Best Of The Last Decade (2007-2016)

Somebody’s Coming (2011) – Gold City (New Haven): “Peter, James And John“; “I Get Down“; “Footprints On The Water“; “It Won’t Be Long“; “Showers Of Blessings“; “Lord Of Life“; “Somebody’s Coming“; “Leave That Burden“; “I Have An Anchor“; “Never Too Broken To Belong“.

Love Came Calling (2010) – Triumphant Quartet (Mansion Entertainment): “Saved By Grace“; “Love Came Calling“; “I Can Take You To The Place“; “Mercy, Forgiveness And Grace“; “Movin’ Up To Gloryland“; “The Undertaker“; “Jesus Is Your Ticket To Heaven“; “We Shall Overcome“; “Holy Hands“; “The Cross Of Christ“; “You’ll Find Me There“.

Whatever The Road (2015) – Jason Crabb (Sony): “Never Gonna Let Me Go“; “Chance For A Miracle“; “He Knows What He’s Doing“; “If I Shout“; “He Won’t Leave You There“; “Home“; “This Life For You“; “It’s A Good Life“; “Opened Up My Eyes“; “Mysterious Way“.

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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?

Thankful: Triumphant

GRADE:  B

  • Album – Thankful
  • Artist – Triumphant
  • Label – Stow Town Records
  • Style – Progressive, Traditional
  • Release Date – 04/21/17
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  39 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

This week we take a look at the new album from Triumphant, Thankful.  2017 marks 15 years since the formation of the quartet.  The vocal line-up has not changed in that 15 years.

That vocal line-up is a huge part of Triumphant’s success with the listening audience.  Triumphant are also at a point in their career where they have created a sound that defines them.  You can distinguish Triumphant anytime you hear them.

Thankful keeps that progressive/traditional Southern Gospel mix.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Lee Black and Scott Inman penned two great up-tempo numbers on Thankful.  The title track, “Thankful, So Thankful” is the best song on the recording.  This is a fun, energetic, up-tempo song in a sea of slow to mid-tempo music.
  • The latest single from Thankful is the Zach Williams cover; “Chain Breaker”.  This song translates well to the Southern Gospel marketplace.  Scott is featured and the song is a great choice for radio single.
  • Scott is also featured on the stand out ballad from Thankful, “God Will Always Be God”.  While reminiscent of previous Triumphant songs, its message is enough to make it a must listen.
  • Clayton and the group take us to church on the mid-tempo, “Grace And Mercy”.  The subtle organ accompaniment along with Clayton’s vocals add to the vibe.
  • Clayton also is featured on the other Lee Black/Scott Inman collab, “Never Assume”.  Another great up-tempo song to break up the monotony of all the slower to mid-tempo songs.
  • Eric has some fun trading off with the ensemble on “Bottom Of The Barrel”.  Scott knows whats up when it comes to pacing a recording.  He co-wrote the only three up-tempo songs on the entire recording.
  • David’s one feature on Thankful is the Kirk Talley penned, “I Know Him”.  Good to see Kirk’s name back in the songwriting credits.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Thankful, So Thankful”, “Chain Breaker”, “God Will Always Be God”, “Grace And Mercy”, “Never Assume”, “Bottom Of The Barrel” and “I Know Him”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Triumphant tries their hand at a traditional black spiritual.  They sounded as vanilla as anyone could sound.  They need some lessons from the Statesmen on how to treat a traditional black spiritual.
  • The pacing of the album.  Thank you Scott for contributing the three up-tempo songs on the recording.  The listener didn’t get that first up-tempo number until track #6.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “My God Called Me This Morning” and “One Happy Man”.

WRAP UP:

Triumphant continues to do enough to remain the top quartet in Southern Gospel music.  There is plenty here that Triumphant fans will enjoy to keep them happy until the next album.  Triumphant can be thankful.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “We Welcome Your Holy Spirit”/Ensemble – Mark Condon  2. “Chain Breaker“/Scott – Mia Fieldes, Jonathan Smith, Zach Williams  3. “God Will Always Be God“/Scott – Wayne Haun, Scott Inman, Joel Lindsey  4. “The Cross Is All The Proof I Need”/Clayton – Wayne Haun, Scott Inman, Joel Lindsey  5. “One Happy Man”/Eric – Lee Black, Marcia Henry  6. “Thankful, So Thankful”/Scott – Lee Black, Scott Inman  7. “I Know Him”/David – Kirk Talley  8. “Never Assume“/Ensemble; Clayton – Lee Black, Scott Inman  9. “Grace And Mercy”/Clayton – Franklin D Williams  10. “Bottom Of The Barrel”/Ensemble; Eric – Scott Inman, Joel Lindsey  11. “My God Called Me This Morning”/Ensemble – Traditional

Where’s The Dress??

It is funny, how certain things will hit you at a specific time and cause you to laugh out loud.

On my vacation a couple of weeks ago, the extended driving allowed me plenty of time to listen to XM satellite radio in the car.  On occasion I would turn on Enlighten (the Southern Gospel channel) to see what they were playing.

One of the songs was a Triumphant Quartet number that I hadn’t heard in several years.  On the group’s 2007 album, You Gotta Love It was a song, “He Rescued Me”.

There is a line in the song that goes, ‘He Saw Me In Distress And Rescued Me’.  Every time that specific line came on the radio, I heard it as ‘He Saw Me In This Dress And Rescued Me’.  I could hardly control the laughing.

Then it brought to mind a song I heard as a kid in the ’80s, on country radio called, “Where’s The Dress”; but that is a story for another day.

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?

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.