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)
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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”.

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

AND THE BEST OF 2017 IS:

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.

Songwriter

**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)

**Wisecarvers

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)

**Perrys

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**.

VOTE: Best Of 2017: Breakthrough/DuoTrio/Soloist

Who were the top artists in Southern Gospel music for 2017?  Today, starts the voting for best breakthrough (new), duo/trio and solo artist.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 11/29/17.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

VOTE: Best Of 2017: Lead/Soprano/Tenor

Who were the top vocalists in Southern Gospel music for 2017?  Today, starts the voting for best lead, soprano and tenor vocalist.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 11/27/17.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

Silence The Stones: 11th Hour

GRADE:  B+

  • Album:  Silence The Stones
  • Artist:  11th Hour
  • Label:  Sonlite
  • Style:  Progressive
  • Release Date:  11/10/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  36 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the newest album from 11th Hour, Silence The Stones.

This marks the sixth recording in 11th Hour’s recording career.  It also marks the fifth album to be released by Crossroads on the Sonlite Records label.

Silence The Stones is progressive Southern Gospel music at it’s best.  Group member Amber Eppinette contributed to four songs on the album while other member Jaquita Lindsey wrote the closing number.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • “Power In Prayer” immediately stood out to me upon first listen to Silence The Stones.  After several more listens, this blues infused number remained the best song on the recording.  Amber’s commanding lead/soprano vocals continue to impress on this newest effort.
  • Amber is also featured on a song she co-wrote titled “I’d Like To Meet The Preacher”.  This song is a bit different from most of your ‘thank you preacher’ type songs.  It says, ‘I want to meet the preacher who prayed for the preacher who prayed for me’.  Give it a listen.
  • Lead vocalist Grant Gibson slows it down on the best ballad from the album, “Hallelujah”.  This praise style song is modern-day progressive Southern Gospel music.  Probably a too bit progressive for Southern Gospel radio.
  • Grant and Amber trade verses on the album’s up-tempo title track, “Silence The Stones”.  I see this song landing at Southern Gospel radio sometime in 2018.
  • The majority of the up-tempo songs on Silence The Stones fall in to what I call ‘hard driving’.  Think the Martins at the height of their career.  That sound is most evident on “God Will Deliver Me” and “I’ll Be The First One”.
  • Grant slows it down again on the retrospective, “I Want You Beside Me”.
  • Can’t leave the review without mentioning the closing number both written and performed by group member Jaquita Lindsey, “Let Grace In”.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Power In Prayer”, “Hallelujah”, “I’d Like To Meet The Preacher”, “I Want You Beside Me”, “God Will Deliver Me”, “Silence The Stones” and “I’ll Be The First One”.
CRITIQUE:
  • I’m surprised the record label would choose the weakest up-tempo song on the album as the first single.  Maybe they thought is sounded the most Southern Gospel friendly.
  • After several listens, Silence The Stones doesn’t quite match the caliber of the group’s previous effort, What A Moment.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “I Want To Praise Him” and “Doin’ What’s Right”.

WRAP UP:

11th Hour has made strides to become one of the best vocal trios in Southern Gospel music.  The music they are providing listeners justifies why they deserve to be regarded as such.  Don’t let the year close without listening to Silence The Stones.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Doin’ What’s Right”/Amber – Lee Black, Devin McGlamery, Nathan Woodard  2. “God Will Deliver Me“/Grant – Phil Cross, Cassie Hyle  3. “I’d Like To Meet The Preacher“/Amber – Jason Cox, Amber Eppinette, Kenna West  4. “I Want To Praise Him”/Jaquita – Daryl Williams  5. “Hallelujah”/Grant – Jon Azzarello  6. “I’ll Be The First One”/Amber – Jason Cox, Amber Eppinette, Kenna West  7. “Silence The Stones”/Grant; Amber – Jason Cox, Amber Eppinette, Kenna West  8. “Power In Prayer”/Amber – Amber Eppinette, Don Poythress, Donnie Skaggs, Kenna West  9. “I Want You Beside Me”/Grant – Phil Cross  10. “Let Grace In”/Jaquita – Jaquita Lindsey

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“.