Be Brave: McKameys

GRADE:  B-

  • Album:  Be Brave
  • Artist:  McKameys
  • Label:  Horizon
  • Style:  Traditional, Appalachian
  • Release Date:  06/09/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  29 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

This week we take a look at the new album from the McKameys, Be Brave.  The album hit retail on Friday June 9th, 2017.

One thing McKamey fans can be sure of is an annual new recording from the group.  Be Brave marks the 53rd album in the group’s career discography.  That is impressive.

At this point in their career, the McKameys is not going to cover any new musical ground.  McKamey fans can expect the same traditional, Appalachian musical style the group has been providing since the start.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Sheryl shines on Be Brave.  Not only with her rich alto vocal but also with the songwriting she provided the recording.
  • The stand out track is a song Sheryl wrote and is featured; “Living For Eternity”.  A nice mid-tempo number that should be considered for radio single.
  • Sheryl backs that up with a nice ballad feature, the album’s title track; “Be Brave”.
  • The McKameys give listener’s a convention style song to open the album, “So Good To Me”.  This would make for a great concert opener in the live setting.
  • The album closes on a strong note with the Connie feature, “Since When”.
  • The album’s first single is a Roger Fortner feature, “For The Record”.  He has been a go to recently as far as radio singles are concerned.
  • With a running time of 29 minutes, you can listen to Be Brave twice in the time it takes to listen to most Southern Gospel albums once.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Living For Eternity”, “Be Brave”, “So Good To Me”, “Since When”, “For The Record” and “Jesus Passed By”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Of all songs to cover, why “Come Forth As Gold”? This song was first recorded on Sheltered (1995).
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Come Forth As Gold” and “One Thing I Know”.

WRAP UP:

The McKameys remain consistent to their style, heritage and their loyal fan base.  No need to ever paint outside that box.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “So Good To Me”/Ensemble – Tracy Jones  2. “Living For Eternity“/Sheryl – Sheryl Farris  3. “Come Forth As Gold“/Peg  – Sandy Blythe  4. “It’s Mine”/Ruben; Connie – Rebecca Peck; Dianne Wilkinson  5. “Be Brave”/Sheryl – Sheryl Farris  6. “On And On”/Connie – Sheryl Farris  7. “For The Record”/Roger – Sheryl Farris  8. “One Thing I Know“/Peg – Sheryl Farris  9. “Jesus Passed By”/Sheryl – Sheryl Farris  10. “Since When”/Connie – Kristi Fitzwater, Tim Parton

Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  We are less than a week away from starting September 2016.  September has been an interesting month when it comes to single month #1 songs.  This modern era of chart history has a new #1 song every month.  That wasn’t the case decades ago when some songs would spend many consecutive months at #1.  Here are all the single month #1 songs that happened during the month of September.

  • September 1973 – “He Pilots My Ship” (Happy Goodmans)
  • September 1980 – “Better Hurry Up” (Happy Goodmans)
  • September 1982 – “Antioch Church Choir” (Dixie Melody Boys)
  • September 1984 – “Who Put The Tears” (McKameys)
  • September 1992 – “I’m Glad I Know Who Jesus Is” (Nelons)
  • September 2001 – “That’s Why I Love To Call His Name” (Kingdom Heirs)

Something Worth Saving: McKameys

mckameysGRADE:  B-

  • Album – Something Worth Saving
  • Artist – McKameys
  • Label – Horizon Records
  • Style – Traditional, Appalachian
  • Release Date – 06/10/16
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music)

SYNOPSIS:

The McKameys have become a steadfast institution in Southern Gospel music.  Their Appalachian style and presentation has endeared Southern Gospel audiences now for over 50 years.

The group makes it an effort to get a new album out to McKamey fans every year.  2016 finds their newest effort, Something Worth Saving.

That steadfast style/presentation has not changed during the group’s career and listeners will get exactly that on Something Worth Saving.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Connie picks up where she left off on the group’s last effort, What If by providing listeners the best moments on Something Worth Saving.
  • That starts with the Leigh Parsons Sexton tune, “Bring You Glory”.  The musical accompaniment (opening piano score) is different from the majority of McKamey songs.  Connie conveys the song perfectly.
  • She is also featured on the Rebecca Peck/Dianne Wilkinson collab; “Days Gone By”.  This is traditional Southern Gospel at its best.  This would make a strong choice for Southern Gospel radio.
  • The first single from the recording features Sheryl, who also penned, “That’s Why There’s A Cross”.  The message of the cross and the blood will never get old with Southern Gospel listening audiences.  This song, another reminder of His ultimate sacrifice.
  • Peg takes the lead on the up-tempo, “I’ve Been In The Book”.  This toe tapper can also be credited to Peck/Wilkinson.  These two have been working together a lot lately to craft some stellar songs for Southern Gospel artists.
  • Roger Fortner has found a home on McKamey albums recently.  His contribution to Something Worth Saving is the Rodney Birch penned, “A Few Things”.  This acoustical bluegrass flavored tune is worth a listen.
  • I also enjoyed the album’s closing number, “Come To My Rescue”.  A Southern Gospel song of praise
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Bring You Glory”, “That’s Why There’s A Cross”, “Days Gone By”, “Come To My Rescue”, “I’ve Been In The Book” and “A Few Things”.
CRITIQUE:
  • If you weren’t a fan of the McKameys music prior to Something Worth Saving, this album is not going to change that.
  • I could have used at least two more up-tempo numbers to offset all of the slower to mid-tempo songs.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Back To Bethel” and “I Believe”.

WRAP UP:

The McKameys long and storied recording career continues with Something Worth Saving.  The McKameys are at a point in their career where they provide their fan base exactly what they’ve come to expect.  If the group happens to pick up some new listeners as a result, then they are all the better for it.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Christ Is Able”/Ensemble; Sheryl – Mike Harland, Tommy Walker  2. “I’ve Been In The Book“/Peg – Rebecca Peck, Dianne Wilkinson  3. “Bring You Glory”/Connie – Leigh Parsons Sexton  4. “I Believe”/Eli – Sheryl Farris  5. “That’s Why There’s A Cross”/Sheryl – Sheryl Farris  6. “A Few Things”/Roger – Rodney Birch  7. “Back To Bethel”/Peg – Larry Whitehead  8. “Days Gone By“/Connie – Rebecca Peck, Dianne Wilkinson  9. “Something Worth Saving”/Ruben – Larry Whitehead  10. “Come To My Rescue”/Sheryl – Sheryl Farris

*Video Credit (The McKameys – Topic)

Top Ten Back Then

bttf4 (250x250)This week in our top ten back then selection, let’s go back 30 years to October 1985.  To all you Back To The Future buffs, this is the date Marty McFly would take Doc’s time machine back to 1955 and then by part 2 of the movie, ahead to October 2015.  October 21st, 2015 to be exact.

While Marty McFly was time traveling, the McKameys were spending time in the Singing News’ radio chart.  The song at #5 on the Singing News top 40 in October 1985 was a Lois Tatum penned song; “Bring Me Out Of The Desert”.

back-to-the-future-part-ii-4fec2a36e4a48 (250x250)Found on the group’s Fruitful (1984) album, the McKameys were beginning their long streak of hit songs which started after their first #1 hit in 1984 with “Who Put The Tears In The Eyes Of The Lamb”.

Here is a YouTube audio clip of the song landing at #5 in October 1985; the McKameys, “Bring Me Out Of The Desert”.

*Video Credit (Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row)

The #1’s – “Getting Used To The Dark”

mckameys1987morethanmusicmaxTo all of you who have contacted me over the last week, in another absence; Thank You!  You don’t realize how those small words of encouragement brighten my day.  The new round of meds have been a bit trying so I was back at the doctor yesterday to re-work the cocktail to see what works better.  For anyone who lives with bi-polar disorder, you know what I am talking about.  It may take various attempts before the right cocktail of meds is found for you.

Anyway, as to not bore you with anymore medical talk, let’s get back to some blogging.  I just want to let everyone know that the next couple of week may be a bit hit or miss in the amount that I blog, but I will try to get at least a couple of posts a week up.

Today, I want to get back to a series that looks at the #1 songs in the history of Southern Gospel music (as based on the Singing News charts).  The McKameys currently hold the record for having the most #1 songs of any Southern Gospel artist in chart history.  The group’s second #1 hit came in October 1987 with the song; “Getting Used To The Dark”.  The song ended up spending a total of three-month a top the chart.

The song was penned by Sheryl Farris.  Here is a YouTube clip of the McKameys #1 hit, “Getting Used To The Dark”.  Enjoy!

*Video Credit (Jimmy Stidham)

What If: McKameys

mckameys2015whatifmaxGRADE:  B-

  • Album – What If
  • Artist – McKameys
  • Label – Horizon Records
  • Style – Traditional, Appalachian
  • Release Date – 06/16/15
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (iTunes)

SYNOPSIS:

The McKameys are one of the few groups in Southern Gospel music who attempt to still get one new album out per year.  2015 finds the release of What If.

Considering this follows up their 2014 album, 50; What If is now the 51st album released in the group’s career.  The McKameys have built a loyal fan base over the course of their career with their traditional Appalachian mountain style.

The group’s last several albums have built a formula of one feature each from Eli, Roger and Ruben; two features from Connie and Peg and three from Sheryl.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Connie’s two features are the strongest on the recording.  Sandy Blythe’s, “Your Prayers Have Been Heard” stands as the strongest from What If.  Maybe the record label is saving it for a later release, but this should have been the stand out choice for radio single from the album.
  • Connie’s vocal tone on both features is a bit lower than previous albums and it really suits her.  The second stand out is “While I Wait”.
  • Sheryl turns in two strong performances on the albums best up-tempo songs.  The album opener, “I’m Gonna Give It Away” sets the tone for the rest of the album.  Using the ‘it is better to give than to receive’ concept, makes for an enjoyable listen.
  • The other up-tempo must listen is the convention style, “I’ll Give You Grace”.
  • Eli and Roger’s features on What If both have a bluegrass style.  Roger’s is the strongest of the two and considering the label’s track record, “Work In The Field” may find a home at radio.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Your Prayers Have Been Heard”, “While I Wait”, “I’m Gonna Give It Away”, “I’ll Give You Grace”, “Work In The Field” and “What If”.
CRITIQUE:
  • I was surprised “I Have A Home” was chosen as the first single.  Considering the other stand out songs on What If, I didn’t feel this song quite measured up.
  • What If has some good moments, but doesn’t quite stack up to the group’s last effort; 50.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Lift My Voice” and “I Have A Home”.

WRAP UP:

The McKameys contribution to Southern Gospel music is cemented.  A long career that has now given the group 51 recordings.  And, they have done that by providing listeners a style that they have not strayed from.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “I’m Gonna Give It Away”/Ensemble; Sheryl – Sheryl Farris  2. “Your Prayers Have Been Heard“/Connie – Sandy Blythe  3. “There Is A Peace”/Peg – Adina Bowman  4. “Where He Is”/Eli – Steve E Hamby  5. “While I Wait”/Ensemble; Connie – Sheryl Farris  6. “I’ll Give You Grace”/Sheryl – Richard Blythe  7. “Lift My Voice”/Ruben – Robert Deel  8. “I Have A Home”/Peg – Sheryl Farris  9. “What If”/Sheryl – Sheryl Farris  10. “Work In The Field”/Roger – Linda Nixon

Enter To Win: Friday Fun Giveaway

mckameys1991justthinkingmaxHappy Friday!  It has been several weeks since I went into the prize bag and gave away free music.  Any McKameys fans looking to fill in their collection?

This week, I have the McKameys 1991 MorningStar Records CD; Just Thinking.

Song list on Just Thinking:  (1) “The Rising Of The Son”  (2) “Barren Busyness”  (3) “He Does All Things Well”  (4) “Just Thinking”  (5) “In The Shelter Of His Blood”  (6) “There’s Got To Be A Rainbow Somewhere”  (7) “More Like Thee”  (8) “Giver Of My All”  (9) “I Just Can’t Praise Him Enough”  (10) “My Jesus Is Real”.

The McKameys are credited with having the most #1 songs in Singing News chart history.  To win this week’s CD, you have to be the first person to correctly guess which songs in the musical montage was a #1 hit for the group.  Listen to this musical montage of ten McKameys songs.  The first person to email me (swea215@yahoo.com) by correctly identifying which of the ten were #1 hits will win.  Good luck!

***CONTEST NOW OVER***

Congratulations to Brad for being the first to correctly guess the #1 songs from the McKameys musical montage.  I also ask that all participants email me their responses as to not ruin the contest for others.  Here are the answers.

  1. “Arise” – YES
  2. “Who Put The Tears In The Eyes Of The Lamb” – YES
  3. “The Bride Coming In” – NO
  4. “Roll That Burden On Me” – YES
  5. “I Am Home” – YES
  6. “God On The Mountain” – YES
  7. “Do You Know How It Feels” – YES
  8. “I’m Going Through Jesus” – NO
  9. “Getting Used To The Dark” – YES
  10. “Right On Time” – YES