If you’re a subscriber to the Singing News magazine, then you’re aware they are in the midst of voting for this year’s edition of the fan awards.
Top ten voting started last week, to narrow the list down to the final five nominees in each category. While I overlooked it when the Singing News released the top ten lists in each category, it struck me when I was voting in the list of ten.
The Booth Brothers album, Between Here And Heaven, is among the top ten for albums of the year. How is that even possible? If you look at the album art, you can clearly see the album is a Gaither Gospel Series recording.
Gaither is not promoting this recording. It is not available on gaither.com for purchase. It is not on any online streaming service. It is not available at any major online retailer. Instead, Gaither is promoting a soon to be released Gospel Favorites Live recording by the Booth Brothers.
Will Between Here And Heaven not be released by Gaither, or are they planning on releasing it later this year? If it is released later this year, wouldn’t that mean the album wouldn’t be eligible for nomination in the Singing News fan awards until next year? I guess I’m confused if Singing News even follows their own album nomination criteria.
Today 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. The artist covered today is the Booth Brothers.
CURRENT POPULARITY = 98
There is no doubt in any Southern Gospel listener’s mind that the Booth Brothers is the most popular artist in the industry at the moment.
The trio has won a total of 57 Singing News fan awards over the course of the last decade.
The group built that success on impeccable harmony. When the group first hit the scene it was tough not to be mesmerized by the Booth Brothers stage presentation.
CURRENT CHART SUCCESS/ALBUM RELEASES = 64
In pondering the music the Booth Brothers is currently giving listeners, I score that 59 out of 100.
The Booth Brothers prime recording years, thus far, came between 2001 and 2006.
Albums such as This Stage Of Grace (2001), The Booth Brothers (2003), Pure Southern Gospel (2004), The Blind Man Saw It All (2005) and Harmony (2006) represent the best in the group’s entire discography.
On an added note, the Booth Brothers have a new album due out in April that could bump this score up.
SCORE ON THE OVERRATED METER = +39
This score represents that the Booth Brothers is currently overrated by a net positive +39.
DID YOU KNOW?: We are just over a week away from the 2016 edition of the National Quartet Convention. It seems as though the NQC becomes less and less buzz worthy each year. Looking back 20 years to NQC 1996 and the fan awards program that year; these were the artists nominated.
Men Of Music
There are some fairly big names in that list of nominees. Do you know who won? Common Bond. Some of you are probably scratching your head when you see names like Booth, Crabb and Ruppe, but tis true; Common Bond won horizon group at the 1996 fan awards.
For all you political junkies, today is super Tuesday. Take part in the political process and vote, if your state happens to be one of many holding primaries today. I am kicking off the month as I do each month; providing the five most played Southern Gospel radio songs (or should be) in my musical playlists over the preceding month. Also, take this time to highlight any current Southern Gospel song that you are enjoying.
DID YOU KNOW?: We just came out of another Thanksgiving day, thinking about all the things we are thankful for. Did you know there are just over 2,100 songs in BMI’s catalog that use the word Thanks in the title. If that wasn’t enough, there are nearly another 1,500 in ASCAP’s catalog. Giving thanks is a universal theme, even if religion is not a part of your everyday life. Southern Gospel music have had some lasting songs that also convey the word thanks; from “Thanks” to “Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me”. Here are a few more that convey thanks for what Christ did for us.
In another, finally get around to, album review; this week I want to take a look at the Booth Brothers latest recording, Still. This album released at the end of December 2014 with very little promotion/advertising.
The lack of online availability has also kept it away from a portion of the Southern Gospel listening audience. This is actually the third album in a row released by the Booth Brothers they didn’t make available on the digital download sites. Last year’s Isaiah 12:2 and Quartet Style (2013) were also released with very little promotion.
I don’t know if this a specific tactic the Booth Brothers are utilizing since they are no longer with a major record label but it doesn’t seem very wise from a marketing stand point. The old term, out of sight-out of mind, applies in this case. From a listener who only purchases music digitally nowadays, I can tell you I have listened to the Booth Brothers a lot less over the last two years because of the lack of availability to new music.
The mellow country tune, “Dirt On My Hands” was the stand out track on Still. Even with the addition of Paul Lancaster, the Booth Brothers harmony work is still at the top of its game.
That harmony work is also heard on the album’s opening track, “Faith Keeps Walking”. This easy listening tune fits the Booth Brothers style perfectly.
The Booth Brothers give a shout out to the Couriers with the Phil Enloe penned, “I Am The Word”. The production work/arrangement is right out the Couriers playbook. Ronnie takes the lead on this big ballad.
Ronnie also shows his soulful side on the rollicking, “Down By The River”. Gordon Mote recorded this song on his All Things New album with the help of Trace Adkins and the Gaither Vocal Band. While Gordon’s was the better cut, the Booth Brothers still make the song fun and this is the only up-tempo song in a sea of slow to mid-tempo numbers.
I also enjoyed the big band treatment given to the Mosie Lister classic, “Happy Rhythm”. As a listener, you are so used to hearing a bass singer take on this song, that this specific arrangement for a trio really sets it apart from all the quartet versions.
Strongest songs included in order: “Dirt On My Hands”, “I Am The Word”, “Faith Keeps Walking”, “Happy Rhythm”, “Still” and “Down By The River”.
Since this album was never marketed to be a major release for the Booth Brothers, I guess you can’t fault them too much on the song covers. Another cover of Cottrell/Moffitt’s “Jesus Saves” was not a home run.
Also, the Russ Taff era Imperials cover of “Whenever I Speak His Name” did not come close to matching the original cut of this song.
Weakest songs included in order: “Jesus Saves” and “Whenever I Speak His Name”.
The Booth Brothers have dominated the Southern Gospel music market place for over a decade. At this point in their career, they have nothing to prove in terms of album releases. As a listener, I long for the days of albums like The Blind Man Saw It All (2005), The Booth Brothers (2003) and Harmony (2006). Again, they have nothing to prove, I am just a listener after all.
SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:1. “Faith Keeps Walking”/Ensemble – Jim Brady, Don Poythress, Tony Wood 2. “Happy Rhythm“/Ensemble – Mosie Lister3. “Still”/Michael – Jim Brady, Barry Weeks, Tony Wood 4. “Dirt On My Hands”/Ensemble – Jim Brady, Woody Wright 5. “I Am The Word”/Ronnie – Phillip Enloe 6. “The Touch Of The Master’s Hand”/Paul – John Kramp, Myra Welch 7. “Whenever I Speak His Name”/Ensemble – Russ Taff, Victoria Taff 8. “Down By The River”/Ronnie – Alan Anderson, Mac McAnally 9. “Wildflower (Vicki’s Song)”/Michael – Rebecca Peck 10. “Jesus Saves”/Paul – Travis Cottrell, David Moffitt