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VOTE: Recorded Song And Album

INVITATIONToday concludes voting in the 2nd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.  The final two categories are best recorded song and album for 2015.  You get one vote per day and polls will remain open for one week.  Once voting is complete I will have a wrap up post listing all the winners of the 2015 honors.  Thanks for participating.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio version of the nominees.

Recorded Song of the Year (song recorded on a 2015 release, did not have to be a radio single)

  1. “Greater” – Nathan Cochran/David Garcia/Ben Glover/Barry Graul/Bart Millard/Mike Scheuchzer/Robby Shaffer; recorded by the Erwins (Ready To Sail)
  2. “Jesus Loves You” – Sheri Easter/Don Poythress/Kenna Turner West; recorded by Jeff & Sheri Easter (Small Town)
  3. “Pray Now” – Dave Clark/Michael Farren/Karen Peck; recorded by Karen Peck & New River (Pray Now)
  4. “Thank You For Saving Me” – Michael Farren/Greg Sykes; recorded by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (Happy People)
  5. “Tumbling Down” – Michael Farren/Kenna Turner West; recoded by Canton Junction (Every Hallelujah)

Album of the Year (had to be a 2015 release)

  1. A New Look – Kingdom Heirs (Sonlite Records)
  2. Happy People – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (Stow Town Records)
  3. Moments Like These – Bowling Family (Daywind Records)
  4. Pray Now – Karen Peck & New River (Daywind Records)
  5. Ready To Sail – Erwins (Stow Town Records)

VOTE: Artist – Mixed Group And Duo/Trio

INVITATIONToday you get a chance to choose the best mixed group and duo/trio for 2015.  You get one vote per day and polls will remain open for one week.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

Artist – Mixed Group (at least 4 vocalists)

  1. Collingsworth Family
  2. Erwins
  3. Mylon Hayes Family
  4. Nelons
  5. Perrys

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

  1. 11th Hour
  2. Bowling Family
  3. Jeff & Sheri Easter
  4. Greater Vision
  5. Karen Peck & New River

The Fab Five – October 2015

Now that NQC is over, we can get back to regularly scheduled programming.  As I do the start of each month, I present the five most played Southern Gospel radio songs (or should be) in my musical playlists over the preceding month.  The Erwins top the list with a song that should be a single.  Jeff & Sheri Easter has one of the best songs of the year.  Lefevre Quartet, Triumphant Quartet and the Browders finish out the top five.  Enjoy!


*Video Credit (Various Artists – Topic)


*Video Credit (#JeffAndSheriEaster)

LeFevre Quartet

He Left No Stone Unturned

Triumphant Qt

*Video Credit (Various Artists – Topic)


*Video Credit (Various Artists – Topic)

2015 NQC – Thursday Night Recap

Canton Junction (300x300)The night started in the same vein as last night and I thought I was in for another long night.  But, the skies opened and the music performances got progressively better.  Here are Thursday’s hit and misses.

  • After seeing them in concert last week in North Carolina, I was excited to see what Canton Junction was going to stage tonight.  They did not disappoint with four great song choices.  Did I tell you how much I love the song; “Tumbling Down”!
  • How great was it to see former Perrys members join them on stage for “I Wish I Could Have Been There”.  Lets see; there was Loren Harris, Joseph Habedank, Mike Bowling, Nick Trammell and Debra Perry.  I think I got everyone.
  • The Mylon Hayes Family continue to impress.  They continue to rise in the ranks of groups that I want to keep in my musical playlists.  Their set tonight was technically perfect.
  • I have already told you how much I love Jeff & Sheri Easter’s, “Jesus Loves You”.  I can’t get enough this song.  Thank you Sheri for penning what will go down as one of the best songs of 2015!
  • The Taylors continue to bring that classic mixed quartet Southern Gospel sound to the stage.  Their style is reminiscent of the great mixed groups of the 1970’s/1980’s.
  • After the splash they made at last year’s NQC, it was bittersweet to know tonight was the Old Paths last set at NQC, since they are coming off the road in December.
  • I am surprised the NQC didn’t have full afternoon showcases of some of these finale events.  I know they did the Cathedral reunion showcase, but a heritage of gold and even a full Booth Brothers/EHSS showcase would have been nice.  I have enjoyed these finale segments each evening.

  • Thank you NQC for nearly ruining a great musical flow.  Things were really getting good with the sets of the Perrys, Mylon Hayes Family, Canton Junction and Jeff & Sheri Easter back to back, when you decide to bring on another individual to peddle his new book.  It took the wind right out of my musical enjoyment.  Why give this guy nearly ten minutes to hawk a book when he has an entire hour tomorrow to convince everyone to buy it.
  • As I mentioned at the start, I thought tonight was going to be a repeat of last night.  Four of the first five artists on the stage were train wrecks.  I’ll let you figure out which one of the five wasn’t.


**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “Mercy Walked In” – Gordon Mote  (2) “Long Live The King” – Old Paths  (3) “As We Speak” – Greater Vision  (4) “There’s Still A Refuge” – Mylon Hayes Family  (5) “Tumbling Down” – Canton Junction  (6) “Jesus Loves You” – Jeff & Sheri Easter (**Favorite song performance of the evening)  (7) “He’s My Guide” – Taylors

Best Set of the Night:  I’ll have to give the honor this evening to Canton Junction.

2015 NQC – Monday Night Recap

Triumphant (300x300)Night two of the 2015 National Quartet Convention has wrapped.  A nice broad spectrum of artists graced the stage tonight.  Here were the hits and misses.

  • Triumphant Quartet continues to prove why they are fan favorites.  Their set was cohesive from beginning to end and vocally one of the best sounding groups of the night.
  • It is good to see Mylon Hayes training up his children on how to sing properly.  The same lessons he got from his mom and dad, Lucy and Howard Hayes.  It is nice to see the Hayes Family legacy continue in Southern Gospel music.
  • Speaking of being taught to sing properly, how about the Renaissance Quartet.  These young adults schooled many of the established groups on the stage tonight in terms of harmony, diction and singing on key.  Great job!
  • Jeff & Sheri Easter also turned in one of the best sets of the evening.  Singing material from their newest recording Small Town.  “Jesus Loves You” is easily one of the best recorded songs of 2015.
  • But one song that may have that beat is Karen Peck & New River’s “Pray Now”.  It will be hard pressed to find another song that has defined 2015 for Southern Gospel music.  The group showed off newest male vocalist, Ricky Braddy.  While he went a little too far vocally with “Were You There”, he still showed what kind of vocalist he is and will be for the group.
  • It was nice to hear a couple of classic tunes from Gold City including one that I haven’t heard in over 20 years.  They opened with “Gettin’ Ready To Leave”, which was originally recorded by the group on their 1983 recording, I Think I’ll Read It Again.  Will we find this on a future Gold City recording?
  • Classic quartet music was provided by Freedom Quartet who opened with “One Way Flight”.  I have always enjoyed this song.
  • The program was only running ten minutes behind tonight.  Not too bad.

  • I am really not in the business of giving history lessons but Scott Fowler, I am going to have to call you out.  While the founding fathers may have used Judeo-Christian principles, they never intended to establish a national religion that all citizens/government had to follow.  The United States has never been nor is currently a Theocracy.  Please go and read the writings of John Adams, James Madison (author of the Constitution), Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson on what their actual thoughts/views were on religion and the separation of church and state.  Thomas Jefferson was a deist who did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah or the incarnate Son of God.  All of these men were instrumental in providing counsel on both the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.  I guess the truth can be inconvenient when you’re trying to generate revenue.
  • Why does the Convention board feel the need to trounce out Fox News correspondents just about every year.  Again, for revenue’s sake, a man peddling a book about something that is not even happening in America.  These same individuals were touting this falsehood thirty years ago.  Give me just one instance of legitimate Christian persecution in America and I will reconsider my thoughts.
  • Not to raise an issue of sexism, but why does every night of the NQC have father and sons as emcees?  I have zero problems with that but couldn’t they have switched it up and also had mothers and daughters emcee several nights.


**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “The Sweetest Words He Ever Said” – Mylon Hayes Family  (2) “Jesus Loves You” – Jeff & Sheri Easter  (3) “Go Out Singing” – Whisnants  (4) “Love Them To Jesus” – Old Paths  (5) “Pray Now” – Karen Peck & New River (*Best Individual Performance of the Night)  (6) “Gettin’ Ready To Leave” – Gold City  (7) “Jesus Will” – Wilburn & Wilburn  (8) “I’m Standing On The Solid Rock” – Renaissance Quartet  (9) “Because He Loved Me” – Triumphant Quartet

Best Set of the Night:  A very nice close to the evening.  Best set goes to Triumphant Quartet.

Small Town: Jeff & Sheri Easter

Small-Town250GRADE:  B

  • Album – Small Town
  • Artist – Jeff & Sheri Easter
  • Label – Custom
  • Style – Country, Modern Country
  • Release Date – 06/23/15
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes/Spotify)


Jeff and Sheri Easter are approaching 30 years as a group.  During the length of their career they have provided Southern Gospel listeners with a country/bluegrass and now modern country-style that hasn’t wavered.

2015 finds the release of a 30th anniversary album of new music; Small Town.  This is the first album of new music from the group since 2012’s Eyes Wide Open.

The family vocal unit consists of Jeff, Sheri and daughter Morgan.  Sheri has also come into her own as a songwriter, contributing to five songs on Small Town.


  • Sheri has always had a way of conveying a song directly at the listener.  Such is the case with the group’s first single from the recording, “Jesus Loves You”.  Everyone has those days or even extended periods in their life where they need to be reminded someone love’s them for who they are.  The greatest love is that of Jesus.  As the song says, I am also here to remind you that “Jesus Loves You”!
  • Sheri knocks it out of the park on “Hallelujah Coming From The Valley”.  Radio should get used to Sheri’s vocal because I believe every radio single from this album could be Sheri features.
  • Another Sheri feature is the album’s opening track (and another stand out), “Small Town Someone”.  The album and style of the group convey’s that small town America vibe.  “Small Town Someone” conveys the story of the kid with the loaves and fishes and portrays him as a small town boy who was able to give so much to so many even though he didn’t realize what he had would help so many.
  • That small town America vibe continues with the country-style love song, “The Light”.  The first verse conveys the story of young love and that first kiss at the stop light and the song goes on to talk about the light that can save a life.
  • Even though Madison and wife Shannon no longer travel with the group, Madison and Jeff trade verses on the album’s closing track, “My Wave”.  A song conveying the message of getting the most out of this life and getting to the end with no regrets.
  • Jeff’s strongest feature is on the song “This Side Of The Dirt”.  We are given one mortal life on this earth, we need to make the most of what we are given.
  • Morgan’s strongest feature is the song, “Someone’s Listening”.  This song follows the style Morgan gave listeners on her solo album.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Jesus Loves You”, “Hallelujah Coming From The Valley”, “Small Town Someone (Lunch)”, “My Wave”, “More Than Enough”, “This Side Of The Dirt” and “The Light”.
  • I wish the listener would have been given at least one Jeff and Sheri Easter ‘barn burner’.  Every song on Small Town is in the mid to slow tempo range.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “I Love You”.


Jeff and Sheri Easter have given Southern Gospel listeners nearly 30 years of musical consistency.  Small Town continues that trend.  While the recording doesn’t quite match the caliber of their last two recordings (Eyes Wide Open, 2012 and Expecting Good Things, 2009), there are enough strong musical moments (especially from Sheri) to keep listeners happy until the next album release.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Small Town Someone (Lunch)”/Sheri – Jason Cox, Sheri Easter, Kenna Turner West  2. “This Side Of The Dirt“/Jeff – Jason Cox, Sue C Smith, Kenna Turner West  3. “Someone’s Listening”/Morgan – Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington  4. “Jesus Loves You”/Sheri – Sheri Easter, Don Poythress, Kenna Turner West  5. “The Light”/Jeff; Sheri – Jeff Easter, Sheri Easter, Bradley Gaskin  6. “More Than Enough”/Sheri – Jason Cox, Sheri Easter, Kenna Turner West  7. “Like You’re Still Here”/Jeff – Tom Botkins, Jon Henderson, Mo Pitney  8. “When The Harvest Comes”/Morgan – Lee Black, Sheri Easter, Kenna Turner West  9. “I Love You”/Jeff; Sheri – Edd Easter, James Easter, Russell Easter  10. “Hallelujah Coming From The Valley”/Sheri – Steve Chapman, Jeff Pearles  11. “My Wave”/Madison; Jeff – Ben Hayslip, Jimmy Yeary

The Fab Five – February 2015

Kicking off February as I do each month, providing readers the five most played Southern Gospel radio songs in my musical playlists the preceding month.  The Gaither Vocal Band tops the list in February, while the Wisecarvers, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Akins and the Nelons round out the top five.  Enjoy!


*Video Credit (Various Artists – Topic)


*Video Credit (Various Artists – Topic)


*Video Credit (Allen Edwards)


*Video Credit (TheAkinsVideos)


*Video Credit (TheNelonsFan)

The Definitive Southern Gospel Collection – 2007

kingdomheirs2007truetothecallmaxBack to one of my regular features this week; the definitive Southern Gospel collection.  I take a look at a specific year in Southern Gospel music and determine the (20) best albums released in that given year.  I am taking a look at the year 2007.  I started with a list of 75 albums and worked on narrowing it down to the (20) best.

crossway2007beautifulthingmaxThe Booth Brothers started their award show domination in 2007 by winning artist of the year at the Singing News fan awards.  Live In Music City by Legacy Five won album of the year as “I Have Not Forgotten” (Inspirations) won song of the year.  “Give It Away” (Gaither Vocal Band) won both album and recorded song at the Dove Awards in 2007.

The (20) best albums released in 2007 were:

  1. True To The Call – Kingdom Heirs (Sonlite)
  2. A Beautiful Thing – CrossWay (Big Ten House)
  3. Look No Further – Perrys (Daywind)
  4. Journey Of Joy – Karen Peck & New River (Daywind)
  5. You Gotta Love It – Triumphant Quartet (Daywind)
  6. Eyes On The Prize – Freemans (Goldenvine)
  7. Down East Boys - Cross Still StandsFar Down The Road – Greenes (ACA)
  8. Austins Bridge – Austins Bridge (Daywind)
  9. Once Upon A Cross – Mark Trammell Trio (Daywind)
  10. The Cross Still Stands – Down East Boys (Crossroads)
  11. Life Is Great And Gettin’ Better – Jeff & Sheri Easter (Daywind)
  12. Get Away Jordan – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (Gaither Music)
  13. Real Faith – Brian Free & Assurance (Daywind)
  14. Big Sky – Isaacs (Spring House)
  15. Vocalized – Ball Brothers (Permanent)
  16. Know So Salvation – Legacy Five (Daywind)
  17. ballbrothers2007vocalizedmaxCarry On – Booth Brothers (Custom)
  18. Stages – Talley Trio (Horizon)
  19. Come Eat Bread – Hayes Family (Crossroads)
  20. Hope Is Alive – Crystal River (BSA World)

Listen to a musical mash-up from the (20) best Southern Gospel albums of 2007.  Enjoy!


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