Best Of 2016: #14

perry-sistersHappy Friday!  The album ranked 14th among the best Southern Gospel releases of 2016 is the Perry Sisters, Lineage.  For those long time Southern Gospel listeners who thought the group had long since retired, they’re back.

Yesterday, the stand out song from the recording, “No Stranger To The Pain” landed at #15 among the best recorded songs of the year.

The trio gave listeners a 16 song collection of newer songs and Perry Sister classics.  “In The Ark Of Safety and “Build My Home” were two cases where the remakes were better than the original.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “No Stranger To The Pain”, (2) “In The Ark Of Safety”, (3) “Heaven Holds All To Me”, (4) “Build My Home” and (5) “The Writing’s On The Wall”.

erwinsThe Erwins already found a home in the annual countdown with their 2016 album release, Only Faith Can See (#17).

Caleb Bumgardner and Jeffrey Bumgardner combined to write the song ranked 14th among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of 2016.

Track #4 on Only Faith Can See is “Chasing After You”.

Best Of 2016: #15

ftsOne of the more unique Southern Gospel albums released in 2016 ranks 15th among the best of the year.  What happens when you mix Southern Gospel with the folk rock sounds of groups like the Lumineers and Of Monsters And Men?

The answer to that question is Mark Bishop & Forget The Sea.  Mark combined with daughters Courtney and Haley to provide listeners that very sound.  While many Southern Gospel listeners shied away from the album, this listener considered it one of the most enjoyable listening experiences of the year.

One of the first album releases of 2016 and it finds a home at #15 among the best albums of the year..

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “Baptize Me In The Rain”, (2) “Take To The Sky”, (3) “You Love Me Anyway”, (4) “Everything I Give” and (5) “Sometimes God Whispers”.

perry-sisters-300x300After a six-year hiatus, the Perry Sisters returned to the Southern Gospel scene in 2007 with the release of A New Season.  Just when you thought the group was back, they fell off the scene again.

2016 changed that when the Perry Sisters returned with Lineage.  A sixteen song collection of new material and some Perry Sister hits from the past.

It was track #2 that stood out on the recording and ranks 15th among the best recorded songs of 2016.  Diana Gillette penned “No Stranger To The Pain”.

Best Of 2016: #16

canas-voiceThe countdown rolls on today with the album and recorded song ranked 16th among the best of 2016.  Three solo artists came together in 2016 to release an album.  They would call themselves Cana’s Voice.

Taranda Greene, Doug Anderson and Jody McBrayer released This Changes Everything in May.  I was a bit hard in my review of the recording calling out what I considered monotony in arrangements and trying to market 80s CCM as some fresh new sound for Southern Gospel.

When it was all said and done and the album was stacked up against the other 2016 releases; it was strong enough to rank 16th among the best of the year.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “I Won’t Go Back”, (2) “Jesus Never Fails”, (3) “Give It To You”, (4) “Love Anyway” and (5) “There Is A Mountain”.

andersonOne third of Cana’s Voice, Doug Anderson, also released a solo album for Stow Town Records in 2016; The Only One.

The album had a mostly modern country aesthetic, but there was one song that had some groove/soul to it that immediately stood out above the rest.

Brent Ellison, Wayne Haun and Darryl Johnson came together to pen the song ranked 16th among the best recorded songs of the year; “I Don’t Know How He Did It”.

Best Of 2016: #17

erwinsOne of the fastest rising groups in Southern Gospel music is Texas-based family group, the Erwins.  Siblings Keith, Kody, Kris and Katie have endeared themselves to the broader Southern Gospel listening audience.

Two years ago, this young group also caught the eye of Stow Town Records, where they were signed on as an artist.  The Erwins sophomore recording with Stow Town, Only Faith Can See, ranks 17th among the best albums of 2016.

Wayne Haun took the lead on producing duties, giving the Erwins a more progressive style than the group’s previous recording.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “Chasing After You”, (2) “Holding On To Me”, (3) “Up And Out Of The Valley”, (4) “Only Faith Can See” and (5) “I Can Through Christ”.

livingstonsNew to listeners in 2016, the Livingstons returned to the Southern Gospel scene with the release of Unexpected Journey.  The group had two successful recordings in the late 1990’s.

Track #4 from Unexpected Journey, “Grace” ranks 17th among the best recorded songs in Southern Gospel music for 2016.  The topic of God’s grace has been conveyed thousands of times during the history of Southern Gospel music.

I enjoyed how songwriter and group member Brittany Potter painted a picture in “Grace”.

Best Of 2016: #18

high-roadWhile Southern Gospel traditionalists may scoff at the country-style that is part of the industry, one only need to go back to the genre’s early days to know it has always been a part.

One of the best acoustical country/bluegrass style groups right now is all female ensemble, High Road.  The album that lands at #18 in recognizing the best of 2016 is Somewhere I’m Going.

The group tapped in to the producing talents of Ben Isaacs to produce Somewhere I’m Going.  I also relish in the fact that an all female group is offering some of the best music in a male dominated industry.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “Love”, (2) “Christ My Hope, My Glory”, (3) “His Hand On Me”, (4) “Don’t It Feel Good” and (5) “Somewhere I’m Going”.

forget-the-seaOne of the most unusual recordings I reviewed in 2016 was Forget The Sea and the album Mark Bishop & Forget The Sea.  Mark and his two daughters Courtney and Haley combined for a refreshing change of pace.

The one song from the recording that remained in my musical playlists the entire year (album released in January), was track #2; “Baptize Me In The Rain”.

This folk inspired tune penned by Mark Bishop, John Isaacs and Josh Rison ranks 18th among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of 2016.

Best Of 2016: #19

mtqThe Mark Trammell Quartet land at #19 on the annual list of Southern Gospel’s best albums with their 2016 release, Full Sail.  This was the first quartet album to feature newest members Blake Buffin (tenor) and Randy Byrd (bass).

Listeners have come to expect traditional Southern Gospel quartet music from the group and that is exactly what you will get with Full Sail.

The quartet also work in their obligatory ‘high church’ ballad that has become a staple of the group going back to their trio days.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “More Than You’ll Ever Know”, (2) “Already In Canaan Land”, (3) “All The Way Home”, (4) “Go Show John” and (5) “Treasures In Heaven”.

pruittThe Pruitt Family landed in the annual countdown yesterday when their 2016 release, So Much Sweeter ranked 20th among Southern Gospel’s best albums of the year.

Track #9 from that recording, “Love At First Sight”, is the song ranked 19th among the best recorded songs in Southern Gospel music for 2016.

Just like yesterday’s song (#20), “Love At First Sight” was penned some twenty years ago by John Darin Rowsey.

Best Of 2016: #20

pruitt-familyToday, embarks on a 20 day journey of the best Southern Gospel albums and recorded songs of 2016.  With all the music I am privileged to review every year, this is one of my favorite features to bring my readers.

I reviewed 42 new Southern Gospel album releases in 2016.  These are the twenty that stood out above the rest.  To kick off the countdown at twenty is the Pruitt Family; So Much Sweeter.

The Pruitt Family are only celebrating three years in Southern Gospel music.  So Much Sweeter is only the second album the family has provided listeners.  The one major note that stood out to me about So Much Sweeter is it represented the classic Southern Gospel families of the past.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “Love At First Sight”, (2) “Making A Way”, (3) “God’s Appointed Time”, (4) “But For The Blood” and (5) “Jesus Built This Church On Love”.

mvThere were 464 songs found on the 42  recordings reviewed in 2016.  Of all 464 songs, I narrowed down to what I felt to be the twenty best recorded songs of the year.

Oklahoma based, Master’s Voice moved from a male vocal trio to quartet in 2015.  The group’s first quartet recording released in 2016.

The song that finds a home in the annual countdown of Southern Gospel’s best recorded songs is track #9 on the album Undivided; “Things God Doesn’t Know”.  This song was penned over twenty years ago by Southern Gospel songwriter/producer, Chris White.

Annual Countdown Of Southern Gospel’s Best Albums & Recorded Songs

Welcome to December.  It is that time of year where you allow me to indulge myself and present one of my favorite features of the entire year.  I will be counting down what I consider to be the 20 best Southern Gospel albums and recorded songs of 2016.  I had a chance to review 42 new Southern Gospel albums this year (all reviews under the album review section).  464 total songs contained on those 42 albums.  What will be the best of 2016.  Countdown starts tomorrow (12/02/16).  Click on album list for larger view.