VOTE: Best Of 2017: Recorded Song/Album

I want to thank everyone who participated in voting for the best of 2017, in the 4th annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.

It is time to wrap up the voting by presenting the last two categories; Recorded Song and Album of the year.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 12/11/17.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.


VOTE: Best Of 2017: Mixed Group/Quartet/Album Cover Design

Today, starts the voting for best mixed group, quartet and album cover design.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 12/05/17.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

VOTE: Best Of 2017: Single/Song Cover/Songwriter

What were the top songs in Southern Gospel music for 2017?  Today, starts the voting for best single, song cover and songwriter.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 12/01/17.  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.

And The Nominees Are…

It is time to announce the nominees for the 4th Annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row Honors.  I went through all the Southern Gospel album’s released in 2017 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.


Recorded Song of the Year (song recorded on a 2017 album, did not have to be a radio single)

  1. “Dying To Be With You” – Nick Akin; recorded by Akins (Eyes On The Road)
  2. “Here He Comes” – Chris Cron, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood; recorded by Joseph Habedank (Resurrection)
  3. “I Will Pray” – Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey; recorded by the Perrys (Testament)
  4. “Telling The Story” – Kyla Rowland, Jessica Thomas; recorded by the Kingdom Heirs (The Last Big Thing)
  5. “Victory Is Mine” – Lee Black, Gerald Crabb, Karen Peck Gooch; recorded by Karen Peck & New River (Hope For All Nations)

Single of the Year (had to be on the radio singles chart from January to December 2017)

  1. “Chain Breaker” – Mia Fieldes, Jonathan Smith, Zach Williams; recorded by Triumphant (Thankful)
  2. “Don’t You Think You Ought To Worship Me” – Dustin Wisecarver; recorded by the Wisecarvers (Armor)
  3. “It Still Takes The Blood” – Gerald Crabb; recorded by the Freemans (Tower Of Song)
  4. “Never Made A Promise” – Lee Black, Sue C Smith, Kenna West; recorded by the Kingdom Heirs (Something Good)
  5. “They Don’t Know (What The Lord Can Do)” – Jason Cox, Kenna West, Tony Wood; recorded by the Kingsmen (They Don’t Know)

Song Cover of the Year (a previously recorded song covered on a 2017 album release)

  1. “The Answer’s On The Way” – Goodman Revival (Still Happy); Rusty Goodman
  2. “At The Name Of Jesus” – Mercy’s Well (Questions & Answers); Pamela Hall
  3. “He Heals” – Booth Brothers (Between Here And Heaven); Jennifer Layne, Don Poythress
  4. “It Was Finished On The Cross” – Sisters (Simply); Kristie Braselton, Regi Stone
  5. “My Hope Is In The Blood” – Perrys (Testament); Reagan Riddle


  1. Lee Black
  2. Jason Cox
  3. Joseph Habedank
  4. Sue C Smith
  5. Kenna Turner West

Album of the Year (had to be a 2017 release)

  1. Hope For All Nations – Karen Peck & New River (Daywind)
  2. Resurrection – Joseph Habedank (Daywind)
  3. Simply – Sisters (Custom)
  4. Testament – Perrys (Stow Town)
  5. Walk Worthy – Master’s Voice (Sonlite)

Album Cover Design (best album artwork/cover design from a 2017 release)

  1. Beyond Amazed – Brian Free & Assurance
  2. Resurrection – Joseph Habedank
  3. Seasons: A Collection Of The Best – Mark Bishop
  4. They Don’t Know – Kingsmen
  5. Walk Worthy – Master’s Voice

Artist – Breakthrough (New)

  1. Bowling Sisters
  2. Master’s Voice
  3. Sneed Family
  4. Wilbanks
  5. Wisecarvers

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

  1. 11th Hour
  2. Booth Brothers
  3. Greater Vision
  4. Sisters
  5. Whisnants

Artist – Mixed Group (at least 4 vocalists)

  1. Erwins
  2. Mylon Hayes Family
  3. Nelons
  4. Karen Peck & New River
  5. Perrys

Artist – Quartet

  1. Gaither Vocal Band
  2. Kingdom Heirs
  3. Mark Trammell Quartet
  4. Tribute Quartet
  5. Triumphant

Artist – Soloist

  1. Doug Anderson
  2. Jason Crabb
  3. Michael English
  4. Misty Freeman
  5. Joseph Habedank

Vocalist – Alto

  1. Wendy Hayes (Mylon Hayes Family)
  2. Kim Sheffield (Sisters)
  3. Libbi Stuffle (Perrys)
  4. Tanya Goodman Sykes (Goodman Revival)
  5. Susan Whisnant (Whisnants)

Vocalist – Baritone

  1. Randy Crawford (Kingsmen)
  2. Jon Epley (Greater Vision)
  3. Loren Harris (Kingdom Heirs)
  4. Scott Inman (Triumphant)
  5. Mark Trammell (Mark Trammell Quartet)

Vocalist – Bass

  1. Pat Barker (Second-Half Quartet)
  2. Eric Bennett (Triumphant)
  3. Randy Byrd (Mark Trammell Quartet)
  4. Jeff Chapman (Kingdom Heirs)
  5. Keith Plott (LeFevre Quartet)

Vocalist – Lead

  1. Ronnie Booth (Booth Brothers)
  2. Keith Erwin (Erwins)
  3. Clayton Inman (Triumphant)
  4. Arthur Rice (Kingdom Heirs)
  5. Bill Shivers (Brian Free & Assurance)

Vocalist – Soprano

  1. Amber Eppinette (11th Hour)
  2. Karen Peck Gooch (Karen Peck & New River)
  3. Kennedy Hayes (Mylon Hayes Family)
  4. Amber Thompson (Nelons)
  5. Kaila Wisecarver (Wisecarvers)

Vocalist – Tenor

  1. Chris Allman (Greater Vision)
  2. Ricky Capps (Master’s Voice)
  3. Riley Harrison Clark (Tribute Quartet)
  4. Wes Hampton (Gaither Vocal Band)
  5. Steve Ladd (Old Paths)

So do the nominees represent the best of 2017?  Were there any snubs? The voting rounds will begin Tuesday (11/14/17).

NQC 2017: Saturday Night Recap

The 2017 edition of the National Quartet Convention has wrapped.  The final night brought some good memories.  Here are the hits and misses.

  • The reunion segments were all noteworthy this evening.  Great to see both Tim Riley and Jay Parrack during the Gold City reunion.
  • The Perrys line-up of 30 years ago started their reunion segment.  I remember seeing the group for the first time during this era.
  • The Nelons segment honoring Rex Nelon was also strong.  Going through many of the group’s early signature songs was awesome!
  • Outside the reunion segments, the Isaacs had a strong set.  Everything from the Hebrew song to the rousing “He Ain’t Never Done Me Nothing But Good”.
  • The Kingdom Heirs proved at the end of the night that you don’t need tracks.  It would be nice to hear more of that in Southern Gospel music.

  • Since it was the end of the week, listeners were treated to a bunch of recycled songs that had already been performed during the week.
  • I don’t know if anyone else did, but there were webcast issues all evening.  it would freeze, then crash and freeze again and I guarantee you it wasn’t my internet connection.
  • You think they would have chosen a closing song that all the artists on stage, knew.


**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “I’d Rather Have Jesus” – Blackwood Brothers  (2) “I’m Not Giving Up” – Gold City  (3) “When The Prodigal Comes Home” – Tribute Quartet  (4) “We Shall Reign” – Perrys  (5) “Never No Never” – Joseph Habedank  (6) “He Is Mine And I Am His” – Hoppers  (7) “I Have A Father Who Can” – Isaacs  (8) “I Love You More” – Isaacs  (9) “Come Morning” – Nelons  (10) “Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down” – Nelons  (11) “Give Me Jesus” – Ernie Haase and Signature Sound  (12) “I Know He Heard My Prayer” – Kingdom Heirs (*Best Individual Performance of the Night)  (13) “Jesus The One” – Hoppers

Best Set of the Night:  The Isaacs

The Last Big Thing: Kingdom Heirs


  • Album:  The Last Big Thing
  • Artist:  Kingdom Heirs
  • Label:  Sonlite
  • Style:  Traditional, Country
  • Release Date:  09/29/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  40 Minutes


This week we take a look at the new album from the Kingdom Heirs, The Last Big Thing.

The Kingdom Heirs have been busy in 2017.  The Last Big Thing will mark the third album from the quartet this year.  Carolina Live was released in January while Something Good was provided to listeners in February.

The Kingdom Heirs/Dianne Wilkinson combo continues on The Last Big Thing as she contributed to six of the eleven new songs on the recording.


  • The biggest move for the Kingdom Heirs was adding Loren Harris as baritone vocalist.  His seasoned, powerful baritone vocal adds so much to the group’s sound.
  • Loren proves that by getting the feature on the album’s stand out track, “Telling The Story”.  This mid-tempo, Kyla Rowland, song has an Appalachian feel that would fit right at home on a McKameys album.  Great song!
  • The Last Big Thing, while traditional Southern Gospel quartet music, also has some country flavored songs that provide variety for the listener.  The best of this style is the Jerry Martin feature, “Just Another Mile”.  Thank you Dianne Wilkinson for this song!  It is a throw back to the sounds of ’70s Southern Gospel.  The song is also credited as Dianne’s 1,000th song!!
  • Each vocal member of the group is allowed the spotlight.  Jeff is given three features on The Last Big Thing.  The best is the catchy, up-tempo, “Victory”.  This song needs to go to radio.
  • Arthur’s stand out performance is one you would expect to hear from him on a Kingdom Heirs album; a traditional Southern Gospel ballad.  “Heaven Was Counting To Three” is one you will definitely want to give a listen.
  • Arthur also gets the feature on the traditional Kingdom Heirs up-tempo song, the album’s opening track; “Plenty Of Singing”.
  • The album’s closing song, which is also an Arthur feature, has an opening musical score that you would expect to hear on a classic Christmas standard.  “I’ll Trust You With Tomorrow” is a nice mellow close to the album.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Telling The Story”, “Just Another Mile”, “Victory”, “Heaven Was Counting To Three”, “Plenty Of Singing”, “I’ll Trust You With Tomorrow” and “The Last Big Thing”.
  • There has not been one Southern Gospel album release this year that has absolutely blown me away.  An album starts with some really great material and then hits a road bump with several mediocre songs.
  • There are a couple of up-tempo ditties in the middle of the album that doesn’t stand up to the rest of the album.
  • I’m not too keen on the album art.  As far as Southern Gospel music is concerned, I always prefer album art that has the group pictured on the cover.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “I Wanna Do More” and “Heroes Of Faith”.


The Kingdom Heirs have been giving Southern Gospel listeners traditional Southern Gospel quartet music now for over thirty years.  While The Last Big Thing is not as strong as the group’s previous effort, A New Look; it is the best quartet album of 2017, thus far.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Plenty Of Singing”/Ensemble; Arthur – Dianne Wilkinson, Daryl Williams  2. “Victory“/Jeff – Rebecca J Peck, Dianne Wilkinson  3. “Telling The Story“/Ensemble; Loren  – Kyla Rowland, Jessica Thomas  4. “The Last Big Thing”/Arthur – Rebecca J Peck, Dianne Wilkinson  5. “Heroes Of Faith”/Jerry – Gerald Crabb  6. “I Wanna Do More”/Jeff – Dennis Murphy  7. “Heaven Was Counting To Three”/Arthur – Jim Brady, Rodney Griffin  8. “Heaven Just Got Sweeter For You”/Jeff – Jerry Salley, Dianne Wilkinson  9. “Just Another Mile”/Jerry – Dianne Wilkinson  10. “Live It Up”/Ensemble; Loren – Jerry Salley, Aaron Wilburn  11. “I’ll Trust You With Tomorrow”/Arthur – Dianne Wilkinson