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: #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


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.


**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)


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)


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.

VOTE: Best Of 2017: Alto/Baritone/Bass

Who were the top vocalists in Southern Gospel music for 2017?  Today, starts the voting for best alto, baritone and bass vocalist.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 11/23/17.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

Still: Greater Vision


  • Album:  Still
  • Artist:  Greater Vision
  • Label:  Daywind
  • Style:  Traditional
  • Release Date:  08/04/17
  • Digital Download:  No
  • Running Time:  44 Minutes


Today we take a look at the latest album from Greater Vision, Still.

Greater Vision is coming up on 27 years in Southern Gospel music.  Still marks the 45th recording the group has given listeners in those 27 years.

Still also marks the first Greater Vision recording to not include Gerald Wolfe vocally.  Instead, listeners are treated to newest vocal member Jon Epley.


  • Chris Allman proves why he was voted favorite tenor vocalist at this year’s Singing News fan awards.  He has all the best features on Still.
  • The stand out track is the up-tempo, “Rolled Back Stone”.  This Lee Black/Dianne Wilkinson co-write is a future hit in the making.  Chris performs it perfectly.
  • I can hear Marcia Henry’s touch on the Rodney Griffin co-write, “Nothing To See”.  Kudos to the arrangers who decided to use a crying steel guitar on this country flavored song. Another Chris feature that I absolutely enjoy!
  • Chris also performs his own composition, “God Doesn’t Care”.  The message contained in this song makes it one of the strongest on the recording.  God doesn’t care where you’ve been or what you’ve done.
  • The album’s first radio single features and was also written by Rodney.  “Still” is a proclamation type song that may very well top the Southern Gospel radio singles chart.
  • Newest member, Jon Epley, takes the second verse on the up-tempo, “All The Above”.  One you will want to add to your musical playlist.
  • Its been 20 years since Greater Vision recorded “Common Garments”.  Listeners are treated to a cover of what I consider to be one of Griffin’s greatest compositions.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Rolled Back Stone”, “God Doesn’t Care”, “Nothing To See”, “Still”, “All The Above”, “Common Garments”, “His Grave Wrote The Song” and “I Believe It All”.
  • Greater Vision has decided not to make Still available for digital download; not even from their website.  I still don’t understand the reasoning.  I will venture to say that it will be made available at some point, but the newness of the recording will be long passed by then.
  • Have to admit, I missed not having at least one Gerald feature on a Greater Vision recording.  Will have to get used to that.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Forgiven By The Lord” and “Jesus Stood”.


Greater Vision has had a consistent trend of top-notch recordings.  For any listener who thinks Greater Vision is past their prime recording years; I would have to argue the opposite.  This decade has provided some of the trio’s strongest albums.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “There Is Hope”/Chris – Chris Allman, Rodney Griffin  2. “Still“/Rodney – Rodney Griffin  3. “Rolled Back Stone“/Chris – Lee Black, Dianne Wilkinson  4. “I Believe It All”/Ensemble; Chris – Janice Crow  5. “God Doesn’t Care”/Chris – Chris Allman  6. “His Grave Wrote The Song”/Ensemble; Jon – Rodney Griffin  7. “Jesus Stood”/Rodney – Rodney Griffin  8. “Forgiven By The Lord”/Chris – Chris Allman  9. “Common Garments”/Rodney – Rodney Griffin  10. “All The Above”/Ensemble; Jon – Rodney Griffin, Babbie Mason  11. “Nothing To See”/Chris – Rodney Griffin, Marcia Henry  12. “The Gospel”/Rodney – Chris Allman

NQC 2017: Sunday Night Recap

The 2017 National Quartet Convention is under way as it celebrates its 60th anniversary.  Tonight’s opening program included Greater Vision, Hoppers, Jim Brady Trio, Mark Trammell Quartet and Tribute Quartet.  Each artist got two sets on the program.  Here was the hits and misses of the evening.

  • The Hoppers have been a testament to the strength given to face the trials that come in life.  So good to see Dean with the family tonight!
  • This was my first time to hear John Epley with Greater Vision.  His rich baritone fits with the trio nicely.
  • If you like classics (songs), then tonight was your night.  Mark Trammell Quartet had the best with one of my all time favorites, “He Is Mine And I Am His”.
  • Jim Brady Trio had a nice moment with just piano and vocals.  Something I hope we hear more of during the week.
  • Strong finale to close out the night with “How Great Thou Art”.

  • Sound issues abound during most of the first segment.  I could hear the cavernous sound of the hall coming through my TV screen.
  • Not only that but the streaming system crashed several times early on.  By the second segment things sounded good and the system didn’t have a hiccup.
  • With all the classic songs sung tonight, it did get a bit boring.  I found myself dozing off a couple of times toward the end.


**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “I’ve Come Too Far” – Hoppers  (2) “You Were Faithful Yesterday” – Greater Vision  (3) “God Of The Storms” – Tribute Quartet  (4) “What A Day That Will Be” – Jim Brady Trio  (5) “He Is Mine And I Am His” – Mark Trammell Quartet (**Favorite song performance of the evening)  (6) “Wherever I Am” – Jim Brady Trio  (7) “Grace Will Get To You” – Hoppers

Best Set of the Night:  The Hoppers