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

Advertisements

Hope Keeps Writing The Song: Jim Brady Trio

GRADE:  B-

  • Album:  Hope Keeps Writing The Song
  • Artist:  Jim Brady Trio
  • Label:  Daywind
  • Style:  Progressive; Easy Listening
  • Release Date:  09/14/18
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  45 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today, we take a look at the newest album from the Jim Brady Trio; Hope Keeps Writing The Song.

This marks the third recording from the trio and Daywind Records.  The group steps out a bit stylistically on Hope Keeps Writing The Song and offers listeners an easy listening feel that has a ton of ’70’s pop vibes (think Manhattan Transfer).

The Jim Brady Trio is composed of Jim (lead), his wife Melissa (soprano/pianist) and Layke Jones (tenor).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The stand out track on Hope Keeps Writing The Song is the traditional, “I See A Crimson Stream”.  Each vocalist in the trio takes a verse on a song with a simple musical arrangement that allow the vocals to shine.
  • Melissa takes the lead on the Southern Gospel ballad, Follow Me To The Cross.  She also penned this winner.  I can see this song eventually landing at Southern Gospel radio.
  • The slower songs tend to be the strongest on the album.  Another is the Layke Jones feature, “What A Beautiful Name”.  This Hillsong cover has probably already been featured in your church choir’s program.
  • A Jim Brady song, reminiscent of one he wrote for the Booth Brothers (“Stuff Of Life”), deserves a listen; “Little Things”.
  • The power house first single from Hope Keeps Writing The Song is the Rodney Griffin/Tony Wood penned, “Lost”.  Jim takes the lead on this potential top ten hit.
  • The album closes on a reflective note with a song all listeners can relate, “When It Rains”.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “I See A Crimson Stream”, “Lost”, “Follow Me To The Cross”, “What A Beautiful Name”, “When It Rains”, “Little Things” and “I Got Out”.
CRITIQUE:
  • A good chunk of Hope Keeps Writing The Song gets bogged down in this easy listening (’70’s pop) vibe that tends to have one song bleed into the next.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “The Season When God Breaks Through” and “Hope Keeps Writing The Song”.

WRAP UP:

Hope Keeps Writing The Song doesn’t match the caliber of the first two albums the trio provided listeners.  Listeners should still be able to grab at least a half-dozen songs from the recording to add to your playlists.

SONG (tempo)/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Livin’ In The Rhythm Of Grace” (Mid/Slow)/Ensemble – William J Gaither, Larry Gatlin  2. “Hope Keeps Writing The Song” (Mid/Fast)/Jim – Jim Brady, Melissa Brady  3. “The Season When God Breaks Through” (Mid/Fast)/Ensemble – Gloria Gaither, William J Gaither, Dony McGuire, Reba Rambo McGuire  4. “Lost” (Slow)/Jim – Rodney Griffin, Tony Wood  5. “You Gotta Have A Song” (Mid/Fast)/Melissa; Jim – Jim Brady, Melissa Brady  6. “Follow Me To The Cross” (Slow)/Melissa – Melissa Brady  7. “I Got Out” (Fast)/Ensemble – Ron Lewis, Susan Beck Popin  8. “I See A Crimson Stream” (Slow)/Jim; Layke; Melissa – Wayne Haun, Traditional  9. “Little Things” (Mid/Fast)/Jim – Jim Brady  10. “What A Beautiful Name” (Slow)/Layke – Ben Fielding, Brooke Ligertwood  11. “I Know Him Better Now” (Mid)/Jim – Jim Brady  12. “When It Rains” (Slow)/Jim – Jim Brady, Melissa Brady

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

Best Of 2016: #13

jim-brady-trioThe best of 2016 continues today with the album ranked 13th among the best Southern Gospel album releases of 2016.  The Jim Brady Trio followed up their debut effort, A New Chapter, with another comparable recording.

Promises is the second album from Jim Brady Trio on Daywind Records.  This is also the first recording to feature new baritone vocalist Layke Jones.

The group offered listeners a progressive Southern Gospel style with Promises, the 13th best album of 2016.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “Homesick For Heaven”, (2) “Peace In The Shelter”, (3) “God Is With Me”, (4) “I Go To The Rock” and (5) “Calvary”.

tributeThe Tribute Quartet may very well have the best year of their career when 2016 wraps.  They definitely hit it out of the park with their 2016 album release, Here For You.

Tenor vocalist Riley Harrison Clark shined as track #6, “God Of The Storms”, ranks 13th among the best recorded songs in Southern Gospel music for the year.

Two Southern Gospel master composers, Gerald Crabb and Savana Foust, came together to pen this soon to be classic.

VOTE: Best Of 2016: Breakthrough (New)/DuoTrio

3rdannualHappy Wednesday.  Vocalist categories are still open.  Today we start the artist categories.  Who were the top breakthrough artist and best vocal duo/trio of 2016?  You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 11/30/16.  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.

Promises: Jim Brady Trio

jimbradytrio2016promisesGRADE:  B

  • Album – Promises
  • Artist – Jim Brady Trio
  • Label – Daywind Records
  • Style – Progressive
  • Release Date – 10/14/16
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music)

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the latest album from the Jim Brady Trio; Promises.  The album hit retail on October 14th, 2016.

This is the third album from the trio; their second with Daywind Records.  This is also the first album with newest member Layke Jones.

The group continues their progressive Southern Gospel style.  Some moments are reminiscent of classic Bill Gaither Trio.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The album’s stand out track is the group’s current radio single; “Homesick For Heaven”. This progressive Southern Gospel ballad features Jim.  Many can relate in the message conveyed through the song.
  • One of the best up-tempo numbers found on Promises is “God Is With Me”.  Melissa gets a chance to show off on this infectious tune.
  • Jim and Melissa go back and re-record a song they recorded when they performed as the Shulers in the late 1990’s.  “Peace In The Shelter” is a soothing mid-tempo song that would make a strong radio single possibility.
  • Jim, Melissa and newest member Layke Jones give listeners a rousing rendition of Squire Parsons classic, “I Go To The Rock”.  Their arrangement is similar to what the Hoppers provided on their 1994 album; Never Thirst Again.
  • The album is filled with song covers.  The trio go back and pick up a Talleys tune; “Wherever I Am”.  It was good hearing this song again.
  • Melissa has a big Southern Gospel power ballad with the Dianne Wilkinson penned, “Calvary”.  This song should translate well to the live concert stage.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Homesick For Heaven”, “God Is With Me”, “Peace In The Shelter”, “I Go To The Rock”, “Wherever I Am”, “Calvary” and “Farewell But Not Forever”.
CRITIQUE:
  • I know it was his first recording, but I would have liked to hear Layke Jones have a couple more features.  He adds some great harmony moments on Promises.
  • The one feature Layke does get is the Jim Hill classic, “What A Day That Will Be”.  Love the song, but there are too many versions of the song floating around.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “What A Day That Will Be” and “A Wonderful Life”.

WRAP UP:

The Jim Brady Trio have already catapulted themselves to the top of the Southern Gospel echelon.  Jim’s name recognition as a member of the Booth Brothers did bring instant success but it will be continued quality music, like found on Promises, that will keep listeners coming back.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “A Wonderful Life”/Ensemble; Jim – Jim Brady, Melissa Brady  2. “God Is With Me“/Ensemble; Melissa – Jim Brady  3. “Homesick For Heaven“/Jim – Kelly Willard  4. “I Go To The Rock”/Layke; Jim – Squire Parsons  5. “Calvary”/Melissa – Dianne Wilkinson  6. “Tell Me”/Ensemble – Bill Gaither, Gloria Gaither  7. “What A Day That Will Be”/Ensemble; Layke – Jim Hill  8. “Wherever I Am“/Ensemble – Steve Richardson  9. “Peace In The Shelter”/Jim – Jim Brady  10. “Farewell But Not Forever”/Jim – Jim Brady

NQC 2016: Sunday Night Recap

hoppersThe 2016 National Quartet Convention is under way for its third year in Pigeon Forge Tennessee.  Tonight’s opening program included Greater Vision, Hoppers, Jim Brady Trio, Legacy Five and Mark Trammell Quartet.  Each artist got two sets on the program.  Here was the hits and misses of the evening.

  • There were a couple of occasions where the word harmony was used to describe why folks had gathered.  I don’t understand why it has taken Southern Gospel music so long to market itself as harmony driven music.  That is what separates it from most forms of Christian music.
  • Three of the artists were showcasing new music as each have a new album out.  I really enjoyed the new songs from the Hoppers.  Can’t wait to hear the entire album (Life Is Good).
  • Randy Byrd, bass for Mark Trammell Quartet, added some unintended comic relief when he forgot the verse to a new song.  It surely made the song memorable.
  • Didn’t realize Trey Ivey was a vocalist.  He provided Legacy Five’s best moment of the evening on the song, “Hands Of A Carpenter”.
  • Have to give the production team kudos.  Sound and camera work were both strong considering it was the first night. Goods signs for the week ahead.

  • Are there really that many new folks attend every year that artists have to use the same stale jokes told a hundred times before?
  • I thought it odd that Legacy Five would leave the stage while the track (voices and all) for “He Made A Change” was still playing over the speaker system.

 

**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “If We Ever Gotta Look” – Hoppers  (2) “I Wish I’d Done More” – Hoppers (**Favorite song performance of the evening)  (3) “Hands Of A Carpenter” – Legacy Five  (4) “All The Way Home” – Mark Trammell Quartet  (5) “When He Saved Me” – Jim Brady Trio  (6) “Jesus, The One” – Hoppers  (7) “Standing On Holy Ground” – Second Half Quartet

Best Set of the Night:  The Hoppers