2015 Wrap Up

2015goodbyesign-825x510Everything that needs to be said of Southern Gospel music in 2015 is said; just about.  Here are a few more things to wrap up the year and look ahead to 2016.

Some Stats:

goodmanrevival2015happymaxTop Five Read Posts of 2015

  1. 2nd Annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row Honors – And The Winners Are…
  2. And Southern Gospel’s Greatest Song Is…
  3. Songs In The Key Of Happy – Goodman Revival
  4. 2015 NQC – Monday Night Recap
  5. Ready To Sail: Erwins

**This tells me that my readers enjoy awards/honors (where they decide the results) and album reviews.  If I had expanded this list, you would be surprised at how many of the most read posts are album reviews.

dunaways2014kitchenmaxTen Most Played Southern Gospel Songs of 2015

  1. “Pray Now” – Karen Peck & New River
  2. “Jesus Loves You” – Jeff & Sheri Easter
  3. “What Do You Say” – Amber Nelon Thompson
  4. “Battle Cry” – Kingsmen
  5. “Just As I Am” – Ball Brothers
  6. “Greater” – Erwins
  7. “He Left No Stone Unturned” – LeFevre Quartet
  8. “Mercy Built A Bridge” – Dunaways w/Ronny Hinson
  9. “My God Is So Good To Me” – Jordan Family Band
  10. “Pray On The Little Days” – Mark Bishop

**I present the fab five feature at the start of every month to let you know my most played Southern Gospel radio songs in my musical playlists.  I get asked on occasion what I am currently listening to and this allows me to let the readers know.  These were the ten most played songs of the entire year.

lannywolfe1973songaboutjesusmaxMost Viewed YouTube Clips of 2015

  1. “I Love Him Too Much” – Lanny Wolfe Trio (1973)
  2. “An Unfinished Task” – Hemphills (1970)
  3. “There’s Something In The Air” – Lanny Wolfe Trio (1972)
  4. “Jesus Is Still The Answer” – Lanny Wolfe Trio (1974)
  5. “Someday I’ll Walk On Gold” – Lanny Wolfe Trio (1975)
  6. “I’ve Been To The Potter’s House” – Quinton Mills (1988)
  7. “My Soul Has Been Set Free” – Willie Wynn & Tennesseans (1975)
  8. “What A Happy Time” – JD Sumner & Stamps (1974)
  9. “Thank You Dear Lord” – McKameys (1980)
  10. “He Hideth My Soul” – Charles Johnson & Revivers (1989)

**I started a YouTube channel in September 2015 to go along with the blog.  This blog has always been about the music.  I try not to play favorites and present Southern Gospel music in all its forms throughout its history.  With my vast music collection, I noticed there were many classic songs missing from YouTube that may never be heard again.  I wanted to change that.  These were the ten most viewed clips since September.

LaBreeskaIn Honor of those who passed in 2015

  1. Tom Armshaw (Promoter/Radio)
  2. Jerrel Don Brashear (Artist)
  3. Andrae Crouch (Artist/Songwriter)
  4. Terry Davis (Artist)
  5. Jack Lee Eubanks (Industry/Producer)
  6. Savana Foust (Songwriter)
  7. Chris Hancock (Artist)
  8. LaBreeska Hemphill (Artist)
  9. Jimmy Justice (Artist)
  10. Carolyn Kirksey (Industry/Singing News Magazine)
  11. Mosie Lister (Songwriter)
  12. Margaret Mabry (Songwriter)
  13. Dickie Mathews (Artist)
  14. Carroll McGruder (Artist/Songwriter)
  15. Ken O’Shields (Promoter)
  16. Paul Roark (Artist)
  17. Faye Speer (Artist)
  18. Glenn Totherow (Artist)
  19. Luke White (Industry/Public Relations)
  20. Cheryl Jackson Wilds (Artist/Songwriter)
  21. Ruth Ellen Yates (Artist)

Looking ahead to features you will find in 2016

  • 3rd Annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row Honors
  • Album Reviews
  • Annual Countdown of Southern Gospel’s Best Albums/Recorded Songs
  • Fab Five
  • Most Overrated Southern Gospel Artist Series
  • Southern Gospel’s Greatest Songwriter Series
  • Southern Gospel Tidbits Feature
  • Top Ten Back Then
  • And Much, Much More….

**I want to thank everyone who stopped by the blog in 2015.  This year had to most views/site visitors of any year I have been doing this blog.  As long as you continue to stop by, I will continue the blog.

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Best Of 2015 – #1

KPNR #1Today we conclude the annual countdown of Southern Gospel’s best album and recorded song by crowning #1.  Thanks once again for indulging me on presenting one of my favorite features of the year.

When Southern Gospel music looks back at 2015 in years to come, they only need to remember one name; Karen Peck and New River.  The group’s 2015 album release, Pray Now, ranks as the best Southern Gospel album released this year.

The eleven song collection has everything a listener has come to expect from the group.  But, what sets it apart from the other albums found in my annual countdown is several strong songs, most notably, the title track; “Pray Now”.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “Pray Now”, “Redemption’s Holy Lamb”, “Blessed”, “Hallelujah For The Cross”, “Lord Send Your Angels”, “Calling” and “Peace That Covers All The Pain”.

KPNR #1 SongThat leaves the #1 recorded song of 2015, which happens to be Karen Peck and New River’s, “Pray Now”.

Karen, along with Dave Clark and Michael Farren penned this masterpiece that has truly defined 2015.  This happens to be the top Southern Gospel song in my musical playlists, in regards to total number of plays, than any other song recorded/released this year.

I’m not alone, considering the readers of this blog also chose “Pray Now” as the top Southern Gospel recorded song in the 2nd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.  Thank you Karen Peck and New River for providing the best Southern Gospel music of 2015.

*Video Credit (Various Artists – Topic)

Best Of 2015 – #2

Crabb #2We are one day away from crowning the best Southern Gospel album and recorded song of 2015.  But, first lets see who claims the runner-up spots.

There is no doubt, Jason Crabb is the biggest crossover artist in Christian music.  His music has crossed stylistic barriers to appeal to a huge base of listeners.  All this, while still appealing to the Southern Gospel crowd who enjoyed the music of the Crabb Family.

In 2015, Jason released what I consider to be his best solo album to date; Whatever The Road.  There really is something for everyone to enjoy.  You get Crabb’s country-style that fit with his Crabb Family days, along with some pop flavors that appeal to a broader listener base.  All of this while still not going too far for the album to be marketed to Southern Gospel listeners.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “If I Shout”, “Chance For A Miracle”, “Home”, “He Won’t Leave You There”, “Never Gonna Let Me Go”, “This Life For You” and “He Knows What He’s Doing”.

Easters #2 (300x300)There were truly two songs that defined 2015 in Southern Gospel music.  The first is the song ranked #2 among the best recorded/released this year.

Sheri Easter got together with Don Poythress and Kenna Turner West to pen the most personal song of the year; “Jesus Loves You”.  Everyone listening to this song can relate to its message and the reminder that no matter what we face in life, Jesus’ love for us is steadfast and never fails.

This song was close to claiming to top spot for best recorded song of 2015, but there was one that edged it out; find out tomorrow.

*Video Credit (#JeffAndSheriEaster)

Best Of 2015 – #3

Bowlings #3For all those enjoying the week off to celebrate the holidays; thanks for stopping by.  And for all those having to work this week; I see you sneaking a peek at work.  Today we honor the album and recorded song ranked 3rd among the best in Southern Gospel music for 2015.

The Bowling Family continue to impress with the music they choose to record.  Some of the strongest song selection of the group’s career is found on the 2015 release, Moments Like These.  The family went back to a trio vocal configuration featuring Mike, Kelly and daughter Hope.

Hope even has a chance to shine on a song that will be #1 on the Singing News February 2016 chart; “One Glorious Moment Of Faith”.  Two songs from the recording landed among the top ten recorded songs of 2015; “I Believe He’s Alive” (#8) and “I Was There” (#5).

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “I Was There”, “I Believe He’s Alive”, “Even When You’re Asking Why”, “One Glorious Moment Of Faith”, “Praise God He Is Alive”, “God Likes Working In The Midnight Hour” and “Mourning To Dancing”.

Erwins #3The Erwins already found a home in the top five album releases of 2015 when Ready To Sail landed at #5.  The group continues to rise in the ranks of Southern Gospel’s best as they are now featured on many major Southern Gospel concert events held throughout the Southeast USA.

It was another CCM cover that found a home in the top 20 recorded songs released this year.  Mercy Me front man, Bart Millard, helped contribute to the song that ranks 3rd among the best recorded this year; “Greater”.

I look forward to what the future holds for this family group, who should be winning awards before too much longer.

*Video Credit (#TheErwins)

Best Of 2015 – #4

Hayed #4I trust everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday in time spent with family and friends.  Before we begin the new year, we have to close out the old.  Today, we take a look at the album and recorded song ranked 4th among the best of 2015 in Southern Gospel music.

The Mylon Hayes Family proved in 2015, they are a group you need to take notice, if you haven’t already.  Turning in some of the best performances at the 2015 edition of the National Quartet Convention, to being regulars on the Church Hymnal Sing tour; this family’s future in Southern Gospel music is bright.

Not only that, but the Mylon Hayes Family released their newest album, Devoted.  This thirteen song collection is some of the best Southern Gospel music you will hear this year.  Pure, traditional Southern Gospel music, sung to technical perfection.

Personal favorites from this recording include:  “At The Foot Of Calvary’s Cross”, “What An Anchor”, “The Coming Of The Lord”, “One More Opportunity”, “Devoted To You”, “It’s Just Like Heaven”, “It’s Not A Problem For The Answer”, “I Choose To Stand” and “Love Medley”.

EHSS #4 (300x300)Ernie Haase and Signature Sound had another monster year with the release of Happy People.  The album that ranked 7th among the best released this year had some of the strongest song selection of any recording the group has released to date.

One such song is the Michael Farren/Greg Sykes penned, “Thank You For Saving Me”.  This huge power ballad features Devin McGlamery.  This may be one of the best songs Devin has recorded in his career.

Just when you think the song is ready to close, it takes it up another notch to make for one of the most enjoyable listens of the year.

*Video Credit (#ErnieHaaseAndSignatureSound)

Best Of 2015 – #5

Erwins #5We have made it to the best of the best; the top 5 albums and recorded songs of 2015.  After listening/reviewing 36 albums and hearing 396 songs found on those 36 albums; these I consider the cream of the crop.

The Erwins have come a long way in a short time in regards to the best group you’ve never heard to competing as one of the best mixed groups in Southern Gospel music.  2015 found the group releasing their first album on Stow Town Records; Ready To Sail.  The Erwins should proud in the fact that of the six albums Stow Town released this year, theirs ranks highest.

I have already mentioned on several occasions that the group is beyond their years in terms of professionalism and stage presence.  I am also going to tell my readers, that there is no reason you don’t have the five albums on this list.

Personal favorites from this recording include: “Greater”, “Power In Prayer”, “Well Done”, “Isn’t He God”, “Believe Him”, “Ready To Sail”, “Will You Go” and “Calvary’s One Spotless Lamb”.

Bowlings #5 (300x300)Story songs dominate the mainstream country market.  Those type songs are becoming more prevalent in Southern Gospel music.

Adam Kohout and Tery Wilkins penned the song that ranks 5th among the best recorded this year; “I Was There”.  No one, other than Mike Bowling, could have performed this song and conveyed its story.

A simple story in song relaying that Christ is there in every moment of our lives; but poignant at the same time.

*Video Credit (Various Artists – Topic)

Best Of 2015 – #6

Amber #6Solo artists dominate the #6 spot for both album and recorded song of 2015.  The interesting thing is the album that finds a home at #6 contains four songs that was named the #1 Southern Gospel album release of 2014.

Amber Nelon Thompson’s EP, Without Your Love, was in fact the top album release of 2014.  So, when I listened to Amber’s full length solo recording, Just Sing, I judged it solely on the six songs not found on the EP.

Those six songs were strong enough to rank 6th among the best recordings released in 2015.  Even, a stuttering Bill Gaither (said in jest) didn’t reduce the listening enjoyment of Just Sing.  When you combine the six songs released this year with the four songs from last year, it makes for a must have recording.

Personal favorites from this recording include (outside the four on the EP): “Another Time, Another Place”, “Be Thou My Vision”, “Just Sing”, “He’s Making Me”, “Give It To Jesus” and “God Is Always Good”.

Crabb #6Jason Crabb already sent one song to the top 20 recorded songs of the year, when “Chance For A Miracle” came in at #12.

Crabb topped that with a song that I believe will become a standard for Jason alongside “Sometimes I Cry”.  Jason came into his own as a songwriter contributing to nearly every song on Whatever The Road.

The song ranked 6th, “If I Shout”, was a collab with Michael Farren and Tony Wood.  This song of rejoicing is one every believer can relate.

*Video Credit (#JasonCrabb)

Best Of 2015 – #7

EHSS #7The Christmas holiday is fast approaching.  Many have this week off of work to spend time with family.  Thanks for stopping by as we get closer to crowning the best Southern Gospel album and recorded song of 2015.

Ernie Haase and Signature Sound found a personnel shift in 2015 when Dustin Doyle replaced Doug Anderson as baritone vocalist.  The album that lands at #7 for the year, Happy People, actually has two versions; one with Anderson and another with Doyle.

EHSS continue their streak of covering quartet classics while introducing listeners to top-notch new music.  Should I also give away that this happens to be the highest ranking quartet album in this year’s countdown.

Personal favorites from this recording include: “Thank You For Saving Me”, “Jesus Changes Everything”, “Joshua Led God’s Children”, “Let Your Love Light Shine”, “One Of These Mornings”, “Happy People” and “Angels Everywhere”.

Canton Junction #7 (300x300)Canton Junction’s 2015 album release, Every Hallelujah, already found a home in the countdown ranking 13th among the best albums.

Michael Farren and Kenna Turner West would come together to pen the stand out track on Every Hallelujah that ranks 7th among the best recorded songs of 2015.  Casey Rivers takes the lead on this rousing up-tempo number that will keep you hitting repeat if you’re not careful.

Hear the walls start tumbling, tumbling.  Hear the walls start tumbling, tumbling down.

*Video Credit (#CantonJunction)