Kinsey Kapfhammer  4. “Then On Sunday”/Sarah – Sarah Davison; Kinsey Kapfhammer  5. “We Are Broken”/Kristen – Sonya Isaacs, James Shamblin  6. “Shine”/Sarah; Kinsey – Sarah Davison, Kinsey Kapfhammer  7. “Squirrel Hunter”/Instrumental – Sarah Davison, Kristen Bearfield, Kinsey Kapfhammer  8. “I’d Rather Have Jesus“/Kristen; Kinsey – Rhea Miller, George Beverly Shea  9. “Don’t It Feel Good”/Sarah – Sarah Davison, Kinsey Kapfhammer  10. “His Hand On Me”/Kristen – Kristen Bearfield  11. “Christ My Hope, My Glory”/Sarah with Jason Crabb – Sarah Davison, Kenna Turner West  12. “Give Me Jesus”/Sarah; Ensemble – Fanny Crosby, L.O. Sanderson

VOTING: Greatest Songwriter: Round 2 – Poll 5

Happy Monday.  Today concludes round 2 voting in our search for Southern Gospel’s greatest songwriter.  Round 3 will begin next week.  Please click on the link in the poll to hear a song written by poll 5’s fourteen contenders.  Here are the rules for voting:

  • All readers of this blog can vote.
  • You are allowed to vote for up to three choices.
  • You are allowed one vote per day.
  • The top (6) by vote tally will advance to round 3.
  • Voting closes Friday (10/21/16).

Dynamic: Ball Brothers

ball-brothersGRADE:  B+

  • Album – Dynamic
  • Artist – Ball Brothers
  • Label – Song Garden Music Group
  • Style – Progressive, Jazz, R&B
  • Release Date – 09/30/16
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music)


Today we take a look at the latest album from the Ball Brothers; Dynamic.  The album hit retail on September 30th, 2016.

The Ball Brothers are celebrating their first decade in Southern Gospel music in 2016.  Their sound has always been progressive Southern Gospel mixed with some jazz and little R&B for good measure.

The 2016 edition of the Ball Brothers is composed of Andrew Ball (tenor), Daniel Ball (lead), Chad McCloskey (baritone) and Matt Davis (bass).


  • The group excel at taking former CCM songs and adding their own progressive, jazz ensemble work to them.  The group’s harmony is some of the best you will find in Southern Gospel music.
  • Daniel Ball has several stand out songs on Dynamic, the biggest being “Mercy Tree”.  The group’s ensemble harmony work on the chorus’ is about as good as it gets.
  • Daniel does the same with his feature on “Least I Can Do”.
  • I’ve already mentioned the group’s ensemble harmony work.  Their a cappella rendition of “I Shall Know Him” will leave you mesmerized.
  • The album closes with “Jesus Cares For Me”.  Another awesome ensemble arrangement that should be considered for Southern Gospel radio.  This song has already been added to my musical playlists.  Can’t get enough.
  • The Ball Brothers channel a little Boyz II Men on “Hey Mama”.  Andrew Ball’s tenor work is stunning.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Mercy Tree”, “Jesus Cares For Me”, “I Shall Know Him”, “Hey Mama”, “Least I Can Do”, “Let Your Light Shine” and “Count Your Blessings”.
  • As great as Dynamic is, the group took on a few song covers that have been recorded more times than need be.  “Happy Rhythm topping that list.
  • I would have liked to hear new bass vocalist Matt Davis featured more.  He adds that little something extra to the group’s sound.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Happy Rhythm”.


My readers already know how I beat up on artists that record albums of only song covers.  While Dynamic was weighed down a bit with a couple covers, this album is one of the best recordings I have listened to in 2016.  I am awed by the ensemble harmony work the Ball Brothers gives listeners.  You need this album!

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Let Your Light Shine”/Ensemble – Andrew Ball, Daniel Ball, Darren Rust  2. “Victory In Jesus“/Daniel – Eugene Bartlett  3. “Mercy Tree“/Daniel – Michael Neale, Krissy Nordhoff  4. “Gentle Shepherd”/Andrew – Bill Gaither, Gloria Gaither  5. “I Shall Know Him”/Ensemble – Traditional  6. “Count Your Blessings”/Chad – Paul Lancaster, Buddy Mullins, Mark Willett  7. “Least I Can Do”/Daniel – Ashley Gorley, Scott Krippayne  8. “Happy Rhythm“/Ensemble – Mosie Lister  9. “Hey Mama”/Andrew – Chris Mackay, Toby McKeehan, Holly Marie Miller, Joseph Prielozny  10. “Jesus Cares For Me”/Ensemble – Thad Cockrell, Bart Millard

Hot Or Not? – “He Welcomes The Beggar”

Today we look at another Southern Gospel radio single to determine if it is ‘hot or not’.  This series allows you, the reader, to let artists/record labels know if they are choosing the right songs for radio.

This week, is the new single from 11th Hour’s 2016 album, What A Moment.  “He Welcomes The Beggar” was penned by Jason Cox, group member Amber Eppinette and Kenna West.  What say ye; hot or not?