The First Shall Be Last, The Last Shall Be First

I thought I would kick off the week by offering a little switch of Southern Gospel’s current popular artists and swapping them with artists that deserve to be recognized as ‘first’.

Starting with mixed group, I would swap the Collingsworth Family with the Erwins.  These young kids have proven they are at the top of their game.

On the solo artist side, I would easily swap out Ivan Parker with Jason Crabb.  “Home” and “If I Shout” are more than enough reason.

Taking a look at trio, the Booth Brothers would be swapped out with Goodman Revival.  The musical concert experience offered the audience by Goodman Revival with actual musicians is a missed art in Southern Gospel music.

Finally, quartet would have me swapping Triumphant Quartet with Tribute Quartet, for the mere fact they are currently providing the listener with some of the best Southern Gospel quartet music.

So, how would you handle the swapping of Southern Gospel’s current most popular artists?

2017 Song Of The Year??

I’m back!  One week ago Singing News announced the top ten list for the 2017 edition of the fan awards.  The only category I follow each year is song of the year.

This year’s nominees included:

  1. “Calling” – Karen Peck & New River (#1)
  2. “He Does” – Greater Vision (#3)
  3. “I Love You This Much” – Whisnants (#3)
  4. “If We Ever Gotta Look” – Hoppers (#7)**
  5. “It’s What He’s Done” – Wilburn & Wilburn (#1)**
  6. “Living In The Promised Land” – Triumphant Qt (#3)
  7. “My Father’s House” – Nelons (#7)**
  8. “Never Forsaken” – Tribute Qt (#1)**
  9. “Somebody’s Miracle” – Brian Free & Assurance (#4)
  10. “Still” – Legacy Five (#4)**

As is the case every year, Daywind Records dominated the song category claiming 8 of the 10 nominees.  Above I highlighted the peak spots on the chart as of the announcement.  The ** signifies the five songs deserving of making it to the final round.

Two songs deserving of a top ten spot were, “Home” by Jason Crabb and “He Welcomes The Beggar” by 11th Hour.  What songs did you feel were overlooked this year?

Best Of 2016: #1

11th-hourThanks once again for indulging me and allowing me to present one of my favorite features of the year.  Today, crowns the best of the best; the #1 album and recorded Southern Gospel song of 2016.

When I first heard this album in February, I knew it would be hard pressed to find another recording to top its caliber.  As the year progressed, many great albums came along but none had quite enough to take the crown.

Ranked #1 as Southern Gospel’s best album of the year is 11th Hour’s, What A Moment.  11th Hour garnered Southern Gospel’s best vocal duo/trio by the readers of this blog as we celebrated the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors. Congrats to 11th Hour on a phenomenal year and giving Southern Gospel music a phenomenal recording.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “He Welcomes The Beggar”, (2) “When God Shows Up”, (3) “Look At Me Now”, (4) “Love Still Holds Our Scars” and (5) “Can You Burn”.

tributeAfter 42 albums and 464 songs, the song ranked #1 among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of 2016 is “When The Prodigal Comes Home”.

Lee Black has become one of Southern Gospel’s greatest songwriters and the readers of this blog confirmed that when you chose him best songwriter of 2016 in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.

“When The Prodigal Comes Home” is his masterpiece brought to life by the vocal talent of Riley Harrison Clark and Tribute Quartet.

Best Of 2016: #6

tribute-qtThe Tribute Quartet fared well in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors.  The readers of this blog chose Riley Harrison Clark best tenor vocalist and Here For You the best album of 2016

It just so happens that your choice for album of the year ranks 6th among the best album releases in my annual countdown.  The Tribute Quartet released the best album of their career thus far with Here For You.

The song selection and production value is also the best of their career thus far.  As the countdown draws to a close, Here For You ranks as one of the best Southern Gospel quartet albums of the year.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “When The Prodigal Comes Home”, (2) “God Of The Storms”, (3) “Nothing Stops The Savior’s Love”, (4) “Never Forsaken” and (5) “Grace At Its Best”.

isaacsIt seems every year the Isaacs release a new album, it is recognized as one of the best of the year.  2016’s, Nature’s Symphony In 432 has already given one song to the annual countdown.

The second song from the recording to be recognized among the best recorded Southern Gospel songs of the year is track #9; “Rocks”.

One of the best songs I have heard recently that flat-out says, ‘mind your business’.  Thanks Becky Bowman, Jimmy Yeary and Sonya Isaacs Yeary.

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**.

Best Of 2016: #13

jim-brady-trioThe best of 2016 continues today with the album ranked 13th among the best Southern Gospel album releases of 2016.  The Jim Brady Trio followed up their debut effort, A New Chapter, with another comparable recording.

Promises is the second album from Jim Brady Trio on Daywind Records.  This is also the first recording to feature new baritone vocalist Layke Jones.

The group offered listeners a progressive Southern Gospel style with Promises, the 13th best album of 2016.

The (5) Best Songs From The Album:  (1) “Homesick For Heaven”, (2) “Peace In The Shelter”, (3) “God Is With Me”, (4) “I Go To The Rock” and (5) “Calvary”.

tributeThe Tribute Quartet may very well have the best year of their career when 2016 wraps.  They definitely hit it out of the park with their 2016 album release, Here For You.

Tenor vocalist Riley Harrison Clark shined as track #6, “God Of The Storms”, ranks 13th among the best recorded songs in Southern Gospel music for the year.

Two Southern Gospel master composers, Gerald Crabb and Savana Foust, came together to pen this soon to be classic.

VOTE: Best Of 2016: Recorded Song/Songwriter

3rdannualThe final poll in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors is here.  What was the best recorded song and songwriter of 2016?  You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 12/07/16.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.