Overrated?? – Collingsworth Family

collingsworthToday 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.  The artist covered today is the Collingsworth Family.


  • The Collingsworth Family have become Southern Gospel’s biggest mixed group.
  • The fan voted Singing News fan awards have given the Collingsworth Family favorite mixed group the last five years in a row.
  • Kim Collingsworth’s piano playing has contributed more to the Collingsworth Family’s success than the music the group releases.


  • In pondering the music the Collingsworth Family is currently giving listeners, I score that 64 out of 100.
  • The top album in the Collingsworth Family’s discography is the 2011 album, Part Of The Family.
  • The Collingsworth Family didn’t pick up their first top ten song until November 2012 with the song, “Just Another Rainy Day”.  Since that time they’ve had only two other top ten hits; “How Great Is Love For Me” (2015) and “What The Bible Says” (2016).
  • The Collingsworth Family has yet to capture a #1 song on the Southern Gospel radio singles chart.


  • This score represents that the Collingsworth Family is currently overrated by a net positive +33.

14 thoughts on “Overrated?? – Collingsworth Family

  1. This assumes that SG radio is still a/the primary measure of relevance.

    Yes, it still has value, just far less than twenty years ago. For one thing, a pretty high percentage of music fans listen to little or no radio, and for another, so many markets have no top-40 SG station – and that includes mine, historically one of this genre’s strongest markets.

    Also, at least last I checked, Stow Town doesn’t have one of the powerhouse radio promoters (Jim Stover, Susan Whisnant, etc.) pushing their songs, and therefore all their singles tend to underperform vs. expectations.

    An optimal measure of relevance would include:
    (1) Touring relevance (1/3 of total), including (a) average total weekend or nightly attendance, (b) percentage of dates that are flat vs. love offering, (c) percentage of SG’s most significant events where artist is booked.

    (2) Album relevance (1/3 of total): Half of this would be sales success, factoring in Nielsen/SoundScan sales, perhaps Amazon or iTunes rankings, and possibly anecdotal evidence. The other half would be streaming success, factoring in numbers from Spotify, YouTube, etc.

    (3) Publicity success (1/3 of total): Half of this would be social media presence, measuring both follower count and engagement. One-quarter would be radio success, and the final one-quarter would be coverage in the genre’s print, online, and external social media outlets.

    This would provide a substantially more well-rounded view of an artist’s popularity.

    1. So are you saying they are not as popular as I’ve portrayed? All of your measurements gauge popularity, which I agree with. That is why I gave them a popularity score of 97.

      1. I think a 97 for their popularity is accurate. My comments were more in regard to 64 and the weight that it appears charting success played in ascertaining that score. I believe other factors besides radio are equally relevant, or in some cases more relevant, in making judgments about the quality of their music.

        I was proposing a relevance score that takes into account both quality and publicity, as a measure for an artist’s relevance. 🙂

      2. I use song selection as a measure in the criteria to arrive at the score of 64. I weighted song selection based on other albums/songs released the same year. I then throw in chart success of each song released from that particular album compared to the other albums released in Southern Gospel that same year. It may be important to give a future post on how I calculated these scores.

      3. That would be an interesting post to read. And instead of writing a comment as far-ranging as my initial comment, perhaps I should’ve kept it more focused on chart success. My main point was that the Singing News Top 80 doesn’t have as much value as the sole objective standard of chart success, since increasingly fewer SG fans are listening to music via SG Top 40 radio stations. Success on streaming charts (e.g. Spotify, YouTube – play count as measured vs. comparable artists) and on sales charts (Nielsen, iTunes, Amazon, maybe Springside) ought to also be taken into account for a more far-ranging and hopefully still objective look at charting success.

  2. There’s really no way to argue this evaluation based on the criteria. It’s spot on and a legitimate take on the numbers as they appear. The sad reality (my reality, at least) is that in terms of live vocal talent, music arrangement/song selection quality, and recording quality, The Collingsworth Family is heads and shoulders above so many mixed groups that regularly chart in the top ten. The practice used by so many lesser talented artists and they agents of calling radio stations and bugging/begging for chart placement for songs that do not merit such charting has greatly cheapened the Singing News Top 80 from my observation. I have long yearned for there to be a process in which artists within the industry had a voting presence in the charting polls. But, that would also lead to flawed charts due to the politics within the industry. Oh well, I must say that I have enjoyed the first two entries in this series. 👍🏻

    1. Interesting points, but I’ve always considered song selection one of their weakest points. It is hard to point to one Collingsworth Family song that automatically defines the group. When I think Collingsworth Family, I think “The Blood Of Jesus”, which I consider to be the best song the group recorded. That was recorded a decade ago.

      1. I think their song selection initially lagged behind their popularity, but I also believe that they started to catch up with their 2009 and 2011 releases, and have fully caught up with their latest release.

  3. I question this one. If the standard is number one songs, then they’re lacking. If it’s harmony and talent, then they probably deserve their popularity. All this being said, there are very few songs of the Collingsworth Family that are “go to songs” for me. In fact, I can only think of two songs of theirs right now. So, while they have talent for some reason they’ve never really grabbed me with their songs.

  4. The Collingsworth Family is my favorite artist to see in person and quite possibly my current favorite group period (and that’s saying something coming from a quartet fan). A 20 minute set at NQC or even a 45 minute set at a multi group concert does not really do this family justice. A full concert includes up tempo songs, power ballads (the only rival they have singing power ballads IMO is the Mark Trammell Quartet and Legacy Five), trumpet solos, violin duets, and Kim’s fantastic piano features. While I agree that “Part of the Family” is probably their best album ever, their latest album (“That Day is Coming”) included several excellent songs. I think it just proves that top ten radio songs are overrated because there have been multiple songs go to number one that are not as good as songs like “You’re About to Climb”, “Gotta Get to Jesus”, and “When He Carries Me Away”.

  5. I’ve followed the Collingsworth Family’s music extensively since I first saw them in concert over 11 years ago. As you stated above, their success is due, for the most part, to Kim’s piano skills. Since I have seen the group countless times since 2005, I have heard the different instrumentals Kim offers. Because they tend to be overproduced (with less focus on her piano playing than a thrilling concert moment), I still prefer the style of Stan Whitmire, Tim Parton, and Josh Singletary. When I saw them in October in a auditorium setting, her 2 big piano ballads were the only standing ovations of the evening. Strategically placed at the end of each half of the concert.

    As for the family, I thoroughly enjoyed the recording era of 2009-2011. During this time, they tried various 4-6 part arrangements that worked beautifully. Arguably, their most popular song is “At Calvary”, the remake of an old hymn that shows their wide variety well. Another lesser-known song is “I Want Jesus More Than Anything” – a mixed quartet sound. Since 2012, they’ve made it public that they’re simply a double trio. No more 4-6 part harmony – just 6 voices singing 3 parts. To me, that is no different than seeing a trio like the Whisnants or the Taylors stack their voices twice. They have the capacity to show more creative sounds, and they choose this method. It’s almost like they’re back to square one with the same trio sound they had when the group was primarily Phil Sr., Kim, and Brooklyn.

    Since radio was mentioned, I would like to point out that 2 of 3 top 10 singles have Phillip Jr. singing the lead. Southern Gospel radio has made it quite obvious that it likes the Collingsworth Family’s singles with a male (or lower alto) lead. They’ve experienced success aside from this, but, in terms of lasting radio impact, this is where it’s at.

    I love the Collingsworth Family’s songs & music through the years. They set a high standard for their music from the start. It’s not that if they change they would be like a lower-tier group. It’s just that they’ve allowed their standard to outgrow them quickly. Maybe scaling their music tracks back and focusing on the vocal arrangements is where they should go. After all, the music of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, etc. are remembered for the stellar vocals – not the big, bold, brazen arrangements.

  6. I don’t deny they have talent and wish them the best, but I can do without them. As Iv’e said before, what ever happen to the NQC ! It’s not the National Quartet Convention anymore ! It’s a mixed bag of soloists trios etc. Why not just call it what it is ,a Singing Convention and let the Memphis Quartet Convention take over!..I’m sorry ,but I’ll take good old 4 part harmony quartets any day. And no, Iv’e never been to Memphis to their singing ,but would love to attend someday.

  7. When I was Googling “Collingsworth Family” and saw “overrated” I had to say, “Oh, no. no, no.” I am not a regular SG listener because I am not a fundamentalist Christian and find most of the music repetitive. The Fam’s music is rich and diverse. There is a world of difference between the traditional “The Blood of Jesus” and thoroughly modern “Fear not Tomorrow” or “When God whispers in your heart.” If Kim arranges all the vocals, her harmonies are full and perfectly suited to the blend of the Family’s voices. You can tell there are so many musical ideas in her head. The Fam’s music takes interesting turns and key changes which can be a real challenge for any musician trying to play along with their music (which I do). “Overproduced?” We’ve heard this with the Beach Boys and David Foster. If production makes a better record, do it. No one would say Beethoven’s 9th or the Berlioz Requiem is “over-orchestrated.” Finally, for me there is a go-to signature song- Tell the Mountain (which, I saw in one musical poll is their most popular). You hear Phillip’s wonderful tenor voice on the verse and think, “Wow, this guy is really good but where is the rest of the family?” Then the chorus hits you like a big wave and you just ride it in on the powerful harmonized voices of the rest of the family. I can play it over and over and never get tired of it.

    I realize this thread is a year old, but the internet is forever and if the words “Collingsworth Family” and “overrated” show up in a Google search I am putting in my two cents for posterity. Tell the Mountain!

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