Best Recorded Songs Of 2017

Now that we’ve wrapped up the annual countdown of Southern Gospel’s best albums, I will now list what I consider to be the 20 best recorded songs in Southern Gospel music for 2017.

What did you consider the top recorded songs of the year?

  1. Here He Comes” – Chris Cohn, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood; recorded by Joseph Habedank (Resurrection)
  2. “It Was Finished On The Cross” – Kristie Braselton, Regi Stone; recorded by Sisters (Simply)
  3. Dying To Be With You” – Nick Akin; recorded by Akins (Eyes On The Road)
  4. I Will Pray” – Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey; recorded by the Perrys (Testament)
  5. Victory Is Mine” – Lee Black, Gerald Crabb, Karen Peck Gooch; recorded by Karen Peck and New River (Hope For All Nations)
  6. “Power In Prayer” – Amber Eppinette, Don Poythress, Donnie Skaggs, Kenna West; recorded by 11th Hour (Silence The Stones)
  7. “He Heals” – Jennifer Layne, Don Poythress; recorded by the Booth Brothers (Between Here And Heaven)
  8. “It Still Takes The Blood” – Gerald Crabb; recorded by the Freemans (Tower Of Song)
  9. “He Saw Me” – Phil Cross, Tony Jarman; recorded by Master’s Voice (Walk Worthy)
  10. “Telling The Story” – Kyla Rowland, Jessica Thomas; recorded by the Kingdom Heirs (The Last Big Thing)
  11. “At The Name Of Jesus” – Pamela Hall; recorded by Mercy’s Well (Questions & Answers)
  12. Thankful, So Thankful” – Lee Black, Scott Inman; recorded by Triumphant (Thankful)
  13. “Long Live The King” – Joseph Habedank, Krissy Nordhoff, Tony Wood; recorded by Joseph Habedank (Resurrection)
  14. “Rolled Back Stone” – Lee Black, Dianne Wilkinson; recorded by Greater Vision (Still)
  15. Chain Breaker” – Mia Fieldes, Jonathan Smith, Zach Williams; recorded by Triumphant (Thankful)
  16. “Don’t Underestimate God’s Grace” – Sandy Knight; recorded by the Kingsmen (They Don’t Know)
  17. “Grace Divine” – Lee Black, Gina Boe; recorded by the Booth Brothers (Between Here And Heaven)
  18. “Never Made A Promise” – Lee Black, Sue C Smith, Kenna West; recorded by the Kingdom Heirs (Something Good)
  19. “God Doesn’t Care” – Chris Allman; recorded by Greater Vision (Still)
  20. Another World” – Jeffrey Bumgardner, Wayne Haun, Lindsay Reith; recorded by Southern Raised (Another World)

Best Of 2017: #1/#2

REASON FOR RANKING:  I don’t believe anyone has had a bigger year than Joseph Habedank.  Anchored by “Here He Comes” and some of the best songwriting of his career; Resurrection by Joseph Habedank is the top album released in Southern Gospel music in 2017.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “Here He Comes”; (2) “Long Live The King”; (3) “Jailbreak”; (4) “Dead Things”; (5) “Devil Can’t Dance”.

REASON FOR RANKING:  From Joseph Habedank to the group that gave him his start, the Perrys.  Testament continues to prove why Libbi Stuffle is one of the greatest female vocalists to grace a Southern Gospel stage.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “I Will Pray”; (2) “My Hope Is In The Blood”; (3) “Find Me Faithful”; (4) “Moses And Elijah”; (5) “The Harder The Battle, The Sweeter The Victory”.

Best Of 2017: #3/#4

REASON FOR RANKING:  Does Karen Peck and New River release a bad recording?  One of the most consistent artists in Southern Gospel music.  They are almost guaranteed a top ten album every year a new album is released.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “Victory Is Mine”; (2) “Love Will Never Give Up”; (3) “Gotta Be Saved”; (4) “God’s Got A Blessing”; (5) “Who He Is What He Does”.

REASON FOR RANKINGSimply by Sisters is a work of art.  One of the most exquisite pieces of music released in Southern Gospel music.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “It Was Finished On The Cross”; (2) “Another Day”; (3) “Never Too Broken”; (4) “To Be Forgiven”; (5) “A Day Will Come”.

Best Of 2017: #5/#6

REASON FOR RANKING:  In any other genre of music, an artist releases some of the best material of the year and the listening audience takes notice.  Sadly, the Southern Gospel listener is not as kind.  Do yourself a favor, give Walk Worthy a listen before the year ends.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “He Saw Me”; (2) “Where My Savior Is”; (3) “Yes He Did, Yes He Does, Yes He Will”; (4) “Lift Up Your Hands When You Can’t”; (5) “Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”.

REASON FOR RANKING:  Mercy’s Well may have released the best album of previously recorded songs in the history of the genre.  One of the best listening experiences of the year.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “At The Name Of Jesus”; (2) “Jesus Knows All About It”; (3) “When We Make It To The Other Side”; (4) “Jesus Saves”; (5) “Seeking For Me”.

Best Of 2017: #7/#8

REASON FOR RANKING:  For a group opposed to making albums available via digital download, sadly they Still release great material.  The addition of Jon Epley at baritone was a great move.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “Rolled Back Stone”; (2) “God Doesn’t Care”; (3) “Still”; (4) “Nothing To See”; (5) “Common Garments”.

REASON FOR RANKING:  11th Hour has become the biggest trio in Southern Gospel music.  Another new album release, another top ten album of the year.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “Power In Prayer”; (2) “Let Grace In”; (3) “I’d Like To Meet The Preacher”; (4) “Hallelujah”; (5) “I Want You Beside Me”.

Best Of 2017: #9/#10

REASON FOR RANKING:  An album that was abandoned by any kind of promotion/official release date by Gaither Music Group ends up becoming one of the ten best albums of 2017.  Also won album of the year at the 2017 edition of the Singing News fan awards.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “He Heals”; (2) “Grace Divine”; (3) “A Moment Of Grace”; (4) “Come And See The Man”; (5) “That Says It All”.

REASON FOR RANKING:  The Kingdom Heirs added Loren Harris as baritone at the end of 2016.  2017 saw the release of two albums from the group.  The Last Big Thing is a great start for this iteration of the Kingdom Heirs.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “Telling The Story”; (2) “Just Another Mile”; (3) “Victory”; (4) “Heaven Was Counting To Three”; (5) “The Last Big Thing”.

And The Winners Are…4th Annual Southern Gospel Views From The Back Row Honors

Now that we are officially halfway through the annual countdown of Southern Gospel’s best albums, I thought I would take today and officially announce the winners in the 4th annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.  I picked the nominees, you picked the winners


Recorded Song of the Year (song recorded on a 2017 album, did not have to be a radio single)

**”Here He Comes” – Chris Cohn, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood; recorded by Joseph Habedank (Resurrection)

I consider recorded song of the year the highest honor in this presentation.  Chris Cohn, Joseph Habedank and Tony Wood are given that honor in 2017 for penning, “Here He Comes”.  And to Joseph Habedank, for bringing the song to life for listeners.

Single of the Year (had to be on the radio singles chart from January to December 2017)

**”Never Made A Promise” – Lee Black, Sue C Smith, Kenna West; recorded by the Kingdom Heirs (Something Good)

Loren Harris’ return to Southern Gospel music was just what the Kingdom Heirs needed.  Voters thought so as well.

Song Cover of the Year (a previously recorded song covered on a 2017 album release)

**”My Hope Is In The Blood” – Perrys (Testament); Reagan Riddle

The Perrys took one of the most popular Primitive Quartet songs and made it sound brand new.


**Joseph Habedank

Joseph Habedank had a huge year!  This is his first win for songwriter of the year.

Album of the Year (had to be a 2017 release)

**Resurrection – Joseph Habedank (Daywind)

Give another win to Joseph Habedank as he was awarded best album of 2017.  Joseph won every category he was nominated in.

Album Cover Design (best album artwork/cover design from a 2017 release)

**Resurrection – Joseph Habedank

I like to honor the graphic designers/photographers who create album covers and add a little something special to a great recording.  Aesthetic’s are important.  The win for Joseph Habedank’s Resurrection, belongs to Jeremy Ryan (photographer) and Blake Bennett (graphic design).

Artist – Breakthrough (New)


The closest margin of victory in this year’s honors was the Wisecarvers beating out Master’s Voice for breakthrough artist of the year.

Artist – Duo/Trio (no more than 3 vocalists)

**11th Hour

11th Hour picks up their second win in a row for best vocal duo/trio.

Artist – Mixed Group (at least 4 vocalists)


The Perrys returned in full force in 2017 by picking up three wins.

Artist – Quartet

**Kingdom Heirs

The Kingdom Heirs and Triumphant went back and forth the entire time polls were open.  Kingdom Heirs came out on top.

Artist – Soloist

**Joseph Habedank

The biggest margin of victory was Joseph Habedank’s win for soloist of the year.  Joseph was this year’s biggest winner with five wins!

Vocalist – Alto

**Libbi Stuffle (Perrys)

With the Hoppers (Connie) sitting out this year with no new albums (nominations), Libbi Stuffle returned as best alto vocalist.

Vocalist – Baritone

**Mark Trammell (Mark Trammell Quartet)

Mark Trammell won best baritone vocalist marking his third win in four years.

Vocalist – Bass

**Jeff Chapman (Kingdom Heirs)

After winning in 2014, Jeff Chapman returns as best bass vocalist of 2017.

Vocalist – Lead

**Bill Shivers (Brian Free & Assurance)

Bill Shivers squeaked out a win over Arthur Rice by a razor-thin margin.

Vocalist – Soprano

**Amber Thompson (Nelons)

This is the 4th annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors and this is the fourth win for Amber Thompson as best soprano vocalist.

Vocalist – Tenor

**Chris Allman (Greater Vision)

After picking up a big win at the 2017 edition of the Singing News fan awards, Chris also takes tenor vocalist for this year’s honors.

**Thanks to all the readers who participated in this year’s honors**.

Best Of 2017: #11/#12

REASON FOR RANKING:  Triumphant has maintained their dominance on being Southern Gospel’s most popular quartet.  While I wasn’t totally sold on “Chain Breaker”, it was the dominant song of 2017.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “Thankful, So Thankful”; (2) “Chain Breaker”; (3) “Never Assume”; (4) “I Know Him”; (5) “Grace And Mercy”.

REASON FOR RANKING:  The Whisnants had the best song selection of their career with Still The Same.  Trey Ivey also made it one of the best produced recordings of the Whisnants career.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “Keep Me Close”; (2) “Faithful”; (3) “I’ve Seen What It Can Do”; (4) “The Ground Is Level”; (5) “Caught Away”.