VOTE: Best of 2018: Alto/Baritone/Bass

Who were the top vocalists in Southern Gospel music for 2018?  Today, starts the voting for best alto, baritone and bass vocalist.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 11/20/18.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

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And The 2018 Nominees Are….

It is time to announce the nominees for the 5th Annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row Honors.  I went through all the Southern Gospel album’s released in 2018 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 2018 album, did not have to be a radio single)

  1. “Beautiful” – Don Poythress, Joyce Sanders, Kenna West; recorded by the Martins (Still Standing)
  2. “Give Me Jesus” – Fanny Crosby, Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey; recorded by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (Clear Skies)
  3. “Go Down Again” – Kaila Wisecarver; recorded by the Wisecarvers (Silhouette)
  4. “Go Tell” – Diana Gillette; recorded by the Perry Sisters (Tellin’ the Story)
  5. “Live Forgiven” – Sue C Smith, Nathan Woodard; recorded by Gordon Mote (Love, Love, Love)

Single of the Year (had to be on the radio singles chart from January to December 2018)

  1. “God Doesn’t Care” – Chris Allman; recorded by Greater Vision (Still)
  2. “Jailbreak” – Gerald Crabb, Joseph Habedank; recorded by Joseph Habedank (Resurrection)
  3. “Power In Prayer” – Amber Eppinette, Don Poythress, Donnie Skaggs, Kenna West; recorded by 11th Hour (Silence The Stones)
  4. “Sun’s Gonna Come Up” – Lee Black, Scott Inman; recorded by the LeFevre Quartet (Ascending)
  5. “When The Prodigal Comes Home” – Lee Black; recorded by Tribute Quartet (Here For You)

Song Cover of the Year (a previously recorded song covered on a 2018 album release)

  1. “Chose To Be My Friend” – Jason Crabb featuring Gary LeVox (Unexpected); Gerald Crabb
  2. “Death Was Arrested” – Talleys (Finest Hour); Ryan Baltzglier, Adam Kersh, Brandon Koker, Paul Smith
  3. “Go To The Master” – Greater Vision (Life Is A Song); Carroll McGruder
  4. “Jesus Have Mercy On Me” – Down East Boys (One Day In The Past); Roger Horne
  5. “Message Of His Coming”- Williamsons (Give Them Jesus); RE Winsett

Songwriter

  1. Lee Black
  2. Joel Lindsey
  3. Rebecca J Peck
  4. Sue C Smith
  5. Kenna Turner West

Album of the Year (had to be a 2018 release)

  1. Ascending – LeFevre Quartet (New Day)
  2. Clear Skies – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (Stow Town)
  3. Give Them Jesus – Williamsons (Custom)
  4. One Day In The Past – Down East Boys (Sonlite)
  5. Still Standing – Martins (Gaither Gospel Series)

Album Cover Design (best album artwork/cover design from a 2018 release)

  1. Clear Skies – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
  2. Hope For The Journey – Gold City
  3. Hope Keeps Writing The Song – Jim Brady Trio
  4. Reach – Jordan Family Band
  5. Silhouette – Wisecarvers

Artist – Breakthrough (New)

  1. 3 Heath Brothers
  2. Hinson Family
  3. Lore Family
  4. New Speer Family
  5. Westward Road

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

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

Artist – Mixed Group (at least 4 vocalists)

  1. Erwins
  2. Hoppers
  3. Mylon Hayes Family
  4. Karen Peck & New River
  5. Williamsons

Artist – Quartet

  1. Down East Boys
  2. Gold City
  3. LeFevre Quartet
  4. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
  5. Triumphant

Artist – Soloist

  1. Mark Bishop
  2. Jason Crabb
  3. Joseph Habedank
  4. Gordon Mote
  5. Taranda

Vocalist – Alto

  1. Diana Gillette (Perry Sisters)
  2. Wendy Hayes (Mylon Hayes Family)
  3. Connie Hopper (Hoppers)
  4. Joyce Martin Sanders (Martins)
  5. Lisa Williamson (Williamsons)

Vocalist – Baritone

  1. Dustin Doyle (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)
  2. William Lee Golden (Oak Ridge Boys)
  3. Scott Inman (Triumphant)
  4. Mike LeFevre (LeFevre Quartet)
  5. Daniel Riley (Gold City)

Vocalist – Bass

  1. Pat Barker (Guardians)
  2. Jeff Chapman (Kingdom Heirs)
  3. Paul Harkey (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)
  4. Keith Plott (LeFevre Quartet)
  5. Richard Sterban (Oak Ridge Boys)

Vocalist – Lead

  1. Ricky Carden (Down East Boys)
  2. Joseph Habedank
  3. Weston Hinson (Hinson Family)
  4. Jordan LeFevre (LeFevre Quartet)
  5. Devin McGlamery (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)

Vocalist – Soprano

  1. Melissa Brady (Jim Brady Trio)
  2. Amber Eppinette (11th Hour)
  3. Karen Peck Gooch (Karen Peck & New River)
  4. Allison Durham Speer (New Speer Family)
  5. Taranda

Vocalist – Tenor

  1. Chris Allman (Greater Vision)
  2. Riley Harrison Clark (Tribute Quartet)
  3. Thomas Nalley (Gold City)
  4. Jeremy Peace (LeFevre Quartet)
  5. Doug Pittman (Down East Boys)

So do the nominees represent the best of 2018?  Were there any snubs? The voting rounds will begin Tuesday (11/13/18).

NQC 2018: Friday Night Recap

We’re at that point in the week where you’re wore out from watching the NQC.  Friday night did have some highlights though.

  • Lynda Randle was outstanding.  She decided she would have musicians and even background singers (Nelons) join her on her set.  It brought so much more than just singing to tracks.
  • Joseph Habedank came on several artists later and decided on musicians as well.  Connie Hopper joining him for “Sweet Hour Of Prayer” was one of the best moments of the night.
  • The Erwins channeled a little Pentatonix on their acappella performance of “Give Us This Day”.
  • The Nelons definitely won most stylish of the week.
  • Ernie Haase and Signature Sound closed tonight with another strong set.

  • One of the power half hour groups got around the one song rule by piecing three songs together.  Clever but tacky.

 

**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “Give Us This Day” – Erwins  (2) “Sweet Desert Rose” – Dixie Echoes  (3) “More Than Enough” – Nelons  (4) “I’m Going Through” – McKameys  (5) “One Day At A Time” – Lynda Randle  (6) “Small Town Someone” – Jeff and Sheri Easter  (7) “Walk On” – Isaacs  (8) “Sweet Hour Of Prayer” – Joseph Habedank with Connie Hopper (**Favorite song performance of the evening)  (9) “When He Comes Down” – Hoppers  (10) “Give Me Jesus” – Ernie Haase and Signature Sound

Best Set of the Night:  Lynda Randle

NQC 2018: Tuesday Night Recap

Tuesday night of the 2018 NQC is now in the history books.  Tonight’s highlights are as follows.

  • Joseph Habedank is truly one of the best male voices in Southern Gospel music.  Can’t get enough of the song “Jailbreak”.
  • Speaking of male voices, Jason Crabb proved you can captivate an audience with just a guitar and a voice.  Why can’t other artists see you don’t always need the booming tracks.
  • Enjoyed the all female Hopper trio with Connie, Kim and Karlye on a song that featured Karlye.
  • The spur of the moment Confused Quartet actually turned in a good performance.  Nick Trammell (tenor), Jim Brady (lead), Susan Whisnant (baritone) and Chris Allman (bass).
  • Overall, the power half hour artists tonight were quite good.  Some more than others of course.
  • Congrats on another evening of ending the program ahead of schedule.

  • The number of webcast viewers this year is definitely testing the bandwidth.  There were several times during the live feed that it stopped to reload.

**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “Then Came The Morning” – Nelons  (2) “I’m Winging My Way Back Home” – Confused Quartet  (3) “Wayfaring Stranger” – Jeff and Sheri Easter  (4) “Jailbreak” – Joseph Habedank (**Favorite song performance of the evening)  (5) “Here He Comes” – Joseph Habedank  (6) “Be Brave” – McKameys  (7) “My Ransom” – Hoppers  (8) “I Know He Heard My Prayer” – Greater Vision  (9) “Asking, Seeking, Knocking” – Lore Family  (10) “Because Of The Blood” – Shireys

Best Set of the Night:  Joseph Habedank

NQC 2018: Sunday Night Recap

Here we are, another NQC upon us.  As I have done in years past, I will be providing some insight to each evening’s performances; as I watch the NQC on the TV.  Here is a recap of Sunday night.

  • How great was it to see Jim Brady’s mom join him and Melissa on a song.  A memorable moment to start the 2018 NQC.
  • Speaking of the Jim Brady Trio, Melissa totally owns “The Greatest Of All Miracles”.  Another power house performance of the song this evening.
  • The Myrtle Beach theater performer that sang with the Hoppers tonight did an outstanding job on “He Is Mine And I Am His”.
  • Always good to hear just piano and voices.  Greater Vision did it with (2) songs this evening.
  • The Hoppers also wowed me with a performance of a #1 hit from over 20 years ago; “Anchor To The Power Of The Cross”.
  • The second half of the evening was better than the first half.

  • The obligatory sound issues that usually plague the first night of NQC were there but not as prevalent as in previous years.
  • Speaking of sound issues, the Whisnants entire first set sounded off.
  • At one point during the evening, there was some walkie-talkie interference that could be heard.
  • Surprised the Jim Brady Trio didn’t feature any songs from their new album, at least “Lost”.

 

**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “He Is Mine And I Am His” – Hoppers  (2) “When I See His Face” – Jim Brady Trio  (3) “It’s Almost Over” – Mark Trammell Quartet  (4) “I’ll Trust The Potter’s Hand” – Whisnants  (5) “I Still Can’t Get Over” – Jim Brady Trio (**Favorite song performance of the evening)  (6) “The Greatest Of All Miracles” – Jim Brady Trio  (7) “Anchor To The Power Of The Cross” – Hoppers  (8) “Rolled Back Stone” – Greater Vision  (9) “I Wish I’d Lived” – Greater Vision

Best Set of the Night:  Greater Vision

Honor The First Families Of Gospel Music: Hoppers

GRADE:  B-

  • Album:  Honor The First Families Of Gospel Music
  • Artist:  Hoppers
  • Label:  Gaither Gospel Series
  • Style:  Traditional
  • Release Date:  04/06/18
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  38 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today, we take a look at the tribute album from the Hoppers; Honor The First Families Of Gospel Music.

The award-winning family chose eleven songs from the Gaither catalog.  That tended to keep the Hoppers limited in the songs they could/did record.

The album is traditional Southern Gospel and scaled back musically from what listeners are used to from the hoppers.  There are no over orchestrated, track heavy songs on the recording.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • I want to start by saying the best thing about the album is the scaled back approach the Hoppers took with this recording.  I was happy to not get the over orchestrated tracks listeners have become so accustomed.
  • I also preferred the songs that haven’t been recorded a thousand times before.  The stand out for me was “I’m Longing For Jesus To Come Back”.  The accordion used throughout the song only adds to its charm.
  • The same can also be said of a song remembered from the Chuck Wagon Gang, “Lord Lead Me On”.  A simple arrangement with Connie adding that alto on the chorus makes for a must listen.
  • I also enjoyed that the Hoppers chose to record the Luther G Presley, “I’d Rather Have Jesus” than the George Beverly Shea song of the same name; which has been recorded more times than need be.
  • The album opens with an old song that I can’t recall ever hearing until this recording, “Be An Overcomer”.  The song was also chosen as a radio single from the recording.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “I’m Longing For Jesus To Come Back”, “Some Glad Day”, “Lord Lead Me On”, “I’d Rather Have Jesus”, “Be An Overcomer” and “He Is Mine And I Am His”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Even with the unique Cajun music given to “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now”, I did not want to hear another version of this song.
  • For that matter, we can also add “God Walks The Dark Hills”, “He Looked Beyond My Fault” and “Gentle Shepherd” to that list.
  • You know what would have been more unique; one of the biggest mixed groups in the history of the genre honoring Southern Gospel’s greatest quartets.  It would have been neat hearing them record songs like “Meet Me At The Table” (Kingsmen), “John Saw” (Gold City), “The Flowers Kissed The Shoes” (Oak Ridge Boys) and “The Bridegroom Cometh” (Singing Americans) for example.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now”, “God Walks The Dark Hills” and “He Looked Beyond My Fault”.

WRAP UP:

The Hoppers have nothing to prove.  They have given Southern Gospel listeners nearly 30 years of unparalleled success, with the same vocal line-up.  That is unheard of in Southern Gospel music.

SONG (tempo)/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Be An Overcomer” (Mid/Fast)/Ensemble – Andrew Byers, Charles Naylor  2. “Lord Lead Me On” (Mid)/Ensemble; Connie – Marion Easterling  3. “God Walks The Dark Hills” (Slow)/Kim – Audra Czarnikow  4. “I’m Longing For Jesus To Come Back” (Mid/Fast)/Connie – Traditional  5. “One More River” (Mid/Fast)/Dean; Kim – Bud Chambers  6. “He Is Mine And I Am His” (Slow)/Ensemble; Claude – George T Speer  7. “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now” (Fast)/Claude – Jimmie Davis, Rusty Goodman  8. “I’d Rather Have Jesus” (Slow)/Ensemble; Connie – Luther G Presley  9. “He Looked Beyond My Fault” (Slow)/Ensemble; Kim – Dottie Rambo  10. “Some Glad Day” (Mid/Fast)/Ensemble – Will Ramsey, Clyde Williams  11. “Gentle Shepherd” (Slow)/Ensemble – Gloria Gaither, William Gaither

VOTE: Best Southern Gospel Album Of The 1980’s: Round 2a

Today begins voting in round two of the March madness competition in search of the best Southern Gospel album of the 1980’s.

Each reader is allowed ONE VOTE PER DAY.  Polls will be open through Friday (03/23/18).  Be sure to look for (2) posts today to account for each bracket in round two.

VOTE: Best Southern Gospel Album Of The 1980’s: Bracket 4; Round 1

Today begins voting in round one of the March madness competition in search of the best Southern Gospel album of the 1980’s.

Each reader is allowed ONE VOTE PER DAY.  Polls will be open for one week.  Be sure to look for (4) posts today to account for each bracket in round one.