Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017

2017Everything that needs to be said of Southern Gospel music in 2016 is said.  Lets take one last look at the year that was and look ahead to 2017.

Some Stats:

NelonsTop Five Read Posts of 2016

  1. In Honor:  Steve French
  2. VOTING: Greatest Songwriter: Championship Round
  3. Is It Time For Acceptance In Southern Gospel Music?
  4. Stronger Together:  Nelons
  5. NQC 2016:  Thursday Night Recap

**The greatest songwriter search/series was the biggest blog feature of 2016.  In the end, Dottie Rambo claimed the title.  Album reviews and NQC recaps continued to be some of the most read features.

vocalevent2015whispers150Ten Most Played Southern Gospel Songs of 2016

  1. “I Have Decided” – Jay Parrack & Vocal Event
  2. “One Way, One Name, One Door” – Down East Boys
  3. “Small Town Someone (Lunch)” – Jeff & Sheri Easter
  4. “I Know” – Kingsmen
  5. “Jesus, The One” – Hoppers
  6. “Reassure Me” – Dunaways
  7. “He Won’t Leave You There” – Jason Crabb
  8. “Just To Save Me” – Wisecarvers
  9. “Just Can’t Make It By Myself” – Nelons
  10. “Jesus Never Fails” – Cana’s Voice

**I present the fab five feature at the start of every month to let you know the most played Southern Gospel radio songs in my musical playlists.  I get asked on occasion what I am currently listening to and this allows me to let the readers know.  These were the ten most played songs of the entire year.

rambos1972 (199x200)In Honor of those who passed in 2016

  1. Norman Almand (Artist-Rebels Quartet)
  2. Earl Brewer (Artist-Harvesters Quartet)
  3. Miles Cooper (Artist-Pine Ridge Boys)
  4. Ralph Dean (Concert Promoter)
  5. Boyce Flener (Artist-Crossmen Quartet)
  6. Steve French (Artist-Kingdom Heirs)
  7. Joe Moscheo (Artist-Imperials/Prophets Quartet)
  8. Buck Rambo (Artist-Rambos)
  9. Tina Sadler-Stark (Songwriter)
  10. Gail Shelby (Artist-Eternal Vision)
  11. Ira Smith (Artist-Dixie Echoes)
  12. Scott Spangler (Artist-Naomi & Segos)
  13. Jerry Lee Starnes (Artist-Truthseekers Quartet)
  14. D. John Stolzfus (Concert Promoter)
  15. Carl Whitman (Artist-Trav’lers Quartet)

Looking ahead to features you will find in 2017

  • 4th Annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row Honors
  • Album Reviews
  • Annual Countdown of Southern Gospel’s Best Albums/Recorded Songs
  • Commentary Series: The Evangelical church and Southern Gospel’s future
  • Most Overrated Southern Gospel Artist Series
  • Musical Playlists:  Track of the Week
  • Southern Gospel Tidbits Feature
  • And Much, Much More….

**I want to thank everyone who stopped by the blog in 2016.  This year had to most views/site visitors of any year I have been doing the blog.  I will continue as long as you continue to stop by.

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Best Of 2016: #5

nelonsWe have made it to the best of the best; the top 5 albums and recorded songs of 2016.  After listening/reviewing 42 albums and hearing 464 songs found on those 42 albums; these top the list.

The Nelons defied logic when they decided to release two new albums in the same year, at the same time.  It may have paid off because both albums were among the top ten albums released in 2016.

Ranked 5th among the best albums of the year is Stronger Together.  The song selection was a bit stronger than the album ranked 9th (Family Harmony).

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “Family Chain”, (2) “Angels Hover Near You”, (3) “My Father’s House”, (4) “You Can’t Make Old Friends” and (5) “I Think I’ll Read It Again”.

hoppersAfter a four-year hiatus, the Hoppers finally release an album of new music.  2016 saw the release of Life Is Good.

The Hoppers also teamed with songwriter Paula Stefanovich, who gave them their career song “Jerusalem”, to pen the song ranked 5th among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of the year.

“Jesus, The One” was released months in advance and even became a #1 hit on the Southern Gospel radio singles chart before the album hit retailers.

Best Of 2016: #9

nelonsDue to an internet outage I wasn’t able to get a post up yesterday.  So, to make up for it I will be posting both today and tomorrow.  Lets take a look at the album and recorded song ranked 9th for the year.

The Nelons thought they would buck all musical norms and release two new album releases in one year.  Some may ask why not release one album with 18 songs instead of two albums with 9 songs each.

I guess the Nelons choice paid off as one of those two album releases, Family Harmony, ranks 9th among the best Southern Gospel albums released in 2016.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “Don’t Give Up On Me”, (2) “When Grandpa Sang Amazing Grace”, (3) “I Just Can’t Make It By Myself”, (4) “Imagine Alleluia and (5) “Greater Things”.

theisaacsThe song ranked 9th among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of 2016 was a collaboration from Becky Bowman, Sonya Isaacs Yeary and Kenna West.

“I Love You More” is track #3 on the Isaacs 2016 album release, Nature’s Symphony In 432.  The number in the album title referred to the tuning used to record the album.

One should not let 2016 pass without at least giving Nature’s Symphony In 432 a listen.

Best Of 2016: #10

l5It is time to unveil the ten best Southern Gospel albums and recorded songs of 2016.  Did your favorite make the cut?  Quartet lovers should be happy with the number of quartet recordings that made the top ten this year.

One such album is the recording ranked 10th among the best of 2016.  Legacy Five may have released their best post Roger Bennett era recording in 2016 with, In The Hands Of A Carpenter.  Anchored by the title track, which readers chose as best recorded song of 2016 in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors, is one huge reason it found a home in the top ten.

One other major strength was song selection.  This was also the first Legacy Five album to feature new tenor Josh Feemster.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “In The Hands Of A Carpenter”, (2) “I Trust The Cross”, (3) “Still”, (4) “Grace Will Find You” and (5) “Lost In God’s Grace”.

nelons-300x300Early on in the countdown for Southern Gospel’s best recorded song, there were two that were written over twenty years ago.  The top ten kicks off with a song written nearly thirty years ago.

The Nelons went the unconventional route and released two new albums this year.  Track #3 on the album, Stronger Together, ranks 10th among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of 2016.

“Family Chain”, penned by Joe Isaacs, allowed Autumn to step front and center to show Southern Gospel listeners she is just as talented a vocalist as the rest in the family.

3rd Annual Southern Gospel Views From The Back Row Honors: And The Winners Are…..

3rdannualI 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”.

blackSongwriter

**Lee Black

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!!

tributeqt2016hereforyouAlbum of the Year (had to be a 2016 release)

**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.

11thhour2016whatamomentAlbum Cover Design (best album artwork/cover design from a 2016 release)

**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).

canas-voice-260x195Artist – Breakthrough (New)

**Cana’s Voice

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.

11th HourArtist – Duo/Trio (no more than 3 vocalists)

**11th Hour

Talk about another group having a monster year.  11th Hour picks up their first win as best vocal duo/trio of the year.

erwins_2016_tall_smArtist – Mixed Group (at least 4 vocalists)

**Erwins

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.

mtq_satArtist – Quartet

**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-brother-passes-away-200w-tn**Connie Hopper (Hoppers)

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.

marktrammell2013Vocalist – Baritone

**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.

paulbigbioVocalist – Bass

**Paul Harkey (Signature Sound)

Paul Harkey picked up his first win as best bass vocalist.  I imagine it won’t be his last.

hamptonVocalist – Lead

**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.

7b88178c541234803097428504576_34b02f93fe1-4-2Vocalist – Soprano

**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.

rileyVocalist – Tenor

**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**.

VOTE: Best Of 2016: Radio Single/Song Cover

3rdannualThis week we will wrap up voting in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.  What was the best radio single and song cover of 2016?  You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 12/05/16.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

VOTE: Best Of 2016: Mixed Group/Quartet

3rdannualIf you’re like me, you are avoiding the craziness that is known as black Friday.  So why not enjoy some voting for the best of 2016.  Who were the top mixed group and quartet of 2016?  You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 12/02/16.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

VOTE: Best Of 2016: Alto/Soprano

3rdannualWho were the top female vocalists in Southern Gospel music for 2016?  Today, you can vote for alto and soprano vocalist.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 11/24/16.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.