NQC 2017: Monday Night Recap

Night two of the 2017 National Quartet Convention has wrapped.  Here were the hits and misses.

  • What childhood memories came flooding back during the Squire Parsons/Kingsmen set.  Happy Squire was gracious to share his set with the Kingsmen to sing some classic Kingsmen songs.
  • Give all the awards to the Mylon Hayes Family.  I am a sucker for proper technical singing and this family is one of the best.  Mylon and Wendy have trained their kids to sing with proper technique, something Mylon learned from his own parents.
  • 11th Hour sounded great tonight running through several hit songs, most notably, “He Welcomes The Beggar”.
  • The Erwins were the highlight early in the program with their performance of “He’s Still Alive”.
  • Another young group that continues to excel at their craft is the Ball Brothers.  Their classy, sometimes jazzy sound infused with impeccable harmonies is hard to beat.
  • Thank you Loren Harris for returning to Southern Gospel music.
  • The Whisnants had the longest set of the evening, clocking in just under 30 minutes but they kept it enjoyable with a great set list.

  • Scott Fowler already making money off the latest political issue.  Paint me surprised.  I’m assuming Scott has not read the United States code on patriotic customs and proper respect for the flag.  It clearly states the flag should never be used as wearing apparel or used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.  Should I boycott Legacy Five now?
  • I didn’t get the Browns set.  By the end it became a train wreck of moos and quacks.
  • The Kingdom Heirs had horrible sound issues at the beginning of their set.
  • Lauren Talley had to carry hosting duties on her shoulders this evening and she did really well.  Her co-host looked like they’d rather been anywhere but there.


**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “Chasing After You” – Erwins  (2) “He’s Still Alive” – Erwins  (3) “Mercy Tree” – Ball Brothers  (4) “Never Made A Promise” – Kingdom Heirs  (5) “He Welcomes The Beggar” – 11th Hour  (6) “Beulah Land” – Squire Parsons  (7) “Look For Me At Jesus Feet” – Kingsmen (*Best Individual Performance of the Night)  (8) “Is That The Old Ship Of Zion” – Kingsmen  (9) “Victory Is Mine” – Karen Peck & New River  (10) “Why He Came” – Mylon Hayes Family  (11) “I Call Him Lord” – Whisnants  (12) “Hear The Word Of The Lord” – Kingsmen  (13) “The Light Just Came On” – Hinson Family

Best Set of the Night:  The Squire Parsons/Kingsmen segment.


Best Of The Last Decade (2007-2016)

What A Moment (2016) – 11th Hour (Sonlite): “Mountain Moving Faith“; “Look At Me Now“; “Love Still Holds The Scars“; “Bound“; “He Welcomes The Beggar“; “He’s Alive And So Am I“; “When God Shows Up“; “Can You Burn“; “Ain’t No Bones“; “I Trust“.

Shine (2010) – Bowling Family (Big Ten House): “Sunshine On A Rainy Day“; “How Blessed“; “Sailing On Home“; “When We Need It Most“; “This Is Your Moment“; “Run And Tell“; “Tell Them That I Love Them“; “He Did“; “He Already Knows“; “Pray Anyway“; “The Half That’s Never Been Told“; “He Leads Me Each Step Of The Way“; “I Still Glory In The Cross“.

Overrated?? – 11th Hour

11th HourToday 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.

I am going to flip the script today and actually look at the opposite.  An artist who would be considered underrated.  The artist covered today is 11th Hour.


  • 11th Hour already has an up hill battle in gaining a larger listening audience by being a mixed vocal trio instead of an all male trio/group.
  • With a reputable record label behind them and the access to huge chart hits, its allowing the group to win over new listeners.
  • In an industry where a sea of artists is refurbishing 80s/90s CCM as today’s Southern Gospel, there is no doubt that 11th Hour is releasing Southern Gospel music.


  • In pondering the music 11th Hour is currently giving listeners, I score that 90 out of 100.
  • 11th Hour currently has (5) #1 hits under their belt during their short recording career.
  • I named What A Moment the #1 album released in Southern Gospel in 2016.
  • With only four albums in their discography, 11th Hour has a long career ahead to become on of Southern Gospel’s greatest trios.


  • This score represents that 11th Hour is currently underrated by a net negative (-12).

Best Of 2016: #1

11th-hourThanks once again for indulging me and allowing me to present one of my favorite features of the year.  Today, crowns the best of the best; the #1 album and recorded Southern Gospel song of 2016.

When I first heard this album in February, I knew it would be hard pressed to find another recording to top its caliber.  As the year progressed, many great albums came along but none had quite enough to take the crown.

Ranked #1 as Southern Gospel’s best album of the year is 11th Hour’s, What A Moment.  11th Hour garnered Southern Gospel’s best vocal duo/trio by the readers of this blog as we celebrated the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors. Congrats to 11th Hour on a phenomenal year and giving Southern Gospel music a phenomenal recording.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “He Welcomes The Beggar”, (2) “When God Shows Up”, (3) “Look At Me Now”, (4) “Love Still Holds Our Scars” and (5) “Can You Burn”.

tributeAfter 42 albums and 464 songs, the song ranked #1 among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of 2016 is “When The Prodigal Comes Home”.

Lee Black has become one of Southern Gospel’s greatest songwriters and the readers of this blog confirmed that when you chose him best songwriter of 2016 in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.

“When The Prodigal Comes Home” is his masterpiece brought to life by the vocal talent of Riley Harrison Clark and Tribute Quartet.

Best Of 2016: #7

mvThe Christmas holiday is fast approaching.  Time off from work will come to most at some point this week.  Thanks for stopping by as we get closer to crowning the best Southern Gospel album and recorded song of 2016.

New quartet Master’s Voice find a home in the annual countdown at #7 with their 2016 release, Undivided.  The group toured as a vocal trio since their inception in 1995.

The group added a bass singer in 2015 making Undivided Master’s Voice first quartet recording.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “Things God Doesn’t Know”, (2) “I Know What He Did For Me”, (3) “This Same Jesus”, (4) “Here I Am Again” and (5) “Goodbye To Goodbye”.

11th-hr11th Hour already scored one song in the year’s annual countdown.  The 2016 album release, What A Moment, sends a second song to the top twenty.

Track #5 from What A Moment, “He Welcomes The Beggar” ranks 7th among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of 2016.

The song was penned by Jason Cox, Amber Eppinette and Kenna West.

3rd Annual Southern Gospel Views From The Back Row Honors: And The Winners Are…..

3rdannualI thought I would take a break from the countdown today and officially announce the winners in the 3rd 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 2016 album, did not have to be a radio single)

**”In The Hands Of A Carpenter” – Lee Black, Jerry Salley; recorded by Legacy Five (In The Hands Of A Carpenter)

I consider recorded song of the year the highest honor in this presentation.  Lee Black and Jerry Salley are given that honor in 2016 for penning, “In The Hands Of A Carpenter”.  And to Legacy Five, for bringing the song to life for listeners.

Single of the Year (had to be on the radio singles chart from January to December 2016)

**”Amazing God” – Lee Black, Janice Crow, Sue C Smith; recorded by the Triumphant Quartet (Living In Harmony)

After already winning song of the year at the 2016 edition of the Singing News fan awards, “Amazing God” grabs another honor, this time for single of the year.

Song Cover of the Year (a previously recorded song covered on a 2016 album release)

**”The Prodigal Son” – Second Half Quartet (Refreshing); Lavon Cantrell

The Cathedrals will forever have an indelible mark on Southern Gospel music.  That shows as 2016 found the Second Half Quartet picking up honors for covering a Cathedral classic, “The Prodigal Son”.


**Lee Black

One of the biggest margins of victory in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors is Lee Black winning songwriter of the year!!

tributeqt2016hereforyouAlbum of the Year (had to be a 2016 release)

**Here For You – Tribute Quartet (Daywind Records)

Tribute Quartet walks away with Southern Gospel’s best album of 2016, hands down the best recording of the group’s career thus far.

11thhour2016whatamomentAlbum Cover Design (best album artwork/cover design from a 2016 release)

**What A Moment – 11th Hour

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 11th Hour’s What A Moment, belongs to Kim Brantley (photographer) and Lynn O’Hara (graphic design).

canas-voice-260x195Artist – Breakthrough (New)

**Cana’s Voice

When you combine three power house vocalists like Taranda Greene, Doug Anderson and Jody McBrayer you are left with nothing short of spectacular.  Readers chose Cana’s Voice as best new artist of 2016.

11th HourArtist – Duo/Trio (no more than 3 vocalists)

**11th Hour

Talk about another group having a monster year.  11th Hour picks up their first win as best vocal duo/trio of the year.

erwins_2016_tall_smArtist – Mixed Group (at least 4 vocalists)


This was the closest vote tally among the five contenders than any other category.  When the dust settled and voting closed, the Erwins grabbed their first mixed group honor.  These youngin’s seem unstoppable at the moment.

mtq_satArtist – Quartet

**Mark Trammell Quartet

Another clear victory came with Mark Trammell Quartet picking up their first quartet of the year honor.  So many first time winners this year!

Vocalist – Alto

connie-hopper-brother-passes-away-200w-tn**Connie Hopper (Hoppers)

Connie Hopper has remained in a league of her own as one of the greatest individuals to ever grace a Southern Gospel stage.  When the vote tally ended, Connie beat out Sheri Easter by one vote to win best alto vocalist of 2016.

marktrammell2013Vocalist – Baritone

**Mark Trammell (Mark Trammell Quartet)

Mark Trammell was the clear front-runner from day one of voting.  He held that lead and won with 57.7% of the vote total.

paulbigbioVocalist – Bass

**Paul Harkey (Signature Sound)

Paul Harkey picked up his first win as best bass vocalist.  I imagine it won’t be his last.

hamptonVocalist – Lead

**Wes Hampton (Gaither Vocal Band)

Some readers were surprised I nominated Wes Hampton in the lead vocalist category.  What readers weren’t surprised about is voting Wes best lead vocalist of 2016.

7b88178c541234803097428504576_34b02f93fe1-4-2Vocalist – Soprano

**Amber Thompson (Nelons)

This is the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors and this is the third win for Amber Thompson as best soprano vocalist.

rileyVocalist – Tenor

**Riley Harrison Clark (Tribute Quartet)

I believe 2016 is the best year yet for the Tribute Quartet.  It showed in the way readers voted this year.  Riley Harrison Clark grabs his first win as Southern Gospel’s best tenor vocalist.

**Thanks to all the readers who came by during the voting, making for the most participated annual honors yet.  I’ve got a smart bunch of readers because I think your choices definitely represent the best of 2016**.

Best Of 2016: #12

lefevre-qtHappy Monday!  Time to get a new work week started.  Also time to take a little break out of your day to keep up with the annual countdown of Southern Gospel’s best.

The LeFevre Quartet find a home at #12 in the best of 2016 with the album, Home.  Now with Jeremy Peace anchored as tenor vocalist, the LeFevre Quartet offered Southern Gospel listeners with one of the best quartet albums of the year.

Mike continues to show why he remains one of Southern Gospel’s best baritone vocalists while lead vocalist Jordan LeFevre continues to climb the ranks.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “He Left No Stone Unturned”, (2) “He Saved Me Anyway”, (3) “Something”, (4) “He Was There” and (5) “Unseen Things Above”.

11th-hourAnother group having the best year of their career in 2016 is 11th Hour.  Amber Eppinette, Grant Gibson and Jaquita Lindsey are giving Southern Gospel listeners the best the industry has to offer.

The 2016 album release, What A Moment, has already given the trio two #1 songs on the Southern Gospel radio singles chart.  The group’s progressive style is a throw back to what the Martins were providing listeners in the late 1990’s.

Track #7 on What A Moment, “When God Shows Up”, is 12th among the best recorded songs of 2016.  You can’t get much better than Lee Black, Kenna West and Dianne Wilkinson, who penned the song.

VOTE: Best Of 2016: Album/Album Cover Design

3rdannualOne day remains for voting in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.  What was the best album and album cover design of 2016?  You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 12/06/16.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.