VOTE: Best of 2018: Album Cover Design/Single/Song Cover

Lets kick off this holiday week with day four of voting.  Today, you get a chance to vote for best album cover design, single of the year and song cover.

Don’t forget the prior categories because you get one vote per day.  This poll closes 11/26/18.  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).

Best Radio Songs Of The 1980’s: #17

Edging ever closer to the top ten Southern Gospel radio songs of the 1980’s.  Today we take a look at the song ranked 17th among the best.

The Talleys (Debra, Kirk, Roger) came together in 1983 to begin a recording career that exists to this day.  The trio’s second Canaan records release, Work Of Heart (1985), would give the group their first #1 song.

“Sweeter As The Days Go By” was already a classic when the Talleys recorded it in 1985.  The earliest recording of the song goes back to the early 1960’s.  It was penned by Geneser Smith.

Best Radio Songs Of The 1980’s: #20

Let’s kick off the top 20 in our countdown of the best Southern Gospel radio songs of the 1980’s.

Kirk Talley penned some major hits during the decade.  Another was “Triumphantly The Church Will Rise”.  Recorded on the Talleys 1986 recording, United, the song went on to be a top ten song for the trio.

It was also a concert closer for the group during this time.  Definitely brought crowds to their feet.

Best Radio Songs Of The 1980’s: #23

Today continues the countdown of Southern Gospel music’s greatest radio songs of the 1980’s.

Terry Toler penned the now classic, “Thinking About Home”.  The Talleys recorded the song on their debut Canaan Records album, Wherever I Am.

By the summer of 1985, “Thinking About Home” was a top five hit for the Talleys.  It became an instant signature song for Debra Talley; a song the group periodically stages now.

Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  Kirk Talley and brother Roger Talley sang with their sister Diane in the early 1970’s.  The trio recorded two albums before Roger would go on to join the Hopper Brothers and Connie as pianist, in 1974.

Kirk would eventually join the Hopper Brothers and Connie by the late 1970’s before making his was to the Cathedral Quartet as tenor.

Finest Hour: Talleys


  • Album:  Finest Hour
  • Artist:  Talleys
  • Label:  Horizon
  • Style:  Progressive
  • Release Date:  03/30/18
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  46 Minutes


Today, we take a look at the latest album from the Talleys; Finest Hour.

Roger Talley, the patriarch of the trio, is working on 50 years in Southern Gospel music.  The Talley Trio began in the early 1970’s with Roger, brother Kirk and sister Diane.

The Talleys, as most Southern Gospel listeners are familiar started touring in 1984.  The 2018 edition of the trio has been together since 1996; Lauren (soprano), Debra (alto) and Roger (tenor/lead/harmony).


  • I enjoy the folk rock sounds of mainstream artists like the Lumineers.  That folk sound is increasingly evident in Southern Gospel music.  One of the best songs on Finest Hour is “Grab Your Umbrella”.  This style song fits Roger’s vocals perfectly.
  • Roger also gets to show off on the mid-tempo pop infused “Get Me There”.  This song could find a home at Southern Gospel radio.
  • The Talleys have always been known for big power ballads like “Triumphantly The Church Will Rise” and “His Life For Mine”.  Finest Hour has another in the way of “When Death Was Arrested”.  This cover of the CCM mega-church song comes off well by the Talleys.
  • The album’s opening song is the current single, “Look Up”.  This song follows in the vein of “When Death Was Arrested” in terms of style but is more Southern Gospel friendly.
  • The simple arrangement for “He Restoreth My Soul” makes for a reflective moment on the album; the first half of the song giving the listener just piano and vocals.
  • The album closes with the up-tempo, “Begin Again God”, which is expected to be the next single from the recording.  This is a great way to close out the recording; on a high note.
  • Roger and Lauren deserve a kudos for producing the recording.  They didn’t go over the top in orchestration and the orchestration used didn’t destroy the vocals.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Grab Your Umbrella”, “Joy”, “Death Was Arrested”, “Begin Again God”, “Look Up”, “Get Me There”, “We Are Witnesses” and “When The Answer Is No”.
  • The pacing of the album is slow to mid-tempo heavy, clocking in at 46 minutes.  Could cause listener fatigue.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “That’s What The Teacher Taught”.


The Talleys have given Southern Gospel listeners 35 years of progressive Southern Gospel music.  While they no longer push the envelope, in terms of style, they have carved out a distinct sound that is solely Talley.  Finest Hour is another in a long list of quality albums from this family.

SONG (tempo)/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Look Up” (Mid)/Roger; Debra; Lauren – Lee Black, Aaron Wilburn  2. “Jeremiah 29:11 (You Have Plans)” (Slow)/Lauren – Lee Black, Lauren Talley, Kenna West  3. “When The Answer Is No” (Slow)/Debra – Bernadette Negus, Melanie Watson  4. “Joy” (Fast)/Lauren – Lauren Talley, Kenna West, Tony Wood  5. “We Are Witnesses” (Slow)/Lauren – Lauren Talley, Kenna West, Tony Wood  6. “Grab Your Umbrella” (Mid/Fast)/Roger – Kristi Fitzwater, Eddie Harrison, Bev Herrema, Dixie Phillips  7. “Death Was Arrested” (Mid)/Lauren; Ensemble – Ryan Baltzglier, Adam Kersh, Brandon Koker, Paul Smith  8. “That’s What The Teacher Taught” (Slow)/Debra – Lee Black, Rick Shelton, Sue C Smith  9. “Get Me There” (Mid)/Roger; Lauren – Lee Black, Jason Cox  10. “Home At Last” (Slow)/Debra; Lauren – Rebecca J Peck, Dianne Wilkinson  11. “He Restoreth My Soul” (Slow)/Ensemble; Lauren – Lee Black, Lauren Talley, Kenna West  12. “Begin Again God” (Fast)/Lauren – Lauren Talley, Kenna West

VOTE: Best Southern Gospel Album Of The 1980’s: Round 2b

Today begins voting in round two of the March madness competition in search of the best Southern Gospel album of the 1980’s.

Each reader is allowed ONE VOTE PER DAY.  Polls will be open through Friday (03/23/18).  Be sure to look for (2) posts today to account for each bracket in round two.