Best Of 2013 – #1

BTAI want to thank our readers for indulging me and allowing me to bring my annual count down of the best Southern Gospel albums and recorded songs.  It is one of my favorite things to do all year.  It is now time to crown the #1 album and recorded song of 2013.

If you follow my album reviews and my graded ratings, it wouldn’t be hard to figure out that the album I crowned the best album released in Southern Gospel music in 2013 is Living In The Moment by Beyond The Ashes.  A little fun fact; the top five albums for 2013 were all released during the month of March.

From start to finish, Living In The Moment, was the most enjoyable Southern Gospel listen all year.  It is progressive Southern Gospel music at its finest.  Lead vocalist, Dustin Doyle, is also one of the best voices to come along in Southern Gospel music the last several years.  When I reviewed this album, I made the statement that Living In The Moment was an early contender for one of the top albums of the year.

That statement held as Living In The Moment by Beyond The Ashes is officially the #1 album released in Southern Gospel music for the year 2013!

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “Living In The Moment”, “Over For Good”, “Oh The Thought That Jesus Loves Me”, “Peace In The Midst Of The Storm”, “Where The Gold Begins”, “No Sin Greater Than God’s Grace” and “Walking With My Eyes On Jesus”.

 

EnglishNow to crown the #1 recorded song in Southern Gospel music for the year 2013.  Michael English recorded one of the most personal, real songs all year with the Don Schlitz penned, “Stubborn”.

“Stubborn” was originally recorded by mainstream country artist Lee Ann Womack.  I was not familiar with the song until I heard Michael’s cut.  “Stubborn” is track #10 on Michael’s 2013 album, Some People Change.  The album was already named one of the top five albums of 2013.

Of all the songs I listened to in Southern Gospel music in 2013, “Stubborn” connected with me more than any other.  A writer couldn’t ask for anything more than a song they wrote connecting with a listener on a personal level.  Congratulations to Michael English for recording the #1 recorded song of 2013; “Stubborn”.

Here is a YouTube clip (published by sarahhutson5) of Michael English performing the #1 top recorded song of 2013, “Stubborn”.  Enjoy!

 

 

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Best Of 2013 – #2

SistersWe are one post away from crowning the top Southern Gospel album and recorded song of 2013.  Today, lets take a look at the runner-up in both categories.

Last year I claimed Sisters, An A Cappella Collection, album was one of the best a cappella albums ever recorded in Southern Gospel music.  In 2013, the trio follow it up with the album, Classics Collection.  This year I will make the claim that this may very well be the best album of previously recorded songs ever recorded in Southern Gospel music.

In an industry that relies on overly orchestrated tracks and layered stacks to create fullness to the music, Sisters bucks that trend and relies on their vocal ability.  The Classics Collection album is three voices and a piano (what a novel idea!).  Tim Parton’s piano work and arranging of this album should also be commended.

Readers shouldn’t be surprised that the writers here at Music Scribe named Sisters the best duo/trio in Southern Gospel music for 2013.  The sad truth is, how long will it take for the rest of the Southern Gospel industry to figure this out?

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “This Is Just What Heaven Means To Me”, “Rise Again”, “Until He Comes”, “O Happy Day/Oh Happy Day”, “Just When I Need Him”, “New Shoes” and “Holy Spirit Thou Art Welcome”.

 

wilburn2Runner up for best recorded song in Southern Gospel music for 2013 is another Lee Black co-write.  Lee, along with Jason Cox and Tony Wood penned the song ranked #2 among the best; “Here Comes Sunday”.

“Here Comes Sunday” is track #1 on Wilburn and Wilburn’s 2013 album of the same name, which was already named one of the top ten albums of 2013.  Jordan Wilburn takes the lead on this progressive Southern Gospel/modern country song that paints a picture of the resurrection.

Black/Cox/Wood paint the story as if it was happening today and brings the story of hope and resurrection to what listeners may be facing in their everyday lives.  I believe this type of story telling songwriting is the future of Southern Gospel music (at least I hope so).  There is so much depth to a song of this nature.

Here is a sound clip of Wilburn and Wilburn singing the #2 top recorded song of 2013, “Here Comes Sunday”.  Enjoy!

Best Of 2013 – #3

highroadIt is time to announce to the top three albums and recorded songs in Southern Gospel music for 2013.  This year can be considered the year of the female artist in Southern Gospel music with the album and recorded song ranked 3rd among the best.

Female trio High Road III is still new to many readers of this blog.  They not only sing, but also each play instruments to make for a live concert music experience.  The album ranked 3rd among the best of 2013 is The Road Less  Traveled.

The girls also played all the instruments on The Road Less Traveled.  This album was one of the most original albums I have heard in a long time.  They took songs that have been recorded before and made them sound original/fresh/inventive/artistic.  This was one of the best listening experiences I had all year.

At this point there is no need to not know High Road III.  Do yourself a favor and get this album!

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “High Road”, “By The Mark”, “There Is A Man”, “Hold Me To The Rock”, “How Deep The Father’s Love” and “Keep Your Lamps”.

 

highroadiiiThe stand out track from The Road Less Traveled is also ranked 3rd among the best songs recorded in Southern Gospel music this year.

“High Road” is an original tune penned by group members Sarah Davison and Anna Grace Kimbrough.  It is a theme song of sorts considering the name of the group.  The group’s acoustical, Appalachian sound create these haunting melodies that meld so well with the girls vocals.

“High Road” conveys the message of taking the high road in life.  While not always easy, it is the only way.

Here is a fan made YouTube video (published by Chris Wagler) of High Road III performing the #3 top recorded song of 2013, “High Road”.  Enjoy!

 

 

Best Of 2013 – #4

EnglishI trust everyone had a wonderful Christmas day.  Whatever your plans are for this day after Christmas, thanks for stopping by and looking at the Southern Gospel album and recorded song ranked 4th among the best of 2013.

Michael English released one of the best albums of his solo career in 2013 with Some People Change.  This was the most Southern Gospel sounding solo album in Michael’s discography.  Jay DeMarcus took producing duties for Some People Change.

Michael happens to be the third solo artist to have one of ten best albums of 2013 in Southern Gospel music.  Michael covers the spectrum in terms styles on Some People Change.  Listeners are treated to progressive Southern Gospel, country, blues and even some pop sounds to make for an enjoyable listen.

Some People Change also contains one of the most thought-provoking, real songs recorded all year; “Stubborn”.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “Stubborn”, “Waking Up The Dawn”, “Come To The River”, “On That Great Day”, “Some People Change” and “I Ain’t Giving Up On Jesus”.

 

FreemansAs we near the top of my annual count down, one of the most played songs in my iPod this year lands at #4 among the best recorded songs of 2013.

I already named the Freemans 2013 album, Voice In The Desert, one of the top twenty albums of the year.  Track #1, which also happens to be the title track, is the song that finds a home at #4 among the best recorded songs in Southern Gospel music this year.

Lee Black has become one of the leading songwriters in Southern Gospel music.  He teams up with Jason Cox and Kenna Turner West to pen this song which talks about John the Baptist and his call to be a voice in the desert.  It relays that even today there needs to be a voice in the desert to get the message out.

Here is a YouTube fan made video (published by jontomsun) of the Freemans singing the #4 top recorded song of 2013, “Voice In The Desert”.  Enjoy!

Best Of 2013 – #5

Jason CrabbJason Crabb dominates the #5 spot by claiming both the album and recorded song ranked 5th among the best in Southern Gospel music for 2013.  While many would argue the album is not even Southern Gospel in terms of style/song selection, I tend to have a broader definition of Southern Gospel music.

Love Is Stronger made its way to listeners back in March of 2013.  The album is an even mix of modern country, progressive Southern Gospel and pop sounds.  Jason had released singles to both Southern Gospel and CCM radio from Love Is Stronger.

The album garnered a top five hit in 2013 for Jason with the single “What The Blood Is For”.  Jason’s broad appeal has made him one of the most sought out artists in all of Christian music.

Jason even released a concept video (which is now in rotation on CMT) of his current radio single, “Love Is Stronger”.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “What The Blood Is For”, “Let Mercy Hold You”, “Love Wins”, “Give”, “Satisfied”, “God’s Up To Something” and “Morning”.

 

Jason Crabb 2The stand out track from Love Is Stronger also finds a place as the #5 top recorded song in Southern Gospel music in 2013.

“What The Blood Is For” is track #2 on Love Is Stronger and as already mentioned became a top five hit on Southern Gospel radio in 2013.  The power house tune came from the songwriting team of Ronnie Freeman and Tony Wood.

Jason gives the song his standard vocal treatment.  The song conveys the idea of failing and beating yourself up over the fact.  One only need to remember that is what the blood is for.

Here is a YouTube clip (published by SouthernGospelVideos.com) of Jason Crabb performing the #5 top recorded song of 2013, “What The Blood Is For”.  Enjoy!

 

 

Best Of 2013 – #6

BowlingsWe’re getting ever closer to crowning the top Southern Gospel album and recorded song of 2013.  Today, let’s take a look at the album and song ranked 6th among the best of the year.

I named the Bowling Family’s last recording of new music, Shine, the #1 album released in 2010.  The 2013 release, Safe After The Storm, finds a home at #6 for this year.  The Bowling Family keep the mixed group sound of the 1970’s (think Hinsons/Happy Goodmans) alive while adding modern arrangements to make for a great concert experience.

Safe After The Storm is filled with eleven great songs; no filler on this recording.  When I reviewed the album, I mentioned Safe After The Storm was the best mixed group Southern Gospel album released in 2013.  That held true as it does become the highest ranked (6th) mixed group album of the year.

This is also the first Bowling Family recording to feature daughter Hope Bowling as a main vocalist for the group.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “Victory’s Coming”, “Just What I Need”, “Somebody’s Believing”, “I’m Glad I’m Saved”, “I Know Enough”, “When All I Can Cry Is Holy” and “God Sent Angels”.

 

DevinI already named Devin McGlamery’s solo album, Love Is A Verb, one of the top ten albums released in 2013.  Today, the stand out track from that album lands at #6 among the best Southern Gospel recorded songs.

Track #4 on Love Is A Verb is that stand out track; “From My Rags To His Riches”.  Devin gets some help from Dailey and Vincent on the song.  The song was the first single from the album and Southern Gospel radio missed the ball on this song as it barely spent any time in the top forty in 2013.

The song is straight up Southern Gospel music.  Devin’s performance is memorable while the song itself is one the listener picks up quickly and is singing along.

Here is a YouTube clip (published by robyn blaikie collins) of Devin McGlamery performing the #6 top recorded song of 2013, “From My Rags To His Riches”.  Enjoy!

Best Of 2013 – #7

dmbThe best of 2013 is moving along a rapid pace as we’ve reached the album and recorded song ranked 7th among the best of the year.  A nice mix of traditional and progressive Southern Gospel music make up the #7 spot.

As reported yesterday, the Dixie Melody Boys had the highest ranked quartet song among the best recorded songs of 2013 with “Valley Of Tears”.  The album, Have You Heard, which contains the song is now the highest ranked Southern Gospel quartet album of 2013 sitting at #7 among the best released.

If you could only own one quartet album released in 2013, this is the one you should own.  Ed O’Neal consistently puts together strong quartet line-ups, but he outdid himself with the collection of singers found on Have You Heard.

I’m hoping this line-up gives Ed some stability and a reason for Southern Gospel quartet lovers to once again take notice of this group and start counting them among the best quartets.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “Valley Of Tears”, “What Remains Of Me”, “When I Called His Name”, “That Story Is Mine”, “Haven Called Heaven”, “Muddy Water” and “Praise The Lord Hallelujah Amen”.

 

btaBeyond The Ashes has had a great 2013.  They are the only artist to land two songs among the top recorded songs of 2013.  “Living In The Moment” was ranked 17th, while another makes a home here at #7.

“Oh The Thought That Jesus Loves Me” is track #3 on the group’s 2013 album, Living In The Moment.  This song was originally recorded by the Collingsworth Family but never released as a single for the group.

Beyond The Ashes took the song and made it one of the best recorded songs of the year.  It was released as a single and became a top ten hit for the group earlier in the year.

Here is a YouTube clip (published by epworthconcerts) of Beyond The Ashes performing the #7 top recorded song of 2013, “Oh The Thought That Jesus Loves Me”.  Enjoy!

 

 

Best Of 2013 – #8

TQTraditional Southern Gospel quartets dominate the album and recorded song ranked 8th among the best of 2013.  Some may consider it heresy that only two quartet albums made the top ten for 2013 and only five out of the top twenty.  The truth is, there were not very many quartet albums released in 2013.

Triumphant Quartet is ranked 8th among the best Southern Gospel albums released in 2013 with, The Greatest Story.  The group made sure they gave listeners plenty of music by recording 15 songs on this particular album.

While a 15 song collection is guaranteed to give the listener filler, there was plenty to like about The Greatest Story to give it a place among the top ten Southern Gospel albums of the year.

The stand out track, “I Go To Calvary”, was already named one of the top twenty recorded songs of 2013.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “I Go To Calvary”, “Because He Loved Me”, “He Would Do It All Over Again”, “The Greatest Love Story”, “Jesus Is The Anchor”, “There’s A Fountain” and “No Such Thing”.

 

dmbThe Dixie Melody Boys proved in 2013 that they should still be recognized as one of Southern Gospel’s best quartets.  The additions of Josh Garner (lead) and Aaron Dishman (baritone) were some of the best quartet personnel moves of the year.

Track #6 on the group’s 2013 album, Have You Heard, is the 8th best recorded song in Southern Gospel music for 2013.  It is also the highest ranked quartet song of 2013.

Aaron Dishman takes the lead on the verses while Josh’s commanding lead vocals takes over on the chorus.  That contrast/blend really sets this song apart.  The song conveys a simple message of trust and the Lord bringing comfort in times of struggle.

Here is a sound clip of the Dixie Melody Boys singing the #8 top recorded song of 2013, “Valley Of Tears”.  Enjoy!