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

AND THE BEST OF 2016 IS:

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”.

blackSongwriter

**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)

**Erwins

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**.

VOTE: Best Of 2016: Radio Single/Song Cover

3rdannualThis week we will wrap up voting in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.  What was the best radio single and song cover of 2016?  You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 12/05/16.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

VOTE: Best Of 2016: Bass/Tenor

3rdannualWho were the top bass and tenor vocalists in Southern Gospel music for 2016?  You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 11/28/16.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

VOTE: Best Of 2016: Baritone/Lead

3rdannualWho were the top baritone and lead vocalists in Southern Gospel music for 2016?  You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 11/25/16.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

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

3rdannualI went through all the Southern Gospel album’s released in 2016 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 16 categories in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.

AND THE NOMINEES ARE:

Recorded Song of the Year (song recorded on a 2016 album, did not have to be a radio single)

  1. “If We Ever Gotta Look” – Phil Cross, Tery Wilkins; recorded by the Hoppers (Life Is Good)
  2. “In The Hands Of A Carpenter” – Lee Black, Jerry Salley; recorded by Legacy Five (In The Hands Of A Carpenter)
  3. “One Name, One Way, One Door” – Roger Duncan; recorded by the Down East Boys (Ransomed)
  4. “Rocks” – Becky Bowman, Jimmy Yeary, Sonya Isaacs Yeary; recorded by the Isaacs (Nature’s Symphony In 432)
  5. “When The Prodigal Comes Home” – Lee Black; recorded by the Tribute Quartet (Here For You)

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

  1. “Amazing God” – Lee Black, Janice Crow, Sue C Smith; recorded by the Triumphant Quartet (Living In Harmony)
  2. “Home” – Gerald Crabb; recorded by Jason Crabb (Whatever The Road)
  3. “I Know” – Ila Knight; recorded by the Kingsmen (Battle Cry)
  4. “I Was There” – Monty Criswell, Timothy Menzies; recorded by the Bowling Family (Moments Like These)
  5. “Jesus, The One” – Paula Stefanovich; recorded by the Hoppers (Life Is Good)

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

  1. “Family Chain” – Nelons (Stronger Together); Joe Isaacs
  2. “He’s Making A Way” – Pruitt Family (So Much Sweeter); John Darin Rowsey
  3. “Jesus Never Fails” – Cana’s Voice (This Changes Everything); Gary Driskell
  4. “The Prodigal Son” – Second Half Quartet (Refreshing); Lavon Cantrell
  5. “When He Set Me Free” – Gaither Vocal Band (Better Together); Gary McSpadden

Songwriter

  1. Lee Black
  2. Jeffrey Bumgardner
  3. Phil Cross
  4. Rebecca Peck
  5. Kenna Turner West

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

  1. Here For You – Tribute Quartet (Daywind Records)
  2. Life Is Good – Hoppers (Daywind Records)
  3. Nature’s Symphony In 432 – Isaacs (House Of Isaacs)
  4. Ransomed – Down East Boys (Sonlite Records)
  5. What A Moment – 11th Hour (Sonlite Records)

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

  1. The Favorite Hymns Of Fanny Crosby – Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
  2. Here For You – Tribute Quartet
  3. Nature’s Symphony In 432 – Isaacs
  4. Somewhere I’m Going – High Road
  5. What A Moment – 11th Hour

Artist – Breakthrough (New)

  1. Cana’s Voice
  2. Guardians
  3. High Road
  4. Pruitt Family
  5. Rambo McGuire

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

  1. 11th Hour
  2. Greater Vision
  3. Jim Brady Trio
  4. Talleys
  5. Taylors

Artist – Mixed Group (at least 4 vocalists)

  1. Erwins
  2. Hoppers
  3. Isaacs
  4. Mylon Hayes Family
  5. Nelons

Artist – Quartet

  1. Ball Brothers
  2. Down East Boys
  3. Ernie Haase and Signature Sound
  4. Mark Trammell Quartet
  5. Tribute Quartet

Vocalist – Alto

  1. Rebecca Bowman (Isaacs)
  2. Kelly Nelon Clark (Nelons)
  3. Sheri Easter (Jeff and Sheri Easter)
  4. Wendy Hayes (Mylon Hayes Family)
  5. Connie Hopper (Hoppers)

Vocalist – Baritone

  1. Dustin Doyle (Signature Sound)
  2. Kris Erwin (Erwins)
  3. Mike LeFevre (LeFevres)
  4. Daryl Paschal (Down East Boys)
  5. Mark Trammell (Mark Trammell Quartet)

Vocalist – Bass

  1. Randy Byrd (Mark Trammell Quartet)
  2. Kody Erwin (Erwins)
  3. Matt Fouch (Legacy Five)
  4. Paul Harkey (Signature Sound)
  5. Todd Suttles (Gaither Vocal Band)

Vocalist – Lead

  1. Jim Brady (Jim Brady Trio)
  2. Grant Gibson (11th Hour)
  3. Wes Hampton (Gaither Vocal Band)
  4. Jordan LeFevre (LeFevres)
  5. Arthur Rice (Kingdom Heirs)

Vocalist – Soprano

  1. Amber Eppinette (11th Hour)
  2. Taranda Beene (Cana’s Voice)
  3. Kim Hopper (Hoppers)
  4. Amber Thompson (Nelons)
  5. Sonya Isaacs Yeary (Isaacs)

Vocalist – Tenor

  1. Andrew Ball (Ball Brothers)
  2. Riley Harrison Clark (Tribute Quartet)
  3. Jeremy Peace (LeFevres)
  4. David Phelps (Gaither Vocal Band)
  5. David Sutton (Triumphant)

So does this represent the best of 2016?  Were there any snubs you felt should be a nominee? The voting rounds will begin Thursday (11/17/16).

Better Together: Gaither Vocal Band

GVBGRADE:  B-

  • Album – Better Together
  • Artist – Gaither Vocal Band
  • Label – Spring House Music Group
  • Style – Traditional, Progressive, Easy Listening
  • Release Date – 08/26/16
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music)

SYNOPSIS:

This week we take a look at the new album from the Gaither Vocal Band; Better Together.  The album hit retail outlets on Friday (08/26/16).

The Gaither Vocal Band decided to give listeners song covers for the vast majority of Better Together.  The problem is most of these songs have been performed by the Homecoming Series more times than you can count.

Does Better Together stack up to the Gaither Vocal Band’s vast library of hit albums?  Lets find out.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • I had to get to the last song on the album to find one I would want to hit repeat; “Walk On The Water”.  This Bill and Gloria tune goes back to the 1980s and is the stand out track on Better Together.
  • Another classic up-tempo song that traditional quartet fans will love is “Moses Smote The Water”.  This, as most of the album, get the Gaither Vocal Band’s little something extra; all those nice oohs and aahs and little harmony moments.
  • Adam Crabb takes another up-tempo, fun song, with the group’s cover of the classic quartet number; “When He Set Me Free”.  This would make a strong radio single choice.
  • David gets a bit of a feature on the Ira Stanphill classic, “We’ll Talk It Over”.
  • If you’re going to record an album full of song covers, why not go back and pick up a 1970’s pop song from Carole King.  Bill and Todd trade-off the verses on “You’ve Got A Friend”.  Interesting choice.
  • As any listener would expect, the production value on Better Together is about as good as it gets.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Walk On The Water”, “When He Set Me Free”, “Moses Smote The Water”, “We’ll Talk It Over”, “Didn’t It Rain” and “You’ve Got A Friend”.
CRITIQUE:
  • I expected much more from the Gaither Vocal Band than what they provided listeners on Better Together.  There are no big features by any member of the group that fans of the Gaither Vocal Band have come to expect.
  • The choice of song covers boggles my mind.  How many times does “Working On A Building”, “Led Out Of Bondage” and “Dig A Little Deeper In God’s Love” have to be recorded.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “But I Need You More”, “Led Out Of Bondage”, “Working On A Building” and “Dig A Little Deeper In God’s Love”.

WRAP UP:

When you think of Gaither Vocal Band albums such as Sometimes It Takes A Mountain, Pure And Simple and Greatly Blessed, you can’t help but be left disappointed with Better Together.  Will not be remembered as one of the Gaither Vocal Band’s strongest body of works.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Working On A Building”/Ensemble; Adam – Traditional  2. “Led Out Of Bondage“/Todd – Bob Prather  3. “Heart O’ Mine”/Ensemble; Wes – Dallas Holm  4. “When He Set Me Free”/Adam – Joe Washington  5. “But I Need You More”/Ensemble; Todd – Gloria Gaither, George Poulton  6. “Dig A Little Deeper In God’s Love”/Ensemble – Kenneth Morris  7. “Moses Smote The Water”/Ensemble – Traditional  8. “We’ll Talk It Over“/Ensemble; David – Ira Stanphill  9. “Didn’t It Rain”/Adam; Todd – Traditional  10. “You’ve Got A Friend”/Bill; Todd – Carole King  11. “Better Together”/Ensemble – Chip Davis, Bill Gaither, Dony McGuire, Reba Rambo McGuire  12. “Walk On The Water”/Ensemble; Wes – Bill Gaither, Gloria Gaither

*Video Credit (Gaither Vocal Band – Topic)

Hot Or Not?

gvb2014mountainmaxWhile traditional radio still has a place in the music industry, the 21st century way of listening to music is personal playlists.  We have basically become our own radio programmer, DJ and personal radio station.  We have accounts with programs like Apple Music or Spotify and create playlists of all of our favorite music.  I create new playlists all the time as I am introduced to new music/artists.

You get a glimpse of that every month with my fab five feature.  With that said, does the record labels/artists always pick the right songs for radio?  With streaming services counting every play (for royalty payment purposes), do Southern Gospel record labels/artists view this information to determine what songs listeners play the most and use that information to consider future singles.

I can’t answer that question, but it did bring a new feature to mind.  I will allow my readers to let the record labels/artists know whether or not they are picking the right songs for radio.  Periodically, I will present a new radio single in this feature and you the reader/listener will give the song either a thumbs up or thumbs down.  Let your voice be heard.  Let record labels and artists know if they are making the right decision.

The first song featured for hot or not is the Gaither Vocal Band’s new single, “Let It Start In Me”.  This is the third single from the group’s 2014 recording, Sometimes It Takes A Mountain.  Bill and Gloria Gaither along with Dony and Reba Rambo McGuire wrote the song.  Did the group pick the right song for radio?  You decide; thumbs up or thumbs down?

*Video Credit (Gaither Vocal Band – Topic)

VOTING: Southern Gospel March Madness – Final Four

We have reached the final four in the 2016 Southern Gospel music March madness competition.  The readers of the blog have spoken and voted the Gaither Vocal Band, Kingdom Heirs, Nelons and Karen Peck and New River as artists to represent the final four.  Here are the rules to voting.

  • All readers of the blog can vote.
  • I have set it up to where each person is allowed one vote per day.
  • This poll will close on Friday (04/08/16).