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)
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Best Of 2017: #5/#6

REASON FOR RANKING:  In any other genre of music, an artist releases some of the best material of the year and the listening audience takes notice.  Sadly, the Southern Gospel listener is not as kind.  Do yourself a favor, give Walk Worthy a listen before the year ends.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “He Saw Me”; (2) “Where My Savior Is”; (3) “Yes He Did, Yes He Does, Yes He Will”; (4) “Lift Up Your Hands When You Can’t”; (5) “Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”.

REASON FOR RANKING:  Mercy’s Well may have released the best album of previously recorded songs in the history of the genre.  One of the best listening experiences of the year.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “At The Name Of Jesus”; (2) “Jesus Knows All About It”; (3) “When We Make It To The Other Side”; (4) “Jesus Saves”; (5) “Seeking For Me”.

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: Breakthrough/DuoTrio/Soloist

Who were the top artists in Southern Gospel music for 2017?  Today, starts the voting for best breakthrough (new), duo/trio and solo artist.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 11/29/17.  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.

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).

Walk Worthy: Master’s Voice

GRADE:  B+

  • Album:  Walk Worthy
  • Artist:  Master’s Voice
  • Label:  Sonlite
  • Style:  Traditional, Progressive
  • Release Date:  07/14/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  44 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Vacation was fun.  It allowed me to relax and listen to Southern Gospel music.  This week we take a look at the new album from Master’s Voice, Walk Worthy.

Master’s Voice is a quartet based in Oklahoma.  Walk Worthy is the second quartet album from the group.  Both have been released by Crossroads on the Sonlite label.

The 2017 edition of Master’s Voice is Ricky Capps (tenor), TJ Evans (lead), Stan Watson (baritone), Jerry Pilgrim (bass) and Theron Perry (pianist).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The album kicks off with one of the strongest songs on the recording, “He Saw Me”.  Lead vocalist TJ Evans interprets the song perfectly.  This song needs to be at radio, pronto!
  • TJ is also featured on the album’s closing number, “Lift Up Your Hands When You Can’t”.  This is a progressive Southern Gospel ballad that left me wanting more.  A must listen!
  • Master’s Voice let listeners know they can sing traditional Southern Gospel quartet music with the best of them.  Jerry Salley and Dianne Wilkinson came together to pen the best traditional song on Walk Worthy; “Yes He Did, Yes He Does, Yes He Will”.  Love this song!
  • Baritone vocalist, Stan Watson is featured on the first radio single, “Where My Savior Is”.  Another great up-tempo number that is deserving of a listen.
  • Bass vocalist Jerry Pilgrim is able to show off on the jazzy style, “Another One Like Him”.
  • Master’s Voice also prove they can perform a classic hymn with simple accompaniment; allowing the vocals to shine.  Listen to “Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”.
  • Mid South Boys was a favorite group of mine as a teen.  I was happy to hear Master’s Voice cover a Mid South song, “Without You I Haven’t Got A Prayer”.  They keep the arrangement country, making for an enjoyable listen.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “He Saw Me”, “Lift Up Your Hands When You Can’t”, “Yes He Did, Yes He Was, Yes He Will”, “Where My Savior Is”, “Another One Like Him”, “Without You I Haven’t Got A Prayer”, “Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary” and “Love Goes A Mighty Long Way”.
CRITIQUE:
  • The only downside is listeners may overlook Walk Worthy because they don’t know Master’s Voice.  Don’t be that person.  Get this album!!
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “More Than Enough” and “One Day Longer”.

WRAP UP:

My summer vacation was wonderful.  I listened to six Southern Gospel albums that will be reviewed over the next several weeks.  Walk Worthy was the best of those albums.  In fact, Walk Worthy is the best Southern Gospel quartet album of 2017 so far.  I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album!!

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “He Saw Me”/Ensemble; TJ – Phil Cross; Tony Jarman  2. “Another One Like Him“/Jerry – Marty Funderburk; Gina Vera  3. “Love Goes A Mighty Long Way“/TJ  – David Edwards, Joseph Habedank, Dianne Wilkinson  4. “One Day Longer”/Ricky – Steve Chapman, Joseph Habedank, Lindsey Williams  5. “Yes He Did, Yes He Does, Yes He Will”/Jerry; Ensemble; Stan – Jerry Salley, Dianne Wilkinson  6. “Without You I Haven’t Got A Prayer”/Stan – Peter Jeffries, Robby McGee, Jeffrey Rath  7. “More Than Enough”/Ricky – Dianne Wilkinson  8. “Sowing The Good Seed“/TJ – Jennifer Berens, Phil Cross  9. “Do What Jesus Did”/TJ – Rachel McCutcheon  10. “Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”/Jerry; TJ; Ricky – John Moore  11. “Where My Savior Is”/Ensemble; Stan – Rachel McCutcheon  12. “Lift Up Your Hands When You Can’t”/TJ – Benji Cowart, Mark Schultz