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.
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
I thought I would take a break from the countdown today and officially announce the winners in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors. I picked the nominees, you picked the winners
AND THE BEST OF 2016 IS:
Recorded Song of the Year (song recorded on a 2016 album, did not have to be a radio single)
**”In The Hands Of A Carpenter” – Lee Black, Jerry Salley; recorded by Legacy Five (In The Hands Of A Carpenter)
I consider recorded song of the year the highest honor in this presentation. Lee Black and Jerry Salley are given that honor in 2016 for penning, “In The Hands Of A Carpenter”. And to Legacy Five, for bringing the song to life for listeners.
Single of the Year (had to be on the radio singles chart from January to December 2016)
**”Amazing God” – Lee Black, Janice Crow, Sue C Smith; recorded by the Triumphant Quartet (Living In Harmony)
After already winning song of the year at the 2016 edition of the Singing News fan awards, “Amazing God” grabs another honor, this time for single of the year.
Song Cover of the Year (a previously recorded song covered on a 2016 album release)
**”The Prodigal Son” – Second Half Quartet (Refreshing); Lavon Cantrell
The Cathedrals will forever have an indelible mark on Southern Gospel music. That shows as 2016 found the Second Half Quartet picking up honors for covering a Cathedral classic, “The Prodigal Son”.
One of the biggest margins of victory in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors is Lee Black winning songwriter of the year!!
**Here For You – Tribute Quartet (Daywind Records)
Tribute Quartet walks away with Southern Gospel’s best album of 2016, hands down the best recording of the group’s career thus far.
**What A Moment – 11th Hour
I like to honor the graphic designers/photographers who create album covers and add a little something special to a great recording. Aesthetic’s are important. The win for 11th Hour’s What A Moment, belongs to Kim Brantley (photographer) and Lynn O’Hara (graphic design).
When you combine three power house vocalists like Taranda Greene, Doug Anderson and Jody McBrayer you are left with nothing short of spectacular. Readers chose Cana’s Voice as best new artist of 2016.
Talk about another group having a monster year. 11th Hour picks up their first win as best vocal duo/trio of the year.
This was the closest vote tally among the five contenders than any other category. When the dust settled and voting closed, the Erwins grabbed their first mixed group honor. These youngin’s seem unstoppable at the moment.
**Mark Trammell Quartet
Another clear victory came with Mark Trammell Quartet picking up their first quartet of the year honor. So many first time winners this year!
Vocalist – Alto
Connie Hopper has remained in a league of her own as one of the greatest individuals to ever grace a Southern Gospel stage. When the vote tally ended, Connie beat out Sheri Easter by one vote to win best alto vocalist of 2016.
**Mark Trammell (Mark Trammell Quartet)
Mark Trammell was the clear front-runner from day one of voting. He held that lead and won with 57.7% of the vote total.
**Paul Harkey (Signature Sound)
Paul Harkey picked up his first win as best bass vocalist. I imagine it won’t be his last.
**Wes Hampton (Gaither Vocal Band)
Some readers were surprised I nominated Wes Hampton in the lead vocalist category. What readers weren’t surprised about is voting Wes best lead vocalist of 2016.
**Amber Thompson (Nelons)
This is the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors and this is the third win for Amber Thompson as best soprano vocalist.
**Riley Harrison Clark (Tribute Quartet)
I believe 2016 is the best year yet for the Tribute Quartet. It showed in the way readers voted this year. Riley Harrison Clark grabs his first win as Southern Gospel’s best tenor vocalist.
**Thanks to all the readers who came by during the voting, making for the most participated annual honors yet. I’ve got a smart bunch of readers because I think your choices definitely represent the best of 2016**.
The album, Armor, released in December 2015 and ranks 11th among the best of 2016. Since last year’s countdown had already begun at that point, I included it in album releases for 2016. It happened to be my first album review of the year.
The Wisecarvers offer listeners a nice mix of progressive Southern Gospel and country musical styles. They are also beginning to catch a wider listening audience as their latest radio single will become the group’s first top ten hit on the Southern Gospel radio singles chart.
The (5) Best Songs From The Album: (1) “Just To Save Me”, (2) “At Any Cost”, (3) “Don’t You Think You Ought To Worship Me”, (4) “Somebody Here” and (5) “Shine Me Up Some Armor”.
The song that stood out above the rest on the album to rank 11th among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of the year is the Dave Crawford/Roy Lee Johnson penned, “More Than You’ll Ever Know”.
The quartet is usually known for their big orchestrated power ballads, but “More Than You’ll Ever Know” has a simplistic arrangement with subtle instrumentation that shows listeners that newest tenor vocalist, Blake Buffin, is no joke.
The Mark Trammell Quartet land at #19 on the annual list of Southern Gospel’s best albums with their 2016 release, Full Sail. This was the first quartet album to feature newest members Blake Buffin (tenor) and Randy Byrd (bass).
Listeners have come to expect traditional Southern Gospel quartet music from the group and that is exactly what you will get with Full Sail.
The quartet also work in their obligatory ‘high church’ ballad that has become a staple of the group going back to their trio days.
The (5) Best Songs From The Album: (1) “More Than You’ll Ever Know”, (2) “Already In Canaan Land”, (3) “All The Way Home”, (4) “Go Show John” and (5) “Treasures In Heaven”.
Track #9 from that recording, “Love At First Sight”, is the song ranked 19th among the best recorded songs in Southern Gospel music for 2016.
Just like yesterday’s song (#20), “Love At First Sight” was penned some twenty years ago by John Darin Rowsey.