Some people like to include all recorded songs as potential candidates for year-end best-of lists. I’ve always restricted my pool to songs written and performed specifically for projects released that year.
These are some of my personal favorite new southern gospel songs of 2012. I’ve provided links for listening where available. I wish I could have listened to and reviewed more projects. Somehow the year slipped away and I only churned out a handful. But I think I’ve come to a lot of the same conclusions as various other bloggers anyway. First of all, I’ll rank my top five. Then I’ll name some others that I really liked as well.
1. The Song of Heaven (Tribute Quartet):
When the dust settled, I decided this was my favorite new song of the year. I can’t think of a single lyrical or musical complaint. It’s perfect in every way. Barbara Huffman is the writer of this song. All credit to her!
2. Sometimes I Wonder (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound): Co-written by Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey, and Ernie Haase, this was actually put together a few years ago. They just didn’t get around to recording it until this year. I still love this tender meditation on death and heaven.
3. I Want to Be That Man (Brian Free & Assurance): I think the 2nd verse could have used a little lyrical tweaking, but this was a very memorable song, with an incredibly strong chorus. I was torn between this one and “Calvary’s Cry,” which has a lyric that I love, but I ultimately settled on the one that stuck in my mind better. I think it’s so neat that Ricky Free co-wrote this with Lee Black, then submitted it without Brian’s knowing who wrote it.
4. The Church Will Overcome (the Talleys): Written by Dianne Wilkinson, this is a perfect new barn-burner. Just a great song.
5. I Can Still Pray Through (Barry Rowland & Deliverance): You’ve probably seen lots of bloggers talking about how good Barry Rowland & Deliverance’s debut album is. That’s because it’s really good. I never had time to contribute my own review (is anyone still interested to hear what I think?), but I did listen to several songs and was very impressed by this new group. This song emerged as my personal favorite, and one of the best of the year. It takes its time, but the gospel organ gives it great richness, perfectly complementing Tammy Rowland’s passionate alto vocals. The lyrics are very meaningful, well-written, and uplifting.
[Note: Every word I said about this song is absolutely true, but Brian has kindly pointed out that I picked a cover song (after all that!) So I guess I would probably replace this with "Fool's Gold," by the Gaither Vocal Band.]
Here are more notable favorite songs from this year, not listed in any particular order. Some artists may be named more than once.
Good News From Jerusalem (Tribute Quartet)
Revival (Brian Free & Assurance)
Calvary’s Cry (BFA)
Fool’s Gold (the Gaither Vocal Band)
Make Way for the Master (the Talleys)
Broken World (the Talleys)
Singing in the Midnight Hour (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)
Love Carried the Cross (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)
I Played in the Band (the Booth Brothers)
What were your favorites?