Southern Gospel 2018: Flash Drives; (1) For $20, (2) For $30

I saw something on the Booth Brothers website in the fall of 2017 and never got around to writing about it.  I thought it time I offered my thoughts.

The group is selling a flash drive of (40) songs, that includes the trio’s three most recent albums plus a hymns recording.  The flash drive retails for $40; basically $1 per song, which is what a listener would pay if they downloaded the song from a digital download site.

Is this a unique way for artists to sell their music digitally without ever having to list it on a digital download site?  Would listeners be willing to purchase a flash drive?  Could this ultimately replace CDs in the Southern Gospel marketplace?

Thoughts?  Is this a genius idea or something that will never catch on?

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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: #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”.

VOTE: Best Of 2017: Single/Song Cover/Songwriter

What were the top songs in Southern Gospel music for 2017?  Today, starts the voting for best single, song cover and songwriter.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 12/01/17.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

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.

And The Nominees Are…

It is time to announce the nominees for the 4th Annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row Honors.  I went through all the Southern Gospel album’s released in 2017 and scoured through the radio single charts (January to December) to determine what I considered to be the five nominees to best represent each of the 17 categories.

AND THE NOMINEES ARE:

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

  1. “Dying To Be With You” – Nick Akin; recorded by Akins (Eyes On The Road)
  2. “Here He Comes” – Chris Cron, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood; recorded by Joseph Habedank (Resurrection)
  3. “I Will Pray” – Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey; recorded by the Perrys (Testament)
  4. “Telling The Story” – Kyla Rowland, Jessica Thomas; recorded by the Kingdom Heirs (The Last Big Thing)
  5. “Victory Is Mine” – Lee Black, Gerald Crabb, Karen Peck Gooch; recorded by Karen Peck & New River (Hope For All Nations)

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

  1. “Chain Breaker” – Mia Fieldes, Jonathan Smith, Zach Williams; recorded by Triumphant (Thankful)
  2. “Don’t You Think You Ought To Worship Me” – Dustin Wisecarver; recorded by the Wisecarvers (Armor)
  3. “It Still Takes The Blood” – Gerald Crabb; recorded by the Freemans (Tower Of Song)
  4. “Never Made A Promise” – Lee Black, Sue C Smith, Kenna West; recorded by the Kingdom Heirs (Something Good)
  5. “They Don’t Know (What The Lord Can Do)” – Jason Cox, Kenna West, Tony Wood; recorded by the Kingsmen (They Don’t Know)

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

  1. “The Answer’s On The Way” – Goodman Revival (Still Happy); Rusty Goodman
  2. “At The Name Of Jesus” – Mercy’s Well (Questions & Answers); Pamela Hall
  3. “He Heals” – Booth Brothers (Between Here And Heaven); Jennifer Layne, Don Poythress
  4. “It Was Finished On The Cross” – Sisters (Simply); Kristie Braselton, Regi Stone
  5. “My Hope Is In The Blood” – Perrys (Testament); Reagan Riddle

Songwriter

  1. Lee Black
  2. Jason Cox
  3. Joseph Habedank
  4. Sue C Smith
  5. Kenna Turner West

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

  1. Hope For All Nations – Karen Peck & New River (Daywind)
  2. Resurrection – Joseph Habedank (Daywind)
  3. Simply – Sisters (Custom)
  4. Testament – Perrys (Stow Town)
  5. Walk Worthy – Master’s Voice (Sonlite)

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

  1. Beyond Amazed – Brian Free & Assurance
  2. Resurrection – Joseph Habedank
  3. Seasons: A Collection Of The Best – Mark Bishop
  4. They Don’t Know – Kingsmen
  5. Walk Worthy – Master’s Voice

Artist – Breakthrough (New)

  1. Bowling Sisters
  2. Master’s Voice
  3. Sneed Family
  4. Wilbanks
  5. Wisecarvers

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

  1. 11th Hour
  2. Booth Brothers
  3. Greater Vision
  4. Sisters
  5. Whisnants

Artist – Mixed Group (at least 4 vocalists)

  1. Erwins
  2. Mylon Hayes Family
  3. Nelons
  4. Karen Peck & New River
  5. Perrys

Artist – Quartet

  1. Gaither Vocal Band
  2. Kingdom Heirs
  3. Mark Trammell Quartet
  4. Tribute Quartet
  5. Triumphant

Artist – Soloist

  1. Doug Anderson
  2. Jason Crabb
  3. Michael English
  4. Misty Freeman
  5. Joseph Habedank

Vocalist – Alto

  1. Wendy Hayes (Mylon Hayes Family)
  2. Kim Sheffield (Sisters)
  3. Libbi Stuffle (Perrys)
  4. Tanya Goodman Sykes (Goodman Revival)
  5. Susan Whisnant (Whisnants)

Vocalist – Baritone

  1. Randy Crawford (Kingsmen)
  2. Jon Epley (Greater Vision)
  3. Loren Harris (Kingdom Heirs)
  4. Scott Inman (Triumphant)
  5. Mark Trammell (Mark Trammell Quartet)

Vocalist – Bass

  1. Pat Barker (Second-Half Quartet)
  2. Eric Bennett (Triumphant)
  3. Randy Byrd (Mark Trammell Quartet)
  4. Jeff Chapman (Kingdom Heirs)
  5. Keith Plott (LeFevre Quartet)

Vocalist – Lead

  1. Ronnie Booth (Booth Brothers)
  2. Keith Erwin (Erwins)
  3. Clayton Inman (Triumphant)
  4. Arthur Rice (Kingdom Heirs)
  5. Bill Shivers (Brian Free & Assurance)

Vocalist – Soprano

  1. Amber Eppinette (11th Hour)
  2. Karen Peck Gooch (Karen Peck & New River)
  3. Kennedy Hayes (Mylon Hayes Family)
  4. Amber Thompson (Nelons)
  5. Kaila Wisecarver (Wisecarvers)

Vocalist – Tenor

  1. Chris Allman (Greater Vision)
  2. Ricky Capps (Master’s Voice)
  3. Riley Harrison Clark (Tribute Quartet)
  4. Wes Hampton (Gaither Vocal Band)
  5. Steve Ladd (Old Paths)

So do the nominees represent the best of 2017?  Were there any snubs? The voting rounds will begin Tuesday (11/14/17).

Between Here And Heaven: Booth Brothers

GRADE:  B+

  • Album:  Between Here And Heaven
  • Artist:  Booth Brothers
  • Label:  Gaither Gospel Series
  • Style:  Progressive, Inspirational
  • Release Date:  01/03/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes
  • Running Time:  43 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the ghost album from the Booth Brothers, Between Here And Heaven.

The album, which was supposed to be released under the Gaither Gospel Series was made available on the group’s website the end of 2016.  The album never received any promotion, wasn’t widely released by Gaither and to my knowledge only made available to one retail outlet.

All that would seem like non-success but Between Here And Heaven went on to win album of the year at the 2017 edition of the Singing News fan awards.  Because of that I thought it would finally be time to review this album, which I’ve been sitting on since the beginning of the year.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The stand out songs on Between Here And Heaven are covers.  I named “He Heals” one of the best recorded songs of 2014 in my annual countdown.  The original recorded by Legacy Five.  Michael turns in a beautiful performance of the song, which is one of the best on the album!
  • Paul Lancaster re-records a song he made popular during his tenure with Palmetto State Quartet; “A Moment Of Grace”.  This is another must listen.
  • Between Here And Heaven lacks up-tempo songs but the one up-tempo bright spot is the Mosie Lister penned, “Come And See The Man”.  This hearkens back to the Booth Brothers early days in the industry.
  • Each member take the lead on a verse of “Grace Divine”.  An awesome Lee Black/Gina Boe co-write.  If the group decides to release a radio single from the album, this is it!
  • The album starts off with “That Says It All”, a song Ronnie recorded on a solo recording a decade ago.  This song is the definition of the Booth Brothers style.
  • The trio tackle the 1994 Steven Curtis Chapman CCM hit, “Facts Are Facts”.  The only other up-tempo song on the album and this rollicking cover by the Booth Brothers is fun and will have you singing along.
  • The Booth Brothers continue to prove why they remain one of the most popular groups in Southern Gospel music.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “He Heals”, “A Moment Of Grace”, “Grace Divine”, “Come And See The Man”, “Stop The Storm”, “That Says It All” and “Facts Are Facts”.
CRITIQUE:
  • “Until The Time Comes To Leave” orchestration sounds like something that should be on some generic Christmas album.  The musical interlude that comes at the end is way too long.
  • As already mentioned, the pacing of the album is slow.  Eight of the ten songs on the album are in the slow to mid-tempo range.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “It Is No Secret” and “Until The Times Comes To Go”.

WRAP UP:

Why did Gaither shelve this recording?  It is consistent with what listeners have come to expect from the Booth Brothers.  Did the album deserve to win album of the year at the 2017 edition of the Singing News fan awards?  Sure.  It is as good as any of the other albums that were nominated.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “That Says It All”/Ronnie – Mosie Lister  2. “Between Here And Heaven“/Michael – Gina Boe, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood  3. “Stop The Storm“/Paul – Rebecca Bowman, Joseph Habedank, Sonya Isaacs Yeary  4. “Come And See The Man”/Ensemble – Mosie Lister  5. “He Heals”/Michael – Jennifer Layne, Don Poythress  6. “A Moment Of Grace”/Paul – Joe Wesley Gordon  7. “Grace Divine”/Michael; Ronnie; Paul – Lee Black, Gina Boe  8. “Facts Are Facts”/Paul – Steven Curtis Chapman  9. “It Is No Secret”/Ronnie – Stuart Hamblen  10. “Until The Time Comes To Leave”/Ronnie; Paul – Woody Wright