VOTE: Best Of 2017: Breakthrough/DuoTrio/Soloist

Who were the top artists in Southern Gospel music for 2017?  Today, starts the voting for best breakthrough (new), duo/trio and solo artist.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 11/29/17.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

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VOTE: Best Of 2017: Alto/Baritone/Bass

Who were the top vocalists in Southern Gospel music for 2017?  Today, starts the voting for best alto, baritone and bass vocalist.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 11/23/17.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

Still The Same: Whisnants

GRADE:  B+

  • Album:  Still The Same
  • Artist:  Whisnants
  • Label:  UIA
  • Style:  Traditional
  • Release Date:  09/29/17
  • Digital Download:  No
  • Running Time:  42 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

Today we take a look at the latest album from the Whisnants, Still The Same.

The Whisnants career has now spanned 40 years.  Jeff Whisnant has been with the group since the beginning.  They have been providing Southern Gospel listeners traditional Southern Gospel music during their career.

The group has built a successful career around lead/alto vocalist, Susan Whisnant.  She has been at the forefront of the majority of the Whisnants #1 songs.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • I have to first give kudos to Trey Ivey who produced what may very well be the best sounding Whisnants recording to date.  His arrangements are also stellar.
  • It is no surprise Susan Whisnant has the stand out track on Still The Same.  “Keep Me Close” is a personal reflection type song that all Christians can relate.
  • Susan is also featured on a uniquely titled song, “Keep Counting Stars”.  This Sandy Blythe penned tune recounts the story of Abraham waiting for a son and spending time counting stars.
  • Listeners are treated to a crying steel guitar on three songs from Still The Same.  Thank you!  Jeff happens to be featured on all three.  “I’ve Seen What It Can Do” is the strongest of the three and should be considered for radio single possibilities.
  • Jeff also re-records the Mark Lanier classic, “The Ground Is Level”.  The song was made popular by the Bibletones when Mark Lanier was a member.  Mark then took the song to Perfect Heart when he joined them in the early ’90’s.
  • Lead/tenor vocalist Aaron Hise gets to shine on the up-tempo “Caught Away”.  This song is going to make a fun live concert tune.
  • Producer Trey Ivey makes a special vocal appearance on Still The Same with his performance of “Faithful”.  A definite must listen!
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Keep Me Close”, “Caught Away”, “Faithful”, “I’ve Seen What It Can Do”, “The Ground Is Level”, “Keep Counting Stars”, “He’s Never Moved” and “The Last Time I Saw Him”.
CRITIQUE:
  • While I enjoyed Trey’s piano interlude on the group’s cover of the Cathedral classic, “I’m Gonna Live Forever”; the arrangement didn’t quite fit the Whisnants.  The piano work reminded me of something one would find in a Charlie Brown holiday special!
  • The Whisnants hiding such a strong recording by not having it available for digital download.  I still don’t get it.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Why” and “I’m Gonna Live Forever”.

WRAP UP:

It is amazing how a specific producer can make a group sound.  The production work of Trey Ivey may have given the Whisnants one of the best sounding recordings of their career.  The Whisnants also win points on song selection!

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “He’s Never Moved”/Ensemble – Wendy Ferguson, Joseph Habedank, Devin McGlamery  2. “Keep Me Close“/Susan – Monty Lane Allen, Reba Rambo McGuire, Tery Wilkins  3. “I’ve Seen What It Can Do“/Ensemble; Jeff – Rodney Griffin  4. “Caught Away”/Aaron – Janice Crow  5. “Why”/Susan – Jim Brady, Melissa Brady  6. “The Lord Has Stood By Me”/Jeff – Kyla Rowland  7. “I’m Gonna Live Forever”/Aaron – Shirley Cantrell  8. “Keep Counting Stars”/Susan – Sandy Blythe  9. “The Last Time I Saw Him”/Jeff – Niles Borop, Sue C Smith, Dianne Wilkinson  10. “Faithful”/Trey Ivey – Joel Galloway, Megan Mulnix  11. “The Ground Is Level”/Jeff – Mark Lanier  12. “Lord Of All Of Me”/Susan – Rachel McCutcheon, Dale Spencer

NQC 2017: Monday Night Recap

Night two of the 2017 National Quartet Convention has wrapped.  Here were the hits and misses.

  • What childhood memories came flooding back during the Squire Parsons/Kingsmen set.  Happy Squire was gracious to share his set with the Kingsmen to sing some classic Kingsmen songs.
  • Give all the awards to the Mylon Hayes Family.  I am a sucker for proper technical singing and this family is one of the best.  Mylon and Wendy have trained their kids to sing with proper technique, something Mylon learned from his own parents.
  • 11th Hour sounded great tonight running through several hit songs, most notably, “He Welcomes The Beggar”.
  • The Erwins were the highlight early in the program with their performance of “He’s Still Alive”.
  • Another young group that continues to excel at their craft is the Ball Brothers.  Their classy, sometimes jazzy sound infused with impeccable harmonies is hard to beat.
  • Thank you Loren Harris for returning to Southern Gospel music.
  • The Whisnants had the longest set of the evening, clocking in just under 30 minutes but they kept it enjoyable with a great set list.

  • Scott Fowler already making money off the latest political issue.  Paint me surprised.  I’m assuming Scott has not read the United States code on patriotic customs and proper respect for the flag.  It clearly states the flag should never be used as wearing apparel or used for advertising purposes in any manner whatsoever.  Should I boycott Legacy Five now?
  • I didn’t get the Browns set.  By the end it became a train wreck of moos and quacks.
  • The Kingdom Heirs had horrible sound issues at the beginning of their set.
  • Lauren Talley had to carry hosting duties on her shoulders this evening and she did really well.  Her co-host looked like they’d rather been anywhere but there.

 

**Now to crown the best of the night:

Best single song performances (in order of appearance):  (1) “Chasing After You” – Erwins  (2) “He’s Still Alive” – Erwins  (3) “Mercy Tree” – Ball Brothers  (4) “Never Made A Promise” – Kingdom Heirs  (5) “He Welcomes The Beggar” – 11th Hour  (6) “Beulah Land” – Squire Parsons  (7) “Look For Me At Jesus Feet” – Kingsmen (*Best Individual Performance of the Night)  (8) “Is That The Old Ship Of Zion” – Kingsmen  (9) “Victory Is Mine” – Karen Peck & New River  (10) “Why He Came” – Mylon Hayes Family  (11) “I Call Him Lord” – Whisnants  (12) “Hear The Word Of The Lord” – Kingsmen  (13) “The Light Just Came On” – Hinson Family

Best Set of the Night:  The Squire Parsons/Kingsmen segment.

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?

!!Free Music Monday!!

whisnants2015walkoffaithGot the Monday morning blues?  How about I give away some free music to help ease you back in to another work week.  Let me first take this time to congratulate Phillip for winning the 2016 Southern Gospel March madness competition that concluded last week.  He chose the Kingdom Heirs and they ended up beating Karen Peck and New River in the championship round.  Thanks to everyone who participated and made this year’s contest fun.

Today, in the free give-away, we have the Whisnants 2015 release, Walk Of Faith.  Song listing as follows:

  1. “Joy In The House”
  2. “Worry Ends Where Faith Begins”
  3. “I’m Holding On To Grace”
  4. “Go Out Singing”
  5. “I Love You This Much”
  6. “My God Is So Good To Me”
  7. “Do You Know The Savior”
  8. “A Grave Mistake”
  9. “There Is A Fountain”
  10. “Walk Of Faith”
  11. “Saved Is All You Have To Be”
  12. “Healing Stream”

The first person to email me (sogospelbackrow@gmail.com) the correct answer to the following trivia question will win Walk Of Faith by the Whisnants.

**The Whisnants started as the John Whisnant Family in the early 1970’s.  The group began getting recognized on a national level in the late 1980’s when their songs began charting.  What was the Whisnants first #1 song on the radio singles chart?

*Video Credit (Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row)

***CONTEST NOW CLOSED***

Congratulations to Wayne for being the first to correctly guess “Is Anything Too Hard For God” as the Whisnants first #1 radio single.

VOTING: Southern Gospel March Madness – Round 1b

The voting rounds have now begun for the 2016 Southern Gospel music March madness competition.  Let’s make this fun.  Here are the rules to voting.

  • All readers of the blog can vote.
  • I have set it up to where each person is allowed one vote per day.
  • This poll will close on Tuesday (03/22/16).