Best Recorded Songs Of 2018

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 2018.

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

  1. Go Down Again” – Kaila Wisecarver; recorded by the Wisecarvers (Silhouette)
  2. Give Me Jesus” – Fanny Crosby, Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey; recorded by Ernie Haase and Signature Sound (Clear Skies)
  3. Go Tell” – Diana Gillette; recorded by the Perry Sisters (Tellin’ The Story)
  4. Live Forgiven” – Sue C Smith, Nathan Woodard; recorded by Gordon Mote (Love Love Love)
  5. Beautiful” – Don Poythress, Joyce Sanders, Kenna West; recorded by the Martins (Still Standing)
  6. A Rugged Old Cross” – Gerald Crabb, Dianne Wilkinson; recorded by the LeFevre Quartet (Ascending)
  7. Stained Glass” – Michael Curtis, Bob Gulley; recorded by the Martins (Still Standing)
  8. Jesus Have Mercy On Me” – Roger Horne; recorded by the Down East Boys (One Day In The Past)
  9. All My Hope” – Edmond Cash, David Crowder; recorded by Gold City (Hope For The Journey)
  10. Sun’s Gonna Come Up” – Lee Black, Scott Inman; recorded by the LeFevre Quartet (Ascending)
  11. “Resurrection Power” – Rebecca J Peck; recorded by the Mylon Hayes Family (Enjoy The Journey)
  12. Beat Up Bible” – Cary Barlowe, Hillary Lindsey, Shane Stevens; recorded by the Down East Boys (One Day In The Past)
  13. Watch And See” – Jason Cox, Kris Erwin, Kenna West; recorded by the Erwins (Watch & See)
  14. Robes Of Pure White” – Lisa Williamson; recorded by Williamsons (Give Them Jesus)
  15. Clear Skies” – Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey; recorded by Ernie Haase and Signature Sound (Clear Skies)
  16. Washed By The Water” – Dave Barnes, Jason Crabb, Jordan Reynolds; recorded by Jason Crabb (Unexpected)
  17. If I Die” – Vince Gill, Ashley Monroe; recorded by the Oak Ridge Boys (17th Avenue Revival)
  18. Grab Your Umbrella” – Kristi Fitzwater, Eddie Harrison, Bev Herrema, Dixie Phillips; recorded by the Talleys (Finest Hour)
  19. God Is There” – Bernhard Herms, Jimmy Olander, Marty Roe; recorded by the Jordan Family Band (Reach)
  20. Anything Less” – Adina Bowman, Denny Livingston, Brittany Potter; recorded by the Taylors (Faithful Again)

**Also, if you want to hear the 40 best Southern Gospel radio singles of 2018, listen to this week’s playlist on either Apple Music or Spotify.  Listen as if you’re listening to a countdown; the first song in the playlist is the song ranked 40th and the last song in the playlist is the #1 song.

Remember, on Apple Music search Southern Gospel Back Row and on Spotify search SGVBR.  New weekly playlists every Monday in the new year!**


Best Of 2018: #7/#8

REASON FOR RANKING:  Southern Gospel and country music legends, the Oak Ridge Boys, released their best Gospel album since 2001 (From The Heart).  17th Avenue Revival is filled with some really great traditional quartet moments.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “Walk In Jerusalem”; (2) “If I Die”; (3) “A Brand New Star”; (4) “There Will Be Light”; (5) “Let It Shine On Me”.

REASON FOR RANKING:  The Talleys are no strangers to annual top ten lists.  They have been releasing some of the best progressive Southern Gospel music for 35 years now.  We can now add Finest Hour to that list.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “Grab Your Umbrella”; (2) “Joy”; (3) “When Death Was Arrested”; (4) “Begin Again God”; (5) “Get Me There”.

VOTE: Best of 2018: Alto/Baritone/Bass

Who were the top vocalists in Southern Gospel music for 2018?  Today, starts the voting for best alto, baritone and bass vocalist.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 11/20/18.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

And The 2018 Nominees Are….

It is time to announce the nominees for the 5th Annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row Honors.  I went through all the Southern Gospel album’s released in 2018 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.


Recorded Song of the Year (song recorded on a 2018 album, did not have to be a radio single)

  1. “Beautiful” – Don Poythress, Joyce Sanders, Kenna West; recorded by the Martins (Still Standing)
  2. “Give Me Jesus” – Fanny Crosby, Ernie Haase, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey; recorded by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (Clear Skies)
  3. “Go Down Again” – Kaila Wisecarver; recorded by the Wisecarvers (Silhouette)
  4. “Go Tell” – Diana Gillette; recorded by the Perry Sisters (Tellin’ the Story)
  5. “Live Forgiven” – Sue C Smith, Nathan Woodard; recorded by Gordon Mote (Love, Love, Love)

Single of the Year (had to be on the radio singles chart from January to December 2018)

  1. “God Doesn’t Care” – Chris Allman; recorded by Greater Vision (Still)
  2. “Jailbreak” – Gerald Crabb, Joseph Habedank; recorded by Joseph Habedank (Resurrection)
  3. “Power In Prayer” – Amber Eppinette, Don Poythress, Donnie Skaggs, Kenna West; recorded by 11th Hour (Silence The Stones)
  4. “Sun’s Gonna Come Up” – Lee Black, Scott Inman; recorded by the LeFevre Quartet (Ascending)
  5. “When The Prodigal Comes Home” – Lee Black; recorded by Tribute Quartet (Here For You)

Song Cover of the Year (a previously recorded song covered on a 2018 album release)

  1. “Chose To Be My Friend” – Jason Crabb featuring Gary LeVox (Unexpected); Gerald Crabb
  2. “Death Was Arrested” – Talleys (Finest Hour); Ryan Baltzglier, Adam Kersh, Brandon Koker, Paul Smith
  3. “Go To The Master” – Greater Vision (Life Is A Song); Carroll McGruder
  4. “Jesus Have Mercy On Me” – Down East Boys (One Day In The Past); Roger Horne
  5. “Message Of His Coming”- Williamsons (Give Them Jesus); RE Winsett


  1. Lee Black
  2. Joel Lindsey
  3. Rebecca J Peck
  4. Sue C Smith
  5. Kenna Turner West

Album of the Year (had to be a 2018 release)

  1. Ascending – LeFevre Quartet (New Day)
  2. Clear Skies – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (Stow Town)
  3. Give Them Jesus – Williamsons (Custom)
  4. One Day In The Past – Down East Boys (Sonlite)
  5. Still Standing – Martins (Gaither Gospel Series)

Album Cover Design (best album artwork/cover design from a 2018 release)

  1. Clear Skies – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
  2. Hope For The Journey – Gold City
  3. Hope Keeps Writing The Song – Jim Brady Trio
  4. Reach – Jordan Family Band
  5. Silhouette – Wisecarvers

Artist – Breakthrough (New)

  1. 3 Heath Brothers
  2. Hinson Family
  3. Lore Family
  4. New Speer Family
  5. Westward Road

Artist – Duo/Trio (no more than 3 vocalists)

  1. 11th Hour
  2. Greater Vision
  3. Jim Brady Trio
  4. Martins
  5. Talleys

Artist – Mixed Group (at least 4 vocalists)

  1. Erwins
  2. Hoppers
  3. Mylon Hayes Family
  4. Karen Peck & New River
  5. Williamsons

Artist – Quartet

  1. Down East Boys
  2. Gold City
  3. LeFevre Quartet
  4. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
  5. Triumphant

Artist – Soloist

  1. Mark Bishop
  2. Jason Crabb
  3. Joseph Habedank
  4. Gordon Mote
  5. Taranda

Vocalist – Alto

  1. Diana Gillette (Perry Sisters)
  2. Wendy Hayes (Mylon Hayes Family)
  3. Connie Hopper (Hoppers)
  4. Joyce Martin Sanders (Martins)
  5. Lisa Williamson (Williamsons)

Vocalist – Baritone

  1. Dustin Doyle (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)
  2. William Lee Golden (Oak Ridge Boys)
  3. Scott Inman (Triumphant)
  4. Mike LeFevre (LeFevre Quartet)
  5. Daniel Riley (Gold City)

Vocalist – Bass

  1. Pat Barker (Guardians)
  2. Jeff Chapman (Kingdom Heirs)
  3. Paul Harkey (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)
  4. Keith Plott (LeFevre Quartet)
  5. Richard Sterban (Oak Ridge Boys)

Vocalist – Lead

  1. Ricky Carden (Down East Boys)
  2. Joseph Habedank
  3. Weston Hinson (Hinson Family)
  4. Jordan LeFevre (LeFevre Quartet)
  5. Devin McGlamery (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)

Vocalist – Soprano

  1. Melissa Brady (Jim Brady Trio)
  2. Amber Eppinette (11th Hour)
  3. Karen Peck Gooch (Karen Peck & New River)
  4. Allison Durham Speer (New Speer Family)
  5. Taranda

Vocalist – Tenor

  1. Chris Allman (Greater Vision)
  2. Riley Harrison Clark (Tribute Quartet)
  3. Thomas Nalley (Gold City)
  4. Jeremy Peace (LeFevre Quartet)
  5. Doug Pittman (Down East Boys)

So do the nominees represent the best of 2018?  Were there any snubs? The voting rounds will begin Tuesday (11/13/18).

17th Avenue Revival: Oak Ridge Boys


  • Album:  17th Avenue Revival
  • Artist:  Oak Ridge Boys
  • Label:  Lightning Rod
  • Style:  Traditional, Progressive
  • Release Date:  03/16/18
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  27 Minutes


Today, we take a look at the new album from the Oak Ridge Boys; 17th Avenue Revival.

The Oak Ridge Boys recorded this new album at the historic RCA studio A in Nashville TN.  The group also decided to release 17th Avenue Revival on vinyl.  Vinyl has become popular again among mainstream musical genres.  Will we see this return to Vinyl in Southern Gospel music?

Joe Bonsall (tenor), Duane Allen (lead), William Lee Golden (baritone) and Richard Sterban (bass) give listeners their best gospel album since From The Heart (2001).


  • The Oaks went back to give listeners traditional Southern Gospel quartet music with the classic, “Walk In Jerusalem”.  Richard Sterban still shows that he is a master class in bass singing.  This is a must listen!
  • Duane Allen provides a new song with a ’70s musical flair, “There Will Be Light”.  This would be a strong choice for radio single possibilities.
  • Another strong up-tempo number is the Joe Bonsall feature, “God’s Got It”.  This song will have you hitting repeat before moving on to the rest of the album.
  • The album opens with another classic Southern Gospel sounding song, “A Brand New Star”.  The up-tempo tune talks about remembering a loved one who has passed.
  • William Lee Golden performs one of the most thought-provoking songs on the album, “If I Die”.  The song goes through various scenarios of how he could die with the final scenario of dying, praying and ending up with loved ones in Heaven.  Loved this song!
  • The album closes with another favorite, “Let It Shine On Me”.  This spiritual number may have you dancing before it ends.
  • The production of 17th Avenue Revival hearkens back to the classic days of Southern Gospel music.  Every instrument used on the recording could easily be translated to the concert stage.  Kudos to Dave Cobb on producing this record!
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Walk In Jerusalem”, “There Will Be Light”, “God’s Got It”, “A Brand New Star”, “If I Die”, “I’d Rather Have Jesus” and “Let It Shine On Me”.
  • There is a bit of a silly but fun song titled “Pray To Jesus” that talks about praying to Jesus and playing the lottery.  It does fit the Oak Ridge Boys.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Pray To Jesus”.


The Oak Ridge Boys have given listeners their best gospel recording since From The Heart (2001).  This album could ultimately be one of the best Southern Gospel albums released in 2018.

SONG (tempo)/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “A Brand New Star” (Fast)/William; Ensemble – Aaron Raitiere, Mando Saenz  2. “There Will Be Light” (Slow)/Duane – Buddy Cannon, Jamey Johnson, Larry Shell  3. “God’s Got It” (Fast)/Joe; Ensemble – Charlie Jackson  4. “I’d Rather Have Jesus” (Slow)/William – Rhea Miller, George Beverly Shea  5. “Walk In Jerusalem” (Mid/Fast)/Richard; Ensemble – Traditional  6. “Where He Leads Me I Will Follow” (Slow)/Duane; Joe – Ernest Blandy  7. “Pray To Jesus” (Fast)/Joe – Brandy Clark, Shane McAnallay  8. “If I Die” (Slow)/William – Vince Gill, Ashley Monroe  9. “Let It Shine On Me” (Fast)/Duane; Richard; Ensemble – Lead Belly

Southern Gospel Clones

In the case of today’s post, a clone is an artist that duplicates, imitates or closely resembles another artist in appearance, performance or style.

Today’s post is not meant to be a bad thing (as in the myriad of carbon copy artists in the industry), but one that will take a Southern Gospel artist from the past and match them to an artist of today that best resembles/carries on the sound of the great artist of the past.  I will continue this feature with several more posts.

  • Downings match is the Taylors
  • Florida Boys match is Freedom Quartet
  • Happy Goodmans match is the Perrys
  • Hinsons match is the Hinson Family
  • Mid South Boys match is Akins
  • Oak Ridge Boys match is Triumphant

So with the artists in today’s grouping, do you agree with my choices or do you feel other artists match closer to the great artists of the past?

Song Hall Of Fame: “King Jesus”

Hall of Fame (350x202)It is time to honor another of Southern Gospel’s greatest compositions by placing it into the Southern Gospel song hall of fame.

Today’s inductee goes back to 1973; “King Jesus”.  A slew of artists recorded the song during this time but it was one rendition that became the most popular.  That rendition was from the Oak Ridge Boys.

The song was found on the group’s 1973 album, Street Gospel.  A year later (1974) the Oak Ridge Boys would record a live version of “King Jesus” on Gospel Gold.

Maurice Delamont is honored by writing this Southern Gospel classic.