Best Of The Last Decade (2007-2016)

In the ‘ask me anything’ feature, a reader asked me about the last Southern Gospel album I was really excited about.  It got me to thinking about the last decade in Southern Gospel music and the definitive albums released over the last ten years.

During the summer of 2017, I will be giving you my list of the (20) best albums in Southern Gospel music over the last decade.  I will just be printing track listings.  Click on the links to read the original reviews and hear the songs from the recording.

Count Me In (2012) – Hoppers (SpringHill): “Mighty Is The Word”; “That’s What I Love About Him”; “I’ll Take You Home”; “He Didn’t Just Carry The Cross”; “I Just Feel Like Something Good Is About To Happen”; “If I Can Help Somebody”; “Count Me In”; “I’ll Worship Only At The Feet Of Jesus”; “I Am Whatever You Need”; “I Will Serve Him”; “I Wish We’d All Been Ready”.

Living In The Moment (2013) – Beyond The Ashes (Stow Town): “So Amazing To Me”; “Living In The Moment”; “Oh The Thought That Jesus Loves Me”; “No Sin Greater Than God’s Grace”; “Peace In The Midst Of The Storm”; “Walking With My Eyes On Jesus”; “I Can’t Do This By Myself”; “Where The Gold Begins”; “When Love Whispers Your Name”; “Your Love Comes Shining Through”; “Over For Good”.

Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  Roger Fortner, currently with the McKameys, has had a long career dating back to the early 1970’s with the Inspirations.  Roger also spent time with the Singing Americans, Hoppers and the Greenes at one time in his career.  Roger has only showed his singing prowess over the course of the last decade with the McKameys.

2017 Song Of The Year??

I’m back!  One week ago Singing News announced the top ten list for the 2017 edition of the fan awards.  The only category I follow each year is song of the year.

This year’s nominees included:

  1. “Calling” – Karen Peck & New River (#1)
  2. “He Does” – Greater Vision (#3)
  3. “I Love You This Much” – Whisnants (#3)
  4. “If We Ever Gotta Look” – Hoppers (#7)**
  5. “It’s What He’s Done” – Wilburn & Wilburn (#1)**
  6. “Living In The Promised Land” – Triumphant Qt (#3)
  7. “My Father’s House” – Nelons (#7)**
  8. “Never Forsaken” – Tribute Qt (#1)**
  9. “Somebody’s Miracle” – Brian Free & Assurance (#4)
  10. “Still” – Legacy Five (#4)**

As is the case every year, Daywind Records dominated the song category claiming 8 of the 10 nominees.  Above I highlighted the peak spots on the chart as of the announcement.  The ** signifies the five songs deserving of making it to the final round.

Two songs deserving of a top ten spot were, “Home” by Jason Crabb and “He Welcomes The Beggar” by 11th Hour.  What songs did you feel were overlooked this year?

Best Of 2016: #2

isaacsWe are one day away from crowning the best Southern Gospel album and recorded song of 2016.  But, first lets see who claims the runner-up spots.

The Isaacs gave listeners a sixteen song collection this year with the album, Nature’s Symphony In 432.  Much has already been said regarding the tuning used to record the album.  To the average listener, you will not notice any significant difference.

The Isaacs never disappoint when offering listeners new music.  Becky and Sonya have collaborated to write some of the best material of their career.  Ranked 2nd among the best Southern Gospel albums of 2016 is Nature’s Symphony In 432.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “Rocks”, (2) “I Love You More”, (3) “Keep Breathing”, (4) “Dining With The King” and (5) “Lord Of My Heart”.

hoppers-2There has been some great material recorded in 2016.  When I started this annual countdown, I mentioned there were 464 songs found on the 42 albums I reviewed.

When the dust settled, the song ranked 2nd among the best of the year was the Hoppers, “If We Ever Gotta Look”.  It has been a long time since a single song invaded my musical playlists as much as “If We Ever Gotta Look”.

Phil Cross and Tery Wilkins came together to pen this song that will linger for years to come.

Best Of 2016: #3

hoppersFor all those enjoying the week off to celebrate the holidays; thanks for stopping by.  And for all those having to work this week; I see you’re sneaking a peek at work.  Today we honor the album and recorded song ranked 3rd among the best in Southern Gospel music for 2016.

The Hoppers took four years, since Count Me In (2012), to give listeners an album of new music.  2016 also saw the Hoppers pair with Daywind Records to release Life Is Good.

Life Is Good hearkens long time Hoppers listeners back to albums like Power (2000), Great Day (2003) and The Ride (2006).  The Hopper legacy will celebrate 60 years in 2017.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “If We Ever Gotta Look”, (2) “Jesus, The One”, (3) “By And By”, (4) “Grace Will Get To You” and (5) “Song Of Moses”.

debThe Down East Boys proved yesterday why they are one of the best of 2016 when Ransomed ranked 4th among the best albums released this year.

The best up-tempo Southern Gospel quartet song of the year is from the Down East Boys, “One Way, One Name, One Door”.

This song, penned by Roger Duncan, ranks 3rd among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of 2016.

Best Of 2016: #5

nelonsWe have made it to the best of the best; the top 5 albums and recorded songs of 2016.  After listening/reviewing 42 albums and hearing 464 songs found on those 42 albums; these top the list.

The Nelons defied logic when they decided to release two new albums in the same year, at the same time.  It may have paid off because both albums were among the top ten albums released in 2016.

Ranked 5th among the best albums of the year is Stronger Together.  The song selection was a bit stronger than the album ranked 9th (Family Harmony).

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “Family Chain”, (2) “Angels Hover Near You”, (3) “My Father’s House”, (4) “You Can’t Make Old Friends” and (5) “I Think I’ll Read It Again”.

hoppersAfter a four-year hiatus, the Hoppers finally release an album of new music.  2016 saw the release of Life Is Good.

The Hoppers also teamed with songwriter Paula Stefanovich, who gave them their career song “Jerusalem”, to pen the song ranked 5th among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of the year.

“Jesus, The One” was released months in advance and even became a #1 hit on the Southern Gospel radio singles chart before the album hit retailers.

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**.