The Symphony Killed Southern Gospel Music

Not to rehash the downside to artists using tracks instead of live musicians; I’m gonna go ahead and do it anyway.

I listen to Enlighten on SiriusXM in the car, during my morning and evening commutes to work.  With the lack of music from the 70s/80s/90s on the network, the listener is treated to a lot of the over orchestrated, over produced Southern Gospel sounds of the last 15 years.

Today’s Southern Gospel music is one of the few musical genres that doesn’t translate well from recording to the live concert setting.  For artists to capture the sound from their recording, they would have to tour with an orchestra every performance.

Since they can’t afford that, listeners have to sit through the group sing to tracks, not knowing exactly how many additional vocals are built into the track.  Those additional vocals prop up the singer from being able to pull off the performance of the over produced track.

Even Southern Gospel artists that tour with musicians are wasting their money, because they mix tracks with the instruments and the audience member is left to wonder where one starts and the other ends.

I also don’t get quartets who hire a piano player to sit there most of the program and push a button while they clang on the keys a few times during the performance, to supplement the track.  And even when the piano player is finally given a chance to show off with a solo, they perform along with a track.

For me, the use of tracks has ruined the Southern Gospel music concert experience.

This is the concert experience I grew up with and boy is it sorely missed.

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Best Recorded Songs Of 2017

Now that we’ve wrapped up the annual countdown of Southern Gospel’s best albums, I will now list what I consider to be the 20 best recorded songs in Southern Gospel music for 2017.

What did you consider the top recorded songs of the year?

  1. Here He Comes” – Chris Cohn, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood; recorded by Joseph Habedank (Resurrection)
  2. “It Was Finished On The Cross” – Kristie Braselton, Regi Stone; recorded by Sisters (Simply)
  3. Dying To Be With You” – Nick Akin; recorded by Akins (Eyes On The Road)
  4. I Will Pray” – Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey; recorded by the Perrys (Testament)
  5. Victory Is Mine” – Lee Black, Gerald Crabb, Karen Peck Gooch; recorded by Karen Peck and New River (Hope For All Nations)
  6. “Power In Prayer” – Amber Eppinette, Don Poythress, Donnie Skaggs, Kenna West; recorded by 11th Hour (Silence The Stones)
  7. “He Heals” – Jennifer Layne, Don Poythress; recorded by the Booth Brothers (Between Here And Heaven)
  8. “It Still Takes The Blood” – Gerald Crabb; recorded by the Freemans (Tower Of Song)
  9. “He Saw Me” – Phil Cross, Tony Jarman; recorded by Master’s Voice (Walk Worthy)
  10. “Telling The Story” – Kyla Rowland, Jessica Thomas; recorded by the Kingdom Heirs (The Last Big Thing)
  11. “At The Name Of Jesus” – Pamela Hall; recorded by Mercy’s Well (Questions & Answers)
  12. Thankful, So Thankful” – Lee Black, Scott Inman; recorded by Triumphant (Thankful)
  13. “Long Live The King” – Joseph Habedank, Krissy Nordhoff, Tony Wood; recorded by Joseph Habedank (Resurrection)
  14. “Rolled Back Stone” – Lee Black, Dianne Wilkinson; recorded by Greater Vision (Still)
  15. Chain Breaker” – Mia Fieldes, Jonathan Smith, Zach Williams; recorded by Triumphant (Thankful)
  16. “Don’t Underestimate God’s Grace” – Sandy Knight; recorded by the Kingsmen (They Don’t Know)
  17. “Grace Divine” – Lee Black, Gina Boe; recorded by the Booth Brothers (Between Here And Heaven)
  18. “Never Made A Promise” – Lee Black, Sue C Smith, Kenna West; recorded by the Kingdom Heirs (Something Good)
  19. “God Doesn’t Care” – Chris Allman; recorded by Greater Vision (Still)
  20. Another World” – Jeffrey Bumgardner, Wayne Haun, Lindsay Reith; recorded by Southern Raised (Another World)

Best Of 2017: #15/#16

REASON FOR RANKING:  The Kingsmen went in a different stylistic direction for They Don’t Know, than their previous effort Battle Cry.  That was a smart move because there was no way they were gonna top the caliber of Battle Cry.  The biggest travesty of They Don’t Know is not the stylistic shift but that it didn’t feature living legend, Ray Dean Reese.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “Don’t Underestimate God’s Grace”; (2) “Hear The Word Of The Lord”; (3) “God Calls It Grace”; (4) “They Don’t Know (What The Lord Can Do)”; (5) “I’ll Sail Away Yonder”.

REASON FOR RANKING:  It has been three years since Akins provided new music to listeners.  Eyes On The Road contains one of the best recorded songs of the entire year, “Dying To Be With You”.  The album also has some of the best songwriting to date from group members Nick and Eli Akin.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “Dying To Be With You”; (2) “You’ll Never Break A Promise”; (3) “Eyes On The Road”; (4) “Seek First”; (5) “As For Me And My House”.

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: 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.

AND THE NOMINEES ARE:

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

Songwriter

  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).

The Southern Gospel Notebook: November 1989

Happy Thursday.  I can’t believe its November.  Sorry for my hit and miss postings.  Life is busy, busy, busy at the moment.

I thought I would at least change the music on the sidebar.  How about we go into my Southern Gospel notebook.  As a kid, into my teen years, I wrote down my twenty favorite songs every month.

I started this in July 1982 and continued until December 1994.  Today’s post is a notebook entry from November 1989.  Enjoy!

**Music is on the sidebar as a playlist**